Above, Self portrait with iPhone
I had just come into work, after getting off the plane from Asia. My new Fuji X100 was waiting on my desk. I unpacked it, charged the battery and started playing with it. I immediately fell in love. This is one of the first photos I took, at my desk. One hand was on the camera, taking a photo whilst the other was on the iPhone taking a photo of me taking the photo. And I did the weired thing with my eye.
The first thing I noticed about the camera (apart from how good it looked) was how light it felt. I am used to lugging Leicas around. Obviously it is nowhere near the same build quality as a Leica but the build quality feels pretty good, and of course it is nice to have a small and light camera sometimes (one of the reasons I bought the X100). It also felt god in my hands almost immediately.
(shot at f2.8, 1/30s and 320 iso)
So I was walking around Old Street in the afternoon with some Kodak portra film from my trip to Hanoi to drop off at the pro lab. I always like street photography around Old Street. As I was heading back towards the tube station I bumped into the guy and we both immediately noticed we were carrying the same camera.
He turned out to be a professional photographer called Ade Oshineye. He usually used Nikon SLRs but had been using, and loving, the Fuji X100 for a month. I told him it was my first day so he gave me some useful tips. We took each other's portraits, and this is my favourite of him. Hopefully I shall find his of mine sometime. Thanks for the tips Ade.
This was the first of two encounters where the X100 got me talking. The second time a girl came up and asked what camera I had, and then said, I just want to say it is so beautiful. Another reason why carrying one of these around with you is fun.
(shot at f2.8, 1/640s and 400 iso)
Above, Walking the Dog
There was something about this man's attire and attitude, with his little dog, that caught my attention. He noticed as I quickly caught this moment on the X100 in the subway at Old Street.
(shot at f2.8, 1/170s and 1600 iso)
I often pass this classic car place near Old St tube and lust at some of their old models (I like retro cars as well as retro cameras). This little old Lotus looked so cute with its lights, like two eyes, up.
(shot at f4, 1/600s and 400 iso).
Found a nice new espresso bar by the roundabout at Old Street, called "Shoreditch Grind" and done up like a retro cinema. The coffee is good too and it means I don't have to go into that awful Starbucks frothy milk seller nearby. More pics of Shoreditch Grind on my flickr set (see link below)
Here is a photo I took of a jar of teaspoons, simply to test the macro setting on the camera. I like it - in particular the strong difference between the in focus teaspoons and the soft creamy bokeh background.
(shot at f2, 1/550s, 200 iso, Macro)
I really like this shot - I think it is my favourite from the day. The expression of the girl looking at of the window, lit by natural light and the retro light above her head, is strong and interesting. The photo was take through two pains of glass and thus includes many reflections and diffraction, but somehow that makes it more dream for me.
I was impressed with how the lens did (no filter) shooting through glass like this.
(Shot at f2, 1/600s and 400 iso)
I had just got on the Northern line train and immediately saw the striking look of the white woman on the right, as I held the camera up to my eye to frame the shot, the clack woman on the left, in mid conversation, clocked me. I thought she was going to object, but I had taken the photo and put the camera down in a split second. The photo really works for me and is a good example of what I got the X100 for - quick, high quality street photography often in low light situations.
(shot at f2, 1/300s, 1600 iso).
I found the X100 very good to use in the tube. Possibly the best camera I have used for shooting in the tube because it is small, makes no noise at all (on the right setting) does not look intimidating and most of all works great with the lens wide open and with high isos. The 35mm equiv lens means you need to get closer to your subjects than you might feel comfortable with doing candid photography - but that also makes it more fun and edgy for me.
I was standing right above this sleeping passenger and had no idea whether taking this quick shot would wake him (he did not). The slightly diagonal composition was as much a result of speed as of choice, but it worked with the lines of the sleeper's arm upon which he rests his head.
Preliminary Conclusion and more photos
I ordered the Fuji X100 whilst on holiday doing street photography in Hanoi. It was something that gave me a good reason to look forward to coming home. I was very excited about it, and had read dozens of mainly positive (and some negative) reviews. As soon as I arrived at work I unpacked it and started figuring how to work it - with little time to read the manual.
I have to say my anticipation was not let down. I am already deeply in love with this camera. The image quality is what it is cracked up to be, easily as good as most DSLRs. I don't think the image quality is as good as my leica M8, but it is not far off in my opinion. And I never shoot above 320 iso (well occasionally I shoot at 640 iso if really pushed) on my M8 because I hate the noise on the M8. I think 1600 iso on this X100 is as good as 320 iso on the M8, and 3200 iso is better than 640 iso on the M8, according to my very limited experience with this camera so far. that means I can get 3 more stops out of this than the M8, and with a camera which is lighter, quieter and has autofocus (sometimes useful) and image quality very close to the M8. It is thus almost perfect for street photography in my opinion.
I have heard people bemoan firmware problems with this camera. So far nothing has really bothered me. Yes it is slow to right, when using raw and jpeg - but I am used to using the M8 so that does not really matter to me. I would like a quicker way to change iso. I found focusing thought the Optical viewfinder difficult and have not really done much manula focussing at all that has worked yet (I think I did with the teaspoons above). But the AF I find pretty accurate despite reading lost of negative stuff about it.
As you can see many of my shots are shot wide open at f2. For me the lens works perfectly at f2, and is very similar to a Summicron or Zeiss Biogon f2 lens in its quality. I must mention again the high iso (the main reason I bought this camera). I am still blown away that such a small camera can produce such good low light images - and I have no doubt this is the best high iso from any small camera.
The fixed lens does not bother me at all. If I had to have a fixed lens for s street camera iit would be a 35/2 lens. In Hanoi I spent half the time with my M8 with the 28 Summicron f2 attached to it (equivalent to 35mm on the M8). Most of the other half of the time I spent with the 50mm Summicron f2 (which becomes a short telephoto at 66m). I in fact prefer the 50/2 lens on the M8. So I think my perfect digital walkaround combination will now be the M8 with 50/2 and Fuji X100. I am not worried about the Fuji X100 replacing my M8 - it won't. I do worry about using film cameras less so shall try and make sure I alternately take a film rangefinder with me and not the M8 with the X100.
But the thing about the X100 - it's so good small and light that you can take it anywhere, and it is no extra burden to take it with you if you are having another camera, or two, that day. I know I have only used it for a day, but right now I am finding it hard to believe I would ever want to go out without it. That means it certainly is worth every penny it cost.
You can see more of the photos I took on the first day with the X100, and as days go by more photos added, here: Fuji 100 flickr set. please feel free to leave comments here or there.
I have also set up a new group on flickr for X100 users to showcase their best work. Please have a look and if you use the X100 join it.
Finally, apologies again for not properly and chronologically updating my blog. I still have not found my portable hard drive. If i don;t find it tomorrow I shall continue to update but have to miss out lost photos.