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Focusing on the Fuji X100

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There is an interesting discussion in the main Flickr group for the Fuji X100 regarding the focus mechanism employed. Most commentators in the forum hope for a software fix for the focus ring as from what I can read, takes too long to manually focus. Aside from thinking it would be a good read, it’s also a shout out to anybody else who thinks the same and should contact Fuji over this issue in case a software fix can be applied. There’s no point just discussing it on the Flickr board after all. Especially if the issue rests on the software.

Another fairly good review for the Fuji X100. A personal review from Ian Wilkinson, a working photographer from Australia. Ian shot a wedding and described his experience using it. He hates the Silkypix software that comes with the Fuji X100 but didn’t mind the write speeds (must have had a fast card :-)) or surprisingly, the focusing mechanism. He has this to say about it:

I found the best way was to choose manual focus and use the AE/FL button to focus while in MF mode; that’s a very clever feature Fuji has given us there. Doing this the camera fires instantly.

On a side note, I really like his watermark and generally, I don’t like watermarks.

UPDATE: Ian Wilkinson, who I’ve linked to in the past when he has reviewed the Fuji X100, has posted a gallery of wedding photos here. He is certainly showing off what the camera can do in a work environment.

There is a discussion over on the largest Fuji X100 Flickr group about little tips to using your Fuji X100.

Another discussion, this time from the DPreview forums. It’s about the parallax focus shift in the Fuji X100. comments, that while the discussion is informative because it illustrates how a rangefinder like this works, it also shows the differences present within this camera compared to a P&S or a DSLR and people’s incorrect expectations of using it.

Are you annoyed by the Fuji NP-95 charger, a few X100 owners are, even reviewers have commented on the poor design. Here are a bunch of alternatives (US), here (US) and here (UK).

Ich habe auch einen Test der X100 auf gefunden. (German website that reviewed the X100. Check out the four way ISO comparison with the Fuji X100 against the Canon 500D, Canon Powershot S95, SONY NEX5 at 3200 ISO and 12,800 ISO). The Fuji X100 does really well, less noise and sharper overall.


Having trouble with the X100 ISO? This blog post by Patrick la Roque might help. He has a website you should check out, frequently trying to do something different with the X100. Original source, Robert Catto’s blog (also interesting).


One clever photographer is using his X100 with a Canon 430EX mk2. I’m not sure yet whether it can communicate directly with the flash or it’s entirely manual, most likely the later. Here is his Flick Stream with his latest fashion shoot. Various videos of the behind the scenes shoot are here (also shot with the Fuji X100).


Looking for more coverage on this camera than what you find on this site? is one place to go, I’ve mentioned it in the past but it’s worth another pimp since it’s more focused resource than my blog. Another is Brandon Remler’s blog, why? He’s the US Fuji representative. He’s quite upfront about things planned for this camera (the firmware updates), the marketing speak is non-existent, it’s his voice and he is using the camera for himself.

A followup article by Luminous Landscapes regarding the flaws present in Fuji’s camera of the moment. Luminous Landscapes received an email from a reader, he is largely negative about his shooting experience with the Fuji X100. It’s a continuation from Luminous landscapes previous review of the camera and the issues within the camera’s software.

Accompanying the email, and the discussion to hope Fuji is taking a knife to the software inside the camera (meaning, they will bring out a decent software update soon), there is also a short article about Moire and the AA filter.

On a similar note, here is a discussion about the accessories x100 forum users are purchasing. Plenty of suggestions for furthering your enjoyment of this camera.

Or will you just want the Special Edition X100 Camera case and straps designed by Luigi Crescenzil?

Another honest review from Heathcliff O’Malley can be found here as well. It doesn’t go into much detail but it does confirm what others are saying about the camera; great ISO abilities, good viewfinder, slow buffer (but as I posted a few days earlier, it depends on the card), fiddly controls. Otherwise its still good to get general impressions from other photographers.

