Fuji X100S; The Street Edition

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I never liked “Street Photography.” I mean, I always enjoyed looking at others’ street photography and often wondered how they were able to capture what they had, but I’ve never really enjoyed doing it much myself. I think I’m starting to get it now and that’s down to me getting a Fuji X100S.

I bought my first Fuji largely because I wanted to get something smaller in a 35 mm focal length, but if you do more than 18 seconds of research on it, it’s impossible not to read time and again (and again) how great a camera the X100(S) is for street photography. So I was cautiously eager to try my hand at street shooting again.

I didn’t fully appreciate how much easier shooting strangers with pretty much anything aside from a DSLR really is. I figured being quick and covert ought to be enough, and yet I never felt comfortable with it. But people are really wary of random dudes with DSLRs—especially when they’ve got something like a 24-70 hanging off the front of it. In reality, shooting with something like a rangefinder truly does put people at ease much more than a paparazzi-looking DSLR does.

In addition to that, it’s also much easier to take photos without anybody knowing a thing. I’ve been sitting beside my wife and taken photos that she has no idea I’ve taken until she sees them on my Mac days later.

I do have a few gripes though:

  1. I wouldn’t mind another Fn button. Maybe near the lens where the fingers on my right hand rest similar to my D700.
  2. I’d love to be able to set the D-pad to change the focus points by default instead of having to hit the AF button first. I haven’t spent any time thinking through how you’d get to the other functions.
  3. To that end, I also wish I could reduce the number of focus points to choose from for faster selection. 
  4. I kind of feel like I need a half case with a grip or maybe a Thumbs Up from Match Technical. I’ve avoided it so far ’cause I’m trying to stay stock if possible. Adding the Thumbs up will make it ever-so-slightly less easy to slide into my bag. The X100S just barely slides in a pocket along with my iPad currently. But I think the thumb support would make a huge difference with quick one-handed operation.
  5. $100 for a hood and filter attachment is a bit much. Fuji are clearly trying to make their money back on accessories. I’ve come close to ordering a JJC hood and filter attachment, but there are stories of the fit being not quite right. That would drive me nuts. 
  6. I wish it was available in black. I actually preferred the look of the silver at first, but the black is definitely less conspicuous and the longer I have it, the more I wish it was black.

Gripes aside, they’re all outweighed by the positives—quick to focus once you learn it, easy one-handed operation as compared to the X-E1 and X-Pro1, outstanding picture quality, etc.—and I’ve taken way more photos since I bought the X100S than I had in the last year. That’s gotta be what matters most.

I hope to have a Landscape Edition posted in less time than it took me to get this online, but sadly, I actually broke my precious Fuji, rendering it unusable just a week into our vacation/honeymoon when I really hoped to put it through its paces. More on that in the next post.

Posted on October 6, 2013 and filed under Photography, Reviews.