I’m not saying global warming is wrong, but back in the 90’s I recall consecutive summers in Baltimore and Georgia where the thermometer read 100 degrees or above.
The current/past summer was muggy yes. Hot? Not really to me.
I switched companies that I shoot sports for. (If you want to know to whom I switched check my Facebook page or something) Shooting sports is fun but the money is drying up pretty quickly. Fewer and fewer parents are willing to buy prints of their kid once he or she (the parent) leaves an event, and those photo tents you see at tournaments aren’t as lucrative as they once may have been. Couple that with newspapers and magazines dying slowly, and there really isn’t a major demand for sports photos. I see parents and high school students with semi-pro gear on the sidelines now all the time. They may not have the passion and skill to produce high level sports compositions, but that camera and lens they now hold represents the money they would have spent on professional photos perhaps…..
Sports are in full swing though. I’m booked to shoot every weekday afternoon (after my main job) up till probably the first week of November. I’m also shooting models now until kingdom come, and will probably miss many Sundays in front of the tube watching the Redzone channel because of it. Sundays are great to shoot models for that reason however. It’s a dead day in the city for foot traffic and that’s a perfect environment to shoot in….
MICROSTRUGGLER is nearly a year old. I mainly like to shoot women and that’s what this blog will be about moving forward: photos and women…..
I like this little camera. Model Ana Rivera ain’t bad either.
So it has been 6 months since the Fuji X100F debuted and I of course purchased the first one sold in my city of Baltimore. In fact, I have yet to see another X100F in Baltimore, but I digress. Since I bought the camera I’ve shot ~5000 photos and spent untold lunch breaks going through the menus. I’ve shot sports sidelines, pretty models, and I’ve shot and killed streets. I’ve hooked up an external flash, more on that later, and have fallen in love with using the LCD only to shoot.
WHAT I LOVE
I started out with this camera thinking I could shoot jpegs using those cute film simulation modes. I really tried to make it work too. My favorite one is ACROS (followed by Classic Chrome). I used ACROS a lot. I knew though, that sometimes I needed to record a scene in color so I quickly started shooting RAW + Jpegs to my card, which slows my Lightroom flow down, but it was manageable. Then, at some point, I downloaded the fuji film simulation plugins from some damn place on the internet and installed it in Lightroom. That way I could change a Fuji (only Fuji) RAW file to the Classic Chrome look if I wanted, or whatever. After a while I figured there really is no fucking difference between the in-camera jpeg film simulations and the Lightroom plugin camera conversions, AND I noticed that Fuji RAW files have a shit ton of dynamic range. I shoot all RAW now. Fuck it. Those in-camera film simulation modes are too cute for me…
I never understood or cared about having a leaf shutter until I started shooting sidelines at sporting events. I normally shoot 1/1000 F5.6 and auto ISO range 200-800 during the day for streets. When I’m shooting events I turn on the built-in fill flash just for shits and giggles. This is when I discovered that I could overpower the sun and create these hauntingly half dark images. I continued this trend later shooting models using an external flash….
The image quality beats the unholy fuck out of my Canon 5d Mark III, even when the DSLR is coupled with the world class 70-200 2.8 IS II lens. This little Fuji point-and-shoot compact beats it handily as far as micro contrast and sharpness is concerned. RAW to RAW the Fuji wins handily when it comes to dynamic range for both shadow pulling AND highlight recovery. Colors are more of a taste thing, but I find Fuji colors to be more accurate than Canon, even though Canon’s colors are warm and lovely.
The face detection works reasonably well, and it will even detect a models eye (left or right depending on your chosen setting) when it feels like it.
This is most likely the finest street photography camera ever made.
Models and subjects smile at this camera, as opposed to my big ass Canon which makes folks get all serious or run away.
THINGS I HATE
The afl/ael button is useless and positioned horribly. I have reassigned it to change my focus type.
The control ring concept is so horrid that I try my best to never touch the lens unless I’m changing apertures.
