My Wicked Journey (back) to the Fuji X100 by Kevin Preblud

My Wicked Journey (back) to the Fuji X100

by Kevin Preblud

My own photographic odyssey began while in Junior High School, shooting black and white on a Nikon FE. I learned about f stops, shutter speeds, film speed, as well as how to develop my own film and print my own photos in an old fashioned darkroom. There was rarely a moment when that Nikon wasn’t slung across my shoulder like a musician with his guitar.

Over the years the depth of my passion ebbed and flowed depending on various life factors, but ultimately the birth of my first child in the early 1990’s, conveniently coinciding with the availability of affordable consumer digital cameras, was the convergence of events that put me on the road that has led me to where I am today.

Over the years, another child was born and various individual and family milestones were recorded for digital posterity. But it wasn’t until my children became involved in a variety of youth sports, that I truly picked up where I had left off with that Nikon at the end of my own childhood. It was time to jettison the pro-sumer digital point and shoot, and get back to the SLR world, albeit a digital one.

Once again my trusty dSLR was rarely missing from my side, shooting every sporting and school event that was on the calendar, at times, even for other parents who knew they could count on me to capture those precious moments of their children while I was for mine.

With both kids now in High School and still active in several sports, I spend many fall and spring afternoons photographing their various games, again now not only for myself, but for the teams as well. While this is the worst paying job I have ever had, the satisfaction of seeing the kids faces as they view their action photos online, like a professional athlete, is payment and satisfaction enough.

But like many fans of this site, while researching the mirrorless revolution, in an effort to add a less bulky camera to my toolbox, I found Steve’s review of the Fujifilm X100. That was it! I didn’t have to read another review. The X100 appealed to me in on so many levels; form, function, image quality, size, and most importantly, a return to the basics I remembered from my Nikon FE. It had a dedicated aperture ring, shutter speed dial, and exposure compensation dial; all the basics I had started with nearly a quarter century earlier.

I immediately went online and made my purchase. Upon arrival, the X100 did not disappoint. It was a rare combination of art and utility, like a fine writing instrument, not usually found outside of the Leica world. I must however admit, it took a bit of time to re-acclimate myself with non-automatic photography, but the more I did, the better the results and my personal satisfaction. As well, like so many others have said elsewhere, the X100 is an eye-catcher. The uninformed don’t know if it’s new or old, film or digital, but the intrigue easily draws them in front of the lens with little anxiety. People want to be photographed with this camera. People want to touch and feel it, making the whole photographer/subject dance much less intimidating and far more engaging.

Sadly however, I suffer from technology BBD (bigger better deal). Despite how much I had come to enjoy the X100, and how much I saw my candid and street photography improve, I wanted the next best thing. No thanks to Steve, I abandoned and sold my X100 for what sounded like the next best Fuji, the X-E1. Sure, there were AF improvements, interchangeable lens capability, and a better sensor, but I quickly realized that although the X-E1 was an improvement on paper, I missed my trust X100. In short order, I returned the X-E1 and went back online to eBay in this case, and re-acquired my trusted companion, another X100.

The bliss returned and we were back in business. You would think the lesson was learned, but yet again, and in no small thanks to Steve and his wonderful review, I was back on the BBD program looking to acquire a Sony NEX 6. So, out the door X100 No. 2 went and in the door came the NEX 6. Certainly the Sony is an able and accomplished camera, but I quickly realized it was no Fuji X100. All the reviews said it has better AF, better IQ, and better functionality, but at the end of the day, it just didn’t “fit” me like the X100. So, once again, back went the NEX for return, and back I went to eBay for X100 No. 3. While I’m not sure how much I have cost myself thru the various exchanges, I can promise that this is the last time the X100 goes out the door……..until of course the recently announced FujiFilm X100s I have pre-ordered, arrives at my door step. I promise I will remain faithful until then!!

The following photos are from a nighttime shooting excursion along Colfax Avenue in Denver. Colfax was the primary East-West artery thru Denver before the advent of the Interstate Highway System. Playboy magazine once called Colfax “the longest, wickedest street in America.” Colfax still continues to provide a variety of photo opportunities; from old neon-lit hourly motels and dive bars to recent urban redevelopment including outdoor shopping malls and the latest trends in fine dining.

Oddly, for one of the X100’s most harsh criticisms, low light shooting, I found it to be a jewel to work with, and I was very pleased with the results. Sure it takes care to be certain of your focus point, but like anything, once you get used to its intricacies; both positive and negative, they become practically insignificant.

