Article: Is the X100 the ideal street photography camera?

Discussion in 'Fuji X100 Forum' started by Pelao, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. PeterB666

    PeterB666 SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    I have some reservations with that 'graph'. I have used the Olympus E-P1 with the 9-18mm zoom and 20mm Panasonic lenses for street photography. Both of these are 'OK' and quite frankly the E-P1 and Panny 20mm is a similar sized piece of kit to the Fujifilm X100. I am sure the Fujifilm X100 is great and also suitable for street photography.

    My last lot of street photography was with my Nikon D90 and standard 18-105mm kit lens (27 to 157mm ff equivalent). I have to say that this combo has proven to be the most useful for street photography and with the reach at the long end, enables you to grab decent shots from across the road etc while the short end is good for casual discrete shots from waist level. I have also used the Nikkor 10-24mm zoom for the latter as well.

    The biggest problem with the size of cameras between 'compact' and dSLR is more to do with your own self-perceptions and comfort level. Yes, it is easier to be discrete with a small camera, but there is more to it than that.

    Anyway, the X100 is a great camera and I wish I had one.
     
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  2. LisaO

    LisaO SC Regular S.C. Charter Member

    123
    Jul 11, 2010
    I always liked the 35 focal length for street photography. I did my entire 1 week Paris Street Photography workshop with a 5D Classic and 35 F 1.4 L lens in 2006.
    Paris for Flickr - a set on Flickr
     
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  3. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Lisa, I haven't made it through all the Paris set but boy, you've got some great ones! Paris must be The City for photography. Beautiful - and I can't wait to see what you bring home from Italy...is it Venice you're going to? I'm sorry I can't remember.
     
  4. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Here's how I see things. First I will speak for myself and then for many, many other street shooters.

    My ideal street camera was and probably always will be a Leica M4 with a 35mm Cron, or Lux in low light. Why the M4? Ok, it has a shutter speed dial. It has an aperture. It has a great viewfinder.
    That's it! I didn't use a light meter for many, many years. Everything was intuitive.

    Now I speak for many others. The ideal camera for the street has an aperture, a shutter speed, some kind of viewing system. That may be an OVF, an EVF, screen etc. The camera probably has a meter in it. It probably has a zillion menu settings that mean nothing but to add to the variables on setting the camera.

    As photographers, we are blessed and cursed with the Inverse Square Law. The more the camera supplies, menues, interchangeable lenses, finders etc, the less intuitive the process of seeing becomes.
    As we go deeper into camera selection, we go deeper into technology and that can in fact lead us out of the intuitive process of seeing and making photos.
    We start to question what we want and or need to get a better grasp on shooting images.

    Visualize and remember my M4. How simple. How elegant. How conducive to the art of seeing and recording. The M4 will force you to use your eyes and brain to work together without the crutch of technology.

    Even a camera like the X100 that has a simple concept about it but yet it is surrounded by advanced technology to simplify things. There are many issues, complaints about the camera and most people don't have it yet.
    What we do know is that the X100 has promised to be a camera for the shooter with an artist heart and mentality. Of course the Pro's will use it to their advantage but really it's designed as a street or candid camera.
    The firmware will be upgraded. The camera will get a strong workout by many users and in the end, each user will have to decide if this particular camera with it's technology is the ideal camera for them.

    Is the X100 the ideal street camera? I would think that if Fuji can get the firmware to be what it should be, then it could very well be the ideal street camera.
    In order for anything to happen with the firmware, Fuji must pay attention to the Inverse Square Law.
    Less is More. More is Less. The LESS we have to fiddle with a camera, the more intuitive our vision can become. The More we fiddle with the camera, the Less intuitive the process of seeing becomes. The camera becomes an intrusion on vision, on process and on creativity.

    So, to answer the question, for me...no, the X100 isn't the ideal camera. The M4 is the ideal camera because it doesn't intrude on my vision. It makes me think. It lets me make mistakes and learn from them. It makes me FEEL the light and set the exposure based on that feeling.
    So, what does the X100 do that the M4 doesn't? It keeps me out of the darkroom. It keeps me from film. It works in the digital process and I really like that now. I'm 61 and won't develop film anymore.

    So, to sum up..... The X100 will be whatever the user wants it to be. It has the potential to be the ideal street camera, for a while.
    I have one coming, hopefully soon. I will keep it and use it unless the camera starts to intrude on my vision. No camera has ever survived an intrusion on my vision.
    I hope the best for all the X100 users and hope it really becomes your ideal camera. For me, time will tell but I have high hopes.

    With all the negative energy about this camera, remember...."One man's heaven is another man's hell."
     
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  5. deirdre

    deirdre SC Top Veteran

    652
    Sep 26, 2010
    Lisa, you got some really awesome shots, there!
     
  6. LisaO

    LisaO SC Regular S.C. Charter Member

    123
    Jul 11, 2010
    Thanks BB and Deirdre! Yes, my photography workshop is in Venice but after that I am going to Florence, Siena, Cinque Terre and finally Rome (for a day).

