I am heading off to PhotoPlus Expo tomorrow. I'll be there thru Saturday. I really don't feel like going but sort of have to support a shared sponsor that I have in common with another endeavor. I only hope for two things - I meet one or two interesting photographers that has time to chat about something other than mo-better-megapixels or mo-bigger-iso's and that I can snag a spare lens cap for my X100 from Fuji. Heck I just dumped a ton of money on Fuji stuff (forgot to mention my yet another lens for the X-Pro-1). I deserve a replacement lens cap don't I? If you happen to be there would love to say hi to kindred spirits. I'll prolly be hanging around the Museo booth on and off. Maybe causing random trouble here and there if I get bored. You know - saying Canon sucks around the Canon booth, Nikon sucks around the Nikon booth. That kind of thing - harmless fun.
Getting back to the Fuji X100 - a few photographers asked me about the disposition of my X100 now that I have gone and acquired a big-boy camera - namely the X-Pro-1. Disposition as in - does it sit on a shelf, am I going to get rid of it before it plunges in value, etc. Short answer is that the X100 is staying - probably until it stops working somewhere down the road. I use it constantly and have barely scratched the surface of getting into a subconscious shooting flow and rhythm with it. In fact I use it more than I use the X-Pro-1.
My X100 goes everywhere with me. Even when I take big-brother. It's smaller, it has a great viewfinder - maybe better than the X-Pro-1. Guess which one is coming with me to NYC. I don't and can't think about distractions like changing lenses and most importantly have found I can live with the 35mm for most situations. I still relish 50mm/normal lens perspective and versatility but my unnatural aversion to a wide-normal was probably more flavored by minimum focus distance of 35mm lenses on the Leica M bodies. When I shoot I shoot close a lot and the minimum focus distance on an M is just shy of the way I would like to frame too too many subjects with a 35mm.
Even in non-macro mode using the OVF this is not the case with the X100 so I am learning to live with it. I have included just a couple of casual shots made with the X100 in the post. Nothing spectacular. Just a couple of random shots representative of how I like to use it to grab slice of simple life kind of stuff. It's perfect for this kind of thing. Heck for that matter so is the X-Pro-1. The thing I really like about both cameras is that they allow me to unobtrusively grab exactly the moment I intend to grab with a very clear view of what is going on with an aesthetic rendering I am not un-happy with. All without being weighed down to big heavy equipment - the X100 suits that bill a tiny bit more than the X-Pro-1 does in terms of the "weighed down* part with the trade off of zero focal length flexibility and a tiny bit less image sharpness/quality/resolution/whatever.
The images included hopefully illustrate that un-obtrusiveness a little. They happen also to be exactly what I intended in terms of moment and framing and shutter speed/aperture combo. Even so I was thinking to myself as I quickly adjusted the aperture that they were not going to "work" - I think they did. When my head tells me "it's not gonna work" and my heart says shoot - I err on the side of shooting it. Perplexingly it seems to "work" more times than it doesn't. Always surprising to me and I usually don't know until I get home upload the images - sometimes even a few days later.
Dad (aka - "the russian") just got home from work after a grueling couple of days of 12 hour overnight shifts and a 3 hour ride home. Looking at the shot at the top of the post, seeing this hulking 22 year old wrestling with his 9 month old daughter that wants to grab everything see lays her eyes on was hilarious to me. Her aggressiveness vs. his delicacy. The motion here is actually quite extreme when you are this close to it. The X100 did exactly what I told it to and when without distracting the subjects. I wanted a bit of that motion to come through by using a low shutter speed - that was the part my head was telling me was "iffy".
I love the shared expressions and general posture in the above image with opposing directions in their gaze. Dad and daughter are both ready for a nap. Different cameras absolutely influence the kind of images you happen to make in similar circumstances. Not in contrived "test" circumstances that you can shoot over and over and over the same exact way but in any real world shooting situation they definitely have an influence - sometimes minor in very controlled or static circumstances other times huge influences in fluid situations. Cameras also influence your subjects to some degree - this is even the case for pro models in my observation.
The bottom line for me is although the X100 and X-PRO-1 share some major characteristics they are different enough for me to keep and continue to love both. One of the conversations that I have seen a lot of is the X100 vs the XE-1 as they are not that far apart in terms of cost. If I could only have one I would absolutely go with the X100 no questions asked. In fact I would go for the black X100 kit now that the price is more reasonable. It becomes a tiny bit tougher if you have to choose only one between the X-Pro-1 and the X100.
Your head will tell you to go with the XE-1 for all the things it might do compared to the X100, or because the sensor has slightly better IQ, or because it's more flexible, or it's a better value. The same is true of a D7000, a used D700, an NEX-7, an OM-D, etc. Obviously if you need any of the things those options offer that are in the same neighborhood in terms of price - go with those cameras or go with the XE-1. If your heart is screaming X100 but your head is saying XE-1 I would definitely recommend going with your heart.