I failed my year long experiment. But I’m okay with it.

Last summer, I committed to one year with the Fujifilm X100F. Life complications had me feeling an intense desire to simplify everything so I could stay afloat. And that purpose was served, mostly. I didn’t really have any expectations but I was definitely searching for some inspiration.

It’s been 10 months and I’m ready to call it quits on the X100F. I miss the versatility of switching lenses and getting a completely different look and feel in my images. I think the ability to switch things up keeps me creative and inspired.

Don’t get me wrong: I think the X100F is an excellent camera, it’s just not right for me and my style of shooting. I see life in 50mm terms and have never been able to fully adjust to the native 35mm equivalent fixed lens; it may be my most used focal length for work, but not for my personal life.

It turns out that my gut reaction to the X100F all those months ago was on the money. (Remember when I rented it and didn’t like it, then ordered an X-T2 and then sent it back and ordered the X100F anyway? Yeah, I should’ve gone with my gut).

And so, I’m saying goodbye to the X100F and hello to the X-T2. (I know the X-T3 is out now but I try to avoid buying the latest and greatest because gear depreciates so quickly, it’s kind of like throwing money away). For now, I plan on pairing it with my vintage glass and having some fun.

So, let’s recap some of the things about the X100F that I just couldn’t get on board with.

First off, I really missed the tactile nature of shooting. On my X-T1, nearly everything could be controlled externally. I almost never had to use the menu system. And I LOVED that. It felt like using an old analog camera. With less dials and buttons on the X100F, I lost that tactile feel. I was always aware that I was working with a digital camera.

Another couple of features lacking on the X100F that I just don’t think I can do without are the articulating screen and the built in level. It really offered the ability to frame shots from odd positions, which fits well with my mentality of, “get high, get low, step right, step left, move forward, move back.” This is how I approach my photography so that I can get different angles and viewpoints of the same scene.

100F2742
Getting this shot of my kid in the car behind me was tricky without an articulating screen.

Now let’s talk image sharpness. With the exception of specific shots for work, I’m a wide open kind of shooter. So the fact that the fixed 23mm f/2 lens is soft wide open really bothered me. I have previously owned the 23mm f/1.4 and it was tack sharp wide open. In this regard especially, the X100F felt like a big step down. What’s the point of having a f/2 aperture if you can’t use it?

The biggest downfall for me personally (outside of the inability to switch lenses) was the lack of grip on the X100F. Yes, I wanted portability but the camera is maybe even too small. My hands aren’t large, probably pretty average for a woman, but the camera never felt secure in my hand. I constantly felt like I was going to drop it and found myself gripping it more tightly than I would a larger camera because there was really nothing to hold onto. I know there are aftermarket accessories for this kind of thing, but they add bulk or block other buttons and I just didn’t like them.

I loved the portability of the X100F but ultimately for me, the smaller size didn’t outweigh the things I didn’t like. And my dislike of the camera only grew with time. It’s mid May and I’ve only shot about 300 personal photos with it this year. I’ve shot nearly twice that on my iPhone so far.

That says a lot, don’t you think?