July 4, 2018

One year with Fujifilm X100T

5 minute read

One year ago today, I resumed my long-adjourned photography hobby, with the Fujifilm X100T. There’s two thoughts I’d like to share today. You can see some of my photos at my photo gallery.

Fujifilm X100T – a retrospective

I still think that the Fuji X100T was one of the best possible cameras I could have picked up at the time. Its great manual controls and compact size made it a great camera for learning and taking everywhere. Its classic styling and compact size makes it a secret weapon in the hands of someone moderately experienced, as it can go toe-to-toe with a crop-sized DSLR in its areas of strength, all while not intimidating to friends and family. And its integration with the Instax SP2 smartphone printer are great, both for starting conversations, and for handing out keepsakes.

The other cameras I was considering at the time, the Sony RX100 III, and the Ricoh GR II, are still great cameras, and excellent in their respective niches. The Sony is, in my mind, the ultimate travel camera, and I still regularly recommend it to my friends who want a travel camera but aren’t interested in learning photography formally. And the Ricoh manages to pack a ton of APSC power into a tiny form factor, at a great price. But I was intrigued by the possibilities of achieving proficiency with manual exposure and composition, and I got exactly what I wanted with the Fuji X100T, all without sacrificing too much on portability.

While it definitely didn’t make sense for me to get an interchangeable lens camera for the first year back, I’m starting to get to the point where I’m curious about what an interchangeable lens camera can bring to my hobby. I was able to learn plenty on my camera, and it continues to serve me incredibly well, but there’s a couple of limitations of the camera’s nature which I’m approaching a growth wall with (but not hindering my ability to take good pictures):

  1. The fact that the lens is only a 35mm (equivalent), and convertible to 28mm or 50mm (equivalent) with extra (expensive) converters, means that I can only shoot at a couple of different perspectives. Admittedly, those are my favorite perspectives, and I produce great results with them. But, for my education, I’d like the ability to shoot wider or narrower.
  2. The camera is a neat little package, but the body is too small to really tolerate lots of kitting out with lenses/flashes. I know that flash is something that’s more common with ILC cameras; but there’s a limit with what I can get in terms of flash now (the lens hood/converters block the built-in flash).

In the meantime, I’ve accepted an offer from my father to borrow one of his cameras and a couple of his lenses, until I suss out my weaknesses a bit more. Probably a lot of this is grass-is-greener syndrome, but we’ll see how it goes. An ILC camera is necessarily bulkier and more unwieldy than my little “point-and-shoot”.

Here’s some of my favorite shots from the past year (also on the gallery), all taken on the Fuji X100T using the default 35mm equivalent lens. For all of these shots, the only reason I was able to nab them was because this camera was small enough, flexible enough, and powerful enough to nail these shots.

First year resuming photography retrospective

I’ve been encouraged by seeing how far I’ve come in the past year, not just in terms of artistic perspective, but also my knowledge of the art. Along the way, I’ve picked up a few different accessories for the camera (mobile printer, telephoto converter lens, lens hood, some filters), which have helped me venture further than even I expected I would. But, on the other hand, I’m wary of devolving into an “Uncle Bob” type character, and ruining somebody’s day with my enthusiasm for (clearly amateur) photography. I recognize (perhaps by my past excesses) that while everybody likes a good photo, there’s a marked difference between a photographer hired to record an event, and a friend/family member who happens to have a camera handy for a group photo at the end of a nice get-together. (In that sense, one of the beauties of photography is that something heartwarming can be created in just a brief moment.)

I’m not quite sure where this hobby of mine will take me next. I think I’m getting past the point where meandering around town will provide growth opportunities for me. As I see it, my two main options are to either keep things strictly as a hobby, or to try and go “to the next level”; and if keeping things a hobby, whether to just bring along my camera on the day when the inclination strikes, or whether to pursue more formal opportunities (photo walks etc).

I don’t really see myself going into the paid photography space; for one thing, I already have a day job which keeps me quite busy. And, even if that weren’t enough, I’m not sure that I’d have the personality and artistic inclination to make it as a semi-professional. I guess that leaves me the choices of trying to do photography meetups and clubs, or just calling it a day here and now. I don’t have the answer today, but when I know more, you can probably find out about it here, as always.

© Jeff Rabinowitz, 2023