As a continuation of the rather strange last month for my blog I’ve decided to do another “review.” I put that in quotations because I don’t think I really know how to do a proper review. This will be more like my thoughts on a camera I’ve used off and on for a while: The Fujifilm X100T.
After posting my thoughts on the henri strap, by Eric Kim, some people asked if I could make a post talking about the camera the strap was attached to. I don’t particularly like talking about gear but I figured I could certainly add my two cents on this camera.
My relationship with Fujifilm cameras is about as long as it is with any camera company. When I was going through my faze of serious gear whoredom I used many Fujifilm cameras. In fact, I had one of the first X100s to find its way to Korea back in 2011. I used it during a trip to Japan right after I received it.
I actually loved it. It was one of the first times where I felt like I was using a camera that could basically do “everything” I needed it to. It was however, pretty slow and frustrating to use.
Over the years many firmware updates have made the original X100 very usable. No matter what camera I buy I always seem to eventually come back to an X100. I think it is just so good at so many things. Next to film, the X100 accounts for most of my better images over the past four years. I don’t think that is a coincidence.
I was never really interested in the X100S. I’m not sure why aside from that I didn’t think the changes made enough of a difference to me. I never really lusted after one. It felt more like an excuse to buy the cheaper original.
When the X100T came out, I didn’t really lust after it either. I still thought it was just too similar to the original. That was, until I tried a friends. It was definitely snappier than the original. Weirdly though, the thing I liked the most was the new buttons. Gone were the cheap feeling buttons from the first two versions. Sounds stupid, but this kind of thing makes a big difference to me. Whether or not I like a camera is so much based on the feel of it.
Any camera can be used to take a decent photo. Technically speaking I don’t think any camera made in the past five years is bad. So, when figuring out which I like it all comes down to feel.
A couple of months ago I wrote a review talking about how much I liked the Ricoh GR. I had a GR and the X100T at the same time. The GR developed issues almost right after I wrote that article. Sad really. That being said, the X100T has had some issues of its own. Dust has gotten into the viewfinder and lens which drives me nuts. I’ve kinda gotten over it though. In the end, it doesn’t make any difference to the photos. I’ve had many examples of these Fujifilm cameras and they have always been fairly reliable. Probably why I end up going back to them.
I hadn’t shot with the X100T in a while until last week. It was the only camera in my house that was compatible with the strap I reviewed in my last post so I decided to pick it up again.
As much as I don’t care a whole lot about gear anymore, I cannot argue with this simple fact: Every time I pick up and shoot with an X100 (T or otherwise) it takes less than 30 minutes for me to get an overwhelming feeling of “why would I ever need anything else?” I don’t like to think when I shoot. Part of the reason I said I liked the Ricoh GR so much was because it allowed me not to think. As much as I like the Ricoh, I always end up with better photos from the X100. The reason for this has nothing to do with specifications. I could give a shit about those. It more comes down to the fact that with the X100 I change settings without thinking. I don’t even realize I’m doing it sometimes. With the Ricoh I would have to menu dive to do so and therefor don’t bother.
“‘Sometimes I take a photo I know no one will like.’ A friend asked me today who I take photos for. He asked me if I take them because I want to say something about what I’m photographing. I didn’t get it. I’m selfish. I take photos for me. I don’t give a shit about what they ‘say.’ I don’t take them for the person I’m photographing. Why should I. The photos I take are my memories. If I photograph a person on the subway they aren’t going to remember me. It isn’t their memory I‘m interested it. I take the photo because it is a moment I want to remember. I don’t care if anyone likes it. It is hardly the point. This photo, for example will represent a certain time and place for me whether or not I take hundreds of ‘better’ photos before and after. It is the feeling of living here now, being on the metro. For me, at least. Luckily for me I don’t care about much else.”
I wrote that earlier this week on instagram. I think it kinda goes along with talking about this camera in that I think the reason I go back to them (x100) is that they don’t require much of my attention. When I take photos I don’t want to think about the camera. I don’t really want the camera to have a say in whats going on.
What I mean by that is I don’t want the camera to get in the way. I would like to say the Ricoh is good at that as well. However, if a camera decides to stop working from time to time that is the worst kind of getting in the way. While I have been annoyed by the dust problem in the X100T it has never failed to operate.
I can’t really comment too much on the quality of the photos themselves. I’m not technical enough to do so. I do like the photos. They require almost no attention at all. I hardly do anything to them and they suit my aesthetic. I shoot in camera black and white jpgs. I don’t have time for RAW.
That kinda brings me to the WiFi. I love my camera to have Wifi. I edit my photos on my phone. I don’t go to Lightroom anymore. I take photos on the go and edit them on the go. I only even take photos to pass the time while I’m going somewhere. Some people listen to music, I take photos. Some people read books, I edit photos. It keeps me occupied while on the go.
The WiFi iteration on the X100T is probably my favorite of any camera I used. I can just scroll through the photos on my camera and pick which to transfer. They go into my general photo stream. Easy peasy. Then into VSCO and done.
Another thing I love about the T version of this camera is that it charges via USB. I always carry this portable battery charger with me anyway and it charges perfectly fine with it. I hate carrying around extra batteries. At least with the battery charger I can charge my phone or the camera. It just simplifies things. Anything that makes things more simple is a positive for me.
I guess this hasn’t been much of a review. I really haven’t talked about anything of importance, ha. In the end the only thing I can say about the camera is that I really enjoy using it.
I don’t really take many photos normally speaking. I might take 30 or 40 a weekend. Strangely when I’m shooting with the X100T I take more. I don’t really know how to quantify what that means.The camera makes me want to shoot. I basically walk around with my eye to the viewfinder. I don’t know if I can give it higher praise than that. About six months ago I had a Leica M240 for a while and it didn’t make me want to shoot like the Fuji does. It reminds me of when I first used the original X100 during that trip to Japan. I had an M9 at the time as well. Even so, I can distinctly remember the feeling I had after just 30 minutes with the X100.
“Why would I ever need anything else?”
If you have any questions or comments let me know! I’d be more than happy to answer them. People always seem very apologetic when they email me or ask questions but I quite enjoy hearing from people.
Also, on a bit of a side note for those interested myself and well regarded street photographer Chulsu Kim (of Tokyo) have started an instagram collaborative called Wearethestreet. We hope to highlight the growing community of documentary and street photographers on instagram. You can find us at @Wearethestreet 😉