X100 vs X100s Image Output, A preview
I’ve owned a Fujifilm X100s for about a month now; I got it just the day I flew to Boston to cover the SCAA trade show last month, and I’ve shot about 1500 frames with it so far. There’s a lot to love about this new camera, but there’s one thing I’m not sure on yet - whether I like the image quality (IQ) more on the X100s, than I did on the X100.
This article doesn’t mean squat without photos, and I apologise for this - I just don’t have the time to do the side by side photos yet, but I’ll try to find the time soon. But I’m putting this out there for two reasons: to see if my recollections of the Fuji X100’s “film grain” at high ISOs shooting black and white being so luscious, random and chaotic (but monochrome) is an accurate memory; and second, if other owners of the X100 and X100s have noted the latter’s less random grain / noise ability?
My memory of the X100’s digital noise at high ISOs with in-camera JPG rendering is that it was the closest thing to film grain I’ve seen from a digital camera — ever.
However, I don’t get this same impression from the X100s. It’s noise, both in colour and black and white high ISO images is still really good digital noise compared to most cameras I’ve used. But with that said, my impression is what the X100s produces definitely comes off more as digital noise and less like film grain. My problem is, I haven’t done a head to head comparison yet of what this digital noise is like from both cameras.
The X100 amazed me by it’s chaotic, random pattern of monochromatic noise in the dark areas of a high ISO photograph. It was so dramatically close to what I’d see from my scans of Kodak Tri-X film, or Kodak Professional 400 ISO black and white film pushed a stop or two.
The X100s on the other hand doesn’t remind me much of film grain; and on top of that, in certain lighting circumstances, I’ve seen some banding in the photos (though not in the sample below). I have one example to share with you - this is a 100% crop of an area of 3200 ISO dark area in a shot I let the camera render as a black and white jpg file.
I’ve also uploaded the full, unaltered image to Flickr.
The “grain” here in the out of focus and dark areas is splotchy but still seems quite “digital”. The plus here is, the grain is more minimal at ISO3200 than the grain from a X100 photo at the same ISO.
To compare, here’s a 100% crop sample from my X100 shots last year, showing the grain in a 3200ISO image with the camera processing all the RAW into a jpg:
Note the more random mottling in the noise from the sensor at high ISOs. But, like what I’ve seen from the X100s, there is also some subtle banding present. The full size image can be seen here on Flickr.
So what do you think? How is the X100s’ in camera rendering of digital noise at high ISOs compared to the X100?