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An Amateur’s Take on the Fujifilm X100S

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Today’s post is about a camera. So, photography geeks, grab a coffee, because we’re gonna get our nerd on.

Backstory

For almost two years, I’ve been looking for a camera that can serve as a travel/everyday backup to my big-rig Canon 5D Mark III DSLR, until Chris Schmitt Photography was able to help me out with this. The full-frame Canon is more camera than just about anyone needs, and its files are flat-out astonishing. But – it’s big. Carrying the Canon with pro glass I feel less like a photographer and more like a Navy SEAL. I need something that fits between the Canon and my iPhone.

Over the last 18 months, I’ve tried (and sold) more cameras than I care to admit: the Fuji X100 (the original model), Sony NEX–5N, Sony NEX–7, Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Sony RX–100. Not a bad camera in the bunch, but they weren’t what I needed.

I wanted something fairly small (pocketable not necessary) with a big enough sensor to let me do decent available-light shooting and occasionally get some reasonable bokeh at a wide aperture. I shoot family, pets, daily life and some street photography when I have a chance.

What I didn’t know is that I really wanted a fixed-lens camera. I learned through many trips and photowalks that (a) I didn’t use much zoom at all, and (b) I found big, protruding lenses (even small ones like the Sony E-mount and Micro Four-Thirds glass) bothersome. A prime lens became a natural fit for me.

This is the problem with being an amateur whose skills are (slowly) growing: you don’t necessarily know what you don’t know. Until you do know.

Enter the Fujifilm X100S

Let me be very clear: I am an amateur photographer. This mini-review is coming form someone who is used to DSLRs but still learning, but is beyond simplified cameras that make access to key settings (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, metering mode, autofocus point selection) difficult without wading through endless menus. I’m a tweener, as it were.

There are dozens of excellent X100S reviews on the web, most notably those from Zack Arias and David Hobby. Both of these guys are expert photogs who have forgotten more than I know, so I figured some impressions of the camera from a rank amateur/enthusiast might be welcome.

ISO 400, f/4, 1/210

ISO 400, f/4, 1/210

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