Embracing imperfection with the Fujifilm X100V: A photo walk at Dusk

We purchase cameras for many reasons.

Sometimes it’s because we need more megapixels to fulfill a job requirement. Other times it’s because our old cameras just can’t keep up with us any longer, and the lure of new technology makes sense. Some photographers just want a new addition to their kit because… well, why not?

For me, the X100V was a re-purchase. I had it once before but sold it when I found the utility and ability to change lenses on the Fuji X-E4 so appealing. With the X-E4, I found a camera that is nearly the size of the X100 range of cameras, but with the ability to change lenses! I became enthralled with the prospect of taking the 27mm f.2.8 with me along with the Fuji F/2 trilogy of lenses (the 23, 35 and 50) in a very small bag.

I thought I was in heaven camera wise… until I wasn’t. I may not have thought of it before, but the ability to change lenses actually made me grab my camera less. I loved the form factor of the X-E4, and of course, the images that came out of it with the Fujicrons were amazing, but there was always a slight moment of hesitation when I grabbed the camera. “Is this the right lens,” I’d ask myself?” And sometimes, I’d agonize over which lens to take with me.

This is a stupid problem. I’ll admit it’s one born of a luxury of options, and someone could very likely just tell me to grow up and focus on the positives. I get it!

But our lives are full of so much complexity already, aren’t they? We live in complicated times, and with all that’s going on, I crave the freedom of simplicity.

Photography is my escape. It’s my peace and serenity among the blaring alarms raised by a million issues we should be aware of in life. Duties to perform. Causes to champion.

I realized that the X100V was a camera that was so brilliant precisely because of its main limitation. One lens. One perspective.

Limits can bring out the best of us. I think about some of the greats in photography, and the wealth of art they created with limited technology. So I promptly sold the X-E4 and picked up an X100V when one became available at my local camera shop.
I’m happy I did.

I reach for the camera without a second thought, never worried about what lens to use. I know exactly what it’s capable of, and I use that to speak to the world.

What a voice it allows me to use!

The 35mm equivalent lens focuses incredibly close. I can get scenes like the one you see below by pushing in, getting into the scene and becoming one with it.

The f/2 lens is sharp enough for me. It’s not perfectly sharp up close, but it’s also totally acceptable, especially in the spirit of embracing the camera’s limitations and the nature of a camera that allows me to do so much with so little.

I’ve also found a happy way to embrace high ISO photographs in nature images. There was a time when I wouldn’t be caught outside if I had to boost my ISO above 1600 or so. What a waste of time.

The photos I took on this night are just a few examples of the joy found in allowing low-light, high ISO imperfection into my life. Each photo is gritty and real: the story of fading light, shifting wind and the sound of cicadas in the trees.

In a busy life, a camera like this one is a welcome slice of simplicity. While I still have my other Fuji cameras for portraits, weddings and other paid jobs that might need other options, the X100V is the camera I take with me to the gas station or for a quick walk in nature.

"When people ask me where I get my inspiration from, I point to these amazing humans. They have taught me this truth: every story is worth telling. We just need to be brave enough to speak. I’ve been teaching for more than 17 years and I want my students to find their voice just as my family has helped me find mine. I’ve been photographing for just as long, and I believe my photos capture slivers of hope, joy and truth in this world."

7 Comments

  1. ” …a slight moment of hesitation when I grabbed the camera. “Is this the right lens,” I’d ask myself?” And sometimes, I’d agonize over which lens to take with me….”

    Paralysis by analysis.

    I did an exercise last year during the lockdown because my subject matter was unchanging, just a few blocks in my small town. I also have too many choices for lenses, so I threw in a variable that took the lens choice decision out of my overthinking brain. I rolled a dice. The number one through six corresponded to the first number of the focal length. One was the 16mm, two the 23mm, etc… I had all the numbers represented by a lens except four, so if I rolled a 4, the 18-55mm zoom was mounted. This forced me to be productive often with a lens that I might not have gone out with (looking at you, 60mm).

    That said, the limitations of a single lens can be offset by your mastery of its strengths, so your choice of the X100 variant is a great way to go.

    1. Hey, Albert – thanks for your comments! I LOVE the idea of rolling a dice and seeing what lens to use – a great idea for a video and article, perhaps! I’ll make sure to credit you! Thanks for checking out my work and I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  2. Very nice story Jerred! As you said in the video, “it’s all good”. You did end up with some very nice images.

    Like you, I find taking photographs therapeutic. I also like doing exercises, like limiting myself to just one lens or experimenting with a film simulation recipe. Getting out and creating is sure better than sitting in front of a computer or TV screen.

    Happy shooting!

    1. Heck yes, Doug! I love it. I used to play so many video games and watch a lot of sports, but my life has shifted. I once complained about having “no time” to pursue my passions and had to really look at my life: was my passion looking at a screen, or going out to take photos? I found that I definitely had time if I arranged my life in a little better way. Thanks – I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

  3. Ciao Jerred, l’articolo è certamente interessante e sono convinto che uno strumento più semplice faccia emergere meglio la creatività del fotografo tuttavia, di fronte al dilemma x-pro o x100, alla fine ho scelto la x-pro. E’ vero che scatto la maggior parte delle mie foto con il 23mm f2 ma esistono momenti particolari in cui un tele o un grandangolo fanno comodo o addirittura diventano indispensabili. Ho comunque in progetto di acquistare una x100f come secondo corpo, chissà che le mie foto non migliorino.

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