I’ve used a lot of cameras over the years. Most I owned myself, a few I borrowed or rented. Though they all (well, mostly) produced beautiful image quality, the user experience was vastly different across the board. And user experience is a very hard thing to quantify.
Cameras are tools, but tools are rated in a completely subjective manner. If your medium is canvas and acrylic, you may have a specific type of brush you prefer. Artists have a wide range of preferences regarding charcoal, clay, watercolor, etc. Cameras are really no different. Certain tools “speak” to us in unique ways and allow us to create more freely.
For many people, they’re satisfied with their phone’s camera. The technology really is incredible these days. But for me, the experience is still lacking. The lack of creative control and options on my phone are limiting. Yes, I can take good pictures using my iPhone, but I don’t enjoy the process as much as when using a standalone camera.
The Fujifilm X100F was almost there. It sure fit the portability role, but it lacked a truly sharp lens (wide open) and an articulating screen, both things I couldn’t do without. Not because the camera was bad, but because those are my preferences – some of the things that allow me to create art more freely.
I have sold and purchased and traded a lot of gear in the past two years, perhaps hastily at times. It was all done from an intense desire to create without limitation. And strangely, the more gear I had, the more I felt limited. Limited by my own indecision I suppose. What lens should I bring? Do I even want to carry a body and lens? What if I wind up needing a different focal length? And so on…
The X100V is quite literally the perfect camera for me, during this season in my life – that may change. In fact, it probably will, knowing me. Highly portable with excellent image quality and features that make sense for my style of shooting. It’s the camera I’ve always dreamed of owning. My kids aren’t intimidated by it and strangers don’t really give it a second glance. Do I wish it was a bit smaller, a bit lighter? Sure. (I’ve been waiting for an X80 for years to no avail).
I carry it with me often and frankly, I’m able to pull it out and be ready to shoot faster than with my iPhone. Like my iPhone, the tech is so good, the features so intuitive, and the styling so beautiful that I can’t imagine a reason to upgrade until it literally dies.
The X100V will be with me for years to come and I look forward to all we will create together.
UPDATE: Indeed, it’s a stellar camera in every way but I sold my X100V after about six months. In fact, I downgraded all my gear, convinced the newest tech was making me lazy. Stay tuned.