    Paris is a great city for photography but I actually had my one and only street photography run in there. I was photographing a building with a lot of French flags on it and there was a line of people there. It was about 8AM I was at least 90 ft. (30 meters) from the building shooting with a wide angle lens. Then this group of 4 or 5 people lead by an African lady started yelling at me in French, grabbing my arm trying to drag me into the building. I complained in my bad French, apologized and I finally broke free and got away but there is some law in France that people misinterpret that you are not allowed to take pictures of people without their permission, but it really isn't a law but people think it is. I later found out the people were waiting to get visas to stay in France. Another time under the Eiffel Tower the gendarme (police) had me delete some file on my camera that had them in the picture. So other than that it was fine but I've never had anything like either of those incidents happen anywhere else.
     
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  7. LisaO

    LisaO SC Regular S.C. Charter Member

    123
    Jul 11, 2010
    Don, do you still shoot with the M4? Do you hope for a digital recreation of an M4? Not likely from Leica as they have gotten so expensive, they used to be premium but are now super deluxe premium in terms of price. Hopefully others will join the small high quality camera bandwagon and it seems rumors are flying about Nikon and Canon joining the fray.
     
  8. Pelao

    Pelao SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 11, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Real Name:
    Stephen
    An interesting perspective. I to feel strongly about what you summarize in this bit "Less is More. More is Less. The LESS we have to fiddle with a camera, the more intuitive our vision can become. The More we fiddle with the camera, the Less intuitive the process of seeing becomes. The camera becomes an intrusion on vision, on process and on creativity."

    You might find this little video about the M9 interesting:
    Why the Leica M9 is a better camera (video) | Leica News & Rumors
     
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  9. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Thanks for the Video. I'd like to have an M9 with a 35 at some point before my life ends. It's probably never going to happen and thus, my frustration with every other camera on the planet.
     
  10. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Thank you, Don - beautifully written.
     
  11. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    The ultimate street photography camera is gonna vary by user and how they see, how they shoot, and how they relate to their surroundings. Any street camera's basic job is to let you get your shot without getting in the way. There are many cameras that can do that well. In my very limited amount of street shooting, I've had perfectly good results (technically - the photographic part is just coming along) with a number of cameras, from the ep2 to the gf1 to the lx5 to the Nex and now the X100. I finally got a chance to try the X100 on the street a LITTLE bit over the last couple of days, in Montego Bay and another very small town in the hills of Jamaica. I say a little bit because the dynamic is very different than anything I've ever tried when you're the ONLY white face on the street and you constantly have about 14 different locals trying to be your tour guide so they can legitimately ask for a tip. Its not like I'm doing a lot of blending in here. Nonetheless, for the couple handfuls of street shots I tried to take, the camera got out of my way. I used it with the OVF and with the LCD and some shots I took blind from the chest/belly area. And the combination of metering and AF was as good as any camera I've used for street shooting.

    As an all around great camera, I give it very high marks. As a street camera I still think its going to come in second to the Nex for me because of the way I can frame with the Nex held in ways I can only guess with the X-100 (or any other camera I've shot with on the street). I need to give the X100 a good workout on the streets of a more comfortable environment to know for sure, but I think its a great camera for a lot of things and very very good one for street shooting, but it may still be second best for my personal set of preferences on the street.

    -Ray
     
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  12. Country Parson

    Country Parson SC Top Veteran

    682
    Apr 5, 2011
    North Carolina
    Real Name:
    Dan
    Me too, Streetshooter, me too. I am 63 and will have to "settle" for what I can manage, which is probably the X100, though I am now not sure it will be significantly better than the NEX5 if the latter were to get better optics. Like you, I need the auto focus, so using non-NEX lenses is fine for flowers, but not for street.
     
  13. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Dan, I gotta tell ya. I simply love AF. I'm not lazy at all, well except for my wife.
    I rely on the speed and accuracy of AF.
    My love for my Leica lenses stays love because I don't use them. I feel that with MF, it kills the experience for me. So, like you, I guess it's an age thing, MF for the garden etc and AF for the street.
    Don
     
  14. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I can see the importance of better optics for flowers, but I'm not sure I do for streetshooting. For sure, a 24mm Zeiss prime will be nice in a lot of ways, including low light, but for street applications I find the 16 and even the kit zoom (in decent light) more than adequate for street shooting. Street photography has never been about the ultimate in image quality for me - in fact I'm more than happy with the IQ of my LX5 in this regard, except in low light, and that's more about performance, decent shutter speed, etc, than the actual output quality. That said, the IQ of the X-100 is awfully nice for any application that a 35mm equivalent lens works for. Which is a lot.

    -Ray
     
  15. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    Maybe I'm a bit weird, but I like to make things a bit more interesting by using MF lenses. For me the process is just as important as the final image; to try to get a good shot despite your equipment (and to be able to blame your equipment when it goes wrong!).
     
  16. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Nic, I think you right...your weird...
    a great guy but weird....
     
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  17. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
  18. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Don't sweat it Nic... I'm leading the way...
     
  19. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Nic, it could be it's an eyesight thing for some of us. (It is for me, that's for sure.) The AF, not the weirdness thing.:biggrin: