I was at Bali for a conference recently, and took the opportunity to put the Fujifilm X100s through it’s paces for the one thing i knew i could expect: great sunrises — the hotel i was staying at is on the east coast of the island.
On the first dawn i was there, i was pretty gung-ho and made sure i was up at 5am and ready to roll. It was pitch dark, and standing on the small pier by the sea gave me goosebumps — i thought that sea monters were going to kidnap me and the only thing they’d leave behind was my tripod!
The wind was blowing hard, and this led to quite a bit of camera vibration. I practically hugged the tripod while the shutter was open to keep it still.
The Fujifilm X100s (read my earlier review) performed quite well through it all. I used the bulb function to time the exposures; easy because a stopclock appears in the OVF and the LCD to tell you how much time has elapsed. A few quick experimentations with the timing and it was pretty clear how the sensor responded to the extremely low light and the amount of time the shutter was opened.
It was a bit disappointing to see that the floor ISO is set at ISO200 — i was hoping that it would drop to at least ISO100 (it can drop to this, but not when shooting RAW). With ISO100 i think a little bit more detail could have been squeezed out of the scenes.
I found the built-in ND filter quite useful. It allowed for shooting to continue even as the scene got brighter. But it’s a really minor cutting of the light, only by 2+ stops. To get really creamy textures and dramatic cloud effects, i’d probably need to install something like a Cokin filter system with hard grads and push it by at least 8 stops. Another experiment for another day.