A few months ago a photographer friend of mine was in town and we met for lunch. I was carrying a Fujifilm X100T, so she asked me about it. I did my best to convince her to buy one, I hope she does. It’s become a mainstay in my kit for editorial and corporate work.
I have to admit, when I was first introduced to the X100 (the original one) in 2011, I wasn’t impressed…. the camera was slow, the battery life was awful, and there wasn’t a good way to manually focus the thing. It certainly looked cool and had this slick optical viewfinder that I loved, but it wasn’t predictable. That alone made it a bad choice for me as a professional tool.
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In the end I bought one learned to like it. I even shot a few paid gigs with it, but it was always a backup camera. Actually, it was the backup for the backup camera. As much as I liked it, I still didn’t trust it… mostly because of the short battery life and focus issues.
When they announced the “S” version in 2013 I jumped on it and became hooked. The camera was noticeably faster and worked more smoothly all-around. I noticed I missed fewer pictures with it, but I attribute this only partially to the improvements made by Fuji. By this time I had worked with the original X100 long enough that it had become second nature. I knew the strengths and limitations of the camera well by this point.
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When the current X100T version was released I passed on it, but a year or so later decided to upgrade my S model. It’s become the camera that goes everywhere with me. It’s the camera that made me feel okay selling all of my Leica rangefinder 35mm equipment. It just works. The camera lets me shoot in situations where I wouldn’t be able to make an image. The situation below would have been destroyed by the clack-clack-clack of a modern SLR. The X100T silently captured this quiet moment and the image ran across 6 columns in the National section of the New York Times.
Below is an image I made just a block from where I used to live on Esplanade Avenue. I think I was walking to the burger joint down the block for lunch, but that’s irrelevant. It was a corner I passed almost every day. The girl in pink was only there for a second, and I’m slow and clumsy with my phone. Thankfully I had the X100t with me.
The X100t has sort of become my go-to camera for wherever I go. If I go out with friends, it comes with. If I go out on a shoot, it comes with. Over and over again, it’s proven to be worth its weight (more than its weight, it is quite light) in gold. Like I said earlier, I’m clumsy with my phone and don’t like shooting with it. So in the past I just wouldn’t take a camera with me. In a place like New Orleans that’s frustrating, because pictures happen everywhere. I’d see the pictures but wouldn’t bother to take them.
Getting one of these changed all of that. I swore this would never happen, but Fujifilm has finally developed this camera into an instrument that makes me skip over my old 35mm Leica rangefinders.
This just works better.