Vali Barbulescu Tries the New Fuji X100S

I have a soft spot in my heart for the Fuji x100s. I absolutely love when pros give it a chance in a working environment rather than confining it to the street like so many do. When Bucharest-based Vali Barbulescu got his hands on one that's exactly what he decided to do. Granted, any camera can shine in a large studio filled with top of the line lighting equipment but that's not really the point I mean to make. Embracing the restrictions of using a 35mm fixed-lens rangefinder when anyone would rather have a 50mm or greater SLR is what I appreciate. Here is what Vali had to say about the experience:

“This camera is normally used for street photography and documentary-styled images due to its fixed 35mm lens, but I organized everything like I do when using medium format or DSLR cameras. The setup included Profoto lights, as I find them to be a very important factor for delivering professional results. I triggered the flashes with a PocketWizard Plus II and I could sync up to 1/500s at f/2 with no problems. The fast aperture was intended to emulate the looks and feel of a full frame system. I wanted the images to look as professional as possible and not just like some random snaps with a retro-looking camera. But I have to say, the Fujinon lens is a very good piece of glass. Pairing it with the X-Trans II sensor and the Profoto lights gave me the freedom to work unconstrained.”

This to me echos what every great photographer has said. It's not about the camera, it's about the eye behind it. Should you use a rangefinder on a studio session? Maybe so maybe not. Can you? Absolutely, so long as you understand and embrace it's purpose. That's another article for another time though. For now enjoy the video and be sure to check out the links to see not only this shoot's images, but the rest of Vali's work as well.

Via ProFoto Blog

See more of Vali's work at valibarbulescu.viewbook.com

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56 Comments

Worth giving the x100s a run in the studio for a giggle hey, looks like fun; a nice, freeing way to shoot. Thx for the BTS, but that soundtrack does not work at all, had to mute it.

Cool camera but plagued by the raw processing. I loved the original x100 and it does very well in studio. The 35 mm became very limiting and gave a very odd perspective at times and you can see that partly in the final images from this guy. Street, studio, what ever, it is simply a camera. A fun one to use, if only they didnt mess up and put an xtrans in it.

Jeremy Hohertz's picture

What is the problem with the raw processing? In my experience, all Apple products (Aperture, iPhoto, Finder, Preview, etc.) and Adobe products (Lightroom, Photoshop, Bridge, etc.) handle the files very well.

I suppose it depends on what one's standard of good is. Myself and many others on the Fuji forum (fujix-forum.com) have talked about this in great extent for a very very long time. I owned the original x100 and shot a lot of commercial work with it (loved the experience and the file quality that much). When the x trans came out I and others immediately noticed the problems with the way companies handled the demosaic algorithms of the camera. To date many are okay but none great enough to get the image quality of the raw files better than the jpegs. A simple Google search will reveal what many experts outside of people that are paid by Fuji say. The Strobist and Zack Arias are paid by Fuji so keep this in mind when doing your research.

I sold my x100 because my commercial career picked up and I needed more versitility and serious image quality. The new xtrans was a step backwards for me, so I left the Fuji brand. I bought into the newer Sigma Merrill cameras and they are leaps and bounds better in the image quality department.

Visit the forum. My name there is Golgo 13. Also look at the work of Damien Lovegrove. Hes also a very well known UK photographer that still shoots Fuji. He too states his distaste for the xtrans in comparision to the old sensor.

The x100s is a fun camera and great for jpeg shooting. I would never consider it for print work like I did the original x100.

Oh, ok, you're trolling. Just checking then.
I've had zero problems with Lightroom 5 and Fuji x100s raws.

http://chromasoft.blogspot.com/2012/05/demosaicing-fuji-x-pro1-and-its-x...

I hope this makes since. This source is extremely credible. And its not trolling, I know these cameras quite well.

Only good for casual use? non-sense. The images I see out of the XP1 via Iridient Developer are every bit as good as the D600 or a 5d3...minus a *hair* of resolution. Are those cameras only good for casual use? Absurd.

Michael, please give us several examples of "serious tools" in your opinion.

So, my statement stands, the "extrememly credible" source is still using an old version of LR. Quit trolling.

Jeremy Hohertz's picture

I've been to the fujix forums, and what I've seen are reasonably valid discussions about the "look" and "feel" of output from the X100 and X100s. Some people prefer one over the other, and there is absolutely no disagreement that an old Bayer sensor looks different than a new X-Trans sensor.

What I haven't seen are arguments after about May 2013 about the quality of raw processing in Lightroom (specifically). It was about this time that Fuji and Adobe got together to improve the X-Trans processing in Adobe software.

