My end of the journey with the Fuji X100

As the title describes, my Fuji X100 has been sold. Our relationship lasted a little less than a year, during that it gave me some very good photos. I have repeatedly written about my mixed emotions about this revolutionary camera, but since it’s officially out of my hands, I will write some thought again. (all images in this post were shot with the Fuji X100 camera).

The reason I bought it at the first place was to have a small and compact camera with superb image quality. The hybrid viewfinder was indeed a revolution at the time, and the 35mm equivalent of the 23mm f/2 Fujinon lens (matched exactly to the sensor) were also important factors. Of course, I already owned a similar design digital camera, the Leica M8. But, the M8 suffers from low ISO performance, and I thought the auto focus could be handy in many situations.

My first impression was very positive. The camera was beautiful, with manual controls, the viewfinder was excellent, and of course the image quality top of its class. One thing that no one can dispute, is the great IQ of this camera. No camera is perfect, there are pros and cons, and you just have to decide if you can live with the disadvantages of each model. For me, a camera must inspire you to go out and make images, otherwise no matter how good your gear is, you may have to make serious comprosmises which can even affect the quality of your photos.

For example, the camera that really inspires me is the Leica M. If you think about it, it’s 60 years design, does not have auto focus, and basically is stripped of pretty much every feature that is considered normal in modern cameras. But, for me is the perfect tool (and for that, I can withstand its flaws).

The Fuji X100 suffered from a lousy menu system, extremely slow auto focus, and even slower manual focus. The firmware updates tried to improve things (and to some extend they did), but as time was passing by, I kept choosing the Leica M8 over the X100, even for low light situations.

I have personally tested both cameras against each other at an older post. As you will see, the differences between the two are subtle. In my opinion, the M8 wins by a small margin (don’t forget the M8 is 6 years old camera), probably due to the way its CCD sensors renders an image. This advantage of course ends beyond ISO 320, where the X100 with its CMOS sensor really goes ahead.

At the same time, I had purchased the Sony NEX 5N as my small camera system for family snapshots and travels. The NEX is a demon speed, with myriads of features compared to the X100. The kit lens does not reach the quality of the Fujinon, but the NEX can take legacy lenses and improve massively its outcome. So, after much thought, there was not room in my arsenal for X100.

What I have learned from this whole situation, is that choosing new gear, or upgrading old one, is not as simple as it may sometimes seem. Sure, everyone wants to upgrade every now and then, even if he doesn’t really need to. Digital cameras are improved at a rapid pace, and having the chance to get advantage of these new improvements is a good thing (as long as you know what you are doing, for example if you are at a novice level where you are still trying to understand what an aperture is, a Canon 1Dx won’t help you much !!)

So, the whole experience with the X100, has made me think twice before I sell something to get something else. Do I really need it, is to going to provide me with features that I don’t have in my existing gear, how much one camera’s specifications overlap my existing ones, and at the end, does it really worth it ?

My Nikon D800E I own, is pretty much “one camera does it all”, but can I carry it everywhere ? No, I can’t stand the weight and bulk, so I carry the NEX system for my walks, family travels and events with friends. I would have no problem selling the Leica M8, but it’s unique infrared ability (and my love for IR photography) makes it a keeper. So, I am staying with this gear.

Now, film is another story. I really can’t apart with any of my film cameras, they are special to me. If I had to sell one of my cameras, the film ones would be my last choice. After all, I don’t see film being available for ever, so I want to enjoy shooting my analog cameras for as long as there’s film in the market.

So, this is my experience with the Fuji X100 camera, which despite not being able to live with it, I consider it a wonderful piece of gear.

Enjoy the rest of the images with the Fuji X100.

(c)2012 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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