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Review Fuji TCL X100 Teleconverter

My X100S and the TCL X100 (yes I made the little Fuji look crummy on purpose!)

I own a Fuji X100S and formerly owned their X100. For my commercial work it is a remarkable tool for the right situation. I use the X100S for personal use since it has so many features I enjoy. I normally don’t write reviews until I’ve had whatever I’m reviewing for a few months, but in this case I’m making an exception. I ordered and purchased my TCL-100 off Amazon through a third party retailer at the street price of 349.00. I had seen retailers from Japan selling the unit prior to its release, but was not willing to pay what they were asking. Although my X100S is silver I really didn’t care that the lens for sale was black. I’ve purposely made my little Fuji look crummy with gaff and grip tape. My clients laugh whenever I bring it out on a commercial shoot. They call it “Mark’s little beat up instamatic,” but after seeing the results never complain about its use for their work.

I enjoy the simplicity of having a fixed lens camera, but found that my primary use for the X100S was for portraiture, both in personal and commercial work. When Fuji announced their TCL-100 which expanded the native 23mm (35mm equivalent) lens to a 50mm equivalent I was excited. Waist  portraits would then have the compression I desired 3/4 portrait work.

My initial concern was if the quality of the teleconverter would match the quality of the fixed 23mm lens. I can say without hesitation that the color depth, clarity and sharpness of the TCL-100 matches the native lens on the X100S even at f2.0. Keep in mind that I am NOT a pixel peeper, but having said that any camera I use for commercial work MUST be sharp, offer excellent dynamic range, be free of poor CA artifacts and sharp at all apertures. I have used the teleconverter in four commercial shoots and about 20 personal portrait sessions since owning it on June 6, 2014. Combining the X100S’ leaf shutter with a 3/4 portrait focal length and a small hand held flash even through a modifier is amazing.

When using the OVF the TCL-100 does intrude on the viewfinder more so than the fixed 23mm lens, but not overly so. Obviously using the EVF presents no such problem. I found that I have left the TCL-100 on the camera and when I need a wider view, I simply unscrew the converter and viola, I have a wider view camera.

Because the front element is very close to the edge of the lens bezel I opted to purchase a 67mm UV filter to protect the lens. I normally just use a lens hood, but in this case I did not want to extend the front of the lens any more than its native length. The small soft case that comes with the converter is OK, but since I like to place the TCL-100 in a jacket or pant pocket when not in use I searched for a case a little more robust.

I had purchased a sensor loupe from Amazon called the Carson SensorMag LED Lighted Cleaning Loupe. The loupe comes with a semi rigid carrying case which is a PERFECT fit for the TCL-100 even with a UV filter attached. So it’s what I use to keep the teleconverter in my pocket when not in use.

Things I would like to have? I hope that at some point Fuji allows users to select the Tele/Wide/Off menu selection in their Q menus. Although it’s not a huge deal going into the menu to number 3 tab and then selecting the lens choice, it would be easier to have it available in the Q menu system.

Also since the TCL-100 is a teleconverter, no EXIF data exists to alert Adobe Lightroom of the lens correction data which defaults to 23mm. I’m hoping that they can take the Lens selection information we change in the Fuji menu and use that selection to corrects aberrations in the program.
Other than those two little niggles, I highly recommend the TCL-100 for anyone who wants 15mm more reach or loves taking 3/4 portraits with the X100 or S models.

As I mentioned above the Carson SensorMag LED Lighted Cleaning Loupe for Camera Sensor, 4.5x30mm, Black (SM-44) is a perfect fit to hold the TCL X100 in a much more protective case than what comes with the TCL X100. And the sensor loop is wonderful. Photo: Amazon
The first thing to do is to remove the X100S’ outer lens ring. The one in this photo is not the OEM version since I had changed mine to accept a lens hood.
After removing the lens ring, you simply carefully screw on the TCL X100. It’s that simple!
You MUST download and install Fuji’s firmware update v1.2 to use the teleconverter correctly to adjust for the change in lens perspective and OVF framing. The firmware can be downloaded here:
Fuji X100S with TCL-X100 teleconverter attached. Light source is a single Westcott IceLight with a tungsten gel and barn doors attached.
Fuji X100S with TCL-X100 teleconverter attached.
Fuji X100S with TCL-X100 teleconverter attached. WestCott IceLight with tungsten gel and barn doors

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Excellent writeup, Mark. I sold my EOS gear last summer and switched to a Fuji XE-1. Kinda ironic we’re using similar gear. BTW, I’ve been following your photos and loe your work.

Excellent and thorough article thank you.
Do you use fuji for any of your performance or dance shoots ?
Your work is superlative

Thanks for the heads up on the cleaning loupe case! I’d been searching for a better case for the TCL X100 for about a week now with no luck.