”I tore off the logo since I don’t like logos.”
Thank you! Really appreciate it.
These days I’m losing interest in cameras. Maybe it’s similar to a farmer who loses interest in his pitchfork?
Sure we got to know how the basics of using agricultural tools if we happen to be farmers. But farmer doesn’t wake up in the morning thinking of his shiny new pitchfork and spend his time polishing it, right?
Like the farmer dreams of the good harvest, photographer dreams of the perfect picture. The creation itself is simply the thing. It should be.
Indeed I feel sick about the capitalism that exists in the world of photography. Camera is nothing but a light-proof box. So use whatever you have!
Probably all would agree that equipment management is crucial for working photographers. It’s not very professional to arrive to set and notice your battery is empty or even worse, missing.
Canon’s camera manual advices you to make test shots before important shoots, or even take camera to be checked up by Canon’s authorised service professionals for check-up. Sound advice, I say.
I have a principle to always have backup for everything, including the camera body. Even though modern DSLRs have sensor cleaning mechanisms, it is possible that something gets to the sensor, piece of hair or skin for example. Bulb blower is a must have, but sometimes even that doesn’t help. Bring extra body, just in case something goes wrong. And camera’s shutter has always a limited lifespan anyway, so sooner or later it’s going to break. Extra camera body might save your day and reputation.
And after the shot, take super good care of that memory card. It’s like your digital negative. Now that we have tools like iPad, it’s very handy to have one of those camera connection kits (especially with Retina display iPad) with you. It’s great for on-location previews and backups.
There are some theories that large memory cards might be more prone to failure than smaller ones. I am still shooting with 16GB card and it’s unlikely that I would ever get larger card than that. And if you split the shoot to two cards, even if one of the card fails, you wouldn’t lose everything. So far, I have never had memory card failing on me, but I have heard many horror stories.. especially after someone has shot a multi-million-yen wedding.
Rather than deleting photos from memory card, I would recommend formatting it. I have heard this reduces the chance of getting some kind of (eh, I don’t really know what I’m talking about) logical error in the data of the disk.
So, the lesson here is that pro or semi-pro photographer must take very good care of his/her gear. That gear is probably expensive (and if you are sports photographer VERY expensive), and it’s your lifeline really, much like parachute is for skydivers.
If you do pro shoots daily, my advice is to keep every necessary item in your camera bag always when you are in home or studio. Then you will get into the habit of never forgetting anything, and basically just recharge batteries and format memory cards in advance, and then take that bag and you’ll be ok.
Good luck for shooting!
I have been using Fujifilm Finepix X100 for three months now. I’d like to give a kind of update of how it’s been.
After I got X100 and the replacement unit since the the original copy of the camera got the infamous stuck aperture issue, I’ve been shooting photos with it in daily basis. X100 has became my primary camera, the camera that’s with me everyday, pretty much where-ever I go. And like Chase Jarvis says, “the best camera is the one you have with you”. In my case, it has been the X100.
After I updated the camera’s firmware into the latest version, I noticed speed increase in autofocus and also some of the fixes of the quirks in the UI. The menu is still what it is, and the control wheel on back is flimsy, but at least there is that dedicated ISO button that saves you the dive in the menus.
I just love the JPG’s straight out from the camera; the in-camera processing is just great. The sharpening is set just right, the output is very crisp but clean, and free of any artifacts. And if I shoot RAW, I can process the RAWs inside the camera.
I still haven’t got around in installing the included RAW processing software that came in the CD’s..
I love the film simulation of the camera. It’s more than a gimmick, it really makes sense, Velvia and Astia look just like their film counterparts, the effect is subtle enough not to make irreversible changes in the images, but still packs a punch.
Sure, I prefer to do the monochrome conversion in Aperture because then I can have full control over the RGB channels, so I actually never use the in-camera monochrome setting, although that might make sense for some.
The number one feature of this camera, what I’ve gotten used to, is of course the excellent optical viewfinder. I use EVF or LCD only when shooting macros.
Of course, it doesn’t compare to shooting with range finder, but the OVF is really best I’ve ever seen in compact size digital camera. The frame lines work perfectly and when you set up the automatic parallax correction including correction of AF point, you can pretty much forget that the (parallax) phenomena ever existed. And you can even see live histogram in OVF as an overlay if you choose so; OVF overlay is excellent and unique innovation from Fujifilm.
The manual controls are excellent in daily use, especially the aperture ring and shutter speed control dial. Set either of those to auto and you get shutter speed or aperture priority. Very, delightfully “analogue” process.
Strangely, I find that there’s really not so much need to use the menus under normal outdoor conditions when shooting.
