As I explained in a previous post, I was a Nikon shooter for decades, happily knowing I had some of the best camera gear available gear in my bag. After all the more expensive the camera and gear, the more professional your photos would be right? It's an opinion that prevails amongst a vast majority of photography enthusiasts as well as some professionals, and for years I was no different. It wasn't until I took the plunge to switch to a mirrorless camera system that I had a real awakening as to what the key to good photography was.
It was me, and how I saw the world.
Don't get me wrong, good gear, notably lenses, do make a difference to the kind of images you can produce, (There's a reason Pro's don't just stick with a kit lens), but without actually being able to correctly compose, light, expose and post-process an image, gear can only achieve so much.
I had reached the point where I was geared out. I had everything I could need as a photographer; full frame camera, lenses and a half decent lighting setup. What I didn't have was much passion for anything other than gear reviews on YouTube. Going out to shoot with my Nikon gear was a chore and also, because of the cost of it all, a bit of a worry. I got to the point where I'd go weeks without shooting anything, and I started to think I needed to either find another pastime or start taking it seriously. So it was that I decided to make the switch from a pro camera setup all the way down to a simple mirrorless point and shoot camera in the effort to either switch up my photography or let it die. I can honestly say this was the point the Fujifilm X-100T put the joy back into photography for me.
I'm not going to go into a technical review of the X-100T as the internet is swamped with them, this is just my personal journey of discovery with it. That said for those that are not too familiar with it, the X-100T is a compact point and shoot mirrorless camera, designed with the classic rangefinder look of a camera made in the 50/60's. It's often described as the poor man's Leica, but I think that does it a disservice. It's certainly not cheap by average income standards, (around $1200), but it's certainly worth every cent in my opinion. It sports a 23mm f2 fixed lens that is remarkably sharp even wide open. As the camera's sensor is a crop frame this is the full frame equivalent of a 35mm, which gives a great field of view for most occasions. This can be modified via one of two two lens adaptors that Fuji manufacture, giving either a 28mm or 50mm full frame equivalent focal length. Image quality from the Fuji 16 mp sensor is wonderfully sharp and renders colors and contrast really quite beautifully. The various retro film simulations that can be applied to Jpegs add another level of creativity to shooting, as do the advance filters if that's your thing. Neat features that are incredibly useful include a 3 stop ND filter built in, a completely silent electronic shutter and the ability to flash sync up to 1/4000 depending on your aperture. One of my favorite features is the built in Wifi which allows you to upload images straight to your smart phone, and you can use your phone to shoot it remotely. I can't think of any top line DSLR's with those kind of added feature, never mind a point and shoot.
But the thing is, it's not about the features for me. What makes this such a great camera is that it's with me all the time. It can fit into most pockets or just hang off my shoulder without any inconvenience. The best camera is the one you have on you so they say, and the X-100T fills that role perfectly. At home it sits in the kitchen so I can grab it anytime I want to grab a shot of family life. If I'm out, whether simply shopping or out with the family, it's with me. Exactly the opposite of life with a DSLR. The silent shutter is one of my favorite features due to my love of the candid photo and I can be shooting a foot away from someone with their noticing. In fact the camera itself doesn't attract any real attention from people in general other than the odd comment asking if it shoots film. The inconspicuousness that it provides has been a real boon to my photography on a day to day basis.
As the lens is fixed, successful shooting requires a more creative thought process, something that I have come to really appreciate, and overcoming its focal limitations becomes actually quite fun after living with zooms for so long. One of the great bonuses that the EVF (electronic viewfinder), gives you is the ability to see exactly how your shot looks before you press the shutter button. This exact preview enables exposures to be set quickly and accurately which is very useful for things like street and event photography.
Looking at the Fuji X-100T you can be forgiven for not seeing a camera that a "Pro" photographer would have in his bag, but its increasingly being used by a number of professionals all over the world. Part of the reason I went for the Fuji in the first place is from watching photographers like Damien Lovegrove, Zack Arias, and Kevin Mullins use it as part of their normal shooting gear. Ironically it's not the revelation that they were professional photographers using this little camera for their commercial work that awoke a change in my attitude, it just they made me realize it really wasn't the gear, it was how they were using it. They could have paid an extra $5000 and got a Lecia if the more expensive gear mattered, but the reason why they get such great results from the X-100T is simply how they use it. With passion!!
Realizing that is when we really start to grow creatively as photographers. Once the gear vanishes and only you and the subject are left in the room.
Thanks for emptying the room Fuji.
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