10 Things I love About the Fuji X100F

Here is a list of 10 random things I like  ❤️ love about my Fujifilm X100F…

🔘 The X100F autofocus is accurate and fast. I was worried it might be a bit sluggish when compared to the Panasonic/Leica Q. No worry needed though. It’s zippy fast!

🔘 The X100F is quite useful to me for sideline shots when I shoot sports. So useful in fact that I prefer using it over having a standard two DSLR setup.  No need for a 35mm lens on my 5D mark III when my X100F has a great 35mm equivalent lens and a filler flash to boot!

🔘 I love having analog style dials for my ISO, exposure compensation, aperture, and shutter speed. It beats having to dig through menus in my humble opinion.

🔘 The 35mm 2.0 lens itself is pretty sharp to my eyes, even wide open. RAW files are particularly awesome.

🔘 The ACROS film simulation mode (jpeg only) is maybe the best thing about the camera to me. You can shoot almost anything in ACROS and it looks surreal and historic.

ACROS….

🔘 The flash is useful in a pinch. I use it a lot for sideline shots as I mentioned earlier.

🔘 I almost exclusively use the EVF. It’s so good that my original reason for buying this camera, it having an optional OVF, is a non-issue.

🔘 The camera fits in my pocket and is extremely portable. It’s also so light that I can scarcely feel it dangling around my neckbone.

🔘 The Fuji X100F is 100% silent when the shutter volume is turned off. Dead ass quiet.

🔘 Lastly the little focus knob is swell. It works about as good as the ones on the pro DSLR’s I’ve had the fortune of using.

Thinking of purchasing this camera? Don’t do it! Lol. I want to keep all this bananas awesomeness for myself.

Please support me by buying my classic street-fiction novel available here.

Exit.

The Mirrorless Pro 

With the recent announcement of the Sony A9 mirrorless camera I’ve been wondering when I’ll make the big switch and go all mirrorless. Up until now, going all mirrorless has not been a serious option for me because Sony and Fuji and other serious mirrorless makers don’t make professional level bodies and lenses for sports. 

Sure, a good, well prepared shooter can probably use a pair of Sony a7rII’s to shoot a wedding or a concert, and there is a nice selection of glass available in the wide angle to medium telephoto ranges for that stuff. There is no, say, 400mm 2.8 offered by Sony or Fuji however. Canon and Nikon have several versions of lenses in this focal length going back decades. That’s always been the main point of contention for me changing my sports kit over to mirrorless. There is no fast and long telephoto glass to be had. 

There’s also battery life, which is still far better in a DSLR. I’m talking 3 times as good battery life on average between a pro level DSLR and an alleged pro level mirrorless like the A9 and the Fuji XT-2. Another main thing though, is AF speed and accuracy. This is where mirrorless has been making dramatic strides. It seems that the A9 has AF speed on par with the pro level Canon and Nikon DSLR’s, though this remains to be seen….

A Sony pro body is bound to crush Nikon and Canon is the area of low light and dynamic range, partly because Sony makes the lion share of Nikon sensors these days and holds back the really aggressive tech for their own bodies, and Canon has never seemed to be too concerned with dynamic range, although they have decent noise levels at high ISO’s on some bodies. Sony also has apparently eliminated the “blackout” that happens when continuous shooting with a typical mirrorless body. Also the A9 apparently shoots a disgusting 20fps RAW. It can do this in 100% silent mode. That’s insane!

Will I trade in my Canon sports gear and go full on mirrorless? That remains to be seen. I want to for some reason. It’s not that I hate my Canon gear, or GAS, but more that I feel I’m stapled to outdated tech. Fastened to it. Maybe when Fuji makes a full frame sports camera or fuck it, I may go with a Sony even though I hate them. Some long prime fast glass for these mirrorless jobs wouldn’t hurt either… 

Exit. 

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: Go Small or Go Home

I’m going to be a bit of a toolbox here, but bear with me….

I cringe these days when I see guys shooting street photography with a fat DSLR. Full disclosure: I used to be that guy myself just 3 short months ago. Since then I’ve gotten my tiny little Fuji X100F, which might be the worlds best street photography camera, and now I feel embarrassed that I ever pointed my big ass Canon 5D Mark III at an unsuspecting street denizen with artistic intentions. It’s like what Obi Wan Kenobi said when he tossed that blaster aside after shooting General Grevious to death: SO UNCIVILIZED…..

