For many years I owned and enjoyed using a contax G2 film camera with three lenses and a flash unit. I trusted this camera completely and it helped me photograph many different subjects in many different locations.
However from about 1999 onwards I took to digital photography with a Nikon D1x then followed this with a Nikon D200 and on, my Contax G2 was still landing in my camera bag with some rolls of film but became less and less used. I was telling myself that black and white film was still better than converting digital images taken in colour. Digital sensors however have become better and better and it’s now almost impossible to tell the difference any more.
So last year I had to make a decision and the G2 got sold on ebay along with the lenses and flash, all getting a very good price. This however left a gap in my camera kit, the need for a light range-finder type camera.
A camera I could have as a backup to an SLR and that I could carry anywhere with me. After some reading and looking for what was available, I found that I had chosen just the right time to sell my old G2 as Fuji film a manufacturer I have long admired for both cameras and film had released their new X100 model. In the end I ordered an ex demo/reconditioned example from the fujifilm shop website at a good price along with a twelve month guarantee.
This article is my opinion (not a technical review) of this camera after having used it for some months.
Firstly let me say that from the moment I took this camera out of the box I fell in love with its looks and also its instant appeal to someone who owned more advanced slr and medium format cameras.
It has all the key features that a beginner and advanced photographer needs, no fussy dials or buttons with a thousand and one possible subjects from sunlight to hanging off a mountain upside down etc…
It’s just good old fashioned photography here,
An aperture dial on the lens going from f2 to f16
a shutter speed dial with speeds from B to 1/4000 of a second along with a T setting that when used with the lcd screen can select speeds down to 30 seconds.
Next to the shutter release and the shutter speed dial is exposure compensation dial that lets you make a shift in exposure from -2 to +2 in 1/3 stops.
These three are the grass roots of a good camera going back years and have been placed on professional (slr, rangefinder and medium format) cameras all this time. When you begin to know your subjects and how to photograph them these are all you will ever need.
One final point here and that’s that both the shutter speed dial and aperture dial include an A-automatic setting so that you can work in (Manual, Aperture priority, shutter priority and fully automatic) exposure modes. (If you’re not sure about these setting follow this link).
The fuji X100 viewfinder
Now you will read a lot of X100 reviews on the internet and the built in viewfinder has been talked about a lot and for good reason. It’s simply a little miracle, this for me is the single biggest reason that this camera is the best compact camera on the new and second hand market today.
You can look at lots of other reviews and articles to see samples of the view finder layout so I am not going to go into fine detail here but I have the following observations to make.
This view finder is wonderful as you can see all the exposure settings on a digital overlay. This is all the exposure and framing information you will ever need and it can be displayed both optically and when using the electronic view finder option.
I loved this finder and all the information that it provides but the real point about this to me is the eye sensor that lets you see exactly the same information you get on the rear LCD screen.
All you do is place your eye to the optical viewfinder and it instantly gives you the LCD screens view and information in full detail.
This is just simply wonderful, you can spend all day photographing any subject you like with this eye sensor option enabled, when using a tripod I found this just fantastic. This is what a great digital camera should be about.
I have spent a full day from dawn to dusk and never once felt that I didn’t know what the camera was doing from (f-stop, shutter speed, iso or even focus distance and depth of field) its all there in front of you even when you have the camera on a tripod.
The fuji x100 LCD screen itself is a little smaller that a pro level slr but it works in all situations and I never once felt that I could not see it even from extreme angles.
The X100 in your hands
I have owned a few digital cameras all slr’s since 1999 and I cannot explain just how much I love using the X100, you can read all the reviews you like about the X100 being slow to focus (Slow but correct is better that fast but out of focus), and about card write times. Many firmware upgrade have improved these problem so if you get a early X100 make sure you upgrade.
Actually none of this matters at all to me, it’s passed every test in my own book, it’s not only great to hold and to use, it also hit the mark on image quality and reliability time after time, day after day.
Fujifilm have just released an upgrade to the X100 the X100s but it will be sometime before I go out to get one because this version, the one I already have is wonderful and It will only be the day that Fujifilm say that a repair is too costly to justify, that I will get the new model.
The following are some images from this camera and I hope you can see why I am so happy with it!
Fuji X100 Samples
A view of Windermere
Contax G2, 45mm lens
Kodak, iso 200 colour film
Landscape photographer : Nigel Borrington
Back in 2011 I started a project of capturing photos and information about the history and lives of the Lighthouse keepers of Ireland.
I just want to share a small amount in this post.
This area is renowned as the location of Hook Lighthouse. Hook Head is the oldest lighthouse in Ireland, and one of the oldest in Europe still operating. In the 5th century St Dubhán set up a fire beacon on the headland as a warning to mariners. After his death his monks kept the beacon going for another 600 years. Between 1170 and 1184 the Normans built the present lighthouse. It was built from local limestone and burned lime mixed with ox’s blood. Even today traces of the blood-lime mix can be seen coming through the paintwork. The walls are 9 to 13 feet thick and 80 feet above the ground. In 1665 King Charles II granted letters patent to Sir Robert Reading to erect six lighthouses on the coast of Ireland, one of which was at Hook Head on the site of the older lighthouse, the others being at Howth, one to mark the land, the other to lead over the bar; the Old Head of Kinsale, Barry Oge’s castle (now Charlesfort, near Kinsale), and the Isle of Magee.
Hookhead web cams
I have posted this video before but its well worth doing so again, its a wonderful short film …..
The Lighthouse Keeper’s videos: