My Favorite Camera, Fuji X100s - Robert Hamm Photography


My Favorite Camera, Fuji X100s


My Favorite Camera, Fuji X100s

When I look through my images, I notice a pattern- I have developed an eye for a wide perspective. That’s not to say that I don’t fancy a closer or zoomed in point-of-view. To the contrary, as a wedding photographer, I must be handy with all focal lengths required to produce beautiful images. However, if I were to look at the tens of thousands of images I have taken over the past five years, one thing would be apparent: the 23mm focal length on APSC sensor cameras (35mm focal length on full frame cameras) is my absolute sweet spot. When I look at my photography, by focal lengths, I find a 2:1 ratio of 23mm to any other focal length.

Something about my photography changed three years ago, when I decided to move from an ambient light photography philosophy to a strobe photography approach. This changed many things, and the first thing to go were my high shutter speeds when outdoor in bright sunlight. The results, however, were game changing. I was suddenly able to capture a completely different look- that of a beautiful blue sky with sun and no raccoon eye shadows under my model’s faces.

Of course, I also started carrying around more gear, such as neutral density filters, strobes, remote wireless triggers and such. Yet, it was an exciting time because I was learning how to create better images and producing higher quality work. My clients loved it, and I began to feel more confident in my photography. Everything was going so well. Except for all the gear.

One day, on a whim, I decided to buy the Fuji X100t. I saw the camera in a local big box camera store and decided why not. However, I hesitated at the last moment. I wanted to know more about the previous generation of the camera. So, I went home and hit the internet. What I learned about the Fuji X100s was that the camera was basically the same: same lens, same EXR II image Processor, same X-Trans II sensor. The things that mattered most for image quality were all the same. Yet, I paused a moment again to consider the differences. The “S” model, from all information I could find, should be slower to acquire focus, had a lower resolution viewfinder, and didn’t have the nifty upgraded Hybrid-EVF-Optical viewfinder with zoomed in view when in optical mode. In the end that didn’t matter to me. I saved about 50% off retail, bought some accessories, and went on my happy way none the wiser that this camera would do what no other camera had ever done: become my true-no-joke-day-to-day-carry-camera, but I’m jumping ahead right now.

I ordered the X100s online and it arrived with all its goodies two days later. Believe it or not, I wasn’t expecting much more than a point and shoot. That’s not to say that I didn’t expect it to be good. I did. I just didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. Looking back at the impact this camera had on me, I can see how it influenced my imagery and photographic vision for the better. It should have been apparent, I knew about the specs, the leaf shutter, the 3-stop neutral density filter, I got the flash sync speed. It was all great to have, but up until I went outside with the camera to take my very first picture with it, a photograph of my son, none of those special features really sank in.

Yet, there I was. Outside with my boy and the Fuji X100s. All the settings were set and I clicked the shutter button, “click”. Nothing. Nope, not a thing. I was looking through the optical view finder, I had set my shutter speed on the dial and aperture on the lens and forgot-absolutely forgot- that this was a DIGITAL camera. I needed to put in the battery. How silly, but at the same time, how awesome. Think of how well designed the camera was to bring about muscle memory of shooting film so many years ago. The Fuji X-Series camera have that feeling of nostalgia and connection in spades. Of course, I got the shot after putting the battery in it. It was a beautiful image and one I am very proud of to this day.

Simply put, I love the Fuji X100s for its compact simplicity. The unit slings easily on my back and can stay there for a full day without hindering me in any way. The neutral density filter gives me the ease and convenience of not carrying around extra stuff without having to think about the weather outside or my shooting conditions. The leaf shutter affords me the ability to defy the sun by syncing my flash three to four stops faster than cameras without leaf shutters at my widest aperture of f2. All in all I can cover more exposure values with the X100s than I can with any of my other cameras. It is because Fuji packed in these very features that this camera has become my favorite camera. I have a love affair with this camera and together we produce beautiful images.


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