Of course my Fuji, and perhaps every Leica outside of the Leica S (and the Leica Sofort), is an elegant photographic weapon harkening back to ages past. Sure, you can blast away 15 shots per second with your crude DSLR but it’s much more fun to manual focus or shoot in single shot mode with a compact or a rangefinder. Also, I’ve never been braver than I am now with my small camera. Sure, we get braver as we mature as street photographers regardless, but my ninja shit is on fleek these days. (Do the kids still say that?) I can literally stand in people’s faces and my silent leaf shutter compact camera makes absolutely no noise as I snap away photos like a maniac…..

Are Leica’s and little midget Fuji cameras better than say, a Nikon D500? Probably not, UNLESS you’re shooting street. So you need to be committed to specificity if you are contemplating adding a compact camera to your arsenal or switching altogether. In my case I still have my Canon system for sports and my Fuji camera for street and candids, well, until I can afford a Leica….

May the force be with you motherfuckers….

Exit.

CONFESSION: I Still Want The Leica Q

This isn’t GAS I swear to God.

It’s just….um…. that I have mixed feeling about the jpegs I am getting from my Fujifilm X100F.

On one hand, I love the black and white photos I get shooting jpeg with my Fuji. On the other hand I do NOT like the color jpegs from Fuji X-Trans sensor bodies, at least when I’m shooting people.

Ergonomically the X100F is perfect, but I’m finding that I have to shoot RAW if I want professionally useable photos for say, my sports photography. See, I typically will use my Fuji for sideline shots and my trusty Canon for the 🦁 lion share of my sports photos. Still, those sideline and crowd shots can make and break a sports portfolio. The Fuji does well enough, but I find the RAW files to be just “okay” as opposed to great, like the RAW files are from the Leica Q. Also, for some stupid fucking reason Lightroom hates Fuji RAW files and drags and bitches rendering 1:1 previews. Also, the waxy skin effect is apparent in Fuji RAW files too when shooting people, although it isn’t NEARLY as bad as it is in jpeg, where it is basically unusable. On the plus side, I must say however, that the Fuji has very useful dynamic range and the RAW files have a lot of play in the sliders….

I’m not going to kill my lovely little Fuji. It produces stunning monochrome images and when NOT shooting people the color jpegs are really good. It’s just that I shoot a ton of stuff in jpeg and I’d really like it if the color jpegs were, you know, decent when shooting people….

Exit.

PHOTOGRAPHY: The Black Camera Ambassador 

I’m going to keep this short because, well, I know my audience is basically a bunch of beer drinking white guys. I’m fine with that. Underneath my black skin and aside from sobriety, I’m basically a beer chugging white dude myself. I find something troubling however: 

There is an alarming paucity of black/African-American camera brand ambassadors…. 

I know bruh, it’s not your fault, but hear me out. 

I don’t know why the fuck this is. A number of black shooters are accomplished professionals right? It’s not like black photographers don’t spend a small fortune on camera gear like any other subculture does, but I have an impossibly hard time finding a black brand ambassador for ANY camera brand I can think of. 

Canon? Nah. Fuji? Nope. Leica? Lol! Really?

Late 80’s shooting Ricky Ray style….
I’m sure folks can point me in the direction of a few black guys who get to try out new cameras before they are released and shit like that. I’d appreciate info about them. I suspect they are coons and ass-kissers but I can surely be wrong. I’m keeping an open mind….

Maybe black folks are seen as criminals. Fuji probably thinks I’ll run off with an unreleased camera and disappear or some fuckery like that. Funny how I see so many white and Asian brand ambassadors on YouTube though…. and hardly any women either, regardless of race.

 

This is perhaps a micro-struggle, but it speaks to a larger problem in society. I don’t want to infuriate my loyal readers but I guess I’ll have to wait for you to preview new gear on the web before I buy it because it will never be me. I was born on the wrong side of the color palate. 

Exit. 