What the fuck is up with Fuji and off camera flash? Nothing works right. I can get my Canon (actually a Pixel Mago) flash to fire in manual using a chord that I have to jiggle and pray to get it to work. When it works the results are good though. I’m getting the X-T2 and some lenses soon as well as this new Godox flash trigger and flash unit that’s supposed to work with Fuji TTL and HSS and do it all wireless. We shall see…
I hate the view mode button. God forbid you ever hit that bitch by accident and spend an hour thinking your camera is malfunctioning. Perhaps I’m just an idiot but still….
This camera is a nice intro into the Fuji universe and also has a leaf shutter. That’s the deal. The jpegs are good but overrated. The RAW files are superb. It’s compact yet made of steel. It’s sharp as fuck. It’s silent. The autofocus is good in single shot mode. If you’re a street photographer this camera is superior to almost any camera you can buy besides a manual focus Leica and maybe my beloved Leica Q. None of those cameras have a fill flash though. This one does….
The more I carry a camera around the streets, the more I realize that some people think it's weird that I'm carrying a camera around on the streets.
It's not my fault really. My little Fuji X100F is small enough to not intimidate folks. The true reason carrying a camera in the streets seems weird is because it is implied that every person ALREADY has a camera on them in their iPhones.
Of course the quality of an iPhone image is not on true par with a raw file from my Fuji or my Canon bodies, but that's where the disconnect happens for most folks. Many people are completely satisfied with their cell phone cameras and, unless they are a parent photographing youth sports, they feel no need to use a bulky old school traditional or post modern traditional style camera. Thus, an old man walking through the streets with a camera around his neck looks stereotypical and creepy to many millennials. Oh well.
Keeping my camera at my side helps me to avoid that "are you a creep?" glare from folks. Looks more professional that way anyhow. In the winter I can stick the Fuji in my jacket pocket. It's all about stealth out there and if people are long-spotting you and they know you're creepy their guard goes up and you lose the ability to capture a true candid. Strategy….
Do you dangle your camera around your neck? Let me know in the comments below.
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.
🔘 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.
Of course people enjoy glancing at your photos, or maybe they just enjoy “liking” photos on various social media outlets. Hard to tell. It’s very simple to “like” a large number of photos in a short span of time if you want to. In fact, you barely have to know what you’re liking. You scroll and like, all the way down the feed until you get bored, and maybe if you’re lucky somebody will “like” you back….
We sure would like for our photos to be liked, and I don’t mean social media liked…. I mean deeply liked. I know I would like that.
Well…. I think.
Would you like that? We spend a lot of money on gear and time on social media pumping our brands. I know I do. Maybe I should do more. Hard to tell. Will I ever get people to like my photos or will I simply get people to “like” my photos? Hard to tell….
Am I even good? That’s not hard to tell. I haven’t been shooting for very long and I don’t have any formal training so my guess is I’m average at best. Does that even make a difference? I see photographers who are definitely not good have wild success due to their networking skills and personal charm. Is being good overrated? Hard to say….
We struggle so hard to get a foothold in this business but for what? I could rob an NYC subway train car at gunpoint, demanding each passengers cell phone, and I’m certain that 100% of those phones have cameras on them. Everyone is a photographer these days to some degree. In fact, many folks with cell phones shoot more photos per day, thereby getting far more practice, than art-school bred professionals. An Instagram model may have 2000 photos on her page while an artist might think he’s one of the best in the world having an online portfolio of 20 photos. Both may have thousands of followers but for different reasons, even though the reasons intersect at the corner of brand popularity and photographic content….
This is a micro-struggle indeeed. The fate of our great nation does not hinge on the need for a person to buy a better lens to take better portraits. Still, sometimes I wonder if any of what we do in photography is worth it when nobody gives a fuck about our photos anyhow. In fact, if you let art-school geeks tell it: most people don’t know how to give a fuck about photography. We lack the necessary education and refinement to do so. We’re photographic savages basically…
Well, I won’t give a fuck if you don’t. Let’s keep posting photos we snap and maybe I’ll slap the shit out of an art-school nerd just for fun. Sometimes it feels good to bully the bullies….
