The X100 Magic

It's only been a little while since I slipped on a banana peel and accidentally ordered my Fuji X100S. Visualize that for a moment. I already am impatient in waiting for it. Frustrated actually. Not because I think it will somehow revolutionize anything I am doing or going to do. Heck I don't think it will do anything except remove some minor irritations I have with my current X100. It's really because I feel a little in limbo now that I really am getting to know my X100 intimately. I am assuming it will be a little learning curve and a little muscle memory retraining to get up to speed and I want that to happen now.

It's all in my head of course - what's the difference. Will continuing to shoot my X100 somehow make that take longer or be harder when it does arrive - doubtful. I guess the limbo part is that I don't want any of it in the back of my mind when actually shooting with my current X100. Not even a trace. Should it be now? No but it is - just a tiny bit.

I have been threatening to treat my X100 more seriously for quite a while now. When I say that what I mean is probably a little different than what you might imagine. For me it means to get to know it as intimately as I know my M6 and 35 Summicron. That took some serious commitment and time behind the viewfinder. Intimately as in knowing what's going to happen with the OVF and framing at what distance without even paying attention to it. Intimate as in mastering the way the lens renders at various apertures under various conditions. Intimate as in turning weaknesses into strengths. Using every characteristic to it's full advantage visually.

This is the magic of the X100. It's been a very very long time since a camera has made me feel this way… or for that matter a lens. The whole X100 package has made me feel this way - every time I have used it or spent more than a bit of time with it there was more. Things that excited me and delighted me. It's only been about two or two and a half months since I really did start to treat it with the respect and attention it deserves. I saw all the things that I liked but only really started to get a handle on how to use them visually in the recent past. I am at the point where I am really diving into it now. I have started two personal projects where I use the X100 exclusively because it's perfect for those endeavors.

Not play projects, not projects to test gear, or educate myself or anyone else. Not projects designed to set forever out of view. These are projects with subject matter I feel compelled to shoot - subjects I care to really put effort into. Project I intend to have some audience when I am complete. Projects that need an intimate camera that I know intimately. One that is visually nuanced and happen to be perfect for a 35mm angle of view. Subject matter and visuals that the gear gets out of the way and speaks to it self. Visuals that are subtle complex and nuanced. Real work.

What does that have to do with the X100 - well to some degree gear doesn't matter. In reality it does. How you shoot, how you feel when you shoot, how your subjects react to the whole of the situation including the gear you choose to bring, use, or expose them to. It matters. How I am approaching one of those two projects I mentioned has everything to do with me getting to know the X100 more thoroughly and treating it with the serious study it deserves. It's a fun camera to use - the particular project I am referring to was completely re-imagined due to the X100. I have been working on it for a few years on and off. It was very formal - too formal. It was too constrained with technique. Technique that was obvious in the images. They are all gone. There was not enough "real". There was not enough context. I never imagined shooting it wide. That's all changed due to the X100.

I never imagined shooting the project with imperfections. My minds eye was telling pushing me to perfect. The optical characteristics of that wonderful chameleon of a lens welded to the front of the X100 showed me that some degree of imperfect was just the ticket. Nothing contrived or old fashioned, just a little less clinical. Allegedly the X100S has the same lens - I am anxious because I want to make sure I want to know Fuji didn't accidentally improve it. It's perfect. It's magic - just right. Sharp as hell if you want it. Awesome rendering. A little dirt and flare on demand. Perfect.

Now that the X100S is on it's way I am actually hooked on the X100. I am sure I will be happy as can be with the new one but it's not here. I hope Fuji hasn't broken it in some way. I feel in limbo because I have started down a road inspired and informed by my treating the X100 more intimately but I want to get on with it. I have a heck of a lot of time scheduled to work on my personal work in May. I want to be ready. Where is my X100S? Will it have the same magic? I don't want to be thinking about this but I am and want it over so I can get on with shooting.

RB

Ps. Image at the top X100 VSCO Portra 800+

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