For many years I have searched for a camera that had the following characteristics:
- Small in size and weight.
- Produces very high quality digital images.
- Has a viewfinder.
My rationale is simple, I want a camera that is always with me, one that is small and fits in my coat pocket, one that I can rely upon to produce outstanding high resolution images, and one that suits my style of shooting.
My search resulted in several purchases. The Canon G9, the Canon G10, the Panasonic GF1, were cameras I bought and used. Of these, the Canon G10 was my favorite. Despite these purchases I was never satisfied with the quality of images that the cameras produced. They all fell short of my expectations.
So, when I read about the new Fujifilm Finepix X100 my interest was renewed. After reading at least ten reviews, and after looking at sample images, I was impressed enough to order one. I have had the camera for less than a week.
I had my doubts. Surely a 12MP camera won’t deliver the quality I am after, or will it? The critical issue with me was the new and innovative viewfinder which would allow me to shoot the way I prefer — through a viewfinder, not an LCD panel.
As usual, the camera arrived late in the day, but I had to point it at something to see first hand what an image it made would look like. So, I pointed the camera at an old chair in my backyard.
Wow. I was impressed.
The following day I met Neil Burton, a friend from the UK who lives and works in Germany. We had exchanged email messages for years and it was our first time to meet in person. So, I took along my new X100 to do some shots of Neil. The early light caught him enjoying what he described as “paradise.”
And I had a chance too to photograph the stack of kayaks made famous by Steves Digicams.
It was a delightful day for sure, one that has renewed a friendship.
In the following few days I shot additional images.
I wandered around in a swamp close to my home and found the camera to be a delight. It was like the camera wasn’t there it weighed so little, yet it was available for me to capture this shot of the swamp.
Considering that I shot handheld, I was impressed with the ease of use. Although having been a zoom lens user, I found myself having to zoom with my feet and for the first time in a long while I was being forced to compose the image properly. The 23mm lens on the camera equates to a 35mm lens. Fujifilm engineers married the lens to the APS-C sensor, forming a perfect match between the resolution of the lens and the sensor area, resulting in images of superior quality.
I realized that more than ever this morning as I caught a sunrise in my home town. The first shot below is a cropped version of a shot, edited from the RAW file, the second is the original JPEG file straight from the camera with no edits. Warning, the second shot is 4MB in file size and is 4288X2848 pixels in resolution.
To say the least, I am in total awe of the quality of the images.
What I would give to be in Scotland now with this camera. I might even be able to keep up with my friends as they scurry across the landscape in search of light because I am not carrying around 25 pounds of gear! Perhaps in the spring I will do that, a trip is sorta taking shape as I write these words.
In the meantime, I will be shooting constantly with the X100, enjoying the thrill of what classic photography is. One lens, a small camera, and the delight of holding in my hand what will become a classic camera.
Please visit with me again in the weeks ahead as I talk more and more about the X100 and what it is capable of. Frankly, the little camera is so good all I want to do is spend my time shooting instead of writing and sitting at my computer. What the X100 has given me is the joy of capturing the “instant moment” — what photography is and should be about.
Some additional thoughts seem appropriate considering what I have read on Internet Forums about this camera.
First, the Fujifilm Finepix X100 is a tool, and like any tool it takes time and practice to use it properly. A hammer in one person’s hand is different than in another’s hand. Some people should never use a hammer.
Second, while good feedback about any product is a good thing, take the time to check out the person who is making the comment. In other words, is the person an experienced and competent photographer? Do they know how to use the hammer?
Third, never buy anything unless you fully understand what the item can and cannot do. If the X100 doesn’t have something you want as part of its design, then buy a camera that does. Don’t buy a hammer if what you really need is an ax.
The X100 is not for everyone, nor should it be. It is exactly what it is. So far, it has met my expectations and exceeded any camera of its class by a large measure in terms of image quality and handling.
Some users are reporting issues with the shutter sticking. In all instances I have read, Fujifilm has replaced the lens assembly at no charge. I have not experienced this problem, mine works perfectly. It is good to know, from what I have read, that Fujifilm has been professional in fixing cameras with the issue. I pray mine does not suffer from the so-called flaw. Knock on wood.
The bottom line is that photography is an art form — and great artists such as Michelangelo showed us, that using a hammer, a stone can become something of eternal beauty and form.
Remember, the tool itself cannot see the David that lies within the stone. No tool will ever find the art, the art comes from within one’s mind and imagination.
Please check out my Fujifilm Finepix Gallery. I will be adding photographs there from time to time.