Selling the best camera I've ever owned
The Fuji X100F is the latest in Fujifilms rangefinder catalogue, boasting an incredible feature list and ergonomics. Not to mention the classic design, a conversation starter wherever its taken. I am incredibly hard to please when it comes to image quality, and the X100F is nothing short of spectacular. The much talked about film simulation modes are excellent, Velvia, Astia and Acros I found to be most useful. Each film simulation can be fully customised and assigned to a function button, film simulation can be changed after the fact when using raw.
I purchased this camera because I wanted a small robust professional camera, a camera that I didn't have to worry about scuffing or bumping. Working with fragile equipment is annoying and a hindrance, so with the promised build quality my mind was at ease. But the most important feature was the leaf shutter, an invaluable tool for location and home studio photography. There is no tool quite like it in photography, nothing can beat the ability to manipulate ambient light.
Acros simulation SOOC (external flash)
f/2.8 1/1000 ISO 800
Notice how all the background street lights have reduced to dots, leaving only the flash to illuminate the basketball player. Also the action of the player and the ball are frozen, no motion blur thanks to the 1/1000 flash sync.
Although not intended for action photography the X100F is no slouch, 8fps and a viewfinder filled with auto focus points makes focus and capture a breeze. The X100F is best for planed action shots rather than spontaneous action, this is because the buffer and continuous focus cant compare to a sports DSLR. This is only a minor complaint, especially considering how small and feature packed the X100F is.
Although a professional sports DSLR cannot freeze action anything like a leaf shutter can, with high speed flash photography your not relying on ambient light.
The image rendition is excellent, not what I was expecting from a high resolution sensor. Whatever Fujifilm are doing their doing it well, my experience with Canon's high resolution cameras have left me wanting more. The most remarkable quality is the out of camera JPEG files, most of my images don't require post processing form the X100F.
While the standard lens works great for most uses, I decided to add the tele conversion lens. Although Fujifilm updated their tele conversion lens for the new X100F, I was not prepared to pay double for a minor change. Thankfully I did not regret this decision, and can highly recommend the original TCL-X100 tele lens. It converts the standard lens to a 50mm focal length, while not reducing the effective aperture or camera operations. I personally prefer to use the camera this way, the bokeh is smoother and the working distance suits my style.
So this sounds like a perfect camera, whats caused me to sell my dream camera?
The build quality is mostly excellent, but there is a chink in its armour. Part of the lens extends slightly from the metal mount, exposing itself during operation. I was taken photographs through a window with the camera very close to the glass, I bumped the lens against the glass during focusing causing a horrible grinding sound. An error message appeared requiring the camera to be reset, completely my fault but still a concern. There is a protective filter adaptor available, this hides the moving section and protects it from such instances. But I like to to switch out the tele conversion lens frequently, so I would have to remove the filter adaptor each time. And if I'm honest with myself, I was going to loose that expensive accessory. I don't wont to be mindful of pressing the lens against glass, would the same happen if it powered on in my pocket? Now for 99% of users this is not a problem, most compact cameras are designed this way and does not effect the user in anyway. I'm just very particular with equipment, and if a something concerns me I get rid of it. Better to be in the moment, then to be worrying about camera equipment.
The Fuji X20
I decided to return to the Fuji X20 for the my leaf shutter needs, it has nothing on the X100F's performance but at least I'm not worried about damaging it. The lens focuses internally and has a manual zoom, the body build quality is just as sturdy as the X100F. The sensor is a huge step down but the X20 can still print poster sizes, has a fast 28-112mm lens and fantastic rendition. All my product shots taken on this website are with the Fuji X20, including the pictures of the X100F on this page (see top of page).
Fujifilm have always had some magic in their cameras, and the X20 is no exception. The Fuji X20 rendition with flash photography is almost indistinguishable when compared to the X100F, although the X100F dominates in low light and high ISO shooting conditions.
Fuji X20 samples
So after returning to the Fuji X20 I decided to sell my X100F
Before anyone starts to think about doing the same as me, your needs will no doubt be very different to mine. So do not feel influenced to do as I have, I'm just sharing my photography journey and do NOT recommend anyone choose the X20 over the X100F.
So what made me do it?
I knew at some point I would forget the lens extends and damage it on a glass window, or accidentally switch it on in my jacket pocket causing another gear grind. I'm aware the filter adaptor would fix this problem, but I didn't want the hassle of keeping that thing safe while changing lenses. I had already spent £1200 on the camera, £150 on the lens, why should I have to buy a £30 metal ring that I will probably loose? I do miss the X100F's fantastic hybrid viewfinder, switching form rangefinder to EVF is amazing. But for now I'll stick with my X20 for high speed flash photography, and my DSLR for everything else.
Negatives aside this truly is a magnificent camera, the image rendition, optical and build quality are excellent, so good that I almost (almost) questioned why I still own a DSLR. I highly recommend this camera to everyone, this camera is everything a photographer needs. Possibly the greatest travel camera ever made, anyone looking to travel light will not be disappointed or miss their DSLR. And those who want the Leica experience without winning the lottery, look no further than the Fuji X100F.