In my extensive tests, I find the battery life of X100 to be very good. In my normal shooting conditions I always shoot with OVF and I’ve taken like 300 pictures and never exhausted a battery yet. I keep extra accessory battery in my pocket just in case.
One thing worth noting is that unlike in Canon SLR’s, the USB port is not standard mini-USB port, but something which seems unique to Fujifilm’s camera. So it’s better not to lose that cord.
I bought the EF-20 external flash unit for this camera and I find it a very nice little flash. It packs enough punch and allows tilting upwards 90 degrees, great for those indoor parties and events with white roofs. The larger version of the flash also allows swiveling, a pro feature.
Overall feeling after three months of daily shooting, I just love this camera. The image quality produced by the custom glass and sensor is just great. X100 is almost completely silent, professional quality camera in a very compact package.
My ex girlfriend used to carry her M6 with her at all times but she rarely let me touch it. I merely envied her from a distance while she shot beautiful shots with her rangefinder camera. She always talked about “spirit of a photography” and she never carried a digital camera with her, unless she was shooting for a job. I suppose it wouldn’t be too much to say that like for Cartier-Bresson, her Leica was extension of her eye.
My friend borrowed me recently his Leica M6 TTL with 50mm Summilux ASPH.
I am moved, and amazed by this classic, legendary camera.
50mm Summilux ASPH lens has a focusing tab which allows quick focusing with index finger. It feels just right and for me the tab makes huge difference. Only in few days, I learned to approximate distances and adjust the focus roughly, only requiring a fine adjustment when lifting the camera to my eye. Same goes with metering. When shooting with a camera like this, you learn quickly to read light.
Although this camera has metering, the camera works perfectly without any electricity. I assume that pros who use Leica might not even use the metering since the red arrows in viewfinder might only be a distraction.
The viewfinder of M6 is best thing I’ve ever seen and beats my 5D Mark II and Fujifilm X100 viewfinder in clarity and sharpness. Rangefinder focusing is a pleasure, especially after you learn not to block the rangefinder window with your finger while holding the camera..
M6 is also the most solid camera I’ve ever handled. Although this means also that the camera is probably the heaviest compact camera of it’s size, the solid construction has it’s benefits. This is a camera you can take into a war. Brass (or zinc) is really strong material, and the camera is perfectly balanced. It’s very easy to hold this camera steady when shooting and this will result in sharper photos.
You have to hold one in your hand to understand. This camera is built to last a lifetime.
The mechanics of the camera feel assuringly strong as well. Pressing the shutter results a satisfying click, which is not too loud or disturbing. Although my friend’s camera came with a motor winder which is very silent and fast, I realized I rather prefer manually advancing the film by using the lever.
Although loading film is a bit of a nuisance, I find something honest and precise about loading Leica M6. It’s simply built to be as fool-proof as possible.
Since this is a full frame camera (35mm film), 50mm lens gives you plenty of coverage but also plenty of bokeh.
I think 50mm ASPH is probably the lens I would buy for Leica. The lens is razor sharp and I was unable to detect any kinds of artifacts in the image. Even the widest F1.4 aperture is tack sharp. I can’t imagine any kind of lens of this size (being F1.4!) being that sharp wide open. The nine blade aperture gives creamy, soft bokeh. Also the transition between focus and out-of-focus areas is beautiful and natural.
Overall, there is something very natural about the image quality of Leica.
Since the price of M6 came down recently, this camera seems very attractive option for many photographers. Sure, dealing with film is troublesome and also expensive if you shoot a lot.
But if you are serious about photography, I really recommend at least trying out photography with a rangefinder camera. There is something beautiful and artistic about the process of setting everything manually, and it’s possible to find entirely new aspects of photography when shooting with a classic camera such as this.
Unlike when shooting with SLR, nothing will obstruct your vision when you press the shutter. It’s possible to feel much more connected to the scene you’re shooting.
If Cartier-Bresson would be still with us, I would imagine he’d still carry his Leica with him. In today’s world of digital cameras it’s refreshing and delightful to shoot with a camera designed so meticulously to fulfill a single purpose.
Leica M6 is not a calculator. It’s a camera.
I think my Fujifilm X100 is pretty nice camera regarding the it’s construction and build quality. The camera is also very light which makes it far more portable than any DSLR.
However the camera does not begin to compare to Leica’s M series. Their fit and finish is really something unrivaled. You have to hold the camera in your hands in order to understand. It’s Leica and it you can bring it to war.
Showing my X100 to pro photographers, most likely comment I get is “oh it’s so light” hummmm! Yeah, but you know, if you have lugged M6 around for couple of decades, that’s what you’re going to feel when holding such tiny digital wonder in your hands for the first time.
