Sometimes a shiny new toy is exactly what one needs. 15 years ago, I bought my first digital camera, a Fujifilm Finepix 2650 2.0 megapixel point and shoot. There was something about it, the shine, the ease of use, the quality of the photo and the instant gratification of seeing the images. I was hooked.
Did you know that Fujifilm developed the world’s first digital camera? In 1988 at the Photokina trade fair in Germany, Fujifilm announced the FUJIX DS-1P, the world’s first camera to save data to a semiconductor memory card. Taken for granted today, this method of storage was revolutionary for its time and was a Fujifilm original. With its then-impressive 2 megabytes of SRAM, the semiconductor memory card could hold 5 to 10 photographs’ worth of data.
Source: FujiX DS-1P
In 2004, I bought the first Canon Digital Rebel SLR and now my go to favorite is the Canon 7D. My system has expanded to numerous lenses – wide angle, zoom, prime, attachments – flashes,filters, tripods and camera studio shooting equipment and my love for photography has grown to become a part of me. 20+ countries experienced, 30+ states explored, thousands of memories captured and suddenly early this year, I felt like I had the photographic equivalent of a writers block. I needed to simplify. The promise of a powerful smartphone camera had worn off. The adage that the best camera is the one in your hand, while true, was not inspirational. Then I saw it. I know I’ve seen the previous three versions before but this time, I SAW IT. I FELT IT. My heart raced as I started to read the reviews. I spent a night, a maniac, with the internet my slave, or maybe the other way around, reading and logically justifying my next move, though my heart had already decided for me.
I searched on Amazon and it said the camera will be in stock in a month. My Amazon Prime had failed me. B&H Photo, Adorama all said the same. Then without much hope I decided to check my local Best Buy. Jackpot! They didn’t have it in store but could get it to me in 2 days. Bought!
The doorbell rang and the package was waiting for me at the doorstep. I brought it up and as I was opening it, felt this sudden pang of guilt. Had I been too impulsive, had I just been wasteful, is this my mid-life crisis? I opened the multiple boxes and then I SAW IT. The most beautiful camera I had seen since my dad’s Yashica.
It was my very own FujiFilm X-100F. It was love at first sight.
I’ve been using it for more than a week now, and there hasn’t been a time when someone hasn’t asked me about it, commented on how beautiful the camera looks or even where they can buy one. I added to its beauty with a retro leather cover and a hand strap. I want to hold it, I want to use it and I am finding excuses to take the camera out for a spin. I covered my daughter’s Kindergarten graduation with just this camera, instead of my usual gear of Canon 7d with a few lenses and it didn’t disappoint.
Physical attraction is one thing, very important, but there is truly only one thing that I, as a photographer, care about. The quality of the image to my eye. Over the last few days I’ve tested this camera in different shooting conditions and phew, and ooh and wow and woah!
First few photos…
X100f vs. Samsung S7
Now let’s compare the X100-F to my Samsung S7 and see how they performed in similar conditions. Is there a big enough difference for me to take the X100f along with my phone? All photos resized to 1600 pixels on the long end.
Photo 1: X100F Photo 2: Samsung S7
Daylight – The X100f gave me brighter colors, sharper focus and better light metering right out of auto control.
Indoor – Incandescent Lighting
The X100f again gave me better overall exposure.
Overall, the X100f again felt more natural, with less noise.
The X100f didn’t add an artificial white to the photo.
X100f vs. Canon 7d
Now let’s compare how the X100f does against the Canon 7d. The 7d is my go to camera, and I would carry it with me even when I went for walks in the Forest Preserve. Now do I still need to? All photos resized to 1600 pixels on the longest side. No post processing. Tried to match the ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed and Exposure Compensation as closely as possible.
- The camera is one of the most beautiful cameras I’ve ever seen or used. And there does seem to be a consensus. Almost everyone I meet wants to know more.
- The straight-out-of-camera picture quality is extremely good. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to ever do any post processing.
- The 35mm equivalent sensor+lens is perfect. After 2 weeks haven’t missed my zoom lens.
- Is it worth carrying the X100f along with the phone. Absolutely! The Samsung S7, as good as it is, does not compare. For the Apple fans, I tested it against the Iphone 6s and again there is no comparison. For the record, The Samsung S7 is way better than the Iphone camera, so that test is unnecessary.
- It is not as easy to carry as I expected, slip into the pocket, but I’ll dangle it on my wrist for the extra quality.
- Is it better than the Canon 7D and can I leave the 7D at home? For most of the city, local, travel photos, Yes. For a trip to the national parks and fast sports shooting, or really fast moving children, maybe not.
Whether it your camera on the phone, the X100f, or your DSLR with interchangeable lenses, they all have their purpose. Know your specific use and pick your tool, but in most cases, picking the X100f is going to be the perfect choice.