Monday, September 20, 2010

The almost-a-digital-rangefinder is here

I haven't been this excited about a digital compact camera since the Sigma DP1 launch. This time it is Fujifilm's turn. Only a few days ago did we hear the news about their new GF670W medium-format camera, and now their latest announcement is here: the FinePix X100. This is a 12.3 megapixel camera with an APS-C size CMOS sensor and all that. Forget all that. The really interesting thing is the viewfinder technology: this new baby sports a hybrid viewfinder that combines the brightline optical viewfinder used in many film cameras of the past and digital rangefinder cameras (such as my Leica M8) — and an electronic viewfinder used in most compact digitals!

Okay, most compact digitals only have the LCD on the back and lack a proper viewfinder altogether, but some good ones probably have electronic viewfinders. Think about the not-quite-so-compact Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and its viewfinder. That's what I mean. Trust me, this hybrid thing is big news.

According to Fujifilm's marketing material, both the optical and electronic viewfinder in their hybrid system should be of high quality, and you should be able to switch between the views without much effort. If it works anywhere near as well as advertised, this will be great. Kudos, Fujifilm!

I have waited for this to happen for a long time, and soon it may very well be a reality. This camera is basically a digital rangefinder camera without the actual rangefinder focusing.

The FinePix X100 should be available from early 2011.

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