And so, although not slung over my shoulder like the old film Nikon FE, my Fuji X100 is once again a constant and convenient companion in my coat pocket……My Journey (back) to the FujiFilm X100!










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  1. I felt like reading my own story….x100 and then nex-7 and then om-d em-1, and now back for x100…lucky I didn’t sell my x100

    Industry always wants us to be dissatisfied with what we have. But what is it all about? Going out and taking pictures.

    Kevin, hope you still hang on to your x100!

    – Sebastian

  2. I have a Nikon D90, a Fujifilm Xpro1 but really want a x100s…… just seems so rite….nice photographs by the Kevin.

  3. Those are some nice images.

    I know what you mean…I dumped my DSLR for an X100S, and then bought an X-Pro1 that I love but i’ll never sell my X100S.

    As Zack says….”it’s got mojo” 🙂

  4. Wow, that is almost exactly like my story, working on buying my 3rd X100, which was actually physically my first (X100 LE). I’ve been through the carnage of the NEX-6 & 7 line, the Fuji X-Pro1, some M4/3rds gear, and just keep coming back to my beloved X100. I actually have the opportunity to buy back the one that I had initially, that is registered to me, and has the accessories I want, and I’m throwing away hundreds of dollars in selling off my Current X-Pro1 (very nice camera too BTW) in order to do it.

    I used to baby the X100 so that I wouldn’t get any wear marks, or scratches, but now I’m just gonna use the hell out of it, give it some character, and enjoy it for what it is. I’m done playing the “bigger better” game, and just want to shoot pictures…

    – Jeremy.

  5. I adore my x100, it is my constant go everywhere camera, it even took me through the entire Mardi Gras season and a two week trip out west. I love these images- fantastic job. And I love the style, I don’t think they look HDR at all. I think the color ones look overly vivid the way bright colors on a late night walk really seem and therefore capture the “feel” of your experience very well.

  6. You Sold your x100 2 Times, and you bought it 3 Times?

    You americans are absolut Consume junkies.
    I bought a x100 and i will use it till it brakes or i die.

    Best regards from germany

  7. Great photos. I also shoot with the X100 all I can say is the more I shoot with it the more I love it. In fact After having the camera for a week I knew that the days of me shooting with a DSLR were over , sold all my DSLR gear and only have the X100 now. One thing I have found that Fuji really got right with this camera is the off flash interface, it works like a charm.

  8. eheheheheheheheh. As i was reading your post i was laughing about you story of buying and selling X100s. It just proves that the fuji X100 is, probably, the most loved piece of photographic machine to date, in spite they quirks. I too love the X100 but unlike you, i am still waiting for the new X100s to see if it’s really much better than the old sister. Cheers and happy shooting.

  9. Very similar to my experience with the X100, although I only sold mine once. Btw I also got started with a Nikon (FM, in the late seventies). Over the years I have been using film Leicas, Hasselblad, digital dslrs, digital Leica M, Nex 7 and X100 (twice:). Gotta love those Leicas, but the pleasure of using the X100 is comparable in many ways, and I’m not selling this one (black, mmm), even though I am getting an RX1 in a couple of weeks. Great pictures, makes me want to go there and see for myself.

  10. Kevin, thanks for sharing both your thoughts and your pictures! Awesome – both of them!

    I have done almost the exact same journey as you have. A NEX-6 is in my bag, every day. Magnificent little computer, able to capture magnificent images. But we do not connect..

    The “fault” is all mine. But to find the real joy of photography, you must be very happy with the tool. The M9 gave me great joy, even if it was not technically perfect. The x100 gives me even more joy, we connect. Even if it’s not entirely perfect.

    I find Sony’s cameras technologically advanced, almost superhuman, and capable of capturing the most “perfect” images possible. But I’m too old (58) to appreciate all the bells and wistles. Maybe the 80-90′ generation feel more at home. I connect more with the “old” cameras where I (!) have to think. FWIW. My “artistically” best images were all captured with old or old-look-a-like “manual” cameras. An old Hasselblad, 5DMk-x with primes, M7/M9 or x100. But I seldom succeed with the Panasonics, or Sonys.

    Best / Bo

  11. I love my X100 too and I just can’t part with it – except for maybe the X100s!!! I’m from Colorado as well and just up I-25 to the north….Colfax, a very colorful part of Colorado!

