Fuji X100s - the ultimate walkabout stock camera?

Modern slr camera isolated with colour slides

I've been a fan of Fuji's higher-end cameras ever since I dumped a Nikon D70 for an end-of-line S3 Pro.

Fuji's S3 Pro was based on an even older end-of-line Nikon film body and had some quirks that made it almost impossible to shoot in raw. Well, that's not true - the S3 could shoot three consecutive RAW files before the camera locked up and “buffered” for the better part of 30 seconds.

I forgave the S3 Pro and used it as a primary camera long after it should have been replaced simply because it had the most amazing high dynamic range sensor that, to my eye, ran rings around more popular, faster cameras. To this day, the S3's successor, the S5 Pro can still sell used online for over $1 000.

The S5 used the same sensor as the S3 but was based on a Nikon D200 body and had faster write times. Wedding photographers loved the Fuji cameras because of their uncanny ability to retain detail in a bride's white dress and the grooms dark suit.

Fuji's problem though, was that while they had a more or less successful line of point and shoot cameras, they did not have a DSLR body and line of lenses of their own to be successful in that market.

Instead, Fuji shot a broadside over the camera market when they released the first of their X series cameras - the X100. Despite clever technology such as a hybrid viewfinder, I still like to think of the X100 as an affordable Leica.

It's not a Leica and it does not fit the expensive but beautiful Leica M mount lenses - or any other lens other than the 35mm equivalent prime lens permanently fixed to the front of it's retro-styled body. But it does what a Leica does . . . boil down photography into its essential components and package it in a camera that can be taken with you wherever you go.

It's like photographic Zen - only the essentials are there.

My Nikon DSLR is like a rude, fat cousin who can't behave in public. You can't take it anywhere save for special occasions like a family wedding or christening. The Nikon behaves okay at home or in the studio or on especially planned “shoot days”. But the point of the X100 and it's follow-up, the X100s, is that it fits into your life so that it can go with you wherever you go.

I walk or drive past stock photo opportunities every day and I never get them because my Nikon and its bag of lenses are simply not user-friendly enough to take with me wherever I go. For me, that's important as a stock photographer who like to shoot outside a studio and it's why my next camera purchase is going to be either the X100 or X100s.

Post first published on the Durban Photographer site.

Photo credits: Africa Rising Agency.
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  • Alistaircotton
  • Hilton, Pmb, South Africa

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September 16, 2018

I have two x100's that I have not seen, let alone used (don't ask).


November 13, 2013

I'm in the same boat as Babar760 - I used to have a dSLR system and a compact camera and I decided between them. Whenever I chose the compact I missed out on stock photo opportunities. I sold both and switched to the Olympus/Panasonic Micro four thirds system and now have one camera that does both carry anywhere (when suited up with a pancake 28mm or 40mm equivalent lens) or my studio/event camera. Heck, I even took it running! ***.com I get the appeal of the X100 on paper, but after trying one in a store it just didn't appeal to me much. Plus, I find a lot of my kid photography would be limited with only the 35mm lens...


November 13, 2013

I also agree that the X100s is a fantastic camera. However, for the same size and same purpose of shooting, I got the Olympus OM-D E-M5. They are close to the same size, but the Olympus has fantastic image stabilization and interchangeable lenses. I felt that with "only" a 35mm lens I would be limiting myself. If I want to play Cartier Bresson, the X100s in the one to beat!


November 13, 2013

I agree - but my camera for taking everywhere is the Canon G1X - the image quality is also very good - especially when using tele. With the X100 I would miss the zoom and with that miss some opps now and then. But I also think that the X100 is a fantastic camera - glad that Fuji did find a comeback which started more or less with that camera.