Jan 13, 2014

The Experiment - The Fujifilm X100S

Happy 2014 everyone!   Seems my habit of barely posting has continued and my lack of taking photos has become very apparent.  So 2014 is a time to do something about it! :-)

OMG, it's a 35mm!
Recently I booked my spring trip to Bermuda.   It was -35c outside and we are deep into the winter blah's.    But I sat down and started to think about what I would be shooting in Bermuda this time. I have enough Bermuda landscapes to fill a hard drive,   I want to do some kind of project.   Maybe shoot all the churches (there is around 130 of them), all blank and white, macro, etc etc.... but nothing was really jumping up at me.   But at the same time I had this uncomfortable/unhappy feeling about driving around the island with my camera bag full of lenses and my neck sore from the heavy dslr hanging from it.

It took some time but if finally hit me as to why I haven't been shooting.   I have lost my passion.   Each day I go for a walk with the dog, I used to take the SLR but I stopped after having few things to shoot.    Several times I have stopped and said "oh, that would be a nice picture - let me run and get the camera".  Did I?  Nope.   The fact of the matter is, I hate dragging the damn thing around.

I do have a pocket size camera and although it takes nice pictures it never really inspired me - http://canadianloon.blogspot.ca/2010/09/new-camera.html    but I bought it for the same reason, to have something small to carry around.  But I was never able to get the quality I crave after being spoiled with a good camera and lens combo.

My old D200 is getting a bit long in the tooth and Jen was looking at Henry's on e-bay at some Nikon bodies as she'd like to try out some of my lenses.   This got me looking around e-bay myself and I ran across an interesting camera - the Fuji Film X100S.    I remember when the X100 came out about 2 years ago and all the problems that it had.   But I thought to myself at the time that it looked like an interesting concept.    A fixed lens camera that has the functionally of a high end DSLR that is the size and look of a 35mm camera.

Then I ran across this blog.   Just read the first part, it described my feelings exactly - http://olafphotoblog.com/2013/05/03/theres-a-better-way-fuji-x100s-review/

Over the past 5 years I had noted that I usually took better photos when I only took 1 lens with me and left the tripods and bags at home.   I wondered what a fixed 35mm lens would be like?   Zoom in - move forward, zoom out - move back.   Hmmmm, would this help me think about my composition more?

(be sure to click the image for fullsize versions)

Oh wait, it's a digital
My research started to show me two other things that I absolutely love - in camera black and white with a red filter and outstanding colour rendition.    On top of that, usable images at 6400 ISO - WHAT!   My old D200 could barely do an ISO of 400 without the images looking like crap.   Ok hang on, a 35mm lens, F2.0, outstanding low light capability, 16 mpixal, great blank and white, vivid colour and weights 440 grams?   No way.  The only down side?   It's not cheap!

hmmmm, looks like a 35mm again
So I started looking around the internet - go google X100s review - and look at the pictures and read the stories.  Holy shit.   Professional wedding photographers doing weddings with it, landscapes that are bright and vivid, unbelievable street photography and amazing black and white work.   Youtube videos where pro's are sheepishly admitting that this camera is their dirty little secret.  I had to go see one of these.

On the right, my D200 w/17-50mm and on the left the X100s.   Which will be better on my neck?
I gave Henry's a call and asked if they had one in stock.  Yup, will set it aside for you.   Went in and put it in my hands.  Shocked again.   It's so small and feels just like a 35mm film camera.   Could this be what I'm looking for?   Something small and easy to carry around with great quality images?

I took a chance and purchased it.  At worst I can easily get my money back on e-bay as these things are selling for what they cost new.  Turns out it was on sale and a 32gb SD card came with it - bonus!

Got home and started reading the manual and just shooting around the house.   Was not a good day for photography, the outside lighting was terrible - fog and overcast and even inside was dull and grey.   Didn't take me long to gravitate to the black and white settings.    Take a bit to get used to using it - as would be like any new camera - but I find it more and more like my old 35mm's the more I use it.   Lots more bells and whistles but still feels the same.   I find myself much slower taking my shots and thinking them through given the fixed focal length.

Jackson being a good model - Black and White with a red filter.
Kitten modeling

Jackman agan
The next day I was off to go ice fishing for the day.   A great way to test a new camera.   Again, no sun, just overcast and hanging out on a white ice surface.   Not much contrast but got a few shots as the day went on, I'm very happy with the quality of the images and how the camera works.

Out with the boys fishing.  7 hours with the camera around my neck under the jacket - no issues.
But the kicker?   I had this thing hanging around my neck for over 7 hours and tucked into my coat and I never felt it at all.   And this was with the stock strap!    I can hold this thing all day and not hating it.  When I needed the camera is was right there.   This means I might actually have a camera with me when an opportunity presents itself!   :-)

Fish on
Good fun

This is the big experiment.   Not selling off the DSLR equipment just yet, although maybe a piece or two if someone is interested.   But can this camera inspire me after the buyers euphoria wears off?    Can I do upwards of 90% of what I could do with an SLR but be happy to carry the camera?   Could this lead to the smaller X line of Fuji cameras instead of the SLR's?   Part of me hopes that the X100S is all I need.   Could this finally make me more confident to do street photography?   The camera is completely silent and people don't give you a second look unlike when a bit telephoto raises from the bag.   Could walking around Bermuda doing close up street photography be my ticket away from the big vista landscapes that I have hundreds of in my Bermuda collection?   Will this inspire me to shoot more often and do more blogging? Time will tell :-)

Lake Trout

The pictures thus far have been taken after reading the manual once and playing with a few settings.   I have yet to have a sunny day with any colour or contrast.  Here's hoping!  I'm also dying to try out the low light capabilities with some colour.   Gonna have to take a run downtown some night it's not too cold.

Stories being told - lots of laughs
Today's modern hi-tech fisherman.
Built in Pano mode

The homestead on a grey and crappy day.


  1. Hey Scott! Great to see your post show up in my feed. :D

    Congrats on the new purchase, what a beauty too. I've read a lot about that cam. I'd love to hear more about it (and see your photos). I completely get what you're saying about having something smaller to have at hand (I find that often I'll just take my phone and P&S when I'm not going out specifically to photograph). Love the shots you've posted so far. More please!

  2. Hey Candis!!!! Nice to hear from you and happy new year. Happy to see you posting again as well. I'm also back on flickr as well. Thanks for the comments, going to try and figure this camera out, amazing how much technology has come since I bought my D200, it has options I have never even heard of before. But it is fun to be playing with something a bit smaller. Take care.