Daily Inspiration #372 by Robert Lee

Daily Inspiration #372 by Robert Lee

Hi Steve, I have been a long-term reader of your site and have been lusting after a Leica M series camera for quite sometime. Unfortunately I’m still quite young and travelling is my main goal at the moment so I cannot possibly part with £10,000 just to take a photo let alone have a full 21mm, 35mm and 50mm setup!

I have been saving for my travels by shooting weddings for nice people around the south of England for the past 2 years, I have been lucky enough to own some fantastic equipment such as the 5D MKII, L lenses and the mod cons that go with it.

As I approach my goal I found myself being bogged down with equipment and would hate the idea of lugging it around the world one day. What is the point in owning it if all you are going to do is use it for other people’s photos? I made a massive decision (although a well-informed one by reading your review and many daily inspiration posts) and sold everything to buy a Fuji x100, Fuji ef-20 and a few other little bits with plenty of pennies left over for more important things. It is as close as I can get to Leica this side of 30! I feel I have made the right choice and have been using it to shoot weddings for the last 2-3months!

Yes the focus is not as fast as a 5D or 7D but autofocus speeds, video modes and continuous shooting is not photography! Taking photos and capturing great memories is, and this camera makes me feel inspired. With only a 35mm lens I am free to think about what I am shooting and not be fiddling with controls all the time. The image quality is spot on, the handling is fantastic and it does not hurt my back any longer! My photographic style has changed for the better as a result of this old school approach and that is something you cannot put a price on.

My use of the x100 is not just limited to weddings and people in a professional context, it is a great landscape and macro camera. These images can be seen on my Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rob_lee_photography/

I plan to walk the 630 mile south-west coast footpath in early spring before the season starts again, can you guess what will be coming with me? I am still a little way off from my financial goal so I will be continuing to use the x100 over the next year for weddings. Not only will it help me achieve my goal, I will have the most perfect camera to capture the fruits of my labour!


  1. Great post! I too am a wedding photographer and own an X100. The X100 is a very capable camera and I have had no hesitation (under certain conditions) using it during a wedding. The image quality of the sensor along with the lens is great. Because of it’s smaller size I have found it exceptional for the “getting ready” shots of the bride/groom/wedding party as well as candid shots of family and guests.

    However, I would only consider it as a 2nd/3rd camera as it can not replace the speed which my D700s provide. To appropriately capture the action of the wedding ceremony and reception, I feel that a DSLR is necessary to get the shot.

    Now, I have just picked up the Fuji X-E1 and the 35mm f1.4 lens and am REALLY excited about it. The image quality is nothing short of incredible! Also, the high ISO capability is at least 1-1.5 stops better than my D700!! There is just something about the files that makes me melt. For weddings, I think the X-E1 will definitely be my main camera for the portrait and prep shots, as well as everything else that does not require the speed of a DSLR.

    I do consider my X100 as my “everyday” camera to photograph friends and family. I have found that the 28mm equivalent which the WCL-X100 wide angle adapter provides the ideal focal length for my use.

  2. Hi Everyone.

    Thank you so much for all your kind comments, I did not realise until last night that my article had been published!

    It turns out a lot of you are now following me on Flickr. I will be sure to check out your photos too.


  3. Beautiful images! Love the results of the x100 and still doubting to buy one myself. Are these straight OOC? Or did you do some PP? Just curious

  4. Rob I have done the same!Had a 20D though with some L lenses. This little camera rocks! Take anywhere, awesome jPegs, and I agree with about the 35mm perspective. Having this fixed it allows you to not get too carried away with all the focal length options but just enjoy focusing on the composition and other factors.

    I have been thinking about selling it though (it still rocks though)! The manual focus on it (or almost lack there of) is my biggest bug bear with it. Shutter lag is also a bit annoying at times.

    Great photos!

      • Good question! RX1 is expensive but going to wait and see what results come out of that and more importantly for me how it handles. As mentioned it’d be nicer with a better manual focus capability. I am thinking just recently i may stay with it. It is growing on me as well so give it some more time.

        The other day I did a small test as going travelling to the snow and Tokyo in Jan next year and it fits into the pocket of every jacket I have! Pretty sure RX1 won’t do that!

  5. Hi,

    I really like the style of your photography! Its really something different to shoot with a smaller camera. I have two questions.

    1. Why did you choose the X100 over other cameras like the X-Pro1 or NEX7?
    2. What do you customers think? How do you convince them that you work is as good as the final pictures show?

    I’m an amateur, but would like to endeavor into photography in a more dedicated work wise level. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Daniel

      I am also an amateur but have been through this decision making process a few months ago myself so thought it might help.

      I went for the X100 over the Xpro 1 personally as it was for me about size, and having a camera with me more often. I subsequently do not think about which lens, or regret not having used an alternative lens and so on as if I had the Xpro 1. The fixed 35mm perspective lets you take your thoughts elsewhere….and to me it’s about taking photos rather than thinking about gear!

      I used to own an SLR with 4 lens options!

      As for using this camera in a professional sense Rob has shown us here it is possible. However I think you would have to be very familiar with it (as for any camera) as where it falls down in shutter lag (unlike SLR) and manual focus could cause issues if you lack a bit of confidence when starting in a new business. Customers will be expecting a degree of volume from their photographer at a wedding in most cases and that is what I allude to with this x100…..SLR can provide a bit more room for error but provide more volume/quantity.

      For an experienced person I think they’d be fine, but again most would use this as a back up.

      Hope it helps hearing from a current x100 owner….(though about to upgrade to the RX1 for FF and manual focus capability).

    • Hi.

      Thanks for you nice words.

