I don’t often write much on this site except a paragraph or two. I mostly focus on the images and let them talk for me. I write enough at work and for other projects that pontification here seems redundant.
With that out of the way I am going to talk about why I sold my Fuji X100S.
First off I want to say I don’t have anything negative to say about the camera. If you are a Fuji user then by all means go forth and shoot. The images coming out of the sensors in Fuji cameras has been liberally sprinkled with unicorn tears and pixie dust. They are gorgeous and I really wish the other camera manufacturers took the time to do a bit more with the sensor other then shove megapixels at them. Yet, there is more to a camera then the images that are produced on it. If it was all about sensors we be shooting on Sigma Foveon sensors.
There is something that as a photographer, you feel the need to be connected to the camera you are using. I’m not going to get all romantic about it. It’s just a fact. You can read David Hobby and Zack Arrias about their love of Fuji and their connections to their Fuji cameras. Me personally I didn’t connect.
Let me get the physical out of the way on the camera. The Fuji X100S was a gorgeous camera. It’s the first camera I ever owned where random people stopped me and asked if it was a classic film camera. When they were told no, they wanted to look at it closer and marvel at it. It’s a stunning piece of photographic machinery. It looked cool. It looked sexy. It had everything a head turner needed. I still miss the ascetic qualities of the camera.
Yet there was a downside to the camera. It was bulky. It’s not a light toss in your pocket camera. Here are the dimensions: 26.5 W x 74.4 H x 53.9 D mm / 5.0. W x 2.9 H x 2.1 D in. Here is the weight: Approx. 445 g / 15.7 oz. (including battery and memory card). It’s not a petite little pocket camera. You either had to hang it off a strap or toss it into a camera bag.
This alone was the killer for me. It started slowly because I was wowed by the cool factor of the camera. Every photographer was raving about them. I knew I had to have one. Once I got it and the cool factor wore off and the shiny new camera smell was gone it sat. I found myself reaching for my other cameras. Don’t know if it was a conscience choice or something else that drove me but I would go for other cameras around it. The Mighty Canon 330XS was being used more then the Fuji X100S was. It was light and more importantly pocketable. The other thing was no one cared where the images I was producing were coming from. They didn’t know it was a $179 point and shoot versus the $1300 Fuji. They just liked the images. Still, I kept the camera and would take it out with me shooting. Often times in conjunction with the Canon. I would remind myself that I had a photographically superior camera in my bag but I still found myself reaching for the Canon more just because I felt more comfortable with it in my hand. It was more natural for me to use.
The Fuji X100S viewfinder was always something I fought with. I don’t like optical viewfinders. It may be because I only shot with them a few years and I wasn’t in love with them and when I switched to micro four-thirds cameras and their EVF’s I was hooked. Yes, the X100S has a viewfinder you can use in optical mode, full EVF or hybrid mode. The problem was the switch would get hit and you would spend time trying to switch it back to the right mode. It took time and it was irritating to me. The viewfinder was also a pain for me because I am left eye dominate. So I would have the bulk of the camera shoved into my face. I tried to use it right eye, but again I go for comfortable and intuitive. It was just natural for me to put the camera to my left eye.
So I fought it. I really wanted to love this camera. The images it produced were great. It was beautiful. It was the “in thing” for photographers. It was also not connecting with me but I stubbornly clung on.
The fate was sealed when I bought a Ricoh GR. It was magic out of the box. Yes. It’s a black rectangle with a lens shoved on the front. There is no elegance and beauty to it. It does one thing really well; take pictures. I didn’t have to fiddle and adjust it. I didn’t have to use a strap or carry it in a bag. It fit in a coat pocket. It fit in my jeans pocket. More importantly, it fit in my cargo shorts pocket and takes a hell of a beating. It also completely surpassed the Fuji X100S.
I connected with the Ricoh GR like I never did the Fuji X100S. It was the camera that complimented my Olympus cameras. It was the camera that went everywhere with me (still does). I don’t feel like I am forcing myself to like this camera. I just do. The more I used it the more the Fuji X100S sat. It started to collect dust. If I went on a trip I would pack the Fuji but it never got pulled out of the bag. The Ricoh was with me everywhere. If I felt like I needed more I would pair it up with one of my Olympus bodies and a lens on it and go out. I felt like I could shoot anything and I did.
I have even shot professional work with the Ricoh GR. Sure its not technically as good as the Fuji X100S. It’s got a slower lens. It doesn’t have the fancy viewfinder and the cool film effects but it just does it for me and the people who wanted my images.
It was with this realization that I knew the Fuji X100S and I were going to have to part ways. It wasn’t a happy thought. I knew I was going to take a blood bath on the resale market. Plus I knew the X100T was coming based on the sheer volume of rumors that were picking up and images that showed it in the wild. It was time to cut my losses while I could. Like ripping the bandaid off the wound. Just get it over with. So I did. I lost about 40% from what I paid for it but it was done.
The thing is, I don’t miss it. I knew I would not.
Which I guess brings me to the point of all this. I started with Canon cameras. I bought a Canon 5DMKII thinking it would take my photography to the next level and give me cred as a pro because it was a pro camera. I sold it because I never shot with it. I reached for smaller and lighter cameras every time. I went with Sony for a bit because I liked their translucent mirror technology. It was just a passing interest. It was sold. I have went through a list of Olympus and Panasonic cameras but I always kept a micro four thirds camera around. I invested in good lenses for them. When the Olympus EM5 came out I bought one after selling some gear off. It felt right and I kept investing in lenses. When the EM1 came out the Canon gear and all its fancy glass went.
The thing that is hammered home by honest photographers is the gear is irrelevant and it is true to some extent. There are always other factors and lens quality is a big one but for the most part a camera is a camera. What you produce with it is up to you. What isn’t mentioned is that you need to connect with your equipment. It needs to be an extension of yourself. You don’t need to think about the camera because you know it like you know your own hand. It’s apart of you.
So that is why I sold my Fuji X100S along with a host of other cameras. I never felt connected. I never felt like they were apart of me.