So to clarify, are you saying that Fuji messed up with the X-Trans sensor because you don't like the way it looks? (I can respect that opinion, and I have no horse in that race as I have never used an X100, nor any Sigma sensor.) Or are you saying that Fuji messed up because it took a while for third party software to catch up to them?

Cite :" It’s not about the camera, it’s about the eye behind it."

From that I conclude that almost ALL (!) professional photographers are complete morons since most of them own gear worth tens of thousands of $. If it's all about the eye a nifty $500 entry level DSLR + kit lens should be good enough.

Honestly, I don't get it why people stoop to such inane utterance.

Liken it to a Japanese sushi (!) chef purporting that sharp knifes are redundant because it's all about the cook. Or a painter purporting that canvas and colors don't matter because it's all about the painters skills.

JOE DDD (Daniel Dalin Drechsler)'s picture

I don't see why a 500 dollar camera couldn't do as well as this camera or any other..
Cameras of today have surpassed the film once used.
I'd dare say even the lowest cameras in the food chain can do amazing work, in the right hands.
As to why do people spend tens of thousands of dollars on other equipment?
That's for them to say not me.I cannot afford that equipment. :) This is just a hobby for me.

Andrew Williams's picture

when doing a ad campaign it may require the photos to be blown up to bill board size and a D5200 can't handle that. I hope this helps you understand why professionals spend more on their cameras.

Actually, no. It's called 'viewing distance'. Most billboards usually only required 10 ppi or greater. A throwaway camera would provide more than sufficient resolution for a viewing distance of 100 yards. I shot many, many billboards with an 6 mp camera back when and they looked great.

There's many factors that contribute to choosing a camera for a particular job. For example, I can't shoot sports with a D5200 and a kit lens. Or get the colors I'm looking for with that kind of sensor (for example skin tones). Also the flash sync matters a lot, I can't get a certain picture at 1/200 (or 1/250 can't remember) on a D5200. I can name many more examples why that money is spent, and spent well.

currently using it for my hobby~ really loving its color and sharpness :D

My girlfriend has been trying to get one for weeks now. It's out of stock everywhere due to a water damaged shipment. The only option is paying $200 more to a Chinese eBay dealer.

Wouldn't trust it. One, if something is out of place, the return policy may not be the best. Second, if you live in the U.S. you should find out if you have to pay a fine or import tax upon arrival. Third, you might not get warranty since it might be classified as Grey Market.

I should have said, "the only options", the other being to wait for an official shipment to hit Adorama or B&H (which she is doing). I warned her not to trust them either precisely because of the support we would be missing should any thing be wrong.

Why doesn't she pre-order it now so that she'll be in line when it reaches the store. I have ordered from Adorama many times before and have gotten items that were out of stock online because it wasn't updated immediately. Call them and ask if they have any, and when are they expecting. And ask if you can preorder it online to save time.

yeah I've suggested it to her, not sure why she hasn't pulled the trigger on that. Adorama had no expected shipment date when I called a couple weeks ago. I'll have to give the a call again and see what the story is.

Good luck with it, and also reply here later so I can know of things went smoothly and if the camera is as good as they say it it.

The X100S is a great camera but jeez what a boring video. There's only so many Glidetrack and pulled focus shots of a camera (and a model getting ready) that I can take. Should this serve any other purpose than to show the photographer using a certain brand's gear? If so, could someone point that purpose out please? I'm struggling.

David Apeji's picture

Can't see why it wouldn't work if the focal length suits your needs - but that the color grading on the video - yuck!

Brought to you by excessive Glidetrack.

Figured as much because the RAW file support has upset a lot of people and given the knowledge these two men have, Im sure they see it.

the xtrans just made all the X cameras more hobby than pro even though pros use them, they dont produce pro raw files anymore.

Still a fun camera.

I've never run into an issue with raw processing on this camera and I use it every day.

Its been documented heavily. I shot the original for years. Theres a noticable difference. so much so even Adobe issued statements in the past. Its widely known. Its the main reason I wont return to Fuji.

As I said...I've never run into an issue with raw processing on this camera and I use it every day. Your link that you keep posting is from back in March. I would imagine that technology has changed a bit since I'm pretty sure Adobe has released ACR patches pretty regularly.

Since you apparently used an X-trans equipped camera in recent months maybe it's time to test drive one again instead of holding to the past.

Fortunate for me I used an xtrans a month ago when I almost bought one. the files still suffered the same issues as before when I used Lightroom 5. LR 4.4 and 5.2 use the same demosaicing engine. Nothing has changed. I try to stay pretty current with Fuji news even though I dont shoot it currently.

A lot of people say they have no issues, a lot say they do. Again nice camera for fun and jpegs. Many simply dont value the RAW files. Nothing against current owners but its still documented.

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