The Fujifilm X100F Camera Under the Spotlights
Every item of equipment for sale in the photo shop is under a spotlight - and some are under enough glare to suggest a three-ring circus. This is all to the good - every camera maker and advertising department knows that every time a fuss is made about something people will focus on it, and they might concentrate long enough to reach for their wallets.
The new Fujifilm X100F examined this week IS a worth successor to the other cameras of the series - the leap in performance since the original X100 I own showed out on nearly every level. Had I elected to make larger images than just the little illustrative ones for these articles, the lead would have been wildly increased. But that is for me...would it be so for other people. And just WHO are the people who would be wise to buy this camera?
a. The one-camera family.
If you are going to have one camera to do the best job for all members of the family - mum. dad, and the kids, make it a one that delivers the goods. And delivers them simply enough so that when you haul it out and press the button, you get the picture. Better yet - the less experienced shooters in the family can also get good results.
b. The traveller.
I am thinking here of the frequent traveller who needs a record of what is seen from a normal point of view. Choose another super-tele camera to go to Africa for polar bears or Manitoba for lions. Choose this one to go to Melbourne or Madrid. The lens is wide enough and long enough for most travel shots, and if you need to expand or contract there are screw-on supplementary lenses that are excellent. I use a wide-angle one all the time for car shows.
c. The daytime flash shooter.
Whether it is the car shows, or brides, or architecture in the Western Australian sunshine, you'll need to fill flash somewhere. If you try to do it with a conventional focal-plane shutter you'll be in a world of calculations and compromise. Some shots will be inpossible because of the failure to synch properly The leaf shutter on this camera synchs at all speeds and if you pair it with a new Fujifilm EX-500 flash unit, you can work with minimal stress.
d. The grub.
Oh, this is not a waterproof camera, but it IS a sealed one. No opening the lens mount for changes and no inrush of dust onto the sensor. The relief from worry is palpable.
f. The stylish and trendy.
Not that you can ever be on-trend for longer than 15 seconds anyway, but this retro-style is classic, and classics keep on coming back time after time. The camera has the bits you want to twiddle in the places you expect to find them. If you are a twiddler, it is rewarding. Of course you can put the camera into Programmed Automatic and just cruise if you want to.
g. The diarist.
Like the regular traveller, the diarist wants to record it simply, but with enough detail to provide for art or science later on. 24 mega pixels will do this, and the ISO auto settings will generally help you to nail it in an instant. Even my old X100 does daily duty for advertising shots and ideas capture. It beats the silly mobile phone all hollow for resolution and dynamic range and the ergonomics of holding it out the window while driving at 90 miles per hour down St. Geo Tce - steering with your knees - are ever so much more convenient.
h. The collector.
Collectors are strange creatures. They amass piles of things the rest of us ignore, and the funny thing is that they like to look at other people's piles as well. Thus the catalogue shoot and internet share site.
Most collectors are not professional photographers, but the ability to produce a clear close classic of an image is more useful to them than to many people. They rarely want Instagram filters to mess up their pride and joy collection - a camera like this that can turn out clear illustration time after time without adjustment is perfect.
That may sound boring, trite, and pedestrian to artistic photographers, but no-one wants to have to spend an hour tweaking the image of a 19th century pram if you have 800 of 'em to photograph.
i. The hipster.
Naw, I'm just joking. They are still looking for 828 film for defunct Kodak folding cameras from 1940. The thought of getting a good result easily would be anathema...