The Fuji X100s in Practice – Portrait Session

The X100s in Practice

I bought the Fuji X100s in September last year and the camera has been my favorite camera ever since. This includes most of my past cameras. Only, the Canon T90 from the 1980s might compete with it (for very different reasons). Yes, my second favorite camera is a Canon. 🙂

It is the one camera, that people ask me the most questions about.
“Is it a Leica?” – “No, it is a Fuji”
“Does it shoot film?” – “No, it is digital”
etc.

I have been using the camera for assignments, where it just made sense to use it and others, where it wouldn’t make sense at all. It is the only way for me to put it through it paces. The autofocus is not as fast as I would like to be, but it is decent and most times, it just works fine.
The image quality is great! No questions asked. The low light performance is also fantastic, minus the autofocus speed.
Mostly, it reminds me most of the camera, I really learnt photography with, my old Canon AE–1. The simplicity of analog (looking) dials and choosing aperture and shutter speed, by just adjusting the corresponding dials on camera and lens has been liberating.
The one thing that stands out, is the amazing fast native speed sync speed of up to 1/4000th of a second. There haven’t been many occasions, where I made use of it, but quite a few, where 1/1000th of 1/500th of a second came in very handy with standard speedlites or even a single speedlite.

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Take for example this portrait of Cuan Chelin, CEO of Superbrands. After shooting a couple of standard portraits for his corporate profile, I asked him towards the end of the session, if he had anything else in mind on how he would like to be photographed. Cuan answered very quickly that he would like to be photographed in his sports outfit. I suggested that we go accross from his appartment to photograph him running against the ocean background.
We had about 5 minutes left to make this happen. There was not much time to do much testing and I had to rely on my experience and gut to set the single speedlite with the right power in combo with the Fuji X100s, after I handed it to my client and asked her to point the flash roughly into Cuan’s direction.
Luckily, I guessed right and had most of the settings right after the first attempt. It took us only 3 or 4 shots to get the image. It was a rather hot day around lunchtime and not running too much in this heat was highly appreciated.
When I looked at the picture, I was stunned on how easy it was to produce it with a minimum of equipment. One camera, one external flash, a willing client and great backdrop made it happen.

This is one of the many occasions, where I used the Fuji and surprised myself and the client with the results.

I also took the camera as my only camera to our last visit to Germany, last year. It was not only, my only camera for documenting our trip, but also the only one I used to document a friend’s wedding. (I was the only photographer present.) There was not a moment during the trip, where I missed lugging around more lenses and a heavier DSLR body. It just worked all fine for me. Once you set your mind on using only one focal length, a lot of things are possible.

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