An Erratic Tale - the effects on the X100 of the sticky blades syndrome.

As I wait on Fujifilm Canada for a waybill to send in my X100, I thought I’d show you guys the effects of the now infamous sticky blades syndrome. This is a hardware defect that causes the aperture blades to stick, essentially not closing down to the correct value. The results? Wildly chaotic exposures baby.

The easiest way to see it in action is to do a simple test, as I did here:

  1. Choose a room with controlled lighting.
  2. Place the X100 on a tripod.
  3. Set the aperture to f16, the ISO at 200 (no AUTO) and the shutter speed to whatever value will give you a usable exposure. Set dynamic range to 100 as well.
  4. Disable the flash.

With this setup everything is in manual mode, which means every single frame should look the same right? Here’s what happens when I try it:

Notice the EXIF and time stamp. I can recreate this over and over. Sometimes it takes longer to kick in but it always does at some point. Needless to say this can seriously mess with consistency and how you expect the camera to react at given settings. It makes exposure compensation highly erratic.

The effect is also visible if you look into the lens as shown in this video.

So my X100 will be taking a little trip to the mothership. Fujifilm Canada promises a two day turnaround. Hopefully there won’t be the type of mixup I went through with our emails… They somehow “lost” the replies (plural) I sent with my info, resulting in 8 days of radio silence. But… Bygones.

As long as this gets fixed, I’ll be a happy shooter.