Where the X100F is good at

2019: By now, the X100F seems to be almost outdated, with a successor on the horizon. Time to move on? Of course not!

In 2019, the D7500 became my main camera. Still not doing any paid work, though for two events I got tipped later.

The X100F saw considerably less use that year – in a sense because it does not pose a challenge. With the Nikon, I now worked out a Raw-based processes to get good skin tones, while I still struggle with Jpeg. The Fujifilm is excellent for skin tones even using Jpegs straight out of the camera.

And there is no lens choice. No what-if, no what-about, no should-I-rather. This fixed lens is not a serious limitation. Even without panorama stitching or cropping in post, Jpeg mode offer three common and useful fields of view. Now I see one could rise any say “But the image quality of digital zoom is not as good”. As if every photo must be taken with the optimal resolution.

I would prefer digital crop to digital zoom, but still use the digital zoom. As for wide shots, the lens is nicely wide. Not ultra wide, which would get boring quickly.

Taking Raw photos is almost a disadvantage with this camera. Again I see someone would rise, and in a high-pitch and determined tone, lecture me about things possible only with Raw.

For me it is not so much about what is possible. Rather about what is done.

City after sunset, taken December 31st 2019. Camera’s digital zoom to 70 mm equivalent.

If my photos which I create for no money would rely on being shot Raw, I would be more a digital artist than photographer. If the photos don’t rely on Raw, why put that extra time into it? Because of more facebook likes? Or because even in film times, images were manually developed in order to optimize the outcome? Indeed, pros did it. I was a consumer and went to a drug store, getting the prints a couple of days later.

Of course, certain events justify Raw usage. Midsummer night I  switched to Raw. All images from that day shown here are still a Jpeg exports done by the camera.

Long exposure on June 22nd.

Thing like sensor quality analysis. Or lens sharpness analysis. As if a bit of noise, or less that mathematically possible detail resolution ruins an otherwise good photograph. If you cannot improve in any other way, if you already consistently capture the best moment, if your composition is impeccable every single shot, I would see why you look at your images in 1:1 pixel zoom. Why would I care about the accuracy of some pixels if the photograph itself has issues?

With the X100F I took a couple of group shots, some of them printed with the Instax SP2 as a quick small gift. The X100F also served as camera for casual gatherings when I want to have something not as big as a DSRL. Faces are more relaxed looking at this camera instead into a large lens which appears to be a high-performance skin-issue detector.

On trips, the camera served as machine to record visual memories.

Faux macro shot

When taking it to a cherry blossom area, I caught some bees in flight. It is not an action camera but focus is quick enough for my practical needs. I took wide-angle shots and near-macro shots, the latter amplified with digital zoom. I also used the fake macro capability for other stuff like those mini fungus. Not fully sharp but still a lot of detail.

The X100F with Acros simulation got me some excellent photographs. Some portraits looked so good that color would be a distraction. With Classic Chrome selected, I went on a city history trip guided by one of my colleagues. Took too many pictures but the ones I selected to show the other colleagues, are straight out of camera.

I used the camera to photograph a politician. Being in the front row, still no-one mistook me for the press. And another photo-shooting of people in summer, ladies in dirndls. The shots had to be good, so I played safe and used the X100F.

For midsummer night, the X100F was only a backup, but vital to document the shooting event itself. And on the way, I got this picture of noctilucent clouds.

These clouds were lit after sunset on midsummer night

I used the camera while being blindfolded for a game. Now I have weird pictures showing other participants, also blindfolded.

First on foremost I like the camera for travel. Bohek options are limited – oh no, now I get snarky remarks from the friend how just bought a new fast which weights more than the X100F camera and – who thought of that? – gets more background blur.

Also no zoom, while everyone knows that one must of course carry a zoom in order to not waste any megapixels in crop. Okay, for the highest facebook resolution, a crop would yield a 100 mm equivalent lens, or for mobile uploads, digital crop gets you to some 210 mm. But every picture taken at any point in time for any reason must be of commercial-grade quality, or you are just a beginner. Imagine you are out there, and in the distance is something you never went to so you have no emotional connection, and to get it big on a photo you have to crop much so that one cannot create a sharp 36×24 inch print. What a shame. Quick, let’s load our photo backpack,

But first, let us discuss which seven of our eight lenses we put into it. Yes, all that is what I need on travel.

More than one system

With otherwise using DSLRs, I like the optical viewfinder option of the X100. An electronic viewfinder can be useful, or a combination thereof, optical finder with a small digital preview. Everything is offered by the X100F.

Articulating screen? I have a bigger camera for that. And yes, I use DSRLs on some travels, too. Sometimes I shoot even Raw.

What do I actually need? Feature-wise, a Nikon FM2: It shows shutter speed and aperture in the viewfinder, and iso on the camera back if you use the cardboard holder. Shutter speed ranges from 1 second to 1/4000 with a bulb option available, flash sync up to 1/200. If offers an assistant – here a split-screen – for focus. There is an electronic light meter. And a shutter release button. The camera even shows how many exposures were taken and thus one knows how many are left.

The X100F is not free of issues. Autofocus sometimes misses completely and falsely confirm the focus, auto-whitebalance used in landscape is prone to produce a purple tint. The lens however is excellent, producing sharp pictures at almost all settings, and nice aperture stars at f/4.

The camera’s focus is not as snappy as known from a DSLR, some shots I took in a boxing class were not optimal. But many turned out to be good.

When looking through this year’s photo taken with the camera, I relived many events. Looking at the DSLR photos, I often also remember the struggle to carry and manage the gear.

Bee and cherry blossom

Having an X100F does mean other cameras are superfluous to me. In fact, I went into the DSRL world only about one and a half year after buying the X100F early in 2017.

Still using the Fujifilm, like today on new year’s eve.

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