      1. the x-pro 1 looks amazing but I wanted one great lens rather than 3 ‘ok’ ones, the potential is there and once fuji have shown commitment and bought out a nice lot of glass over the period of a few year I would happily get one. I don;t like the idea of buying something and then being left in the dark! the x100 seems to be self contained (Doesn’t need fuji support)

      2. I wrote this in another comment but here is:People love this thing, it is probably it’s old school charm and the fact that the SLR is a staple of wedding photography that it is refreshing to see someone and something different.

      Daniel’s reply is spot on too, SLRs inspire confidence but don’t necessarily nurture creativity. Get what works for and forgot about the norms.

  6. Kudos on your guts to show up at a wedding event with such a tiny camera! (I’d be soooo shy… I’d carry an XP1 instead, but that’s me and my shortcomings).
    Haw has your “slow auto focus” experience has been, since I own an x100 for a year now, and it’s my main gear, but I do miss shots because of the sub-par autofocus.
    Congrats, anyway.

    • It was strange turning up at a wedding with only a little Manfroto carry case (that contains camera, spare battery, flash and flash batteries) some people give strange looks especially those who insist on being a guest and also a photographer! When I explain my choices they do understand and out of all the wedding I have shot this year with the x100 I have had far more compliments and general geeky chat about cameras/photography than I ever did before. People love this thing, it is probably it’s old school charm and the fact that the SLR is a staple of wedding photography that it is refreshing to see someone and something different.

  7. So you see that the photographer takes the pictures, not the camera. Nice photo’s, I would be happy when you delivers this work for my wedding, thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you. I love the way the industry is going with these smaller cameras. It just proves that it is not the equipment though! some of my best photos are taken on an iPhone and some imagination.

    • Christine have a read of Steves review on this site about setting up and overcoming the little quirks with the x100….was very useful.

    • Andy’s shout is a good one. I read the same thing just before I got my x100.

      Although I went through and figured my own way of working it and using it to my advantage after reading.

  8. Robert, nice stuff! The second is my favorite. I also looked at your Flickr link and you have some great landscape stuff out there. I especially like the BW “out of the sea”‘shot. Keep it up and enjoy!

  9. Wow, what a great post. Thank you so much. Funnily enough, I shot my first wedding last April. I tried using my X100 but ending up ditching it for a DSLR. The problem I had is that the venue (a restaurant) had low, ambient, yellow light and I would often lose focus with the X100’s contrast detection system. Yet, here you are, shooting a wedding too with the X100! How did you do this? Did you lose photos due to auto focus issues? Also, I am looking at the photo with the wedding couple cutting the cake. Did you use off camera lighting to the right of the couple? I then went to your flikr account and saw your beautiful photos there. You said you might do a blog talking about the X100 using high speed flash syncing. Please tell us more? Thanks.

    • Hi David.

      A lot of people seem to have issues with the focusing of the x100, all i do is aim for contrasty edge of the subject (if available) or a contrasting detail. This approach seems to do the trick 9/10.

      I ooed and ahhed about only having the x100 as my professional wedding job camera but the more I used it the more it made sense and especially when using it at home taking long exposures with high iso of valves I realised that I could get away with using it it super low light with great results.

      The lighting source of the cake cutting photo was from the flash (ef 20) only, I used a digital grad filter to darken the left side of the photo. I don’t like to over process but do like to make images pop a little.

      I would like to write a blog but I am not cut out for this social internet stuff and would rather be out on an adventure!

      What camera are using for you wedding work?

      • Just like to comment on your NEX thoughts about the nex(t) camera in relation to your X100. I bought a C3 in a sale earlier this year, having brought myself up on a D-Lux 4 and a V-lux 1, but wanting greater control over depth of field. I also added the 55 – 210 lens which is very good in practice. I actually hate changing lenses, so seeing what you can do with your X100 is a real inspiration. However, I think I shall stick with NEX going up to the new NEX 6 when I can afford it to get the built-in viewfinder and a few more non-menu controls. (Everything you’ve got in abundance on the X100 !!) The sensor is very good (stay away from the 7 – the extra pixels bring lens problems). If you go down the NEX road, you can always buy the Zeiss 35mm equivalent. You could of course leave the kit lens on 35, but the temptation to fiddle will always be there! And I still use my other two cameras – working within limitations is a good challenge as your pictures show. Thank you.

        • Well Thanks ,john , but there is a Million Dollar (HARD) truth :
          i’ve been using a full frame Film camera since … as long as i remember (mainly a Canon AE1 Program with FD 50mm f1.4 s.s.c 🙂 and Fuji DL-8 {more like a Compact Film Camera}) and i thought its time to go for digital world , i spend a little time {this means 3 months :D} on searching for the best option(s) and i find the Sony’s NEX (t 🙂 System to be my perfect fit (welcome to digital world) Camera and by that i mean NEX-5N , and i did consider Fuji’s X100 and X-Pro 1 (hence expensive) i decided to go for NEXs ( i did a lot of research of Leica’s and M4/3’s too but im a huge fan of Depth of field 😉 so the bigger the sensor the better DOF i’ll get . anyway now the truth: 😀
          i think you got the wrong Person Here :)) my name is Danny , and the pics belongs to Mr. Robert Lee and we don’t have any relations (sorry to spoil that) anyway liked your comment 🙂

          • WOW , Thanks … Awesome reviews there and it is a BIG Huge help , (to decide which lens is the best) BTW it’ll make me spend all my bank account on lenses 😀 😉 (no i wont look at them again :D)

  10. The pictures (especially the seconds) are amazing!! It’s incredible what a “small” camera like the X100 can do. Like I said, for everything except fullframe you don’t need a DSLR. This pictures proof this once more.

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