Updated: Jun 12, 2020
The Fujifilm X-series cameras are a joy to behold; aesthetically gorgeous and they produce beautiful stills.
Thanks to a PPI claim I am lucky enough to have a Fujifilm X-H1, originally the Fujifilm flagship, which I use for studio and event photography. As a back-up, and for travel, I have my first ever Fujifilm camera - the X-T2, which produces stunning images. Last but not least in my collection is the X100; the first of the X-series made in 2011 and at the time....revolutionary.
The X100 is small and light with classic all-metal styling and at the time was compared with the 'I am not worthy' Leica M9 camera.
It has a fast and sharp f2 23mm fixed prime lens equivalent to 35mm in full frame format. There is a joy to be had shooting with a fixed lens. You have to zoom with your feet and it's liberating not to be laden with numerous lenses. At 23mm the images it produces are easy on the eye.
The lens has a built-in ND filter enabling you to shoot with an open wide aperture in bright light or you can use it when opting to use a slower shutter speed. It cuts the amount of light down by about an 1/8th and is activated by a button on the top of the camera - an unusual and brilliant feature that I use regularly.
The X100 was revolutionary at the time as it was the first camera to have a hybrid viewfinder which allows you to choose between the conventional optical viewfinder ("OVF") and an electric overlay, or electronic viewfinder. The ground-breaking hybrid viewfinder is large, bright and clear, with detailed exposure information in the OVF. I always use the OVF - I still love to put the camera to my eye, although weirdly I'm having to get used to using my right eye when shooting with this camera.
On its release the X100 won various awards for its technology, design and picture quality - and it had a price tag to match of about £1200. I bought my X100 only about 2 months ago - second hand for £300 on-line from London Camera Exchange. I bought the Limited Edition (max. 10,000) in all black that comes with a leather case, a filter to protect the lens and lens hood and other goodies.
The X100 has a miniature electronic leaf shutter, itself a beautiful design, which is almost silent. The silent shutter and the camera's size makes the X100 perfect for Street photography. It's so discreet.
The X100 however has it faults and may drive some photographers crazy with frustration. I guess it's probably a 'Marmite' camera; you'll love it or hate it!
The auto-focus is slower and not as accurate as mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and don't even bother with the manual focus! The menu system is confusing and when shooting in raw, which I do, there is a about a 15 second delay whilst the camera writes the data to the SD card; you can forget continuous shooting for sports photography!
Since the X100 Fujifilm have released the X100S X100T X100F and just this year the X100V - making improvements all the time.
So why do I love this SLR compact and why do I put up with all the faults in 2020, particularly when I have my other faster cameras?
Well first and foremost it is fun!
I take my time shooting with it; I let the camera do what it needs to do. It's the tortoise in the fable - the Hare having disappeared over the horizon!
It begs to be used anywhere. I just want to take it out to play all the time! You can sling it in your bag and carry it all day without needing to take Ibuprofen at bedtime!
It works well with challenging light and the pictures it produces are simply fab!
I use it for Street and landscape photography and for family photos.
The X100 will never be your workhorse; it's for your collection - but don't keep it in the box - use it! You'll love it, probably.