Street photography is fast. You must be quick out there. Your camera has to be properly set to shoot in advance. Your eyes have to frame and snap off a scene that has key elements in motion. You have to be nearly perfect. There is little room for error. Those who have shot fast moving sports can relate. Your brain has perhaps 7 things to account for in the space of three breaths, and this accounting has to be seamlessly incorporated into your shooting process.
With that being said, I offer a quote:
“Whoever is in a hurry shows that the thing he is about is too big for him.” ~Lord Chesterfield
I need to calm down. I often fuck myself over by rushing. This applies to all things, the least of which is street photography…..
Enthusiasm can easily work against you. No doubt enthusiasm is one of life’s pleasures. We are hard-wired, seemingly, to go bat-shit giddy over something in our lives at some point, no matter how cool we are naturally or are trained to be. However, one must choose carefully the things one shows enthusiasm towards. Many oversights happen at the intersection of enthusiasm and impatience, and sometimes enthusiasm creates impatience. Unbridled optimism can obscure ones natural abilitiy to wield healthy skepticism as a shield…
For me, the penalty of enthusiasm is neglected preparation. In the midst of shooting street photography in manual mode, my camera settings are all over the place depending on available light and time of day. In my eagerness to look for the next and penultimate “decisive moment” I at times forget to check the exposure compensation dial on my Fuji X100F (when I’m in auto ISO mode) which can easily be bumped to an unwanted value, or I forget to take off the lens cap, or some other stupid shit. In my rush to take that shot I may miss it because in my enthusiasm I have neglected key parts of the process. It is simply unacceptable to sidestep preperation. When shooting in the streets the “process” is happening the entire time. It’s like a military training maneuver or a meditation. Enthusiasm cuts into that meditation. It upsets the inner peace one must have to maximize ones effectiveness….
You can be overly enthusiastic about many things. I was excited to get to work and write this blog entry today, and I stupidly left my phone in the bathroom at home. You can get overly enthusiastic about a love interest and scare him or her off, becoming the classic: “overly attached girlfriend/boyfriend” and losing that person. You can be too excited about a monetary negotiation and betray that to the other party, with unwanted financial ramifications for yourself as a result. There is probably a far shorter list of things that are not hurt by over-enthusiasm as opposed to the opposite. Not much beats having a balanced mind and workflow…
Let’s end this….
“Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.”– Zig Ziglar
I recently quit alcohol, cigarettes and staying up late at night doing nothing….
I dunno, one Sunday morning after having sex with some random chick, hungover, depressed, I decided that I’d had enough….
There were other reasons…. the dark circles around my eyes seemed like permanent fixtures on my face, I had been drinking and staying up late for so many years….
I smoked maybe a pack of cigarettes per week. Hardly a major habit, but I rarely if ever smoked unless I was drinking coffee or alcohol….
So here I am, sober and taking more magnesium so my mood had been a lot better lately. I’m once again the scarred kid I was 25 years ago before all of this rock star madness initiated. Oh yeah, I bought a new camera too. You might have heard about that….
Many of us connect our drug and alcohol consumption to our art, as if the two are richly interrelated. It’s not as simple as that. It’s more “quantum”. Our art is influenced by drugs and not influenced by drugs at the same time. The dark places many of us call to when we generate art remains, drugs and alcohol just changes the lens we use to examine those sources of inspiration….
I never used to drink before going out to shoot anyhow. It would suck if I dropped my camera because I was drunk. Weed is a different story. I don’t consider weed to be a drug really. It’s more like a vitamin to me….
Going to sleep earlier, sober, has reconnected me to all the dreams I missed before, or maybe I can just remember them now because of my newfound clarity. I also realize that I held on to sources of pain for no better reason than to milk them as convenient sources of self-pity. I’ve made steps to clean that up….
I’m not saying I’ll never drink again. I am saying that I’ll never drink alone again. Fuck that shit. I’m not going to drink in public either, particularly at bars and taverns. I already have one fairly recent DUI and will never have another. Also, all those trendy bars and taking silly ladies out on dates can get expensive…
Street Photography has not changed for me. Well, maybe I think I like it more now….
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…
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.
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!
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.
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)….
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).
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.
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.
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…
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.
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……
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.
• 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.