Every year I select a camera that I think merits special mention. I’ve awarded the Camera of the Year to all types and brands. It’s always controversial. No matter which camera I choose, I’ll anger someone. But that hasn’t ever stopped me in the past and it won’t stop me this year either. And this will be my last year performing this task. It will fall to Rich and his team next year. But for now, it’s still my turn. As you read through the post, remember this is just my opinion. It doesn’t mean that if you own a different camera you are wrong. It just means I like this one best.
The criteria is simple. The camera must be released and produced for sale for the first time in the calendar year 2013.
This is year five of this tradition.
In 2012 I selected the Canon 5D MK III – https://photofocus.com/2012/10/31/photofocus-camera-of-the-year-2012/
In 2011 I selected the Olympus EP-3 – https://photofocus.com/2011/11/26/photofocus-2011-camera-of-the-year/
In 2010 I selected the Nikon D7000 – https://photofocus.com/2010/11/24/2010-camera-of-the-year/
In 2009 I selected several cameras including the Canon EOS 7D, the Canon 1D MK IV, the Nikon D3s, and the Canon G11 – https://photofocus.com/2009/12/31/cameras-of-the-year-2009/
This year the Fuji X100S turned a bunch of heads. And I think it was well deserved. I have used the Fuji X100S on professional jobs as wide ranging as a car shoot and a portrait shoot. It’s been a while since I had so much fun with a camera. And for that reason alone, I select the Fujifilm X100S as the Photofocus 2013 Camera of the year.
I stand by everything I wrote then but have more experience from which to draw now so I’ll just hit a few of the highlights.
In no particular order:
1. An extraordinarily sharp and fast fixed 23mm (35 EFL) lens
2. The best JPG quality I’ve ever seen from any digital camera – right out of the box
3. Excellent hybrid EVF and optical viewfinder
4. Some of the best manual focusing options available in any digital camera
5. Built-in ND filter actually works
6. Great low-light performance
7. Last but not least, just the right number of pixels, and the right size sensor combined with some special sauce to produce amazing image quality
Are there other cameras with some of the above? Absolutely. Could the X100S be less expensive? I wish it could. Did Fuji fix the problems that bothered early adopters who bought the X100? Again absolutely. So no wonder it has been popular.
In my opinion, the X100S has everything you need IF (and this is a big if) you can live with the fixed focal length lens. It’s a quirky camera to be sure, but the more you use it the more you come to love and even count on the quirks. If I were to be stranded with only one camera available to me, I’d have no problem picking the Fuji X100S. It’s not perfect – no camera is. But it’s close.
There was one other camera that came close this year and it, like the X100S is controversial. The new Nikon Df wins high marks for being what the D800 should have been. If it were $300-500 less expensive, it would be an even stronger contender. It has buttons and dials that us old guys love, with amazing image quality and a sensor size and pixel density that makes sense. It’s odd to be sure, but that’s why I like it. I guess this is the year of quirky cameras.
As always these are just my personal opinions. Your mileage may vary.