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.”