by Ian Hamilton
Initial impressions of a Fuji X100 by Dorset wedding photographer
One of the problems with being a wedding photographer (well, any professional photographer for that matter) is keeping up with technology – be it cameras, computers or software. Sometimes people can get carried away with the latest piece of equipment on the market and it becomes a “must have” … suddenly that camera or lens they’ve been using perfectly happily for the last year or two has become redundant and has to be replaced by the latest version. Well, in my opinion, that’s not necessarily the case ….. true, from time to time there are pieces of equipment that are ground-breaking in what they can deliver, but does it necessarily mean that it’ll make your images any better?
I’m not one for jumping into the market, I’d rather wait for things to settle down and then assess what might be useful in my wedding photography – hence my arrival to the party (some might say a little belatedly) organised by those nice folks at Fuji. It was at Photokina last year that they released the X100, a fixed lens camera with an f2 lens with FOV equivalent to 35mm – much like my beloved Hexar AF from a few years ago (which is still with me). I played with the camera at Focus and then at my local dealership but whilst it was obviously lovely I couldn’t see at that time how it would fit into my professional work. But, times change, styles (and requirements) evolve, and I’m thinking that this little gem will dovetail very nicely into my wedding kit.
This is just an initial impression, and I’m not a pixel-peeper, or an lpm-obsessive ….. rather a view of a camera which may be updated next year at Photokina (who knows, but 2 years is an eternity in the life-cycle of cameras these days!) …..
Build quality is just brilliant, and it’s nice to have a camera where you can shoot intuitively, changing shutter speed or aperture with a “proper” dial and it’s obviously been given a retro look with a nod to the styling of the classic Leica rangefinders. No, it’s not a digital rangefinder, but has a nifty arrangement whereby you can use the optical viewfinder (like we used to in the old days) or switch over to the EVF version, a digital view. Personally I think I prefer the optical view, but the EVF’s more accurate in the framing, especially at closer distances.
“Playing” with it in the office resulted in some impressive high ISO images, which backs up the reviews I’ve been checking out recently, but it does has a few “quirks” which are becoming apparent. The Fuji engineers have created a menu system that seems slightly convoluted to my thinking (having been with Nikons for many years I can find my way around their new models without any problems), so initially I’ll probably leave the X100 on basic settings and see how I get on with actual shoots. Auto WB seems to be very accurate and whilst the focussing obviously isn’t up to DSLR standards it’s not a slouch, although I might need to buy a faster SD card as write-times for RAW aren’t exactly explosive (or I could just shoot in JPG, although that makes me tremble a little!).
I’m really looking forward to trying this out in conjunction with my Nikon kit this week ….. first, a celebration party for the first year of Beach Weddings Bournemouth, which I’ve been heavily involved with since their launch, and then the final beach wedding of their season on Saturday so plenty of sand, possibly very harsh lighting conditions and a real test for latitude and dynamic range. On Sunday I’m at a couple of wedding shows so that’ll be another chance to test the camera in indoor conditions.
I’ll keep you posted as to how I get on, but if you’re already an X100 user it would be great to get your opinion on this little gem ….
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