Playing with the Fuji X100

A Place to Live When We Are Old
Described as ‘a participatory public art project exploring attitudes towards old age through danzón’,  I thought this was a delightful way to meet different people and (providing one spoke Spanish) learn a little about a new dance and a culture very different from our own. I’m not so sure about the ‘old age’ attitudes as everyone seemed to treat the older dancers as they would treat anyone else, irrespective of age.

While at the opening of this year’s Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Royal Geographic Society I met a man taking shots of a glass of gin and tonic with a cool retro-looking camera. The lime and bubbles of his gin and tonic were so wonderfully sharp in daylight that I wondered how the camera would perform in low light.

It turned out that he works for Fuji and that the camera was the much vaunted X100. Some time later I was able to borrow one to try during Big Dance.

It has been so much fun! It took a while to learn how to use it and in 2 weeks I didn’t get to test it to the max. I’ve been using Nikons for so long now that, when shooting dance at low light, my fingers do the thinking for me, so changing the aperture on the lens and all the other nice-but-non-Nikon things took a while to get to grips with. This light little camera does great tones, colours and a good range at base ISO alongside very passable video. And stereophonic sound!

The wide-angle converter is a screw-on lens, it expands the view quite nicely (0.8x) without the loss of sharpness that made my Polaroid add-on pointless with my Nikon D700 (an impulse buy, it was cheap so I had to try..). Nathan from Fuji had already set up a macro to eliminate the need to plough through the menus and work out how to convert the processing which was useful, but I also played a little without turning the converter on, and some of that paid off.

It passed the editorial test too. Nicola selected two X100 images for inclusion on my photo story on The Summer Of Dance in August’s Dance Today. One shows well how well the X100 takes ISO2000 and the other was a direct result of my playing. Although you’ll have to wait for Dance Today to publish before you see the shots. I’ve posted a short, unedited video (my first, which I took instead of notes at Spitalfields) to demonstrate another reason why the X100 was so much fun. I’m now wishing I had taken the video option more seriously. Had I taken the video option more seriously I might have been able to sell short video records as well.

My verdict; enormous fun, a lovely look and seductively light (that matters lots when your preferred transport is a bike). I can’t wait to try the X1 pro!