JoziFolk - images of everyday life in South Africa


My initial impressions of the Fuji X100 Camera 


Fuji X100 Camera 

 The Fuji X100 and street photography

 I got to use a Fujifilm X100 camera to shoot some pics on this site. The camera was lent to me by a friend and fine photographer who has a number of Fuji cameras in his stable and who produces astounding results with them.

 These are my initial impressions of the Fuji X100. Naturally your experiences and conclusions may be completely different. This is not a technical review - there are plenty of those already on the Internet.

 I realize the model has been replaced by the X100S but the little X100 is still for sale around here, at reduced prices. Truth is, I've never even seen, let alone had my hands on the X100S but, from what I read, the specifications are similar. Improvements and upgrades are apparently mostly in the firmware.

 Some reviewers and owners say they prefer the images produced by the older camera - not something I can comment on.

Rangefinder Cameras

 I was excited when I got the X100. I come from a long background in analogue photography and love rangefinder cameras. I've owned a Leica M3, still have a Voigtlander Prominent and often toss a little Ricoh RF500 loaded with Tri-X in my bag.

 The Fuji X100 looks like and, in some ways, operates like a rangefinder, so I was amped and looked forward to using a camera that, on the surface, appeared to be a great street-shooting tool.

 One of its attractions is it has a leaf shutter, allowing flash shots to be taken at high shutter speeds. That opens enormous, bright light, fill-in-flash possibilities and the camera lived up to its potential in that area.

 It is a beautifully made, quality, piece of equipment that certainly looks the business and comes with a wonderful, fixed, f2 23mm lens that gives the same field of view as a traditional 35mm lens. There is a built-in neutral density filter, allowing shots to be taken, wide open in bright light, so backgrounds can be blurred and subjects isolated.

Drove me nuts!

 It is a joy to hold but it drove me nuts!

 I just could not come to terms with the way it focuses - or in many instances, doesn't focus! I'll happily concede it could be driver-error but, on many  occasions, irrespective of if I used the optical viewfinder, the electronic viewfinder or focused manually (which isn't really manual), I ended up with an out-of-focus subject and an in-focus background. And yes, I do know how to lock focus and recompose! It happened even when the focus-square was firmly on the subject. 

 On the streets, with the associated hustle and bustle, quite simply it (or maybe that should be "I") struggled to find focus and it hunted a lot. Sometimes I had to retake the pics two or three times before getting it right, causing irritation to some people.

 It was suggested I set the camera at f5.6 and use zone-focusing techniques but that kinda negates the advantages of the fast lens and the built-in ND filter!

 But when I succeeded, it was fabulous! The images were crisp and beautiful, with trademark Fuji colours. But in the end I returned to my four year-old Nikon DSLR where I know, when I lock focus on a subject's eyes and recompose, the image will be in focus and I won't have to ask them if we can do it all over again.

 I did not have that certainty with the X100. I like the camera. It makes me smile when I pick it up and reminds me of wonderful, bygone days. The fault may well lie with me and I shall persevere with the X100 - just not when the shot counts!

Read an update here

See also: Should you dump your DSLR for a mirrorless camera system?


If you found this article useful, I'd be grateful if you shared it!