The X100F: Random Thoughts and Musings...

I spent a year and a half forgetting how much I truly love my X100S. In that 18 months I used Leica Q for about a year, and an X-Pro2 for about 6 months now. These are both fantastic cameras in their own way. The Leica Q to me was the big brother of my X100S, right? It's full-frame and 28mm, in my opinion it fully lives up to what I'd hoped a "cheap" Leica would be. That camera never left my side in Paris last year, captured some amazing scenes and performed well in the various situations we got into.

But, I have kids who play sports 25+ yards away from me. I can't reach them with a 28mm lens, no matter how wonderful the camera is. So, I realized as much as I loved the Leica Q, it had to go. I needed a body and a long lens at the ready. That's when I decided to go back to Fuji and pick up the X-Pro2 with (for the second time in my life) a 23mm f/1.4. What a perfect piece of kit for my need. Interchangeable lenses, 23mm focal length and to have all the great Fuji JPEGs were at my disposal once again! Of course, I also picked up a 50-140 so I would be able to reach my kids sports playing kids.

All along, I had the X100S around too. For a good while, it was Molly's camera, and I was just glad it went to a good home. But, for Molly's need, her iPhone was more than sufficient, so it collected dust. I decided the little Fuji would live in my truck, so I never had an excuse to be without a camera, right? Except, I realized I was still in love with the thing. It was small. It has a fixed lens! What was wrong with me, why did I still feel that strong desire to pick it up and shoot with it? I don't fully know. But that's what I did. I'm bonded to the X100 line of cameras in some weird way, but I don't mind, because it makes me want to shoot. It compels me to get closer. It is so small it can easily go everywhere I go.

Unfortunately, the X100S doesn't have Acros or Classic Chrome, which I've come to love and require on the X-Pro2. Then came the YouTube videos about the X100F, and the blog posts about how it's "the best one yet" and it has "my" film simulations. It uses the same batteries as my X-Pro2. Do I need this camera? No. Do I want this camera? YES! So, I decided if I'm going to justify the upgrade, I've got to sell the S and probably the 23mm lens too, and just use the F most of the time. So, that's the plan, after I confirm the F is the right camera for me.

I've had the X100F now for a little over a week. In that time I've geeked out over how best to setup the settings. How might I want to tweak the in-camera JPEGs so they're even better right out of camera. I've even had the luxury of getting out and shooting, which between weather, kids, sports, life in general and work, has not happened a whole lot in the past year.

Last weekend I got to get out and shoot for hours on end. In and of itself, that's a welcome treat, regardless of getting anything usable in terms of images. The first day out, I was not feeling it at all. Had I built it up in my head too much? Was it the crappy light? Was I not able to see? Yes. All of that.

Luckily, I had a second chance, Sunday I was to hit the streets again no matter what. Only this time I was over the build-up, I lowered my expectations. I told myself, I'm going to push the shutter regardless and force myself to get the juices flowing.

I decided to hit Portland, and by decided I mean I drove through St. Johns, the industrial area of NW and then finally got to 23rd before feeling like that was the right place to be. After getting some coffee I walked about half a block before I spotted my first subject. He was across the street, and I didn't want to come straight at him. So, I turned back, crossed at the cross-walk and came upon my subject from the sidewalk. The very first frame I made that day, was in my opinion, a keeper. I knew it in the moment, and it appeared to be a keeper on my LCD. It didn't matter if it was a keeper or not though, it did the trick. I unlocked whatever funk I was in and suddenly I was invigorated. From the spot I parked my truck, I walked over 5 miles, slowly and with joy that I was on no timeline.

As for the actual X100F review... I can tell you this much so far. For street photography in particular, it is every bit as capable as an X-Pro2 or Leica Q as far as I'm concerned. It feels good in the hands, not so small that it's too small, but not so big that it draws attention. It's fast, a big upgrade from the S. It has all the features I require from the X-Pro2. It's fantastic looking, and seems to have a higher build quality than the S. The controls are easier, although the Q button is somewhat in the way. Battery life was good for me, I only used the one battery while I was out there. Thanks to sharing the same battery with the X-Pro2, I have plenty of spares for either or both bodies now, another big plus.

I think I'm in love. It's sort of weird to say but I am a tech-nerd after all. I am almost bonded to the X100F in the way I was with the S. It's not so different that I had to relearn anything. I think it's the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Feel free to hit me up with specific questions, clarifications, etc.! I may get encouraged enough to blog more!


Frame # 001 for 5/7/17 - "Dapper Derelict"