It’s hard to talk about the X100V and other Fujifilm cameras, and not talk about film.
Over the years in the 90’s and early 2000’s, I shot with various negative films from Kodak and Fujifilm, not really with any intention besides picking the ISO rating and color vs. B&W. I paid a local lab to develop it, and occasionally would get pictures blown up to hang on a wall.
While I love the images I took over the years, I don’t miss film one bit. On one trip, I used about 36 rolls of film. It probably cost over $400 to buy and process… almost $2 per click. My lightroom catalog has over 24000 images from my D200 ($1699 when released). That’s about .14 cents per image, not including the ones i deleted. Scanning film is a slow annoying process, and while I enjoy bringing my old photos alive digitally, I will never buy another roll of film.
So that brings me to the X100V. It is a camera that oozes a retro vibe. It looks and feels like it could have been made in the 1970’s if you ignore the LCD on the back… you might think there is a roll of film inside of it. I would go as far to say that it is a camera with a soul. As I type this, it is sitting in front of me, begging me to pick it up, hold it, and shoot with it.
I will be honest, I don’t usually read the manuals when I buy a camera. But with Fujifilm, you find yourself looking at menu options like “Dynamic Range – DR100/DR200/DR400/DR Auto”. How does that affect raw photos, and what does it do? The manual is not very clear, so off to youtube.
There is a confusing interaction (in my opinion) between the top dials, and the front and rear dials that took me a while to figure out. The way I shoot, I basically set the ISO and Shutter to (A)uto, and I use the exposure compensation and aperture ring manually. If you want to use the front and real dials set the top dials/aperture ring to (C)ornfused, and then you can use the menus to set up the front and rear dials for those functions… off to youtube!
Next, we have the (Q)uick menu. Take the time to set that up with the commands you want to use often… Help me Youtuuuube!!!
Finally, there is the viewfinder. You can configure the display in both optical and evf mode. Hitting the “Disp Back” will declutter the displays with a single click. When you use the finder in optical mode, AF functionality changes… eye af does not work (i think?). Hmmmm… maybe Youtube can simplify things.
Ok… now you can start taking some pictures. Do you want Classic Chrome with large film grain, and extra strong or weak chrome effect? Or Acros with a yellow or blue filter effect? Lets see what JayRegular on Youtube has to say.
Ok… now I can take a photo….
Most X100V people on the internet will tell you “I now only shoot jpegs with the X100V”. I am going to go against the grain. I only shoot raw, and I use the Lightroom camera profiles for these images. There are some differences to the in-camera profiles, but not enough for me to care.
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I purchased my first digital camera 24 years ago in 1997. It was a Sony Mavica FD7, a horrible camera, with floppy discs for recording 640×480 pixel jpegs, and an uncontrollable flash that ruined every photo if you tried to use it.
I continued to shoot 35mm film into the early 2000’s, and every year or so I would upgrade to a new digital camera. At various points in time, I owned a Nikon Coolpix 880, Olympus E-10, Canon GX9, Panasonic FZ200, GF1, Nikon D100, D200, D800, Coolpix A … on and on. In the early years, upgrading delivered big gains. The manufactures were churning out higher resolution cameras every year, full frame sensors became affordable, and the forums debated if the latest cameras image quality was “better than 35mm”. For me, I crossed the line with the D100 in 2002 and never shot a roll of film again.
In 2012 I purchased a Nikon D800. I still have it, and I’ll probably keep it until it stops working. It’s a big, and heavy camera though. Lately when I travel or go to family events, I would take my Coolpix A or Panasonic GX85. The D800 goes out less and less, even though the image quality still beats my other cameras. The Coolpix A was an APS-C camera you really could put in a coat pocket, and have with you all of the time. I really liked the Coolpix A… but it was slow to focus, had no viewfinder and the 28mm lens was just a little too wide for me.
Over the last few years, most of my photography was for family and vacation photos. I wasn’t going out with the sole purpose of just taking photos for myself. During the past year, I focused on scanning my personal negatives, and my mothers shoebox of 1000 family slides…
So around comes 2021. Covid seems to be getting under control… I start thinking about going on an actual trip. What better way could someone that loves photography celebrate life returning to normal than buying a new camera? In April, I got an email from BestBuy… 10% of any item for your birthday! Which camera should I get…
Ricoh GRIII ?? Nice sensor, image stabilization, pocketable… but 28mm, no flash, and like my Coolpix A, no viewfinder.
Fujifilm X100V ??? Searching youtube, reading reviews… what’s all the hype about? Lots of people are gushing over it… it even has film simulations (Note to Fujifilm… please please please release the “50 year old slide with mold” simulation!). It looks really nice in silver… hipster drool worthy. Ugh… out of stock at BestBuy… my 10% off is only good until April 30th… refresh, refresh, refresh…. finally on April 28th… success!
On delivery day, I managed to hide the box from wife… she wouldn’t appreciate the fine build quality, machined dials, and that very delicate, extremely expensive hybrid viewfinder… or the credit card charge. She notices me boxing up the Coolpix A for an eBay buyer… I think she knows something is up.
So… how does it shoot? Do you like it? Did your wife find out?
To be continued…..