  12. Your story is pretty much is how I feel but about the Nikon V1. It does everything quickly and quietly for my style of Street shooting…………..but boy would I like to have…….all of those others !! 🙂

  13. Beautiful photos! I can relate to BBD, having purchased and returned more cameras than I care to admit – Steve’s “Acquisition Syndrome.” Believe it or not I returned an OMD after 2 weeks, just didn’t like the ergonomics. Now what? Am eyeing the X100! But many reports on the net about autofocusing problems, especially under 5 feet distance. Have you run into anything like that?

    • Newer ones dont suffer from it. I love the x100. I have owned that camera twice. Only the D700 I owned the most, but it was the backup bodies, and replacement body lol. First one I preordered before it came out and I got the last one. It had weird issues and quirks before the firmware hit. I returned it within 2 weeks of my ownership. Than last year I acquired other x100. I had it for 3 months. It provided me with beautiful images.. the flare is especially gorgeous!!! However I had to sell it to invest into a 85mm f1.4 Nikon lens cause I was getting tired of renting one when I need it. So its a win-win situation. When I use my D800 or D600 with that lens I get beautiful results its just I rarely haul my DSLRs around for personal use.

      • …I just rarely haul my DSLRs for personal use… Your last phrase is the essence of the situation… What camera is capable of producing consistent good results, is easy to carry or pocket, quick to use, no messing around with lens changes or zooms… Those are the comparators, not interchangeable DSLRs whose purpose is different…. and if the choice is no camera or just iPhone (and yes you can produce artistic images with them but IQ is dependent on conditions) or phone camera I know I would opt for an X100 or similar.

        Why did many professional photographers have assistants …. To carry and prepare their kit: why did many professional photographers have shoulder problems (Rollei Shoulder) … Because they carried their equipment. Pre digital whyndid many photographers use a Ricoh Gr or Contax t2 film camera for their own images … Because they were pocketable, brilliant quality lenses, easy to use and delivered high IQ. If you have unlimited funds, an assistant, and all the time to travel and want the nivarna in image quality Fuji and others produced fabulous roll film cameras so a Fuji / Linhof 617 or Silvistri, Arca, Alpa and lenses, filters and Imacon or full blown drum scan will give it for you… As will a mf digital back ….

        But most of us are not in that scenario and the best camera to use and the best IQ we can get at that time is with the camera we have with us…. Or can borrow from our wife’s shoulder bag!

        Nikon D800 is 1000g body only with around 200g for a light wide angle lens while Fuji X100 / x100s is 445g with lens….

  14. Wow! Wonderful photos. I have not take the plunge for an X100 yet. I keep telling myself that the OM-D I have is all I need, and of course it is. Something about the X100 keeps calling to me though, and pictures like yours weaken my resolve.

  15. Very impressive colors. These pictures tell loudly that no excuse (for poor pictures because) of your (present) camera!

  16. Your enjoyment shines out of your pictures! Actually, I have the same sort of relationship with my D-lux 4.
    Haven’t bonded with my other two cameras to anything like the same extent. Have just acquired a “Clear Viewer” LCD viewer for my NEX C3 (highly recommended), so I can postpone asking myself whether I should go for a NEX6 to get an eye-level viewfinder! And now you come and tempt me to an X100……….
    Do tell us what your route to the B&W images is.

  17. Nice story! I can relate to the buying and selling. Sold my X100 after buying the X-E1 but have already preordered the X100s. Think I’ll want both! :-.)

  18. Great story, and I share your feelings about how a camera, as a tool, should feel. I had a Leica M5 once, for a short time. Just didn’t feel right.

    In concept Fuji is doing something very right; in execution, this blog and others are flooded with complaints. I’m glad and fully understand you like it and your images show you know how to work with it.

  19. Love the story, Kevin, and the images. Processing is different from what I would do but that is a personal thing. I am finally making a jump to the mirrorless world having pre-ordered the X100s this morning. After 35+ years of SLR/DSLR for both work and play, my back has asked me to lighten the load. AND the creative side of my brain has asked me to simplify. So a fixed lens rangefinder-style camera with the capabilities of a X100s is something I am going to try. Wish me luck . . .

  20. Look at what we’ve become….we now value our digital cameras for having the features that “real” cameras used to have…

    “The X100 appealed to me in on so many levels; form, function, image quality, size, and most importantly, a return to the basics I remembered from my Nikon FE. It had a dedicated aperture ring, shutter speed dial, and exposure compensation dial; all the basics I had started with nearly a quarter century earlier.”

    You should have saved yourself $800 and bought an FE again….

