The Fujifilm X100 as point and shooter on steroids (i.e., fast fixed lens and APS-C sized sensor), as street shooter, as minimialist retro plaything? Sure, it’s all those things. But nobody’s really describing it as a good landscape camera… and certainly not as a good camera for HDR shooting.
We’ve featured a number of HDR shots previously on 2 Guys Photo and I’ve commented that my favorite cameras for HDR shooting allow for simple three shot, plus and minus 2 EV, relatively high speed burst shooting. The Pentax K5 nails this. So too do most Nikon DSLRs. Canon’s S95 and G12 and the Panasonic LX5 point and shoot cameras get this right. Why then do so many other manufacturers get this wrong? Either they cap it at plus or minus 1 EV across three shots, which is often not enough to capture a broad enough range for HDR shooting, or they force you take five shots to get to 2 EV above and below standard. If you’re on a tripod, then five shots is no big deal, but if you’re handholding, which I most typically am, then five shots slows the whole process down and introduces more shake and subject movement problems.
The Fufifilm X100 fits into the former category. It gives you only plus/minus 1 EV. Why oh why when a very simple firmware update would fix this in a jiffy? It’s not as though HDR photography isn’t all the rage.
Nevertheless, I’ve been playing around with my X100, trying to see if I could gain enough detail in the shadows and highlights across plus/minus 1 EV to make HDR a go. The above shot was taken with three bracketed shots (at +/- 1 EV, of course) and then combined and tweaked in Nik’s HDR Efex Pro, my favorite HDR tool.
Read on to see what the original shots looked like, including the middle exposure image.
The first photo above was at no compensation and the second and third are less a stop and plus a stop respectively.
I had been hoping that the in-built dynamic range settings (100%, 200%, 400% or auto) would allow for expanded DR on the X100, but I’ve been unable to see a lot of difference between these settings. Here are three shots at each setting and I’m not seeing much difference, measured as a greater amount of detail in the darkest and lightest areas. If there are differences, they’re pretty slight. I contrast this to Nikon’s implementation which is much more effective.
I’m going to continue to play around with the X100 in these types of situations to see if it has what it takes to become my main photographic squeeze, a designation more driven by image quality and capabilities such as the one described here than the limitation of a fixed focal range. I’ll keep you in the loop.
Posted by Rey
(Editor’s update: wow, did the formatting of this post get tangled up. Thank you WordPress. Hopefully this looks better now…)