CAMERA REVIEW: The FujiFilm X100F

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Introduction:

The fujifilm X100F is nearly flawless for its intended uses. This camera is the real fucking deal here folks. It may not be the “all time greatest” compact mirrorless camera, but it is the second best of all time, behind a certain Leica camera I will not mention by name…

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The Fujifilm X100F…

Many of us have been shooting with DSLR’s, and though they perform very well and are ubiquitous, a lot of times we wish we had something equally as powerful but a hell of a lot smaller. I’m a street photographer. I shot with a Canon 70D and then a 5d Mark III in the streets. This was great as far as autofocus speed and lens choices are concerned, but those are some big bitches, those cameras. Coupled with a 135L and then the 50 1.2L…it was a chore to carry those kits around. It got to a point where I didn’t want to do it anymore. I was like: fuck it, I need something smaller.

Smaller historically has mostly meant “image quality compromise” when it comes to camera selection. For example, the image quality available from a huge $50k Hasselblad will be better (in theory) than the image quality I can get from a Nikon D750 (nothing against the D750). This is due to the sensor size (medium format vs full frame) of course. When looking at camera choices, I immediately realized that even though I wanted something powerful, I needed to go as small as possible if I was going to actually use this new camera every day and not just when I felt like it. That was my first consideration: I wanted to buy a camera (or camera system, more on that later) that I would actually carry with me everywhere I travel daily. A secondary thought when making that consideration was whether or not I wanted a “point and shoot” style unibody, or did I want a small camera system with small lenses, such as those expensive cameras and lenses the Germans make. This consideration took a few months to sort through.

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My Harley in ACROS…

The next consideration was price. A camera too cheap will be so inferior to my Canon system that I will feel buyers remorse, and a camera that is too expensive will be like carrying a huge diamond with me in public. I’d be paranoid about losing it and would dread having to replace it. Don’t let people bullshit you: price is definitely a factor in these decisions and not just the “can you afford it?” calculation. The proper way to express that calculation is: can you easily afford to replace it? 

So I decided to get the Fuji X100F here, and made a big fucking deal of it, as if my decisions matter in the scheme of the planet. With no further bullshit…here is my review!

Image Quality:

Let me cut to the chase. The image quality from this cameras is very very good. I totally prefer the X100F jpegs over the jpegs coming out of my Canon 5d Mark III. These Fuji jpegs are superb. As of this blog entry Adobe hasn’t updated camera RAW so I can’t process RAW files in Lightroom without doing a bunch of bullshit workarounds. Fuck that. I’ll wait.

Are there some issues that suck about the images I get from this camera? Maybe. Really it’s an issue with Fuji X-Tran sensor cameras in general, and is summed up in three words: waxy skin jpegs. That’s it. Other than the fact that at higher ISO’s (above 800), white people look like they are made of plastic when you shoot color jpegs, there are no issues to speak of.

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Waxy Skin Jpegs…

Notice I’m leaving out specs here. Fuck specs. The camera has an APS-C sensor and around 24 megapixels of resolution. If you want more specs then google them.

The high ISO performance of this camera is pretty good to my eyes, with fine grain appearing prevalent around 6400 or so. The grain (which can be included or excluded artificially) from this camera is decisively unlike the color crazy “noise” you get from your run of the mill DSLR at higher ISO.

You can hand-hold this little fucker to about 1/60 with no problems and get images that are crazy sharp. The camera doesn’t have image stabilization, like that unmentioned Leica does, but mirrorless cameras don’t have a slapping mirror to complicate the process and work against the hand-hold-ability of the camera using slower shutter speeds.

The camera has a noise reduction engine which is weirdly cranked up by default. I suggest turning it down (to between -1 to -4) before you take your first jpeg photo.

One of the coolest features in the history of digital cameras is the film simulations offered by Fuji cameras (including their new GFX medium format camera). These simulations are sublime. I use ACROS, which is a contrasty black-and-white sim. Most people use ACROS and the faded color look called Classic Chrome (and by most people I mean everybody)….

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Classic Chrome

Bottom line is: if you have a big ass DSLR and are afraid switching to Fuji will hurt your Instagram follower count… it wont. Buy the camera. You’ll be fine…..