And I wouldn’t bring my X100 to war.
While magnesium alloy is remarkably nice material for cameras, you can’t beat brass (or titanium). It feels just right.
I have been using Fujifilm X100 now for more than three weeks. The first copy of the camera I got had the infamous stuck aperture issue, but I got a replacement one from the retailer. The “sticky aperture” issue seems to be very common with X100 cameras as noted by several blogs. It seems there is some design flaw in the aperture mechanism that plagues the X100 series. So if you are buying X100, I recommend to check that aperture is closing properly at F16, so that if there’s issue, you can get replacement one, rather than having to wait the repair.
I have always liked shooting in rangefinder style, adjusting the dials while I hold the camera to my eye. The 35mm (equiv.) focal length and large APS-C sensor were strong selling points for me as well. I have never really needed zoom so I don’t care the lack of it. I rather choose the optimized optical quality of the lens.
I also like the Fujifilm’s brave decision to make camera like this. Some of my photographer friends told me “Why don’t you just buy Sony NEX like everyone else and get on with your life?”. I guess it’s spiritual thing. X100 has attitude.
It’s a strange camera, in a good way.
Operation and Handling
The camera has three main control dials, aperture control ring around the lens (with tabs), shutter speed dial and exposure compensation dial. All of them are milled from solid metal. X100 feels very balanced and easy to hold. The black thing around the magnesium alloy body doesn’t seem to be made of leather, although the camera manual claims it to be, but it provides good enough grip for one handed shooting. I can’t imagine a camera body more solid than this, except maybe Leica. The fit and finish is very good. The numbers on dials are engraved into metal and so is the Fujifilm logo on the top plate.
There’s “focus-by-wire” manual focus ring in the lens, but it takes too many turns to change the focus and there’s pretty bad lag. I tried it couple of times before accepting the fact that this is “autofocus camera”. While it might be possible to shoot full manual with this camera, the MF lag is a painful reality.
Autofocus is pretty fast and accurate. It is based on contrast detection so it won’t compete with DSLRS (with phase detection) in terms of speed, but it it is accurate. The camera has also bright as hell “hey look I’m shooting you” AF assist lamp, which can be turned off in the menu.
As noted by Gullevek in his review of X100, great thing about X100 is that you can shoot even if AF is not achieved.
When in manual focus mode there is also a depth-of-field indicator, which shows the depth of field in distance scale as a white bar visually, which is a very handy feature. Many photographers decide to use the manual mode and press the AFL button to autofocus, and then fine tune the focus by the ring. What’s good about this is that when pressing the jog dial on top of the camera, you get 100% crop on EVF in the viewfinder momentarily which allows you to check focus. Press it again and you’re back in the OVF. Cool.
Metering has three modes, multi, spot and average. Average metering mode is especially suitable when using OVF. It tries to balance the image so that nothing gets overexposed. When you want to really compose the lighting, switch to multi or spot. I keep mine in multi for most of the time since I find it to be most flexible.
I find the camera’s metering to be simply great. Exposure comp. dial is there for quick adjustments, although the dial sometimes magically seems to turn by itself..
Shooting this camera feels intuitive, most due to the hybrid viewfinder, which turns on automatically when you bring the camera to your eye. X100′s real trick is that it can overlay the shooting information to the optical viewfinder. So you get best of the both worlds, optical real world image, plus all necessary information with live histogram if necessary. Frame lines and AF are parallax corrected.
Flicking the switch on front of the camera, you can change between EVF / OVF. When shooting macro the camera defaults automatically to EVF, which makes sense due to parallax. Although I’m not big fan of the “TV inside your camera feel” of the EVF, it gives you 100% coverage, so in some occasions it might be great. (For example when shooting in dark and the bright LCD might disturb someone)
On the downside, the default setting of the camera will turn the OVF into EVF for a moment after each shot, showing the preview image in the viewfinder. The preview image can be turned off altogether, eliminating the nuisance, but then the camera won’t show the preview image on LCD either after each shot. Many find this annoying.
As it’s widely reported in web reviews, menu layout and the command dial on the back feel less intuitive. The light plastic command dial is flimsy, although the buttons are not bad. If you take the mindset of trying to avoid using the menus altogether, you certainly can. The FN switch in the top can be customized for quick access of many of the features, although I think most people leave it to default, which is ISO setting. But simple thing as engaging ND filter does require you to dive in the menus, so indeed, it’s a bit annoying that I have to browse every time I need to access such feature. It’s strange that Fujifilm has placed things such as operation sound effects in higher priority than Auto ISO control etc.
