The Fujifilm X100 series | Photography Redefined

The beginning of 2019 marks eight years since the launch of the Fujifilm FinePix X100, the camera that changed everything for so many of us.  I still remember seeing the X100 in early magazine ads, featuring a photograph of this new retro looking camera beneath a tagline that read:

The Camera : Redefined

I wanted this camera as soon as I saw the ads.  I know that sounds insane, but  I was experiencing a lot of frustration with my photography, especially with my DSLRs, and I remember thinking that the X100 was exactly what I needed at the time:  one small camera, one fixed focal length lens, pure simplicity.  I was hooked, despite the fact that I had never touched it.  Things only got worse when the groundswell started, with people I respected like Zack Arias writing about it, until finally I gave in and placed my order.

I remember opening the box with a mix of excitement and reverence, all the while accompanied by an unshakeable feeling that my photography was about to change (which is strange to say… it’s just a camera, right?).  I have long struggled to put into words how it felt to shoot with the X100 in those early days, but thankfully my friend Patrick Laroque worded it perfectly when he wrote his Fujifilm X100S review:

“I longed for Istanbul. Or Madrid, Cairo, Rio. I longed for the circus, for freight trains, for a rush of uncertainty in long and aimless circumambulations; for an assault on the senses and a total loss of balance, making my way through the unknown, sinking in strange quicksand crowds with my eye to a small window. I wanted more and everything, the pulse of an insane city or the slow crashing of a wave on a deserted beach of the pacific rim. I wanted new topographics and new lights to twist reality, like opiates in the bloodstream, igniting the muse – her name would be Discovery. Testament. Witness.”

That is so completely spot on.  Nothing has motivated me to push my photographic boundaries more than this camera; I found myself on planes to foreign countries, shooting genres that I had never previously considered and becoming part of a wonderful online community of like minded artists.

The early days of the X100 weren’t perfect of course, sometimes feeling like we fought the camera as often as we nailed great photos with it.  Then the free firmware updates started coming, an early indication of how committed Fujifilm was to the success of the X100, and my camera got better and better.  The X100 was literally changing as I redefined myself as an artist, something that I hadn’t ever seen before from a manufacturer.

Since those early beginnings I have had the pleasure of becoming an Official Fujifilm X Photographer, of using and reviewing new products as they were added to the lineup, and of representing the brand on stage many times.  It has been a wonderful, exciting  journey.  Fujifilm now has something for everyone, from excellent but affordable entry level cameras and lenses to a full medium format system for those who value image quality above all else.  My current work bag is centred around two X-T3s.  They are amazing cameras, but there is still something intangible about the X100F that makes me reach for it first.  It is, for me, the perfect camera.

I went through my library last night, looking for images from the various iterations of the X100 for this article.  The photo essay below features street images, cityscapes, family photos, portraits, landscapes, detail shots and travel photos.  I loved making these images with the X100 / X100S / X100T / X100F, and I look forward to another eight years shooting with this wonderful system.

What was your entrance into the Fujifilm X system?  Let me know in the comments section below.

Cheers,

Ian

 

21 thoughts on “The Fujifilm X100 series | Photography Redefined

  1. Volker says:

    Long time ago I photographed with film cameras, Contax at the end. Then I had to sell my cameras as I needed money for studying. As the digital cameras came up, I looked at them but don’t like them. To complicated, to bad image quality, and so on.
    In summer of 2013 I got to know a mate who had a X100s. Wow, I thought, superb quality in a tiny body with all the controls I knew from my contax cameras. I looked deeper into it and bought a X-E1 because I wanted the capability to change lenses.
    Now, some years and fuji cameras later my setup consits of two X-T2 (the workhorses), a X100f (the beauty), a X-E1 (my start to the fuji system) and an original X100 limited edition (with which all started).
    I’m very content with the x-series, ok, a gfx would be great but to me not affordable at the moment.
    The X100f is my carry-all-day camera and there is a little story about it which shows how addicted I am: some times ago I selled my X-Pro2 and X100t to get another X-T2. The day after I regretted selling the X100t very much (no such feelings about the Pro2, interesstingly). So I had to re-get one of those X100 series and few days later the X100f joined my camera-club. 🙂

    • Ian says:

      That is a wonderful story my friend. Like you, my X-T3s are definitely the work cameras, but for anything else I grab the X100F.

      Never sell that original X100, it is a classic now!

      Cheers,

      Ian

  2. Rick Vera Jr says:

    A photographer friend of mine let me shoot a few frames with his X-Pro 2. I never had something like that in my hands before. I was using a canon t6. Though I loved my entry level dslr, like you, I was intrigued by the look of the Fuji x system.. Four months later, and too many articles, YouTube videos and test runs at my local Best Buy, I bought an X-T20. I love that camera. The size, interchangeable lens systems , and the quality of jpeg photos swayed me to stay with the camera. I still want an x100f and an X-T2. But for now the 20 handles all my needs. Great article Ian!

    • Ian says:

      Hey Rick!

      The X-T20 is a wonderful camera, offering most of the X-T2’s features at an excellent price point.

