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

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Previous comments

You can get around the demosaic processing and avoid the problem entirely, and it's fairly easy. If you would like more information please feel free to contact me.

I was simply making a statement about my experiences then various people began addressing me personally so I elaborated. I recently ruled out Fuji due to my very recent experiences and have moved on to another system namely Sigma.

I think regardless people will always find ways to create amazing images no matter the tool.

Michael, try Iridient Developer ($75) or C1P7 *if* you want to see what x trans files can do. I find the results to be fantastic. I can't say that at all about ACR / LR5 results. What is my reference? D800, D600, RZ67proII and top of the line glass (Zeiss and Mamiya). Lloyd Chambers is making the same mistake.

I currently shoot the Sigma Merrill cameras. Their detail is almost unmatched by anything outside of a medium format camera. Fuji is still cool but even if they had perfect raw file conversion across the board, they still could not touch the Sigmas. I hear Irident works decent too. Im PC only though.

Curious, which Sigma..the DP3?! I LOVE the IQ out of that camera, but talk about a niche camera that requires a massive number of compromises !!...and limited raw conversion software..Sigma Photo Pro...period. This really undermines your argument against Fuji imo. Let me guess, you read Diglloyd and / or Steve Huff...? Sigma is their religion. Too much koolaid for me. If you shoot the same stuff Lloyd does, then I "get it", the Sigma DP3 rocks.... but that's far too limiting of photography subjects for *me*. DP3 makes the Fuji AF look like a Nikon D4 :)

Here is my work. Evaluate yourself. I own two of the three Merrill cameras. They beat most everything by a long shot. As niche as a Hasselblad.

Michael, I apologize if I offended you, but I don't see any personal attacks in my response to you. I am challenging your overall perspective on the Sigma cameras. I have nothing against "niche", quite the opposite. I own a RZ67 ProII and Fuji X Pro 1, neither of which are "jack of all trades cameras" by a long shot vs my D800. I use primarily specialized primes lenses, etc. The Sigma DPs though, they take niche to a whole other level. Certainly nothing wrong with that. I simply object to you not acknowledging this and more importantly, criticizing the Fuji X trans for something the Sigma DPs are 10x more "guilty" of. Viewing your work, it reflects a lot of compositing and post processing. Cool. I'd love to see the EXIF data on your images sometime. Is all of the work on your site shot with your DPs?

Most is with the Fuji x100. The Sigma is niche but very needed for my work. Not good for all. Image quality wise its beyond most cameras outside of MF. The xtrans is guilty of poor raw files in my opinion, not guilty of being niche. Again its good enough for some, and thats cool with me.

This has gone on too long if you ask me.

No worries. Enjoy your cameras. I'd love to own one of the DPs. Peace.

They are not that fun to use but the image quality will make you question a lot of other cameras. If you would like I can send you files of all three sigma dp merrill cameras.'re judging the x trans based on Adobe ACR (LR5). You're PC based, so Iridient Developer isn't available to you. If you're curious to see what the current state of raw conversion is for x trans, please try a trial of Capture 1 Pro 7. In regards to judging X trans via Adobe ACR, should I do the same for your Sigma Merrill raw files? As I looked into this, I see Adobe doesn't even support Sigma Merrill Foveon raw files AT ALL. I only have ONE choice in raw conversion if I buy the Sigma Merrill cameras...Sigma Photo Pro??? How does this limitation, slower AF than Fuji X, far slower write speeds, etc equate to greater "versatility" for you? As good as the foveon based Sigma DPs are, their handling is equally abysmal imo. If I were purely a "static subject", then the IQ benefits might outweigh the drawbacks. I'm not however.

I have used Capture 1 also. Im very familiar with the results. Again this may meet your standards but they didnt meet mine. Now that I shoot Sigma I can see a large difference in what I consider sharp files. SPP is fine and excels in black and white actually.

400% crops.. ?

Huh?!! Sure, Adobe ACR / LR still isn't very good with raw conversion, BUT Iridient Developer is stellar. Capture One Pro 7 and Aperture are quite good as well. As impressive as the jpegs are, raw still rules in my book.
From yours and others comments, it seems you're judging X trans based on the status quo of the initial x100. A LOT has changed and for the better!

this is like a bad ad for a camera... sexy girls, hipsters and big studio equipment... no way this makes me wanna get this camera!!!

David, mine will be in my hands by Friday!, where are the resulting pictures?

On the original article at ProPhoto's Blog. Via the link I provided...

Jeremy Hohertz's picture

A closer reading of (several) articles and comments by Arias and Hobby reveal a few things.

First, Arias does very little raw editing with any camera he uses, so the jpegs were fine for him (when he first posted his "Camera Walks Into a Bar" article). His follow-up article, "Life without DSLRs," indicates that he shoots both raw and jpeg now.

Similarly, Hobby does minimal editing and said that "the jpegs are good enough" the he hasn't been tempted to shoot raw. He didn't say they were better, but that they were good enough for his workflow.

Like to know why this photographer used the Plus II instead of Plus III for example (since they happen to be cheaper with more functions). And also wondering what brought this idea to be to use the x100s.

Maybe he had access to them? Maybe he owned them prior to Plus III? Maybe email him?

To me it looks, like that photographer wants to promote himself and misuses the shooting with a x100s to gain more attention. The whole video is more about showing him shooting than the shooting itself.

What I got out of this video is that the LUXO iMac is still fashionable (for a prop).

Guys, I tried PW plus iii on my x100s the other day but it did not fire. It was not the channel or mode problem. Could not think of any other reason. Do you guys have any idea why it did not work? Do I need to upgrade PW firmware or something?
Any thought would be appreciated!! ^^

Obvious question...did you have the cam set to use external flash?