It’s 2012 and I’m about to go to Italy, a region I’d ever since then call my absolute favourite, Liguria. I’m about a month away from going and look at my photo bag full and ready (at that time) of Canon 40D, a couple of lenses, batteries, flash, wires, etc. etc., you know the drill. And I’m a bit un-keen… I’m visualising walking around the streets pulling a wagon full of gear thinking too much about the bulk. So I’m deciding to purchase a smaller camera, something light and, you know, one that simply would do the job. So I’m at Jessops, Leicester and my eye is drawn to a retro-looking piece sat on its own surrounded by nothing but black walls of the shelving unit. It’s the original Fujifilm X100 which started it all for so many. I have a go and both dislike it as well as being strangely drawn to it. Then I go through the film simulations and have a go at the monochrome with a green filter. That’s it. It’s done. I’m in. But not yet convinced fully…
I then take the camera to Italy and find myself struggling. Struggling with autofocusing, manual focusing, ergonomics, fiddly round button set up as well as the ever detaching lens cap. I am so frustrated that I admit defeat and before I’m back the camera is on eBay. On my return home I insert the cards into the computer and preview the images and I’m gobsmacked! How is it possible that they’re the best images I had ever taken up until that time with the worst taking photos experience ever? I’m puzzled but really keen on seeing where the system ends up with the future iterations. I skip the S, the T and fast forward to November 2018, after looking at the F for 2 years and considering different equipment shuffles I finally purchase it. And boy oh boy am I for a treat?
Why the X100F?
The X100F is the fourth iteration of a compact x-trans sensor type camera with now 24 megapixel and capable of producing a Wow! factor output at even higher ISO. However, for specifications and details on the tech head over here, where you can learn more about the camera from Ken Rockwell. I’d like to discuss why I’ve gone for the F instead. And the main reason being that for the past 2 years I’ve been a Fuji X-Pro2 shooter, completely converted from the Canon system which I had previously used. The thing is, the X100F has exactly the same sensor as the X-Pro2 and, this time around as well takes the same batteries as the X-Pro2. Moreover, on the X-Pro2 and due to my style of shooting, I’ve been taking photos at the 35mm equivalent field of view and I absolutely love the outcomes the system produces especially when paired with the excellent 23mm 1.4 lens. The X100F, as well as the previous versions, are built around a 23mm f2 lens and again, I love this documentary-style field coverage. Some will pixel peep and comment on slight softness at close distances of the 23mm f2 version on the X100 system but you know what, I don’t pixel peep. And guess who doesn’t neither? Your clients! I’ve always thought this: if you know what you’re doing with the camera and focus on capturing the moment, you disregard tech. And if you focus on the tech, you miss the moment. I actually love the f2 version of the lens the X100 series is built around and it’s a testament to its quality that the F is now the 4th camera built around it. If it ain’t broke,…. I digressed. Apart from the field of view output, I am now equipped with what I like to call the sibling cameras, one being the bigger brother of the other. This ensures consistency not only with the photographs but also with the style of shooting and ergonomics since the cameras are possible to be set using exactly the same layout function buttons, the same menu and both fit perfectly in the hand. It’s like driving a Golf and then a Polo. You know what to expect, where everything is and how to push it for the best performance. But then the X100F has an ace or two up its sleeve I haven’t of course used on the X-Pro2 as that camera simply doesn’t include them. These are leaf shutter as well as a built-in flash and the ND filter. And these are the areas where a switch to the system is necessary when setting against harsh sunlight or where there isn’t enough available light and you’d like to fill for capturing the moment. I can’t put it in any other way than simply saying that my system is complete for my favourite reportage and documentary type photography both at weddings, family shoots as well as travel.
The X100F deserves more and in fact, I’ve seen e-books written on the system by professionals, which I’m sure to contain an awful lot of inspiration, explanation, and answers. I can only say that quite simply I absolutely love this camera. The system is an extension of my concepts in how I approach photography and makes me feel both complete as well as completely satisfied and assured at both professional and personal ventures. So for those of you who might be thinking of a purchase, I can only say absolutely and definitely “Get it!”. Get it even if there’s a new version coming out in 2019, get it if you need a reliable second body or a travel tool, get it if you haven’t tried the X100 system yet nor the 23mm (35mm equivalent on the full frame). It will change the way you think about taking photos and your subjects and your photography game. And in the appreciation of this, you’ll be hard-pressed to look back. I know I am.
For more on the subject check out Jonas Rask’s entry on the Fuji X100F and the system as well as Kevin Mullin’s dedicated and quite extensive blog entry. Some of my early images using the F version are below.