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How the Fuji X100 Retaught Me Street Photography

by Chris Gampat on 05/18/2011

Part of my methods of testing cameras here at The Phoblographer is by using them for street photography. While I agree with Eric Kim that it’s the photographer that creates the images, I believe that the camera is the tool that we use to do it. With that said, you wouldn’t use a wrench when you need a screwdriver. Upon using the Fuji X100, I believe that the camera retaught me how to do street photography.

It Re-taught Me to Slow Down

Using the Fujifilm X100 was a bit of a task for me: sure the learning curve is short but there are aspects of the camera that force you to slow down rather than try to capture the decisive moment as quickly as you possibly can. Those that read the review will remember that I had problems with the metering so I switch my methods up to relying on my own knowledge of light to meter accordingly. Plus, the camera forces you to focus, let go of the focus, adjust your exposure settings using the four different dials, refocus, and then recompose your image. After this, you can finally snap the photo. This often helped me yield the best results.

With DSLRs, I’d set the camera to aperture, choose the focusing point, compose and then shoot. With the Fuji X100, I felt more care went into my images. While I don’t feel like many of them were stellar, each image reminded me of the mistakes I was often making and later on I pondered about how I could fix them.

Of course, you can also put the camera in program, shutter or aperture priority.

It Absolutely Forced Me To Get Up Close and Personal

With the Fuji X100, it’s just you and a fixed lens that cannot come off of the camera. To get the image you want, you’ll need to get up close and personal. Because the camera is so small and there are no pieces jutting out, you won’t intimidate people when pointing it into their faces or when you’re around them. Additionally, the closest it can focus is two feet unless you set it to the macro mode: which I’m often doing. The near 35mm equivalent forces you to get closer than with a 50mm lens.

With a DSLR, people sometimes cover up their faces. The great thing is that I didn’t experience this at all when testing this camera—and that was a total first.

It Reinforced That I Can’t Get Every Photo I Want

There are times where you often see a photo opportunity in your mind, then go to shoot it and realize that it’s not often the photo you want. I’m a decent photo editor, but there are times where even I can’t get the photos I envisioned. While I often keep working at these photos to get them as close to what I envisioned, I often need to just accept that I can’t get them for various reasons: missing the moment, wrong exposures, missed focus, composition is off and can’t be fixed, etc.

With this in mind, this camera will teach you to be more careful. With being more careful comes acceptance.

It Made Me Remember that 1 out of every 1,000 Photos I shoot will be amazing

As it stands, I believe I’ve only got maybe three or four amazing street photos: and none of them were taken with the Fuji X100. In fact, they were all shot with the Canon 5D Mk II. As much as taking photos with the Fuji X100 excites me every time I look into the viewfinder, I’m not always able to nail the photo I envisioned or capture the feeling of being there. So this forces me to try different approaches and methods.

It Forced Me To Pay Attention to More Details

The Fuji X100′s viewfinder is huge, and therefore let’s you pay attention to more details. It overlays lots of information for you if you choose to. I like as much info as possible: the light meter, histogram, rule of thirds lines, shutter speeds, isos, apertures, etc. I want it all.

Beyond this, because the easiest way to focus with this camera is to use the focus and recompose method, you’ll often pay more attention to your details when you recompose your image because you’ve put such great care into focusing, setting your exposures, recomposing, checking the meter, ensuring that everything in your image is the way you want it, etc.

You can purchase the Fujifilm X100 from B&H Photo. Please also consider making purchases from Amazon by clicking the links as they help to support this site.

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