30 Days with the Fuji X100F: Day 17

Omaha, 2017; Fuji X100F; 1/680s; f/8; ISO 200

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…

  1. 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

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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!


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