      You should definitely get an X100 though. We all should, really. 🙂

      Cheers,

      Ian

  3. Martyn T says:

    I lusted for the X100, but couldn’t afford it at the time (I was invested into Canon DSLRs) so bought the X10. It suffered with the orb problem, but Fuji fixed it. Loved that little thing, so eventually got the X100. That suffered from the sticky aperture blades – Fuji fixed it again. Still loved it. Eventually the Canon gear went and I progressed through XPro1, XT1, X100s, XT10, Xpro2, X70 and picked up the X100F last year. I really want Fuji to combine the X70 with the X100F – miss that little flippy screen and close focus without the softness.

    • Ian says:

      Ah, the early years. They were awesome, weren’t they?

      I would have normally said that I don’t see an articulating screen coming to the X100 / X-Pro line, but then it was added to the 50R so now I’m not so sure.

      Thanks for sharing your story!

      Cheers,

      Ian

  4. MYCK1971 says:

    Great reading Ian, lovely images too.
    My first stop on the fuji journey was with the Xe-1, which I enjoyed a lot, then moved on to the pro 1 and I absolutely loved it, I started to make the type of pictures that I wanted to make, pictures that made me happy. Since then I’ve added the XT1, X70 and now the XT3, I’m waiting to see if a new X100 comes along and then I think I might have to add that as well.
    Thanks for sharing your post.

    • Ian says:

      The X-Pro1 was a special camera, wasn’t it? I too am waiting and hoping for a successor to the X100F. Fingers crossed!

  5. Thomas Landgraeber says:

    Great read. Awesome photos. Thank you so much.

    I was a pro photographer back in the good ol’ film era (6 years in advertising and another 10 years as still and set photographer for film and TV). I shot anything – large format, medium format, Polaroid, 35mm SLR. I’ve always been a Nikon guy, but in 2012 I sold most of my Nikon gear and switched over to Fuji X.

    That was one of the best decision in my life. I literally re-discovered photography for me and learned to fall in love with again. The Fuji X system changed the way I shoot – for good. I’m constantly trying new genres and love to play around with compositions, looks and styles. That’s really exciting and I have a lot of fun again.

    I’m pretty late to the X100F party, though. I bought mine 7 weeks ago. It’s a beast but I love it. Challenging first, but it quickly finds its way to your heart. For me, it’s the perfect personal camera.

    • Ian says:

      Hey Thomas!

      Thank you so much for sharing that. You said:

      “The Fuji X system changed the way I shoot – for good. I’m constantly trying new genres and love to play around with compositions, looks and styles. That’s really exciting and I have a lot of fun again.”

      That is exactly what it was for me too. My Nikons always got the job done, but I felt no particular attachment to them (they were simply tools). My Fujis are tools too, but they are so much more at the same time. It is kind of strange, isn’t it?

      Cheers,

      Ian

  6. jeffharrisnz says:

    I actually started with the x-10, a smaller and in many ways an inferior version of the X100 but a lot of fun all the same. I then graduated to the 100 and then the 100s. Possibly the most important range of cameras since the Olympus OM series from the film days. The OM2 being my favourite camera of all time.

    • Ian says:

      I agree, 100%. The X100 was huge both for what it gave to us Fuji users, but also for the influence it had on the industry as the whole.

      Cheers,

      Ian

  7. Peter says:

    My first Fujifilm camera was the S1 Pro. I still have an S5 Pro. The original X100 remains my favourite digital camera and those who think it’s quirky never used an S1 Pro. My other Fujis are the X-Pro1 and 2, and an X100s, but I still love the files from the X100.

      • Mr. Terrie Thompson says:

        Ian, wonderful article! I have had my 100S for 6 years and I’m STILL discovering new things about it. Like you, for me it’s the best camera I’ve ever owned! Bought an XE2 two years ago , with 60 and 55-210 lenses. But I still use my beautiful 100S for about 95% of my photography.

      • Ian says:

        I would say my “X100 to other camera” ratio is around 90% for personal work also. It is just a superb little camera.

        Thanks for commenting!

        Cheers,

        Ian

  8. richardreader says:

    Like you Ian, I saw the adverts for the original X100 and wanted one (I was shooting with a Nikon D700 at the time). The moment came in the duty free area at Gatwick before departing for a break in Spain,and that was that.
    I found the original X100 a bit quirky, didn’t like that rotating wheel around the menu button, battery longevity was ‘meh!’, but the form factor and images (and all that packed into a small, light body), made it for me.
    So next up was an X-Pro1, then the X-T1, the X-T2, and now the X-T3 (and goodbye Nikon along the way). I didn’t feel the need to upgrade the X100 until the F came out but the standardisation of the battery plus all the other features swung it.
    The X-T3 is the workhorse if I’m planning a day’s shooting, but the X100F is my preferred weapon of choice. Given a choice of one camera and lens I think it might win over the X-T series.

    • Ian says:

      Good morning Richard!

      I totally share your experiences (other than the Gatwick part of course). The original X100 had many quirks, but when I held it in my hands and saw the images it produced the quirks just didn’t matter.

      Cheers,

      Ian

  9. Jun Colobong says:

    I myself started with Nikon DSLR but I found it too heavy to lug around. So I wanted a small camera that operates like a DSLR. I read wonderful reviews about the Fujifilm X100 but I waited for the x100s..I was so delighted with this camera, i felt there is something magical with tiny camera.. since then my desire to create and shoot photographs started to grow more and more and to this day I shot with X100s,XT1 and XT2 with several XF primes and zoom lenses.

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