What Digital Camera have published their review for the Fuji X100. One of those review spread out over multiple pages. The last page just lists the specs so save yourself the time if you already know. They are not so down on Silkypix and What Digital Camera didn’t mind the weight of the camera either.

review by a DPreview member ‘tashley’, lots of nice big images.

Want to pay more than retail price for your Fuji X100 because you can’t wait? Click here. :-)

Photographer Craig Arnold has posted his personal thoughts on his Fuji X100, it’s in four parts:

User ‘Pinphot’ from the forums has made some really great observations about the Fuji X100 and has been in contact with Fuji, so there is hope the eventual firmware update will address those issues he stated.

If you have specific issues regarding the FujiX100 there is a dedicated email address for this camera.

Now the fun stuff, the FujiX100 with adapter has a 49mm screw thread. So if you want to shoot at 24mm with this retro joy, then buy this. It’s a Raynox wide angle conversion lens.

Have you read the FujiX100 manual? Pengtoh did, there are interesting little tidbits in there he has read for us.

This is a great personal review I found over at Photo Rumors. It doesn’t cover all the things we’ve already read 10 times over either. It focuses on the important little details that matter to us. Details like the OVF framelines and manual focusing. ‘Dan’ the reviewer goes as far to say two things:

“In the world of single lens premium compact digital cameras, this is the best there is.”


“…after-market prices have now risen to twice official price and at this level many people will balk.  Look at it this way: yes, you could buy a second hand Leica X1 for 25% less but the X100 is far superior a package and for the time being at least, far more exclusive.”


Not from the Flickr pool of Street Life photographs, but an image that is doing the rounds on Dpreview. I’d suggest checking out the largest image offered. Seems to be the sharpest image shot at f2 with the Fuji X100.

Test of Fujiflim X100 - Full open

Shot by VOFAN.

Largest version can be found here.

VOFAN’s Flickr stream.

Sigurd Kranendonk of XtraFolio Interviewed

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The fifth in a series of interview with various Photographers and iOS Developers. All of them develop portfolio Apps for Apple’s iPad. This interview is with Sigurd Kranendonk a professional photographer from the Netherlands talking about his app, XtraFolio.

XtraFolio and XtraFolio Lite can be found at any of the links below:

Website, iTunes, Twitter.

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Written by jonathanjk

February 15, 2011 at 17:59

Paul Freeman of FolioBook interviewed

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The second in the series of interviews with various Photographers and iOS Developers.  All of them develop portfolio Apps for Apple’s iPad.  This interview is with UK photographer/developer Paul Freeman of FolioBook.

PDF version can be found here: FolioBook Interview

Paul Freeman is a photographer and designer who started his career as a research scientist in Hewlett-Packard’s artificial intelligence research laboratory.  He has been involved in hypermedia since the late 1980’s.  A professional advertising and architectural photographer since 2003, his latest personal work is Space Lands ( His architectural work is featured at

FolioBook can be found at any of the links below. A PDF version of this interview can be found here: FolioBook.

Website, iTunes, Twitter, Facebook,


So with our first question what gave you the inspiration to write FolioBook?

I’ve been involved in both content creation and hypermedia for twenty years or so, when the iPad emerged I saw it as a way of doing some exciting new things with photography and hypermedia. A large part of it is the desire to do something really interesting with pictures on one of the coolest computers created so far.

And are you also a photographer yourself?

Yes, I’ve been some kind of a photographer since my dad introduced me to developing black and white at the age of 8, and a professional for the last few years.

Is this your first App for iOS?

No, there are a couple of others that I worked on as prototypes but decided not to release.

How easy was it to code in order to create FolioBook?  How long did it take to get FolioBook to Version 1?

