Fuji X100s - I'm just not bonding

Lightmancer

Legend
Location
Sunny Frimley
Real Name
Bill Palmer
So, let me regale you with a tale.

A couple of years ago, back in 2013 I had my first brush with an X100. At the time I had my X-E1 as my main camera, and I was thinking that the X100 would be complementary. I struggled with it then, and couldn't quite work out why but a couple of months later I sold it on. Fast forward to just before Christmas this year. With the announcement of the X100T, the X100s could be found at decent prices very lightly used on the secondhand market. That, plus the release of the TCL-X100 made me seriously reconsider. I pulled the trigger twice - on a mint X100 and the teleconverter.

I decided to use the X100s for the Single in January 2015 challenge over on our sister site, Photographer's Lounge. I thought that it would help me to get to grips with the camera and learn it's quirks and foibles; I had done exactly the same back in 2012 with the Ricoh GRDIII. This time, however, it doesn't seem to be working. There are a number of things at work here, partly physical and partly mental. Physical first; I have large hands with long and slender fingers; I find it really hard to get a firm grip on the body on it's own. I have a grip, which helps, and a thumb-rest on the way. The grip helps in particular with the TCL-X100 and it's weight; the thumb-rest will hopefully help, whether the main grip is attached or not. BUT the problem with both these accessories is that they make the camera more bulky and even less pocketable than it is already. I think my handling problems have in turn contributed to one of my main issues, which appears to be camera shake. This is not something I have particularly had an issue with in the past; I have held Leica Ms to 1/15 and still got good results - but I think it is a factor of the unsteady hold I have on the camera body. I am also struggling with the optical viewfinder; this really surprises me because one of my other cameras is an X-Pro1 and I get on very well with that.

The net result is that I am not shooting my best stuff - have a look at the "Lightmancer SiJ15" thread and you will see what I mean.

Going forward, I am struggling to see where the X100s will fit in "Billworld" - it is too big to slip in a pocket on it's own, let alone when grips and thumb rests are attached, let alone the TCL. If I can't fit it in a pocket I have to carry a bag, and if I have to carry a bag I may as well take one of my larger cameras in the first place. The TCL, which was one of the reasons for trying again, is a nice piece of kit but heavy, comparatively bulky and fiddly-diddly to slip on and off; it is reminiscent of the old screwmount lenses. Then there is the matter of the battery - most of my cameras - X-Pro1, X-T1 and X-M1 - take the same battery. The X100s is different. That means that I can't have one set of shared spare batteries and travel with one charger...

What all this is leading to, I think, is that I will most likely part company with the X100s at the end of the SiJ - unless I have an epiphany in the next two weeks, I can't see it remaining as part of my photographic life. I feel as if I have somehow failed; I know it is a good camera, well-regarded by others, and that many other photographers have got it to sing for them - but, it seems, I just can't...
 

ean10775

All-Pro
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
Real Name
Eric
Bill,

As someone who has had his fair bit of frustration with the X100S over the past couple years, I can certainly relate (though my frustrations have been more centered around the camera's functionality or lack thereof in certain areas that are meaningful to me). As a photographer with larger hands (I'm 6'3") I too find many smaller cameras, including the X100S a bit fiddly to use and hard to grip. Two things that changed that for me were the addition of a leather half case (in my case, the case is the Gariz Black Label that has the small 'ridge' grip built in) and a thumbrest (the Lensmate version, though I would assume the Match Technical version would work just as well). I agree that these items definitely make the camera larger and less portable, but together they have completely transformed the handling for me: the half case effectively extends the height of the camera just enough to enable a better grip and the ridge gives a bit more purchase on the front as well, and the thumbrest allows such a firm hold I never feel like the camera is out of control. In fact, one handed operation is extremely easy when I want to use it as a point and shoot, composing with the rear LCD. When you add in the silent leaf shutter of the X100S, I'm much steadier shooting the X100S than any other camera I've ever used.

Still, you're right - even without the WCL/TCL adapters, the X100S is a heavy camera for its size and either adapter or any other accessory makes it no smaller than something like the X-E1 or X-T1 with one of the smaller Fuji lenses. Still, what I like about it is that (at least with the 23mm naked lens) regardless of size or weight, its just so unobtrusive to shoot with compared to any interchangeable lens camera I've used (including m43 cameras that were smaller).
 

Lightmancer

Legend
Location
Sunny Frimley
Real Name
Bill Palmer
That's a really interesting response... I hadn't considered the height of the camera as a contributory factor - I get on fine with the GR, for instance, which is physically smaller in every dimension - but the GR is much more grippy due to it's rubber covering and is a lot lighter to start with. Similarly, my all-time favourite "street camera" is actually my Leica IID which I have no problem grasping and holding steady.
 

ChangshaNotes

Regular
Location
Changsha, Hunan, China
Real Name
Colin
Bill, in my experience with the X100 series is that it's a camera that you know immediately if it's for you. A couple of days tops. You know that it isn't for you, so don't worry about it. Sell it. Perhaps you shouldn't wait for the end of SIJ15 if it might cost you a few bob. There are so many good cameras that really now it's about comfort in handling for these smaller ones not specs. If it doesn't work for you, no worries, no explanation, no need to justify. It's not doing it for you. Fair enough.
 
