The Fujifilm X100 was a real game changer in my photography. I was in need of something small, light and above all else, great in low light. But I got more than I bargained for and the X100 took me on a journey and made me realize the direction I really wanted to go. I still have my original X100, but after including many other X cameras to my kit, I’ve recently came full circle and rekindled my love of the X100 with the addition of an X100S. Although I have five X series cameras and many lenses, I have had an urge lately to carry less….much less. So I’ve limited my personal photography to the X100S (although not exclusively). But although I love the 35mm field of view (full frame wise), Sometimes I can be restricted in zooming with my feet and then have to take another body and lens(s).
Thankfully Fuji have answered the prayers of X100 shooters with the introduction of two great converter lenses. The WCL-X100 (wide angle version) came first, and then more recently the TCL-X100 (telephoto version). Both are built to the same high quality as the X100 and feel so good in use. They attach to the original fixed 35mm lens by screwing on to the (external) filter thread. If like me, you have the Fuji lens hood attached, you must remove both the hood and the adaptor before attaching each of the converter lenses.
The WCL-X100 takes the 35mm field of view down to 28mm. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but it can make all the difference in a lot of circumstances. I know there’s a lot of street photographers that prefer a 28mm field of view to a 35mm and for cityscapes or landscapes this is just the ticket. The WCL is the smaller of the two and as slim as the X100′s fixed lens. It also accepts the original Fuji lens hood (without the need for the adapter ring. The WCL looks 100% like it’s part of the camera and although extends the length and weight, the camera still feels pretty well balanced and small.
Even Leica Man couldn’t take his eyes off the X100S with the WCL-X100
The TCL-X100 takes the X100/100S up to a 50mm and into the zone of portraits without distortion. Although it still looks like it’s part of the camera, rather than a screw on converter, the size and weight ads quite a bit and makes the camera quite a bit more front heavy. But because of it’s funnel shape and larger front end, it is really comfortable to hold both when shooting and holding. Sadly the TCL doesn’t have a built in lens hood mount and the original lens hood would be much too small anyway. But it would have been great if Fuji had added a mount and included a larger version of the X100 hood. This request is not just for looks or even to prevent lens flare, but to protect the front element from scratches. The front of the TCL is large (68mm filter) and the front element is so close to the surface, that a UV filter is a must, even for a shooter like me that has no filters on any lenses and don’t want any either. But after shooting for a day or two with the TCL, I bit the bullet and added a filter, even though this was a review copy sent to me by Fuji.
So from what you’ve read above, it looks like the WCL has no flaws, but the TCL has a few. But if I can only have one of these it would be the TCL. Some people saw the fixed 35mm lens on the X100 as a downside. I thought it was great to not have to think about focal length and just shoot. In a way these new converter lenses kill that idea slightly, but that is a small price to pay in exchange for opening up the capabilities of the X100/100S and I’m excited about that. After having the original X100 for a few months, I fantisized that Fuji would bring out a 50mm or 85mm version of the camera, which would be a perfect combination of a fixed 35mm on one shoulder and a 50mm or 85mm on the other. Fuji has done even better with giving us an option, even if we only own one camera.
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When I bought the X100S, I was a bit sad that my X100 would become redundant and stay in the box until my kids are old enough to use it. But I now have a reason to use my original X100 with the X100S and have a different focal length on each. My Fuji wish list now includes an 85mm conversion lens, but I’m not sure if that would even be possible? But I’m glad to see that the X100 and X100S not only live on, but have a new lease of life. Although these units are for review purposes, I’ve already made my mind up that I will be adding the WCL-X100 and the TCL-X100 to my Fuji arsenal as soon as possible. For the last few weeks I’ve been carrying my X100S and these two converters in the small but perfectly formed Rob The Traveller bag by Millican (read my review here). It’s really easy on the shoulder and well worth checking out if you’re planning a bit of travel photography.