Checking Out the Wide-Angle Conversion Lens for the Fujifilm FinePix X100 Camera

Back in May, Fujifilm announced a new accessory lens for its high-end compact camera, the FinePix X100. The WCL-X100 is a an attachment that screws on to the lens of the X100 camera, and converts the focal length of that fixed lens from its original 35mm to a considerably wider 28mm. Here is a link to that announcement at the Fujfilm site. Through that link, you also can get access to the firmware upgrade that is required in order to use the lens properly, and to the instruction manual addendum that explains its use.

A few days ago I got a chance to try out the new add-on lens with my X100 to see how it works and what kinds of results it produces.  First, I installed the upgrade to version 1.30 of the firmware for the X100 camera. To install that upgrade, you need to download a file called FPUPDATE.DAT to your computer and copy it to the root directory of an SD card.  You then need to insert that SD card into the X100 and turn on the camera while holding down the DISPLAY/BACK button.  The camera will then prompt you to complete the upgrade process.  Make sure the camera has a fully-charged battery before starting the upgrade process, and do not interrupt the upgrade while it is in progress; it takes about 90 seconds to complete.

This firmware upgrade adds a new item, Wide Conversion Lens, as the last item on the camera’s Shooting menu. You just need to navigate to that menu item and select On for its setting.

To install the conversion lens itself, you first need to unscrew the front ring from the lens of the X100.  To do this, just grasp it with your fingers and turn it firmly counter-clockwise until it comes off.  Then remove the rear lens cap from the conversion lens and screw it on to the X100’s lens in place of the front ring that you just removed.

The conversion lens is a beautifully made, very attractive piece of equipment that blends in nicely with the appearance of the camera.  It feels very solid, and seems like a natural part of the camera once it is attached.

To use the lens, with the new menu item activated, you probably should use the LCD or the electronic viewfinder to compose your shots, because the optical viewfinder provides only about an 80% view of the scene before the camera when the wide conversion lens is in use.

That is about all of the information you need.  Check out the slideshow of images below to see how the WCL-X100 conversion lens attaches to the camera.  I’ve also included a  pair of images of a small lake and fountain to show the difference between the fields of view of the camera with and without the conversion lens.

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