All images and words by Rick Corbishley for the My Favorite Camera series. Used with permission. His favorite camera is the Fujifilm X100v.
My favourite camera is the Fujifilm X100V. I bought it in February 2020 and have only used it twice, mainly because of the lockdown. Out of the 22 cameras in my possession, 14 of which are vintage, this is the one I would keep if I could only have one. I’ve had a few favourites over the years. My first was an Agfa ISO-Rapid 1 my brother bought me when he visited West Germany in 1968. That changed to a Rollei SL35M when my interest in photography really took hold; I had started work and had cash to spend. I loved that camera, it was a class act. I used it for several years until it broke and I got rid of it; after all, digital was coming. However, I still have strong feelings for it, and last year I purchased another copy to add to my collection of cameras I’ve owned over the years.
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I dabbled with a variety of second rate cameras until in 2012 when my dad passed away and left me some money, and I bought a Canon 7D and 24-105mm L lens. It was like being transported back to my childhood where I couldn’t bear to put my favourite new toy down and if I could sneak it past my mum, would take it to bed with me – I was that excited. I clearly couldn’t do that anymore, a camera on my pillow wouldn’t go down well with my wife. But I still kept it on a bedside table so I could open my eyes and look at it. I must have put a few thousand activations on the clock photographing nothing, just listening to the sound of the shutter. The wonderful heft of that metal body and professional lens, I really couldn’t get enough of.
It inspired me to really take an interest in photography. So much so that I spent virtually all my spare time reading about it, doing it, or looking for the next purchase. It almost became an obsession and probably still is to this day.
If it moved, I photographed it. If it didn’t move, I photographed it. I was on a mission to capture everything I saw. After about six months I came to the realisation that I enjoyed photographing some things more than others. I’d always enjoyed people watching and would do so in Manchester city centre during my lunch hour. I came to realise that street photography and people watching combined perfectly and at last I had some purpose to what I was doing.
I read many articles about street photography and I particularly learnt much from Eric Kim. If I had to name one photographer who I found the most inspiring and enjoyable to look at their work it would Martin Parr. But there are many others including Tony Ray-Jones and Bob Collins: the list is endless. But photographing the English way of life pulls it all together for me and my work’s focus is a feint nod to these greats.
In 2013, whilst reading a magazine in bed one morning, I came across an advert for a Fujifilm X100S. I instantly fell in love with it. It is a piece of art to look at. I showed my wife who was lying next to me and she also thought it looked amazing. I didn’t need any more encouragement and bought it. It changed my (photographic) life.
I hate delving through menus to changes settings: I find it really fiddly and time consuming. I hankered after the simple settings of my old Rollei. The X100S therefore was a game changer. It felt like I had the best of both worlds, control at my finger tips and the benefits of digital. It became my new favourite camera.
At the time I saw the X100S as an addition to my Canon DSLR. However, when I saw the results it produced and saw its sister the X-T1 with its analogue type controls, I was again smitten and soon moved across almost fully to Fujifilm. There are no regrets. I now have an X100S, two X-T1s, an X-T3 along with a collection of lenses and my most recent purchase an X100V. I’ve kept my Canon and 24-105 lens, because I got so much pleasure from it and want to remember. Occasionally I take it out for a spin and still get that magic feeling from using it. I sold the rest of my Canon lenses though.
I also still have my X100S and have no intention of selling it, but the X100V is a welcome upgrade. I recently took it to document some Extinction Rebellion protests in London and I felt like Don McCullen. It worked beautifully and produced some really great results. It is so easy to carry and intuitive to use, I could get right into the crowds of protesters and capture events as they unfolded. It became on that day my new favourite camera.
I would consider my favourite camera to be the one I would keep if I could only have one. I have no qualms about choosing the X100V on this basis. It is a wonderful tool, a delight to look at, so easy to use once mastered and the images it produces are sublime.
I use it primarily for street photography, although it’s much more than that. The quirks and frustrations of using the X100S are largely removed with the X100V. Fuji have done a wonderful job.
I have learnt to take photos successfully from the hip, or otherwise discretely, and the X100V is small enough not to get noticed, unless I’m holding it up, when it certainly gets noticed. No other camera has attracted so much attention; the common question being is it an old film camera.
At the most basic levels, what I really enjoy the most is photographing people. So much so that I attend a variety of events such as Steampunk or Goth weekends, ComicCon, 1940’s events, 1960’s, Redhead Days in Holland or just about anywhere where people dress up or want to be noticed. 99.9% of the attendees are happy to have their photograph taken and it’s like having 1,000 free models at your fingertips. Street photography has been a wonderful training ground for capturing candid photographs of people and I use that experience and skill set in just about every photograph I take.
Photography is a hobby, it is an enjoyable pastime. I’ve entered competitions and had my work chosen, the most significant being when Rankin chose my image out of 11,000 entries to go on the front cover of the 2017 BBC Children in Need book ‘This is Britain’. I’ve written articles that have been published; I’ve been contacted by international magazines to use my images in their publications. All of which is nice recognition of what I am doing. But I don’t chase ‘likes’ on social media. I don’t use Instagram; I only occasionally put something on Facebook apart from cat videos and the like. I do this for me, It’s what I enjoy doing and I’m grateful I have the health and means to do it.
Next year I am publishing a book that will showcase my photographs. It will be a personal thing, copies of which I will give to my family. I am proud of what I do. Sometimes I look at the work of others and think I don’t have what it takes, then other times I recognise that what I do is actually quite good. I guess we all hope what we do is good, or we wouldn’t do it, but when Rankin tells you its good, you’ve got to believe it.
If there was one area where I wish camera manufacturers would wake up, it is trying to please everybody all of the time. Each iteration of camera has some new feature, or does something better than before and for me it is getting out of hand. I don’t want to have to read a manual before I go shooting. The Fujifilm X-T3 manual is 303 pages long. I remember the days when the manual was 12 pages, or even a pamphlet. I’m no Luddite; I love gadgets and learning how to use them but when it comes to photography, all the controls I ever need or want were on the old Rollei SL35M. I use Fuji because I hardly ever need the menu, apart from setting it up from the 1,000 options which I wish I didn’t have to wade through. I just want to pick it up, turn a few dials and go shoot. Am I alone in this? Let’s stop using hand held computers, let’s get back to basics and just take photos.
If you want to see my work, visit my website www.mhbphoto.uk where you can have a look at my portfolio and recent albums. Or maybe read some stuff from my blog where I document my photographic journey, things I’ve learnt, mistakes I’ve made and my successes.
Rick is married and an amateur people photographer now based in Leeds UK. He works for an emergency service and does photography in his spare time. He is passionate about his work and considers each of his photographs like one of his babies. He has thousands of babies and loves every one, although to be fair, some more than others. Check out his website. We’d love to hear your stories about the Fujifilm X100V or others that happen to be your favorite camera.