Build and Handling:

When the pretty counter-girl at Service Photo in Baltimore handed me the Fuji X100F box on February 23rd 2017, I stood there stunned at how miniature the camera was once I unboxed it. The camera is TINY. My iPhone 6S+ is both wider and longer than the X100F. My iPhone doesn’t weigh more though. The X100F is meaty, and holding it betrays the fact that the intended use for this camera is heavy street and travel work. There is a lot of tech packed into this little weapon, and you can feel it when you hold it. I opted for the all black version, but it also comes in hipster-grey, or whatever it’s called. Regardless of color scheme choice, the camera itself is an analog throwback celebration of dials and switches, but is as well the peak of modernity with its glass LCD screen and high-tech hybrid viewfinder (more on that in the autofocus portion).

The lens, which I have not mentioned until now, is the same lens that has been on this model of camera since its inception with the original X100 (or at least the X100S). In my opinion the lens is fine. Pinned against the body is a 1/3 of a stop clicking sliver of an aperture ring that is thrilling to turn. Next, and I have to say this: that “control ring” is some bullshit. It spins too freely and is wasted in jpeg-only mode, where it controls stuff like the built in teleconverter (35, 50, and 70mm options–all at 24mp) and lets you choose between the film simulation modes, in addition to two other options I cant remember. Enabling Fine (jpeg) + RAW disables these annoying choices and returns the control ring to its intuitive function of being a focus ring. In Fine + Jpeg the control ring is also a parallax correction ring, when you are shooting stuff that is very close.

The camera comes with a strap which I will never use. I got one of those trendy rope straps instead. If anybody wants a free Fuji strap then hit me up (I’m lying).

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ISO 1600. ACROS

I am a bit confused as to how to affix a 49mm clear filter on the front of this puppy. Thats the filter size. The X100F comes with a lens cap that pops on and off and looks terribly awesome.

This may be the best looking camera on the market today. There are simply no bad angles about this camera.

Handling is fine unless your phallus beaters are particularly large. The button layout on the back of the camera is a bit tight on the right side, and some users have complained about the placement of the Q button. It’s also easy as fuck to bump the exposure compensation dial off the zero setting, so be mindful of that as you toss the little camera about.

Autofocus:

That Leica camera I promised not to mention is fast as shit to attain focus and fire. I tested it and was blown away. Amazingly, this little Fuji is almost as fast if not equally so. It’s quick. I can use one hand to attain focus, fire with professional precision, and keep it moving all in less than a second and a half. The camera does take a nervous second or two to wake up, but I have a feeling this has more to do with the time it takes the “eye detection” function of the viewfinder to kick in than actual wake-up time. I probably just need more practice with this particular camera. My number one personal focus is speed.

There are the standard modes of autofocus. Continuous, Single shot, and Manual. Choose whichever one you prefer. I refrain from the continuous shot mode because, honestly, I shoot Canon and these little mirrorless jobs are not on that level yet as far as tracking swiftly moving subjects are concerned. This isn’t a sports camera by any means, but it can nail a shot here or there of something in fast motion that will surprise you.

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Shot out to the ambassador of Street Photography Eric Kim. That guy. The more I get into this street photography thing, and become a God at it, the more I realize that kid knows exactly what the fuck he’s talking about. In this case I’m speaking about using the LCD to shoot. With a Canon 5d Mark III, it isn’t practical to use the LCD to shoot. It’s possible but not practical. With this Fuji X100F I use the LCD by default. It’s fast and brilliant. I’m in my car and I see something and BAM. I can shoot it without having to guess or manually switch shooting/viewing modes. I see the final exposure right there on the screen. Now I see why many shooters go for the Ricoh GR.

As for the viewfinder, here is where novelty meets practicality. The EVF I would rate as average. It doesn’t seem as fast or nice as the one in that Leica camera, but it does the job well. There is a bit of a lag though, but it is a practical and useful EVF. The OVF function is very nice, but it seems sort of novel and unreliable as far as your certainty of nailing focus. It’s addictive though, and is great to use for we Canon/Nikon monkeys who already know how a photo will turn out exposure-wise because of our settings. I’d say the OVF is more for advanced photographers and the EVF is the easier viewfinder mode to use, just slower. I use the OVF and the LCD, for the record….

The AEL/AFL button is maybe an 8th of an inch too far to the left. It works fine if back button focus is your thing. I said I would start using a half-shutter press once I got this camera and that’s what I have been doing. I use 100% back button focus on my Canon. You can set the AFL to any of maybe 8 buttons on the X100F, so no need to fret if your hands are poorly sized for this camera. If you got those Donald Trump sized hands though you’ll be fine…

Video:

What is that?

