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Tuesday, 21 February 2012


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It's an interesting notion: that of the covers-everything book.
Like Rod (featured comment), I look to new cameras to figure out the few controls I want to photograph the way I want with it. I then ignore the rest.
With so many features, I've resolved to only use the minimum as I can never remember them all.
For someone like me, feature creep like this makes full coverage books even less useful than they used to be.

The Fuji X100 makes incredible images under every possible condition from daylight to moonlight, and it's the world's smallest real camera

Since Harald Mante got mentioned in this post, let me point out that Harald is a very healthy and vital man even with his 76 years of age. He is still teaching workshops on color and serial photography:

- german: http://www.photogether.de/workshops/krea250/

- english: http://www.photogether.de/welcome/

Harald is quite a prominent figure at Rocky Nook and surely plays a role in their increased interest in photography.

The holy grail for my personal photography has always been the Perfect Street Camera and, with appropriate fanfare, I can announce that the X100 is as close to perfect as any I've owned. Nimble & intuitive in operation, it is quiet as only a leaf shutter camera can be. It even has a silent stealth option for when 'quiet' isn't enough. I can't venture an opinion on the JPG modes and film simulation options because I shoot only RAW. All major controls are visible in plain view and I use the AF/AE button for single shot AF, sort of quasi-manual. It's quick, I like it and the camera is as direct and simple to use as any film camera I've worked with and decidedly less complicated than any digital. The icing on the cake is its optical viewfinder, with clarity and visibility of information better than Leicas or Hasselblad X-Pan for me (the latter made by Fuji of course). The last Leica I owned was an M4 but there is a review of the M9 on imaging-resource written by reviewers without previous experience or expectations of Leica rangefinders. They remind me why I gave up on simple Leicas.

After using the X100 for six months, I find the "challenged" interface and menu system are not an issue. You make your initial settings, and then rarely have to descend into most of those menus again. It's an excellent camera, a little slow at start up, but I find the autofocus more than adequate. Set it on auto-iso, pick an aperture and go shooting. The image quality is superb. This manual will no doubt shed light on some deeply hidden menu items that rarely see light.

"No sooner have you really mastered your last camera than it's time to buy your next."

Well, if you've got to keep up with fashion... then sure. Otherwise, not so much.

I would have never bought this kind of book, but it came for free in bundle with my 2nd hand X100 in its original German edition.

It's a good book and was really worthwhile reading, it makes the learning curve of a digital camera much easier. The pictures fully explain the difference between the different picture modes and settings.

The user interface of the X100 isn't the easiest, but not terrible either. When shooting film I don't spend my time switching between 100 and 400 anyhow... when you find the settings that work for you, there's no need to be switching between them all the time. On my M6 I can just change aperture and exposure time, I could also change the iso setting, but if I don't change also the film it doesn't help much!

By the way: has someone noticed how many 2nd hand X100s are flooding the market? I'd like to know if people are selling waiting for the X-Pro 1 or because they're disappointed by the camera.

I was a little amused to see the title of this post. I wish this new book well, but luckily it is a few months too late for me...I found the X100 user experience so complicated and confusing (even though the results were great when I got it right) that it gave me the final push to take my own Giant Leap Backwards to TriX and a Leica M2, at least for a while. I am so enjoying having no camera decisons to make beyond aperture and speed; the rest is me learning to see, which is a thrill. It has also meant learning darkroom work again, itself a hands-on pleasure and a reason to really slow down. My happiness, not my livelihood, is at stake so I am enjoying the indulgence. I can catch up with the 21st century when I am ready! Or not.

Can someone explain the appeal of such a book to me? I don't understand what you could learn from this that you would not learn from a quick fiddle around with the menu system, and a week taking pictures...

There is already a very good book on the X100.
It is available as a PDF for $10


Also available from Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition at


I will be interested in seeing the Rocky Nook book.


Yes, Mike, it took some wooing. Because I enjoy the quality of medium format, I hung out for a digital camera that offered something my existing cameras couldn't do: be light and compact enough to carry everywhere in my daily work satchel bag and provide excellent image quality in poor light. I also enjoy the quiet, vibration-free, in-lens shutter which lets me be unobtrusive; a nice change.

The work Olympus XZ-1 I take on my field trips is OK, but I found that having to hold the camera away from me to view the rear screen (which removes me from the feedback I'm accustomed to), and the image's invisibility in Australia's normal bright light, was too frustrating.

I handled the x100 at the B&H superstore in NYC recently. It's a solid, small and wonderfully crafted instrument. It'll be a forthcoming purchase in my arsenal.

Does anyone think the image of the camera looks crooked? Slightly clockwise.

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