In a sense it took me 20 years as I’m applying techniques and knowledge to the app that I started developing as long ago as 1989 when I first started thinking about electronic publishing. It took me about six months to learn enough about the iOS platform to attempt it. Apparently a nine year old can write apps, so its as easy as the app someone wants to create. I’m really a designer not a coder. When I say ‘designer’ I mean the internal design as well as the visual appearance. I’m more like the architect who builds the house than a bricklayer, but I can make a reasonable job of laying bricks when I have to.

You state it took you 6 months to learn enough about the iOS platform to eventually start coding for it. Is that something anybody could do or did your previous career as a scientist help you?

Let me break this down a bit. Any competent programmer can learn the basic structure of an iOS app in a couple of hours. In fact XCode can generate an ‘app’ for you in about 10 seconds, but it doesn’t do anything interesting. The thing that takes the time is understanding how to use the Apple libraries to achieve what you want to.  It took me 6 months to develop a certain kind of ‘skill’ which I needed to do what I wanted to do. I could have built a fart app in a day.

However you ask ‘is this something anyone can do’ and the answer to this is that no, not every one can do it. Good programmers tend to be born not made.  Anyone can learn the basics but not everyone can stick with it to become good at it.   Anyone can create some kind of drawing, but only Michaelangelo can create one of his drawings. Software is more like art in that technical respect than people generally realise.  In this respect it’s very different to plumbing or bricklaying.

Branded Home Screen

Do you write any other Apps for iOS?

No, one is enough for now, I want to leave enough time to shoot more work as well as gaze at a computer screen.

Will you write other Apps for iOS devices? More importantly, photography related ones?

Maybe. But for the immediate future Foliobook will remain the focus, though there may be spin-offs that are closely related to it.

FolioBook is a relatively new App in the App Store. Arriving after the release of 4.2. Did coding for iOS 4.2 make much of a difference compared to iOS 3.2?  7a. What made a difference in iOS 4.2?

No, not a lot of difference except that Apple has added a few nice additions to their API which makes it possible to do more interesting things with the media. Also some of the bugs in iOS 3.2 were removed, so that helped a bit.

How long did it take to write FolioBook?

I didn’t count. Lets just say I haven’t slept much since May 2010.

Where do you want to take FolioBook with future updates, where do you see yourself in a years time?

I like to keep the plans for Foliobook fairly close to my chest, what I can say is that the current version is only about 10% of the vision I have for the product.

Slideshow Options

Quite a vision, you believe you have ample opportunity to take FolioBook beyond replicating the behaviour of a printed portfolio then?

Yes indeed.  You only have to look around the app store, eg: at something like ‘The Elements’ to see the potential.  The next release of Foliobook will include a video capability that we think is going to be ground breaking, at least in terms of  portfolio type apps.  I won’t say too much because I don’t particularly want to help competitors, but clearly an app like this has to handle many types of content not just still images. Some competing apps have given lip service to multimedia but have failed to make navigating it a pleasant experience. This will be the next step for us.

What do you as a Developer want to see in the next iPad, either to aid your Apps or just for your own pleasure?

More memory! Its quite ludicrous that there is about half the RAM on the iPad as the current iPhone 4, and that when my app starts its lucky to get 25Mb to start up in. For my own pleasure I’d like to see the device lighter in weight, with a warmer rear surface so that I can comfortably read an electronic book in bed.

This question is in two parts: Considering how new your FolioBook is, I’ve already seen FolioBook vs PadPort in discussions and Google search results. You have a competitor with a similar feature set. How do you see yourself differentiating from your competitor/competition?

It’s interesting you mention PadPort because I only became aware of their website shortly after launching Foliobook in August 2010.  I don’t consider them a serious competitor at this point as their feature set and usability is behind either Foliobook or Portfolio for iPad. Their intent seemed similar to ours, but when I came across them they had no software only an idea and a nice website/logo. It seemed to take them a long time to get to market, so I wondered if their aspirations rather outstrip their ability. I’m quite disappointed with their current release as it is buggy and doesn’t support portrait orientation.