Battery and Storage:

The X100F has one SD slot. The card slot is sketchy to me (it gave me an error the FIRST time I tried to reinsert my SD card after dumping images with my card reader) so now I tend to upload images using the USB cable. It comes with a charger, the camera does. You can also charge the battery using the USB cable by plugging the camera up to a computer or any USB charger, which is super fucking dope awesome. This camera takes the same battery as the X-Pro2 and the X-T2. You get maybe 300-400 shots on one charge. Not bad really. I have 2 batteries but have yet to need the second one. If I were using this camera for a wedding (as a 2nd body) I’d likely have maybe 3 batteries and one in the clip, totaling 4.

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Price:

The Fujifilm X100F costs $1299 new. You get a lens already anchored to the body. That’s important. You see, guys like me with GAS would buy 6 lenses if the X100F didn’t have a lens already rooted onto the front of it. This is important as it takes much of your temptation away. To this day I randomly log into Amazon to look at cameras before realizing I don’t really need anything……

Alternatives: 

In this price range? The Ricoh GR reportedly has better image quality and is cheaper to boot. No viewfinder though. More expensive? That Leica camera and the Sony RX cameras are luxury greatness. Other than that you have to get a whole new camera system and scout for lenses and troll over DXO lens sharpness tests and all that bullshit. With a compact camera all you have to do is shoot.

Conclusion:

Buy the goddamn camera.

Exit.

Random Thoughts on Street Photography and Life….

• I ordered these today on Amazon in advance of buying the Fuji X100F next month or     whenever its available (I pre-ordered the camera). Anybody use these things?

• Part of me wants to enter a few Street Photography contests but I’m always suspicious of the photo judgement process. It may be that I never trust authority in general. In addition to my innate suspicion I also don’t want to spend 25-50 dollars (or more) on entry fees. I’m not really a cheap bastard but I’m not a gambler either. These contests feel a lot like gambling.

• I’m still on a break from shooting street. I have been shooting sports a lot lately and I hate it as much as usual. I love the high school sports environment and the on-court access, but there is no creativity involved in shooting live sports. All I do is track and shoot. In fact, I usually feel some shame that I missed a killer dunk or something because I was chimping or chatting with a fan….

• My dating life still fucking sucks. If you know any good looking single women between 29-52 in the Baltimore/DC area hit me up…..

• Having used back button focus for years when framing street compositions and while shooting sports photography, I think I’ll try using the shutter button to lock focus with my Fuji X100F when I get it. There’s no real reason. I just want to see how it feels.

• After the success of my decision post I’ll likely compose a real life review of the X100F. Don’t worry, I’ll curse up a goddamn storm just like you’d expect me too. Fuck that….

• I have been torn between curvy fat women and smallish fit women my entire adult life and am no closer to determining which I prefer than I was at 26 years old. This decision isn’t helped by the fact that no woman wants me anyhow.

• Does everyone check their order status on Amazon every 7 minutes like I do? Why hasn’t the shit shipped already? It’s been 25 minutes since I ordered it. Come on! Do your fucking job!

• My social media blackout has been extended indefinitely. You people are going silly shit nuts over Trump, especially women of a certain ilk and hue.

Exit…..

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Everything looks normal here….

Fuji X100F: My Camera Decision….

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I told you bloggers and bastards before that I was going mirrorless. You fuckers didn’t believe me of course right? With that in mind I have made my decision! I have decided to get the recently announced Fuji X100F!!!! Here are my reasons and thought process behind the decision….

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Leica Q

I considered the Leica Q first. The Leica Q is a nearly flawless luxury point-and-shoot camera. It focuses fast, has wonderful ergonomics, and takes beautiful photos. It is not big like a consumer level DSLR (Canon t6i, etc) but it’s not exactly pocketable either. It is full frame (unlike the Fuji’s), which has been all the rage for the past decade or so. It’s also a Leica, so there’s that. The reason it isn’t flawless is because the bitch costs $4250. That’s a lot of bread for a loser like myself. Even though I don’t have a wife or kids to look after, and can afford brand new Harley-Davidson’s and shit, I cannot afford nor justify saving all my spare change for a year to get that camera.