Bill,
Interesting. I've also struggled with my X100S but recently during this SiJ challenge started to like it. And this challenge helped me to get on top Fuji setups in camera. I've also noticed that camera shake has become more usual on my pics than with other of my tools: X-T1 and fabulous PEN E-P5 (no shutter shock after FW update). I'm wrestling with myself what to do after the challenge. And it didn't help that when I picked up X-T1 and shot with it, it felt soooo natural for me :)
 

ean10775

All-Pro
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
Real Name
Eric
Are you guys shooting with autoISO enabled? And if so, what minimum shutter speed? I guess I'm just surprised at the reports of camera shake seeing as the X100 series has a leaf shutter and a short focal length - I wouldn't expect it to be as much of a problem. I DO have an issue with 1/125sec being the fastest shutter speed that can be set with autoISO since its not fast enough to stop even mild action. As a result I do get some motion blurred shots, but never anything I'd attribute to camera shake.
 
Yes, I've set AutoISO speed to 1/100sec, and that should be fast enough in this focal length, but... it has to relate somehow to the grip and incompatible fingers :)

Also the light, or absent of it, is also major problem here up in North this time of year, so, not making too fast decisions
 

Phoenix

All-Pro
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Real Name
Phoenix Gonzales
I know exactly where you’re coming from Bill after my own experience with a lens. There’s nothing wrong with the gear per se, but it’s a lot of small little things that makes using it difficult or impossible, either way ending up with you not enjoying yourself while shooting which is really counterproductive. There as just some items that as soon as you hold it in your hands and shoot an image you just mentally tell yourself “ok, now this makes so much sense” and I guess the opposite can be said as well. That being said though, I’m positive that another user will have a totally opposite experience with the X100s and a different X camera. I’m guessing that the silver lining in it is there’s a lot of different bodies we can choose from the X line up and there’s one that you’ll really bond with, and it makes you cherish that bond even more.
 

Isoterica

Hall of Famer
I added a Ciesta half case with the battery opening in the bottom, and a Thumbs-up. You can also lift the shutter button with a soft release. Just kinda extend its profile all around and make it more easy to handle. You can add a wrist strap to the half case or use a comfortable neck strap. I found that even with my little XSi, if the camera was strapped to my hand, because obviously it can't be pocketed, it was at the ready but I didn't have to constantly clamp my hand down on it. If there are other reasons you aren't bonding then you probably aren't a good match, I liked the GR but.. it didn't do it for me.
 

ean10775

All-Pro
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
Real Name
Eric
I added a Ciesta half case with the battery opening in the bottom, and a Thumbs-up. You can also lift the shutter button with a soft release...

...If there are other reasons you aren't bonding then you probably aren't a good match, I liked the GR but.. it didn't do it for me.

I neglected to mention that I too use a soft release, which probably helps with camera shake (theoretically) though I only put it on because I like the way it looks. I agree that while it's certainly deemed a 'great camera' by many it just may not be a great camera for you Bill. I'm willing to fight though the issues I have with the camera because I have grown to really appreciate the images I get from it. Admittedly though, if I were able to build my ideal camera/system from scratch based on what's currently available, I probably would't go the X100S route again.
 

RT Panther

All-Pro
No worries!
The important thing is that you do what's right for YOU, not anyone else.

Just because one person bonds with camera doesn't mean you should too....:)
 

Biro

Hall of Famer
Location
Jersey Shore
Real Name
Steve
I don't see any shame in it at all.
We're all individuals, what works for one shouldn't necessarily have to work for another :)

No shame on Bill's part. But it is a shame that he spent the time and money on the X100s only to have it not work out for him. Now he'll have to spend some more time selling it (hopefully without a loss). Not a tragedy... but a shame. As in "That's too bad."
 

Lightmancer

Legend
Location
Sunny Frimley
Real Name
Bill Palmer
Well, chaps it IS a shame, but I'm a big boy and I'll live. I have it up on eBay at the moment; it has nearly 100 watchers, and finishes on Sunday evening. It has a high reserve, and I confidently expect to break even, maybe even make a small profit overall because the chap I bought it off ended his listing on a Tuesday afternoon...

Either way, if I end up paying a few quid to have "hired" it for a few weeks I can cope with that. I have learned the valuable lesson that the X100 "package" is simply not for me, and in the process I have "scratched the itch" and don't have that niggling "what if" at the back of my mind.

Only ever regret what you have done, not what you have not done.
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Location
Not too far from Philly
Real Name
you should be able to figure it out...
Are you guys shooting with autoISO enabled? And if so, what minimum shutter speed? I guess I'm just surprised at the reports of camera shake seeing as the X100 series has a leaf shutter and a short focal length - I wouldn't expect it to be as much of a problem. I DO have an issue with 1/125sec being the fastest shutter speed that can be set with autoISO since its not fast enough to stop even mild action. As a result I do get some motion blurred shots, but never anything I'd attribute to camera shake.
Strictly out of curiosity, I know that Fuji's newer ILC bodies have a minimum shutter speed up to 1/500 in auto-ISO now and firmware updates added this in some of the older bodies as well (X-Pro and XE1 I believe). Did they NOT add this capability to the X100S? How about the X100T - did it ship with this higher minimum shutter speed capability? I don't get why they even cap it at 1/500 on the ILC bodies, but it's enough for me with anything but really long lenses - I can't ever imagine aver needing anything faster with the X100 series since 50mm is as long as they get with adapters...

-Ray
 

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