But after you memorize the menu items, you can certainly workaround the poor UI. It didn’t ruin the experience for me.
The in-camera flash is surprisingly good. It is clearly adjusted and designed to function as a fill in flash. Although it shoots right to the face, actually this is one of the best in camera flashes I’ve seen. It is meant to provide a slight extra punch to the image just when needed, but remember to unscrew the lens hood if using it.
In X100 there is no dial with “typical A, P, SCENE” etc. If you want aperture priority mode, turn the shutter speed dial to A, and choose aperture by the aperture ring, and you’ve got aperture priority. And vice versa for shutter priority. I find this delightful. But this is also the reason why I wouldn’t recommend this camera for a beginner since there are no modes such as “creative auto”, etc.
This camera produces very high quality photos, just as reported in web reviews. I find this camera to produce sharper images than EOS 50D coupled with mid-range Tamron lens. I love how Fujifilm decided to keep the sensor at 12 megapixels instead of trying to compete with the cameras that offer larger megapixel count. Therefore the ISO performance is really good, perhaps one of the best in the market in APS-C sensor cameras.
Iso 1600 is totally usable and if you like to shoot black insects in coal mines, you can punch it at least up to 6400 and still getting pretty usable images. The noise reduction is also pretty good and doesn’t result in bad artifacts.
X100 can process RAWs inside the camera. And the result is impressive. DPreview mentioned that the in-camera processing is even better than the result got with the included software and I second that, since it’s in-camera you can do it without computer. This camera has in fact best in-camera processing I have ever seen.
The film simulation can mimic Fujifilm’s Provia and Velvia films, and this feature is more than a trick or “art filter” ; it really makes practical sense and is slight enough not to be intrusive. The image quality is great when using the any of the film simulation modes, so all is well there.
Other Shooting Modes
There isn’t much to say here. There’s bracketing modes including film simulation and ISO bracketing, “motion panorama” , which produces OK panoramas and artifacts if there are much movement in the scene, and 720p 24fps movie mode which is OK, but suffers from the lack of image stabilization.
Continuous shooting is possible at 5fps (up to 10 jpgs and 8 raw’s) or 3fps. Writing of the images to the SD card will take some time.
Expect to pay 3000 yen + if you intend to attach any filter to this camera. Filter adapter ring or lens hood are not included with the camera and must be bought separately.
The lens hood kit includes filter adapter ring but it costs whopping 10,000 yen. The lens hood and adapter are made of aluminum and are very high quality, just like the lens cap.
The thing what I didn’t like about lens hood that it doesn’t really firmly lock into place, so I wouldn’t recommend carrying this camera from the lens barrel when hood is attached, because the thing can pretty easily become loose.
I recommend at least getting the adapter plus a basic UV filter to protect the lens.
By the way, neither the lens cap or leather case cover will fit over the filter adapter or hood.
The leather case is classy but costs 10.000 yen. Because of the fitting issue I ended up using only the bottom half of it for better grip and some extra protection. By the way, it is true that if moist, leather attracts mold..
I also bought the smaller version of the external flash, EF-20. It’s very compact and tilts upwards 90 degrees. The bigger brother also swivels and provide more power. EF-20 is very useful when bounced from the floor.
The battery charger is a bit weird with loose plastic piece that’s required to charge the battery. It seems very odd. Also the symmetrical shape battery can be placed in the camera and charger in four different ways (and only one being the correct, of course) so it takes some practice.
But the battery NP-95 offers reasonably good amount of shots. I am going to get spare though just in case.
The camera also supports good old mechanical shutter release which is great.
The camera manual is written in lawyer-english. Although it explains the operation of the camera it doesn’t really provide much useful tips for actual shooting.
There’s something almost spiritual when shooting with X100. It just feels right. It’s possible to operate the most important settings while holding the camera up to your eye and there’s a lot of this analog “tactile feel” to the camera’s dials. It’s almost shocking to use DSLR after a shooting session with X100. It’s that much good.
It would be wrong to compare this camera to Leica M9, since the camera is totally different and also in different price range. But those who long for the good old range finder days might find some salvation in this cool retro camera. And X100 pleases the eye.
I recommend this camera for any advanced amateur/prosumer / photography enthusiast. It’s more expensive than other cameras with APS-C sensor but it offers luxury of great optical viewfinder, high quality lens, beautiful design and a nearly silent shutter.
This is not a compact camera but a serious tool for artist who wants manual control over his image, but also portability and small form factor.
PS. By the way. The included mini USB cable is NOT a standard mini USB cable, but unique Fujifilm cable, so don’t lose it!