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Fuji X-Pro2

Next, I strongly considered the Fuji X-Pro2. To be honest, I still might get one down the line, or maybe the X-Pro3 whenever it comes out. At $1699 it’s not silly-expensive like the Leica Q, but it’s also not all-in-one affordable like the X100 series. Price was a factor in my decision, but not for the obvious “for sale cost” reason. My thought process here is: I really, deep in my soul, don’t want to invest in another camera system right now. The X-Pro2 comes with no lens. I’d likely also buy the 35mm F2 or the 32mm Zeiss 1.8 to pair with the X-Pro2, and that’s just for starters. GAS is an opportunistic son of a whore, and I’m very certain that I’d find some reason why I HAD TO HAVE a short zoom, the 50-140 2.8 for sports, and maybe a mid-range portrait lens, and so forth. Since the X100F is a fixed lens luxury point-and-shoot, I wont be tempted to buy 3k worth of lenses. Also, the X-Pro2 is not really a pocketable camera, even with the cute little 27mm 2.8 pancake lens attached. It features the same cropped APS-C sensor as the X100F, which is shameful according to DSLR snobs, so why even buy it and all the (actually affordable) lenses if it doesn’t at least give me full frame snobbiness or a portability advantage?

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Fuji X100F

I’ve known that the X100F was coming out since I started my camera research and came across the X100T. The X100T didn’t really impress me much, mainly because of it’s autofocus issues, so I decided back then to wait, even thought to be honest it’s not like I could have gone out and bought the Leica Q instead anyhow. That’s another flaw with the Leica Q. A camera that expensive has to fend off EVERY cheaper competitor as a customer saves for it, and that process can literally take a year or two. It’s hard to not buy an X100F when you have so far saved up $2100 (which is only halfway there toward the Leica Q) and know that you’re only going to use the photos from your new camera for Instagram and your crappy blog.

I would list (copy and paste) all the specs but fuck that. Who actually cares about that shit? The X100F has the same sensor as the X-Pro2, so thats good since the images from the X-Pro2 look pretty nice on Flickr with my 27 inch 5k iMac. It also has the same processor as the X-Pro2, which probably means focusing speed is better and shit like that. The X100F and its native 23mm lens gives about a 35mm equivalent full frame field of view, and there is a crop mode (or something) that will give me the 50mm field of view I’m used to if I need it. It also has a little thumb lever to move the focus point, which is one of the main reasons I bought my 5d Mark III over a year ago. I love that thumb button. Other than that I like shooting in jpeg and Fuji has the best jpegs on the planet straight out of the camera. The Fuji film simulations are surreal and I look forward to using them.

So that’s it. Now I have to wait until February 16th 2017 when the camera comes out. Till then I guess it’s back to blowing money on dates with the dysfunctional women I meet on dating sites. Enjoy your fucking day people…..

The Fuji X100F will be released Feb 23rd 2017 and retails for $1299 USD.

*none of the above photos were taken by me. Not one of them. 

 

Smaller Seems Better for Street Photography

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I’m seriously considering moving away from DSLR’s for street photography.

Reasons:

My Canon 5d3 is WAY too big, especially with a 50mm 1.2 lens hooked on the front of it.

I only have one body now, the Canon, which I use for sports. It feels doubly risky to take my money making body out for street shooting.

I can’t reliably one-hand-shoot the Canon when I’m driving. That’s some sneaky shit I love doing, drive by shooting.

I have GAS…. fuck my life.

I am looking for any excuse to go mirrorless because I can sense in my core that DSLR’s are the past and mirrorless is the future.

DSLR’s scare the fuck out of people. A rangefinder-style mirrorless would make me look like a retro film student. Well, a 40+ year old retro film student. I still look young though. Black don’t crack.

I am starting to hate optical low pass filters. I am a sharpness snob, even though street photography isn’t all about sharpness. My 5d3 has a low pass filter and the underlying smudge frustrates me while viewing photos on my 27 inch 5k MAC screen…..

That’s it. Stay low and keep shooting, as I will do once I figure out which camera I want.

Street photography camera candidates currently are:

Fuji X100F, which comes out next year. The currently discontinued X100T just doesn’t have a good enough focus system for my needs.

Fuji X-Pro2 + 35mm F2 lens (53mm full frame equivalent). Very intriguing.

Leica Q. Perfect street camera but way too fucking expensive.

I hate Sony so the RX1R II will not be considered.