In an effort to be really transparent, I’m not going to delete my previous post about how the X100F was not the camera for me. That was my initial reaction. I even ordered an X-T2 and was pretty excited about it. But then it arrived and guess what happened?
Whereas for the short time the X100F was in my possession I took it everywhere and made a lot of beautiful photographs, the X-T2 arrived and sat on my desk. I like the way the XT series handles so much more. I like the way it feels. But with a lens attached, it’s too big to carry everywhere. And I was foolish to lose sight of that. I don’t need another camera that sits on my desk. I already have two larger film cameras that I only use at home for that very reason.
It’s crazy how things work out sometimes because it’s almost like the decision was made for me. The X-T2 I received actually wound up being defective. What are the chances, right? So, I was already going to have to send it back and in packaging it all up, I realized that I bought the upgraded version of the camera I just sold instead of the camera that would fit the needs I had already identified.
And so, the X100F it is. I’m going to have to embrace the learning curve.
I’m not perfect. The former professional photographer in me saw more possibilities with the interchangeable lens system. Former professional photographer. The mom in me realized that the best camera is the one I have with me, which means it needs to be small, lightweight and unobtrusive.
Have I mentioned how averse I am to change? I think that’s one of the reasons I made the choice I did. I’m afraid of change. But I shouldn’t be, because nothing stays the same.
One of the things I had a hard time with when I was running my own photography business was the lack of freedom. It sounds contrary right? You become a business owner to have more freedom, more control, etc. And in some ways, you get it. But in others, you sacrifice.
When creating photographs for clients, your portfolio of work needs to be consistent. Similar tones and colors, an overall similar style. You find a single way of shooting and editing your images and you stick with it so that prospective clients know what to expect. It’s an approach that works.
You lose so much when you are constantly trying to put your own photography in a box.
When I look at my client work over the past five years, I can recognize that it’s good. It’s been published in multiple places, but I don’t see how it’s any different from anyone else’s. There’s nothing unique or different. It is exactly what the client wanted/expected and my own vision is absent.
I hope to get back to making photographs that show who I am, what I value. I relish the freedom to create a moody black and white on a dismal day and a light filled golden hour portrait the day after that. While I am organized and detailed in every other area of my life, I want to be able to experiment with my photography, step outside my comfort zone and create something reflective of that moment, regardless of all the moments that came before or the ones that will come after.
I have long since said that my favorite thing about photography was history. Many people don’t think of it that way, but it is a historical record. Someday, generations from now, someone may look back on my images the way I look back on images from decades past. It’s a window used to get a glimpse into a world we can only imagine.
Realism has always been a driving force in my work.
I’m not interested in Photoshopping something into fantasy. I won’t make a woman look 20 lbs lighter or remove all the wrinkles from someone’s face. Because then the historical record is a lie. And that’s tragic. Yet, that’s what people wanted. Over and over I turned clients down because they wanted to spread that lie to the world. They can, that’s their right. But I didn’t want my name on it.
Real life is often ugly. But there’s a kind of beauty in that too.
It took me less than 24 hours with the Fuji X100F to know it wasn’t the camera for me. One of the main reasons I switched to a Fuji X-T1 three years ago was the tactile nature of shooting. There was a dedicated dial or control ring or button for just about everything. I could look at my camera and know exactly what the settings were. It felt like shooting my old Canon AE-1 and I loved that.
The X100F is a beautiful camera but it lacks that tactile feel.
I find myself having to go into the internal menu often to adjust things that can’t be controlled via the custom function buttons (bracketing, shooting mode, etc) and it reminds me too much of shooting my Canon DSLR’s back in the day. That’s not a good thing. (I’m sure this is all complete gibberish for anyone unfamiliar with photography gear. Sorry).
Another feature I really miss is an articulating screen. As someone who wears glasses, I rely on this feature a lot because I can’t put my eye to the viewfinder without smudging my glasses.
And so, the X100F will go back tomorrow and my new Fuji X-T2 should be arriving in a few days. I really love the premise of the X100 series and the styling is on point (I wish they’d remove the front branding from the X-T2) but for me, the pros don’t outweigh the cons.
However, in my quest to simplify, I am keeping just one of my lenses (the 23mm f/1.4, which has been my most used) because working within the constraints of just one focal length is really appealing to me.
I did really appreciate the challenge of shooting with a rangefinder style camera, which I’ve never done before. Working with new gear did cause me to shift my perspective and think outside my normal box. It was, in a word, refreshing.