As you may remember, on a recent post I mentioned that I’d like to upgrade my digital camera for something that would feel a bit more like a film camera. I’ve been thinking a lot about a switch to Fujifilm and couple of days ago I finally went for it. I got completely bored with my Canon EOS M3 I sold it to make way for a new camera.
Fujifilm has actually several models I was really drooling for. My main candidate was x100. My second choice was x-t10, which is is slightly bigger and resembles more a traditional (D)SLR. x100 is much more compact and it has an optical viewfinder, which intrigues me a lot. I ended up choo, choo, choosing the x100 series after spotting a second hand advertisement on a used x100s model. Now I’m happy to announce that I’ve turned into a Fuji x100s shooter!
Before I forget to mention, I didn’t have any troubles of selling the Canon EOS M3. I thought it would be hard to let it go, but when I sold it, I really didn’t miss it at all. It felt like a piece of meat. I’ve always felt that it was a bit soulless, even though in theory it is a great camera. I just didn’t establish any kind of emotional connection to it, nor it didn’t inspire me in any way. The same can be said about the image quality of the M3 as well. It takes of course just as sharp images as you’d expect from a Canon camera, but often times the images looked very plasticy and too processed like a TV-dinner. At some point I’ll write a review about it because I want to explain my experience with it. As a really quick summary, let me just say that EOS M3 has a really laggy and unpredictable shutter response, which reduced precision reactivity greatly. Also, the shutter has been probably engineered by a Manowar stage technician, because it makes just about the loudest noise you’ve ever heard. So forget about close range street shooting. There were several other off-putting factors as well, which I will share in a future article.
Film vs. digital comparison always bugs me. I like all kind of visual creativity. Not just photography. I make my living as a graphic designer and I’m also very heavily into art. I like to paint and draw too. I have a need to create visual things and I always seem to find new ways of doing so. I find film photography very compelling but I also like digital photography almost just as much. At the moment I’m leaning perhaps more to the film side. But that’s why I’ve been really trying to find a camera that would get me into digital shooting too. The equipment is what pretty much separates whether you’re practicing film or digital, so in that respect, gear really do matter.
Choosing the right kind of digital camera, at least for me, really effects how much I’ll be bothered to shoot with it. The entire world of film shooting with all its heritage and tradition really speaks to me. I like the fact that it is a bit like a lost art. Especially if you develop your own photos. It feels just so genuine and tactile. I really think film photography has a lot of soul and grace. Holding a vintage camera feels like you’re part of something special that I can’t even explain. Holding a digital camera usually feels like holding a cheap electric screwdriver from IKEA. That is something I’ve been wanting to fix for a long time. My EOS M3 was a really nice camera for a long time, but in the end I just didn’t want to pick it up. I thought there has to be a digital camera out there that I would really like.
I’ve always liked Fuji’s approach to the design of their recent products. I like the classic styling and button layouts. Canon, Nikon and all the other big names really doesn’t follow this kind of traditional styling and their usability approach is what has become standardised in the recent decade or two. I think we have all got use to that kind of button layout and user experience, including myself. When I picked up a vintage camera and started shooting film again, I really started to miss that kind of analog button and dial layout. I started to wonder why have we come from this to the standard that we have today? Why do we have stuff hidden behind menus? Why don’t we still have an analog hard-stop dial ring for shutter speed? Why don’t we have aperture ring on the lens collar? That is a perfect design in terms of usability. That is really intuitive and well thought-out. This is where Fujifilm cameras really caught my attention. Now that I’ve had my x100s for few days, I can already say that I like that classic styling a lot and their effort into usability. It doesn’t feel like a film camera of course, but it doesn’t feel so digital either. The shooting experience is very much what I’ve always looked from a digital camera. It almost feels like it has a soul. What I can really detect from is the fact that a group of enthusiast people have been putting a lot of effort and thing behind thinking about the product and actually designing it. EOS M3 felt a bit like they just threw something together to compete with the rest of the manufacturers, but x100s feels just like my OM-1 in that respect, that you can actually feel that someone has put down a lot of working hours designing it.