Six months with the Fuji X100F. What I love and what I hate. And will I keep it?

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Back in July of 2018, I sold all my Fuji lenses and purchased a fixed lens X100F. I was taking a sabbatical from client work and really in need of creative refreshment. My focus was shot, my direction non-existent. Something needed to change. I needed a new perspective. The simplicity of a single camera sounded like just the ticket. And in many ways, it really was.

I have, in the past, tried to stick to shooting with just one body and lens for a period of time but honestly, I always lacked the discipline to see it through. I’d frame a shot in my mind and think, “Oh man, I know I said I’m only going to shoot with my 23mm but the 35mm would be perfect for this!” And so it goes.

I always had the best of intentions… But my own lack of self discipline is why I determined that the only way I’d stick to it was if I didn’t give myself any other options.*

I’m not going to lie, I was a little terrified of selling off my gear and limiting myself. But it wound up being the best thing for me.

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The last six months have seen not only an increase in the number of images I’ve shot, but I’ve also enjoyed photography more than I have in years. I’m very grateful to the compact X100F for giving me that. Shooting with it has been a joy. I carry it with me most of the time, fitting it easily in my regular bag along with my wallet, glasses and car keys.

Things I love about the X100F:

  1. Portability – so small and compact. Really easy to take anywhere. It even fits in my jacket pocket.
  2. Digital zoom – a handy feature to have. It does only work when shooting jpeg, but I do shoot jpeg most of the time so it works great for me. It’s like having three lenses in one. (And no, I didn’t notice any loss of image quality).
  3. Simplicity – no need to waste time and energy deciding what camera to bring with me.
  4. Acros film simulation – beautiful. Truly.
  5. Custom function buttons – many more options for setting up custom functions with this camera so I’m able to really tailor it to my style of shooting.
  6. Built in ND filter. I had never used one before and had no idea how useful it would be. I’m hooked.

Things I don’t like about the X100F:

  1. Grip – as in there isn’t one. There’s very little to hold onto so the camera never quite feels secure in my hand, slippery almost. I purchased a leather wrist strap and ALWAYS use it, just in case. I do think there are aftermarket accessories for this however.
  2. Sharpness – wide open, the native lens isn’t as sharp as the 23mm f/1.4. Images are still perfectly usable but coming from the 23mm f/1.4, I definitely noticed the difference.
  3. No articulating screen – as someone who wears glasses, I find it difficult to look through a viewfinder. I either can’t get my eye close enough or I smudge my glasses on the eye cup. As such, I rely heavily on the LCD to compose my shots. And not being able to adjust it doesn’t work well for me.

All in all, I’m not sure the pros outweigh the cons for me. I’ll re-evaluate in another six months. The next question is whether the X100F could really deliver for professional work.

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After some much needed time off, I began shooting client work again and have to date, shot four full editorial spreads almost exclusively with the X100F and its conversion lenses. (Disclaimer: I pulled out my X-T1 with vintage glass to shoot a handful of portraits). It’s a very capable little camera. Here is my first takeaway from the first six months of this experiment:

I don’t need as much gear as I had. And I’m happier without it.

I think the X100F is a great camera. Truly. I love shooting with this camera. The portability, the simplicity and oh man, the image quality! The mom in me doesn’t need any more than this. It’s so easy to use, so lightweight and the digital zoom to 50mm and 70mm is a great feature. I honestly never shoot a longer telephoto lens than that anyway so it definitely meets my needs.

But of course, I do shoot professionally as well, primarily editorial interiors. This means I need a wide lens – wider than the native 23mm offered on the X100F. The WCL conversion lens worked well for this and I didn’t notice a difference in image quality.

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Taken with iPhone 8+

I gained so much creative understanding of myself, my needs and how I shoot over the past six months. I do really love not being heavily invested in one specific camera brand. Technology changes so quickly. I have been a big Fujifilm fan for several years but will I still be five years from now? A lot can change in that amount of time.

I like the freedom of being able to select the best tool for my style of shooting without being financially tied up in one particular system so regardless of whether the X100F stays or goes, I don’t see myself having more than one digital camera body and possibly two lenses – one wide and one telephoto.

Stay tuned…