30 Days with the Fuji X100F: Day 17
I promised I’d talk about gear today, but I’m going to talk about it in a somewhat different way than normal… Usually when a new digital camera or lens comes out, the majority of the talk is about how it’s technically better than “the old.” Sharper, more dynamic range, less noise, etc. I’m a technical person by nature – I mean, I do math for a living – so I really love digging into these kinds of details.
But the more I shoot, the less I care about these technical details. For things like landscapes and astrophotography I still think the technicals are incredibly important. But for street photography and everyday shots, I really don’t care anymore. Pretty much every camera today exceeds what’s needed to make a good image by a healthy margin. So what’s important is what I actually do with the camera and how I feel while doing it.
Starting to shoot film was the key initiator for this realization. When I’m on the streets pushing HP5+ to 1600 on 35mm film, I know I’m going to get a healthy dose of grain in my scans. At first, I recoiled from that. I just wanted super clean images. But that changed after a few rolls. I started to appreciate the grain and the character it added to the image. There’s a realness to images that are a little imperfect in their technicals, and I think realness is something we’re all craving in today’s Photoshop/HDR world…
Bringing this back around to the X100F, the introduction of the Acros film simulation really is a game changer for me. The simulated grain of Acros really gets me out of the “is this shot technically correct” mindset and lets me focus on whether I like the shot. This is absolutely perfect for my everyday camera that I’ll use to capture little bits of my city and the people I care about.
The concepts of shooting technically imperfect images and going back to the roots of film are ones I think I’ll explore a bit more in the rest of this series, so stay tuned…
Japanese aesthetic concept of “wabi-sabi” (transience and imperfection of physical world).
Black and white film photos embrace it and generally digital files/photos tend to be too clean, clinical …too separated from flow, vibrancy and messiness of life.
Some of the most respected Japanese photographers (artistic ones) embrace this views,i.e., Daido Moriyama
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Thanks for the share, Wayne! “Wabi-sabi” seems to capture what I was trying to describe in this post better than I could… I hadn’t heard of Moriyama, but I’m perusing his work now and I can definitely see what you mean. I’m also reading some of his quotes and I think he’s somebody I could learn a lot from. I’ll add him to my growing list of photographers to study!