I’ve always been a bit blinkered when it comes to digital cameras and never looked at anything other than Canon. I’ve got a lot of money invested in the Canon camera brand including S90, G10, 5D Mark ii, 5D Mark iii, 7D and a whole host of L-series lenses. Last year I came across a brand new Fuji X10 at a price I just couldn’t refuse and I was starting to get the ‘new camera’ itch so rather than the latest G-series Canon or the EOS-M for my travels I bought a Fuji X10 and fell in love with it, especially in it’s Toma half leather case. The X10 accompanied me on all my holidays and trips for the year and it was a welcome relief to leave the bulky SLRs and camera cases at home for a change. However, something was lacking, I loved the X10 but I kept finding myself thinking “I miss the bokeh from a bigger sensor” or “I wish I had my 5D3 with me right now” and I was also finding it a little slow to focus when jumping from an SLR to the X10 so this is where the X100S came in…
I booked a trip to New York and Bermuda and when it came to sorting out what I was taking the inevitable camera choice dilemma came up. The X10 would be good but I know I’d kick myself for some shots if I only had the X10 and nothing better so I took the plunge and spent £1000 on the new Fuji X100S and decided that was the only camera I was going to take with me. APS-C size sensor, great high iso performance, full manual control, superb F2.0 23mm lens and super fast focus, that had all the boxes ticked apart from zoom. I have a few prime L-series Canon lenses so I’m not adverse to primes but I tend to live in my Canon 24-70 so going to a prime 23mm (36.8mm Full Frame equivalent) and nothing else would be a challenge.
I’ll post a more detailed review of the Fuji X100S in a few weeks, for now let’s concentrate on the half leather case. The X100S feels great in the hand and it feels like it’s built like a tank but I still wanted to get something to protect key areas from scuffing and damage when out and about. I ruled out all bridge camera bags straight away, the X100S needs to be carried by your side at all times in a read-to-shoot state, if it lived in a clumsy case that you had to remove it from you’d miss some of those opportunistic shots.
I had my heart set on a Gariz case but sadly I couldn’t find anybody that had one in stock and could ship it in time for my holiday. I thought I’d compromise on a Toma half leather case which was half the price and I’m pleased to say this was in no way a compromise and I’m very happy with the Toma half leather case.
I opted for brown leather to match the brown Gordy strap that I’d also bought for the X100S. You’ll see in the photos there are a few other extras on my X100S now, Gordy neck strap, soft touch shutter release, filter ring, clear filter and shade (and there’s a thumbs up style thing too but not in these shots). My next post will just be a quick review and photos of all these extra little bits and how they complement the camera and links to where I bought them.
The Toma case is secured to the camera via the tripod thread/screw and it’s damn secure. You really haven’t got to worry about it coming off once it’s screwed on. The screw has a little half C ring that flips out to help screw it in and this can double as a strap mount if you wanted to have it loose and black-rapid style. It also has a tripod thread built in so you can still mount the camera on a tripod or gorilla-pod without having to remove the case first which some people, myself included, will find useful.
As you can see from the photo above it also includes a huge cutout to allow easy access to the battery and memory card compartment. Again this means you have no reason at all to remove the case as you can change batteries and SD cards just as easily as you could without the case.
With the case fitted, all the rear camera controls are still fully accessible and the case comes nowhere near any of them so you won’t be struggling with finger space around the controls.
On the front you will notice a nice big raised grip area which is nicely padded. This is my favourite part of the half case, that coupled with a thumb grip in the hotshoe port (see review later) really make the X100S easy to hold one handed. It wasn’t hard to hold before the case was fitted but for my size hands it’s more comfortable with the extra grip on the front. The only thing I could criticise is how close the leather case comes to the manual aperture control ring. It made it a little more difficult to feel for the aperture ring bit but after a few days use the leather settled backwards a bit, towards the camera body, which made it easier.
The leather wraps all the way around the side but gives enough clearance around the strap connector to not cause any issues and leaves enough room for the rubber o-rings that come with the Gordy strap (see last photo)
You can see from the top down view that very little extra bulk is added. The most significant bulge is just in front of the shutter button where the padded grip is located.
Here’s a quick shot of the Toma half leather case coupled with a brown Gordy neck strap with green cord.