  21. Nice work. Looks like you deviated from Colfax and took a walk down the mall! In these dark places, are you relying upon hand-held or tripod shots?

    The X100s has my eye also. Like you, I find the draw of the its classic styling almost more than I can resist.

  22. Interesting images, particularly like nos 1, 5 & 7.

    No 1 is so simple in concept and so pleasing. It sums up those times of waiting for a process or task to be finished and does not tell you who was there, if it was still open.

    In no 5 I like the juxtaposition of the drab lighting under the stairs with the coloured lights and the backlit photographing the distance.

    Was the guy in no 7 on the balcony at the top of the escalator photographing you or just using a phone camera?
    Keep your Fuji -you don’t want to buy it back again!

    • Thank you! The Fuji stays! And honestly I didn’t didn’t particularly notice the guy at the top of the stairs until after I took the shot. I think he was actually talking on the phone.

      • Come on now, Kevin. Be honest with yourself….really. The Fuji stays? A little bird is telling me otherwise. : )

  23. Hello!

    I had the same love – hate relationship with my X100. I can’t do anything without it even if I also own an X-pro 1… It was love at first sight.

    Enjoy your shooting!


  24. Wonderful photos! I’ve been trying to capture the “look” you have in the 4th and 7th photos which are black and white. Both are stunning to my eyes. Is the result of this in camera settings or did you do a fair amount of post-processing? Likely a combination I’m guessing. I’ve an X100 and I haven’t been able to yet create the crisp, high contrast b&w images as you have.


    • Thanks Ken. I actually shot most of the evening in JPEG+RAW with JPEG set to BW Film Simulation. Sort of the best of both worlds; I got a preview of the Black and White, while at the same time saving the RAW file for better post-production results. I imported both the RAW and JPEG to Aperture and in the case of the two files (4 and 7), I did some very basic modifications to the RAW in Aperture, then exported to Silver FX Pro. The latter has proven to be a wonderful piece of software. I am really a rookie at this point, and simply use its presets, with only minor tweaks. Honestly, I am as astonished as you when I see the results.

      • Thanks for some of the background on the pics. I’ve been shooting for years but have gotten more serious about the artistic aspect recently and realized that post processing is a fact of life. Like you, many others rave about Silver FX Pro and I’m curious to play with this. Again, I loved your photos and they give me a lot of encouragement, especially knowing they were just minor tweaks and from a “rookie” as you said. Thank you for sharing! -Ken

        • Kevin has shown us some of his documentary photography on his night on Colfax. These images are part of that whole collection he made and whilst some may be stand alone pictures that could have been taken anywhere others locate precisely where this was as evident by other posts.

          Art for arts sake? Definitely not.

          No content? Definitely not?

          Some may not like the content because it is contrary to how they see things or subjects they have no contact with, or believe cameras should only be used for… But that is their issue …not the photographers.

          I agree that Kevin could have made faithful non ”artsy’ reproductions of everything he saw taken with a 45mm lens at eye level, lit to replicate eyesight, and ignored artistic composition but wouldn’t that have been boring – and fortunately he interpreted what he saw in his own way as countless documentary photographers throughout the world have done.

  25. Wonderful pictures, Kevin! It really shows one of the strengths of the Fuji X100 in my opinion, low light shooting. And I can so relate to your story of rediscovering the basics of photography when using the X100. It is just a very special camera. I now also have my eyes on the Fuji X-E1, but would never sell my X100 😉

  26. Ouch, sounds painful for your wallet to make these exchanges and the X100s already on pre-order. :-S I have a hard time imagining how you have even had time to get comfortable with the X100 yet, with all these interruptions, haha!

    I like the geometry in these photos. 🙂

  27. Someday I will own one, but when I start getting the urge, the need for a new refrigerator, a new mattress, and a dozen other necessary and boring things are brought to my attention.

    Your endorsement of the X100 would compel my wife say you are a bad influence.

    Enjoyed your story and photos. Thanks

  28. wow.. that is saying something about x100, the very fact that you kept going back.

    what do you thing about rx1? I’m tempted inspite of having x100. though i am more attracted to omd’s colours.

    • BBD syndrome has had me very tempted to consider the RX1, but given the price and lack of onboard EVF, I have contained myself. Certainly the reviews and images that have been posted indicate that it’s a phenomenal camera. That said, I’m going to wait patiently for the X100s and then re-evaluate. In a perfect world, maybe Fuji is working on a FF X.

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