Monday, September 20, 2010

New Fuji X100

Judging by the love being shown the newly announced Fuji X100, especially over at TOP, I'm obviously the odd man out as I'm distinctly unimpressed.

As an NEX convert I dont understand the X100 and think its lacking some key features essential in a modern camera. Ok, here are my issues:

1. Fixed 35mm (eq FOV) lens. I dont get that. I just shot an airshow on the weekend and some aircraft are 1 meter behind a rope, others 10 meters back so 'zooming with your feet' isnt an option. Its the same on a street, on too many occasions doing the 'one prime' exercises I've been caught where the shot I want requires me to stand in the middle of traffic, lean way out over bridge guard rails etc. Just let me change the bloody lens please, get the shot and not frighten my wife and kids.

2. Fixed, low res rear screen. The pivoting screen on the NEX has changed everything for me and I will never take photos the same way again. Looking at my photo's now I have so many new points of view that world is a different place. I find going back to the A700 a real wrench (obviously that form still rules for long tele work, sports, airshows, BIFs etc). I'd feel like I'd lost part of my vision if I had to go back to a simple eye level finder again in my wide/street shooter.

Dont get me wrong, I love the controls and layout and the look etc etc but really those are just nice to have's. After all, people seem to get by using film still, so clearly shutting a camera down and partially disassembling it every 24 frames and waiting 4 days for the preview to come up isnt a massive problem - so pressing the odd button is hardly a creative issue.


A fixed lens and fixed rear screen is far too creatively limiting and while I might love the feeling of the shots I get I simply wont get shots I should. And for me sacrificing photographic usefulness for mere design is unforgivable.

Curiously, while the marketing for this camera stresses that its designed for photographers I dont think thats right. After all a photographer is a person who takes photos, so a camera that limits the photos you can take isnt for photographers.

Instead, I think its designed for a very specific set of photographers. The X100 is for nostalgics, people that want to recapture some romantic past and that (like Leica users) will actually cherish its flaws as a kind of hairshirted puritanicalism. Its a Morgan of the photographic world - sure, you can build a car with a wooden chassis, but in 2010 should you?

(all that said it will probably sell in droves, because from an aesthetic POV its a beautiful bit of kit - just not very useful)

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