It’s not something I can say often about a piece of gear, but the Fujifilm X series cameras have certainly changed the way I shoot. This isn’t a review, but instead a collection of thoughts.
This all started with the X100T which I bought sometime in 2015. At the time I was shooting with a Canon 7D Mark II but found myself using it a lot less than I wanted. I’d go as far to say I’d avoid to take the camera out with unless I was heading out for a photography project.
As a result, I started looking at other cameras I could carry around on a daily basis but wouldn’t sacrifice image quality. That’s when I came across the Fuji X series cameras and decided to test out the X100T. And this is when everything changed. Then followed the X-T2 and then the X100F.
There is just something different about the X100 series of cameras and the images that you get out of them. I can’t quite point my finger at the magic ingredient but I can assure you there is something there. The X100T had me slowing down and thinking about the shot in a way no other camera before managed. The camera is so simple with fixed 23mm (35mm full frame equivalent) lens all the key settings at your fingertips that it felt as if gear didn’t matter anymore. It became all about what’s in front of the lens.
I will admit that I was one of those people that looked down on film simulations and in-camera filters. It was all about raw and post-processing. That’s until I came across Classic Chrome. So much so that I came to prefer the look of jpegs straight of the camera over any edits I would make. Yes, it was jpeg over raw! It’s also useful that you can actually post process your raw file on camera and then export on the spot. Good if you are sending straight to an instant printer or sharing on your phone.
The electronic viewfinder is a game-changer if you’ve never shot mirrorless before. You know what the shot will look like before you even click. The instant feedback on any change lets you visualise the shot resulting in much fewer wasted shots, and also getting the right one much faster.
The leaf shutter and built-in ND filter make it a breeze to use with external flash. In the early days, there were a few compatibility issues with remote triggers however pretty much every manufacturer has a Fujifilm trigger nowadays.
In addition, there are a couple things the Fujifilm does very well and are probably why it’s gaining such a following. All cameras across the range carry tend to carry the same sensor and firmware upgrades offer a lot more than a few bug fixes. In many cases, firmware releases offer significant upgrades to the cameras which are typically reserved to newer models with other manufacturers.
Settings and camera specs aside, however, the biggest effect was that this camera introduced me to street photography. Previously going out to shoot on the streets was daunting and felt impossible with a big DSLR around my shoulder. The size and inconspicuous non-threatening look of the X100 series allow you to blend in, shoot, and move on.
If I only had to pick one camera then there is no doubt in my mind that it would be the X100F. What’s yours?