camcorders

Fujifilm FinePix X100 Video Performance Review

Despite its numerous flaws, the Fujifilm FinePix X100 delivered impressive video performance in our testing.

July 01, 2011
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Introduction

The FujiFilm FinePix X100 is one of the most exciting cameras to come along in a while, but, unfortunately, this excitement doesn't carry over into the video realm. The camera does not offer an interchangeable lens system, which makes it less appealing for those looking for more versatility when recording video, and it also lacks a good set of manual controls in video mode.

Color & Noise

Colors looked great on our bright light video test with the FujiFilm X100, as the camera earned a color error just under 3.0 (2.96) and a saturation level of 108%. These numbers are a good deal better than the competition, and they’re even better than the color error numbers most high-end camcorders earn in this test. See our full color performance review, including color swatches and crops.

The Fuji X100 averaged less than 0.3% noise in our bright light testing, which is a strong score for the camera. It is nearly identical to the very low noise levels we measured on the Panasonic GF2, and it is slightly lower than the noise measurements we got from the new Olympus E-P3. Most cameras do extremely well in this test, though, so don’t go all crazy about the X100’s fine performance here. See our full noise performance review, including crops and comparative analysis.

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Motion & Sharpness

The Fuji X100 cannot record Full HD video and it only makes use of one frame rate: 720/24p. Luckily, this single record mode produced fairly good results in our motion tests. Moving images looked smooth, although there was some blur and trailing, and the 24p frame rate produced a decent film-like aesthetic. We noticed some fuzzy pixelation around the edges of certain subjects in our motion test, though, and the camera did suffer from a rolling shutter effect (wobble) when we panned back and forth rapidly. See our full motion performance review, including video clips.

Being a camera that only records 720p HD video, the X100’s so-so results in our video sharpness test shouldn’t be all that surprising. The camera managed a horizontal sharpness of 650 lw/ph and a vertical sharpness of 550 lw/ph. While these numbers are definitely lower than the elite class of consumer HD camcorders, the X100 was able to hold its own against most of the video-capable DSLRs we compared it to. It managed a much higher sharpness score than the Panasonic GF2, nearly the same as the Olympus E-P3 (which records Full HD), and a bit lower score than the Sony NEX-5 (also records Full HD). Read our full sharpness performance review.

Low Light

With its fast f/2 lens, the Fuji X100 was able to churn out quality videos in our low light testing. The camera required just 8 lux of light to record an image that could pass the minimum illumination standards of broadcast television (50 IRE). This is a much better result than what the Olympus E-P3 showed us recently, although the Panasonic GF2 and Sony NEX-5 also did well in this test. Read our full low light sensitivity performance review.

The X100 didn’t have the kind of color accuracy in low light that we hoped to see from the camera, especially after its solid showing in our bright light test. The camera managed a 4.77 color error with a 115.7% saturation level. In this test, the X100 again suffered from its lack of a custom white balance option in video mode. It is highly likely that the addition of a custom white balance option in video mode would have given the X100 a slight boost in this test. Instead, we had to try a variety of white balance settings before we found the auto white balance actually worked best in low light. We then used that setting for our color accuracy testing. See our full low light color performance review, including comparative images and analysis.

When we tested the X100 in low light, we expected to see a significant rise in noise levels because that’s what we usually see from cameras and camcorders. The X100 is a different breed, however, as its noise levels barely increased at all in low light. They went up to 0.34% from a low of 0.28% in bright light. This is a heck of a performance for the little camera, and it is something we rarely see—although the Panasonic GF2 showed the same trend. See our full low light noise performance review, including crops and comparative images.

Conclusion

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Despite its numerous flaws, the Fuji FinePix X100 delivered impressive video performance in our testing. The camera's fast lens proved to work well in low light, and noise levels were kept to a minimum at all times. The fact that the camera does not have an interchangeable lens system is a big downer, however, as that is the most prominent benefit of using a DSLR-like camera instead of a camcorder to record video.

The set of manual controls in video mode on the X100 was also disappointing. Yes, you can adjust aperture using the manual ring on the camera's lens, but all other controls (save for exposure compensation) are non-existent in video mode. The camera also has a single video record mode that tops out at a 1280 x 720 resolution and a 24p frame rate. A few more features or controls in video mode, and we may be praising the X100 a bit more. For now, though, the camera has too many quirks to be considered a solid choice for recording video.

To read our full conclusions for the Fujifilm FinePix X100 including analysis of the camera's video handling and audio options, plus see sample videos and photos, visit the full review at DigitalCameraInfo.com.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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