When it comes to cameras which do not allow for interchangeable lenses, most people will expect said camera to have a very versatile lens: one that is capable of taking shots at both the wide-angle and telephoto regions. After all, fixed-lens cameras are often used by people who do not want to deal with the hassle of changing lenses, and it makes sense that these users would prize a single versatile lens over dealing with the cost of owning multiple lenses.
With that in mind, people would generally come to the conclusion that flexibility plays a key role in a camera’s value, and any camera which places strict limits on what the photographer can do is not a good camera, right? Not if Fujifilm has got anything to do about it: in what has to be the first camera of its kind, the Japanese imaging company has announced a new fixed-lens camera, the X100, which makes use of a non-changeable prime lens instead of a zoom lens.
At first glance, it is clear from its design that Fujifilm is going for visual appeal here. Made in a style reminiscent of classic rangefinder cameras in the days of film photography, the company claims that the X100 aims to “echo the functional asthetics of analogue film cameras”. This is immediately visible from the dedicated shutter speed and exposure dials located at the top of the X100’s body.
However, the X100 is no simple point-and-shoot camera housed in a retro, magnesium-alloy body. Hidden inside it is a large custom-made APS-C CMOS image sensor, which Fujifilm claims was specially tweaked to produce an optimized angle of incidence for sharper and brighter images. The X100 also sports a hybrid viewfinder, which is essentially an optical viewfinder built with a small LCD panel to allow for the viewing of camera settings and details.
Also unique to the X100 is a dedicated ‘RAW’ button built onto the body: Fujifilm claims that this button allows photographers to instantly toggle between RAW, JPEG and RAW + JPEG shooting modes instead of having to fiddle around the camera’s menu system.
Last but not least, Fujifilm claims that the prime lens used in the X100 is no generic Fujinon lens. Rather, it is one which has been specially designed from ground up to work well with the custom-made APS-C sensor utilized by the camera. The company also maintains that it would not have made sense to utilize a zoom lens or an interchangeable lens mount as one of the primary goals for the X100 was to make it as small as possible. Photographers with shaky hands might find the omission of an in-lens stabilizer system a small handicap, though.
The release date and pricing for the X100 have yet to be announced, but it is clear that Fujifilm is already hard at work in attempting to drum up support and hype for the camera. And in what seems to be an attempt to engage its customer base, Fujifilm is encouraging people to post any question they may have about the X100 to the company for clarification. Needless to say, we will definitely be keeping tabs on the X100’s developments, so do check back for updates.