Upgrade Time

I wrote an article on 18 August 2015 about the Fuji X100S. I had recently bought it for street photography and was inspired by its looks and in awe of its image quality. Approx. 35,400 shots later I am still blown away by it. It is great to handle and use but is quirky and frustrating at times. If I was on the design team for the next iteration, brainstorming ideas on how the model could be improved, I would have a decent sized list.

Focus is slow and a bit hit and miss. There aren’t enough focus points and I find that shooting from the hip, or not taking my time, produces a lot of missed shots where the focus is on something in the distance, or the subject has all but left the shot before it manages to focus and the shutter goes off. The dials turn far too easily which means they need to be checked regularly in case I have caught them and the setting is wrong. The battery doesn’t last long, but that is a mirrorless camera thing in general so I can’t complain that much. The grip is virtually non existent so I have an added grip on mine to ensure I can keep hold of it, but that bulks it up a bit. The continuous focus it VERY hit and miss and I rarely use it, except when I have caught the thing that controls it and moved on to it by mistake. But other than that, I love the camera. I imagine it will always be in my possession.

The good points are that the image quality is brilliant. I love it. I never cease to be amazed by what it can produce. It is a joy to use; I love the analogue approach to its use and that you can see at a glance, the most important settings and adjust them without delving into menus (I hate menus). It won’t fit in my trouser pocket but it will fit in my jacket pocket if I need to. However, it is rarely out of my hand when I am using it. It is the only camera I have, that regularly gets questions about what it is and if its a film camera. It has a retro rangefinder look inspired by the Leica stable and is by far the best looking camera I own.

Notwithstanding the above, after passing on the Fuji X100T and Fuji X100F iterations, Fuji are now bringing out the Fuji X100V. It looks pretty much the same, but has a host of improvements that address some, if not all, the issues I have with the X100S. I have to wait for 15 days before it is released and then only if there is enough stock to fulfill my order; I understand there is quite a bit of demand. I hope Amazon have got enough units to satisfy my need. I am now regularly on the Fuji website looking for the manual to be uploaded so I can download it and read it cover to cover. I’ve never bought a camera so new i.e. before it has been released, so not sure how things work really. I also find I can’t get a grip for it because it is so new although there built in grip is better than on previous models.

Will it make me a better photographer? Probably not. Did I need it? Not really. Did I want it? Definitely. This is a thing to appeal to my emotions rather than anything else. What I enjoyed in the ‘S’ version, will be better and I hope more rewarding. It’s taken an advance on this year’s birthday and Christmas presents from my wife, and all my personal photography savings. But there’s no point waiting until December when I can be enjoying it right now (27 February or 15 days).

I hope it lives up to my expectations. I am confident it will. I can’t wait to post my first images. I’m lucky that I will be visiting the 2020 Birmingham UK St Patrick’s Day Parade where I will be able to use it in the crowds. If it rains again, this new camera is water resistant; I also am water resistant, especially with my cagoule on, so nothing will hold me back.

Update 26 September 2020

The St Patrick’s Day Parade was cancelled a few days before the event was to take place, due to the Coronavirus. I went on to the streets of Birmingham instead for a couple of days, which I enjoyed but it wasn’t quite the same vibe as the parade. I got to try the new camera but it was a pretty uneventful trip and I didn’t get any images to remember. The only thing that does remain in my consciousness is when I was unpacking at the end of the day and as I went to put my camera bag in the boot of my car, the camera dropped out on to the pavement. The crumple zone of the lens hood took the impact and apart from the £3 cost to replace with a Chinese lookalike and a very small dinge in the top plate, no damage done. Phew.

Then in September 2020 I took it down to London, along with my X-T3 and new Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 ll lens to do some street photography, which you can read about in my Extinction Rebellion post. The X100V performed flawlessly and was a joy to use. Getting up close amongst the protesters as they demonstrated, and got arrested, was easy with this focal length and I realised a little bit more what this camera is capable of.


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