Street Photography / Play with X100

May 25, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

Today, I met up with Graham Fry on the mean streets of Broadstone to have a look and play with his shiny new FujiFilm X100 (retro, compact style camera with an APS-C sensor and fixed 35mm equiv f/2.0 lens).  It was also my first real attempt to shoot people on the street too.


This is not going to be an in-depth review as I don’t want to think about it too much otherwise I’ll really end up wanting one!  But my first impression was that it’s a very, very smart looking camera, weighty in the hand and beautifully put together.

Compared to my hulking great DSLR (I had the 5Dmk2 and 35L with me today), it felt so much more… accessible for the sort of street shooting I was doing.  People didn’t really notice you had a camera (or didn’t seem to anyway), and in some ways it didn’t feel like I had one.

The optical viewfinder is nice and bright, and has an LCD display which is mixed with what you see through the optical finder – so you can get frame marks, an electronic level etc displayed.  It was a very bright day today, and to be honest I couldn’t clearly see the overlayed information most of the time, but this isn’t a criticism as I don’t think *any* LCD would have been visible in the conditions!

Focusssing is slower than with a DSLR which is to be expected, but not irritatingly so.  It felt quicker than any other non-DSLR that I have used.  Once you’ve focussed, there didn’t seem to be any perceptible shutter lag – when you press the button, the shot is taken immediately.

I fiddled around a bit with the focus points – once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to move around the 49 available points which is plenty to do anything you need.  And as it’s contrast detect focus using the image sensor, each focus area is as good as the next.

On a bright day like today, the 3-stop ND filter that’s built into the camera is massively useful as it lets you still shoot at f/2.0.  Looking back at the shutter speeds, I could have just about got away without using it (maximum was 1/1000 straight up at the sky), but it was nice to bring the exposures into a point much safer from unintentional blown highlights.

The 35mm f/2.0 lens is a great focal length.  The 35L is my favourite lens on my full-frame D-SLR – it’s wide without being too wide.  For street use, it means you can be a little more subtle and capture action off-centre by pointing the camera significantly away from the subject.

The optical viewfinder can be switched to an EVF by flicking a front-mounted switch, and you then get to see the image direct from the sensor.  This is the exact image that will be captured, but it feels a little detached when I’m used to an optical finder.  It did have loads of extra information that can be superimposed, and the EVF is also used for a capture review screen so immediately after you take a shot you can see it without taking your eye away from the viewfinder.

So, all in all… I like it very much!  Would I buy one?  If I had the money, probably.  My main concern would be that I might end up using it far more than the pile of DSLR equipment I’ve got!  I’m very interested to see what Graham has to say about it in a month or two.

On a different note – what do you think of my Street shots?  I don’t entirely get street photography, although I’m beginning to get an idea of what might work (mainly from following Tim Allen on Twitter), and I did really enjoy the half an hour or so I spent today catching these shots.  I’d love to hear any feedback from you about these…


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