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My Favorite Camera of 2013: The Fujifilm X100S

My favorite camera of the year isn’t the best camera of the year - there’s no such thing as ‘best’ really (best for whom? best for what?). Being a favorite isn’t even about the ‘best’, it’s about what feels right.

And boy, does the Fujifilm X100S feel right. It’s not a logical choice; the camera has limitations and you sometimes have to wrestle with it to get it to do what you want. But I suppose that’s what falling in love means, you fall right in for someone, imperfections and all, without seemingly much of a say in it.

For me, the X100S delivers a double punch with its brilliant 35mm f/2 lens and rich images. Bokeh wide open at f/2 is dreamy, and thanks to the lack of an optical low-pass filter the X100S’ pictures are full of bite. Autofocus accuracy is still Fujifilm’s Achilles’ heel, but the X100S helps you work around that with focus peaking.

The X100S isn’t a versatile camera, if I’m working I bank on a DSLR, if I want an ‘almost everything’ camera I’d carry a mirrorless like the Panasonic GX7 or Olympus E-P5. But the X100S is a ‘one thing great’ camera, and its compact size makes it a romantic travel companion when you’re halfway sure that a single prime is all you’ll need.

As resident camera reviewer for HWZ, lots of cameras pass through my desk, some of them bad, many of them good. It turns out that sometimes, the things (or people) you love the most aren’t the ones which are close to perfect, but the ones which come with their own quirks. Perhaps when their strengths outweigh their quirks, it becomes what people call ‘character’. For what it’s worth, the Fujifilm X100S has plenty of character.

Alvin Soon / Associate Features Editor

I like coffee and cameras, but not together.

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