It’s a fine camera, that’s for sure, but somehow we just got off on the wrong foot, and maybe it’s time to work on that relationship.
As much as I buy into the ideal of the all in one fixed focal length of the X100 series I’ve just never really managed to get to grips with the practical limitations of that one stop option, although obviously many do.
Before the curses start flying I’ll clear the air by saying that this not a review of the camera, it’s simply a personal opinion based on my own preferences and experiences.
For around 30 years I’ve been making a living by taking pictures and writing, mostly cycling and travel related work. During that time have used a number of fixed focal length and fixed lens cameras, from simple point and shoots to high end rangefinders, mostly dating back to the film days.
It’s only really now, as I write this, that I realise just how many fixed focal length cameras I have used over the years. Despite the fond memories I have of them of them I also note that I do have somewhat of a rose tinted view of my past relationships with those cameras.
They were fine cameras; well – most were, and I still have a couple of them sitting around and itching to be taken out into a digital world were they’re now seen as classics, and are a hipsters dream.
Sadly the burden of processing and scanning films is something that’d rather only deal with under enforced circumstances these days. The film days are not a time that I’d really like to return to, on reflection that is.
When it first came out I bought the original X100, and had a love-hate relationship with it (which I’ve written about in the past on FujiLove). Not long after that, when the X-E1 first came out I moved into the interchangeable lens X system, and have been there ever since.
Despite all of this I still always held something of an admiration for the ever-evolving X100 cameras, although I do in reality know that a fixed lens option errs on the impractical and pointless side to me, and after all I already had 2 ILC X cameras when the X100T in question entered my life, not to mention my redundant original X100 lurking in the shadows.
Yes, it was some kind of romanticised impulse that lured me to buy the camera, a camera I really did not need and would probably not use very much at all in a professional situation, which is where my image taking happens.
I was in a local camera shop, getting my old DSLR system serviced, and this little beauty was sat there in the pre-loved cabinet, and seemingly singing out for me to take her home. Obviously I resisted the calls – it made no logical sense at all. A few days later I’d somehow managed to convince myself that I’d been looking at a 23mm fast lens for a while (which I had), and that buying a camera body in with the deal for not a whole lot more money (but enough more) all made perfect sense.
Even now I’m not quite sure of how that debate played out in my mind. I mean; I knew that it would not work out that way. I needed the interchangeable option and versatility of my regular X series bodies and lenses, not a camera that I’d hardly use.
Fast forward a few years, and yes indeed – the camera has only been used a handful of times. It’s only found a way into my travel bag twice. Partly this is due to extremely limited space, and I never travel without 2 bodies and a selection of lenses. Adding in the X100T to that bag, along with a different set of batteries and a charger is not really a priority, Plus there’ it’s slightly different layout and handling to contend with, which isn’t a major issue until you’re in a hurry and working off muscle memory.
Several times over the past couple of years I’ve pulled it out and decided to sell it. Yet still that demon called lust inside of me somehow reasons that it is still a fast 23mm lens with a free camera attached, and that I’d take too much of a hit in resale value. This I always decide not to bother selling it, and so it goes back into the cabinet to gather more dust and depreciate in value even more, a twisted logic.
A few months ago I decided to take it out and shoot a personal project with it, to shoot a whole story for my website with the camera, a cycling story. However, it just didn’t happen.
Last week I did finally dust the camera off and recharge the batteries and started to carry it around locally. I was just shooting things that I’d probably not bother ordinarily, and yes – it has been a fun bonding exercise.
Whenever I head out with a single lens and no clear intent, even a zoom lens, it never seems to be the right lens, the one I need for that particular shot. Carrying the X100T around hasn’t changed that. As much I hold great affection for the camera, it just doesn’t fit with me and my way of working.
It’s a lovely piece of gear, and it does have a very different feel when compared to the interchangeable lens X cameras. This is something that will please many a photographer out there, and yet I would still go with a regular body and something like the 18mm f2 lens or even the 27mm pancake lens every time, no question about it.
Great images, yes, great looks, yes, perfect in certain shooting circumstances maybe, a practical option for me – no. As it sits besides me here I feel a kind of guilt in saying that this just isn’t the right camera for me, even if it does tick so many boxes. It’s the practicality box tick that’s missing for me.
Most likely I will persist with shooting on the camera, as there’s little point in not using it, and for some reason I just cannot seem to get around to parting with it. Although I could more realistically also reason that there’s little point in not carrying a regular X body around instead, one that I could switch lenses on when needed.
With 5 Fuji X cameras here and a selection of lenses, this is by far the least used of all, and by a long chalk. That’s not the fault of the camera; it was just a wrongly driven purchase choice on my part.
Will it deter me from making the same mistake again in the future? The one of buying into a fixed lens camera that I really don’t need?