My Dad used to take his family pictures with a German Rheinmetal 6×6 camera made in the 50s. Its shiny metal surface, well-crafted buttons and buzz of self-timer were all magic to influence a boy’s imagination. It used to be natural to set everything manually that processing experience in a primitive darkroom slowly perfected. Yes, everything means three parameters: aperture, time and focus distance. Those days the target was to build a kind of memory bank for friends and family.
A secondhand Pentax MG full frame film camera greatly improved my options. Availability of aperture priority function and a 35-105 zoom lens opened up a new world and the photo opportunities seemed to be endless. I simply shot everything. Composition, light and rules were all learnt the hard way without realizing that they exist. At this point there were neither Macbook nor Lightroom, it was all about physical films, prints and enthusiasm.
Canon DSLR System
By the time the digital age arrived I became a frequent flier. Since business trips took me to three continents it seemed to be logical to choose the Canon DSLR system and explore the world with both APS-C and full frame bodies and lenses. The quality of pictures was always very good, while it was the reliability of Canon gear that always shone. Thanks Canon, well done!
However, a Canon EF 35 1:2 IS USM lens I “inherited” from my son did change everything. I just decided to give a try a prime lens and it was 6 months later when I realized that my Canon 6D body did not see any other lens in that period. Simplification greatly improved my hobby, increased the feeling of pleasure and drastically forced me to be more creative. Further, it led to a move to black and white photography. This was the point when it started to dawn on me that switch to a fixed lens camera may be a good idea.
Switch to Fujifilm X100F
Well, I sold literally all of my Canon gear and purchased an all-black Fuji X100F. It was actually an easy decision. Use of analog buttons was second nature and the light, almost pocketable metal body with fixed 23mm (35 mm full frame equivalent) lens never let me down. Its well-designed body with a small lens has always delivered superb quality.
For a year Fuji X100F has been my loyal companion. It does everything that I need and it is believed it helped me to find my voice.
My Settings On The X100F And Why
Following experience is based on 12 months heavy use.
I shoot with Acros fine JPEG and lossless RAW to compose the pictures through the EVF in black and white. Even if the final image were in color (like my favorite Classic Chrome) composition is much easier in BW. Please note that out of camera JPEGs are perfectly usable.
My preferred shooting mode is aperture priority. The manual aperture ring makes it easy, while the 3-stop built in ND filter lets you use large aperture values even in harsh sunlight conditions to gain small depth-of-field.
Minimum shutter speed is set at 1/125. Manually set 1/500 sec is occasionally used, e.g. for quick moving subjects like children.
ISO is set to auto. Only in very low light do I need manual ISO setting and use a tripod.
My only focusing method is the single point focusing “focus and recompose”. Though it may not always be the ideal approach, its simplicity and the speed of routine pay well off. All other functions are set at default values.
Term “liberating limits” might well describe my relationship with X100F. Instead of digging in menus, pushing tons of buttons to find a certain function, you can concentrate on lights and your subject, enjoy pure photography and discover your world. Certainly, points above are subjective opinion of an amateur photo enthusiast.
A Few Pictures Taken With My X100F