I should point out that while Padport seems to have converged independently on a similar-ish interface idea that there is at least one other app which seems to plagiarise the basic presentation of Foliobook. While imitation is a sincere form of flattery, such developers should expect to face very robust competition.

Foliobook by the way was the second app in the market after FlexFolios and was the first app that tried to put the images first. Of the competing apps I see, Portfolio for iPad is a serious contender at the moment. The developer of that app has focused on getting the nuts and bolts right.  There is a general misapprehension that software is all about having a really unique idea, but an idea isn’t much use if the execution of it is poor. So far none of the portfolio apps are what I would consider ‘great’ and this is much to do with the details as the basic idea. My focus is on making Foliobook ‘great’ but that will take a little more time.

Slideshow View

But also, How do you see this market developing as we go forward? How do you see yourself differentiating from the competition in the future when there will be more competitors?  One reaction is to drop the price in order to compete and/or develop for another platform.  Are you concerned about the ‘race to the bottom’ and copycat apps affecting this class of applications? What do you think?

The differentiation will not be by cutting prices but by increasing value. Good apps will become more expensive, there won’t be hundreds of them because they require more investment than ‘joke’ apps like you find on an iPhone. Once an app is good enough it can charge double or treble what Foliobook costs today. To reprhase… how is it that people buy Apple laptops for twice the price of generic laptops running Windows?  Clearly price isn’t the right variable to focus on.

Are you a one man operation or is this a group effort?

It’s a group effort. When possible I spin off chunks of work to collaborators, but I have to stay in control so this is done fairly carefully.  I involve other developers when necessary and also a graphic designer as well as a usability consultant. In addition we have a couple of business angels beating on the door offering investment funds which we may need in future. And of course I have a cadre of top photographers who act as a focus group.

Where are you based and where have you seen the greatest uptake of FolioBook at the moment?

I’m based in the UK, the US is the biggest market. There are more iPads there than anywhere else, ‘Simples’!

I found the built in Photo Application lacking anything for a Pro Photographer, others will feel it’s good enough. Were you concerned of your App’s uptake by other Photographers before committing yourself to creating FolioBook?

No. Originally I developed it for myself as I wanted a way to show off work. Actually I developed a couple of different demo apps, showed them to some top advertising photographers over a coffee and they wouldn’t let me leave without promising to turn Foliobook into a product.  Some of the ideas in the other demo apps will be added to later versions of Foliobook.

Can you explain anything about the creation process behind your app? Did you involve other photographers or even editors to ask what they would want in a digital portfolio that attempts to replicate the printed portfolio and its presentation?

Already answered in part. However as a professional photographer trying to raise my profile I have a lot of experience with showing my work to agents, art buyers etc. So I know first hand about what is needed.


How do you see FolioBook existing alongside a printed portfolio?

I know some very highly paid photographers who have not sent a printed portfolio out for two years. For established people, often a web-link is all thats needed. Theres no rule. For some people there will be no point in spending £2000 on a pair of books bound by a craftsperson in Clerkenwell, it won’t get them the job.  Obviously it depends on to whom and in what context you are showing the work. In some cases you will be laughed out of the room if you don’t show a print portfolio, in other cases it just gets in the way and costs a lot of money. Also, increasingly the sort of people who need those expensive printed books will have to include motion in their portfolios, and until they figure out how to print a movie onto Photo Rag, the iPad will be the best option.

And just wrapping up, anyone notable who is using FolioBook?

Some top photographers using it include Michael Prince, Julian Calverley, and Brian Smith, though there are quite a few others of note who I haven’t asked for permission to mention their names. When the motion capability is added I think there will be some pretty interesting people who start to use it. The Foliobook Hall of Fame is a good place to see some of the fantastic work people are showing with the app.

FolioBook at the time of writing is priced at £4.99 and $7.99 on the Apple App Store.

A review written in conjunction with this interview can be found here.



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