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I’d pre-ordered from B&H on January 28. By the time the camera arrived on March 2 I felt I’d read every X100F review and blog post I could find, so I opened the box with a mixture of excitement and worry.
Fortunately my copy works perfectly and it arrived with no dust on the lens, fingerprints or any evidence that the box had ever been opened. No manual focus problems or sticking aperture blades either.
I’m primarily a nature/wildlife photographer, these days mostly with a Canon 1Dx. Prior to buying the 1Dx I used a 7D, and before that I shot with everything from Canon’s original D60 (years before the 60D you’re probably thinking about) through their 10D and 40D APS-C bodies.
I bought the X100F because I wanted something easier to carry around, something that would allow me to experiment and do more work in a wider range of settings where a full-sized rig would be difficult to manage and attract too much attention.
I’ll blame my 1Dx experience for approaching my decision with a full-frame bias, first considering Sony’s A7s, RX-1 and A99 and even renting a Leica Q.
But rangefinder size and handling were appealing and so was the image quality I saw in all those reviews. I really, really liked the Leica, but it was bulkier and more than three times the price.
Now that I’ve used both, I can’t argue that the Leica wins on image quality, but in my case the difference wasn’t enough to justify the additional cost and bulk.
I've shot RAW exclusively for years so didn't give much thought to Fuji's film simulations. But due to Lightroom's lack of X100F RAW support I've shot nothing but JPGs so far, and I've had fun playing with the camera's film simulation bracketing. Of those I've tried I tend to favor the standard "Provia" profile. Eventually I may edit the EXIF data to make Lightroom think it's an XT-2 or try another raw converter, but the JPGs are so good I'm in no hurry to explore either option.
The camera has its quirks. The Q button placement makes it too easy to press while holding the camera, to mention one example. Experience with other cameras suggests that most of these issues will disappear as I become more familiar with the system and "muscle memory" kicks in. Right now I still often reach for Canon controls and I unintentionally move the control ring when not in manual focus.
This is my admittedly subjective conclusion: It’s not perfect, but the X100F is a very well-designed, well-made camera capable of wonderful images from ISO200 all the way up to ISO6400, and useable images to ISO10000.
I haven’t begun to get the best out of this little camera but I really like what I see in my first images. Take a look and let me know what you think.
This is a followup for Steve M, who was worried about the "waxy skin" effect reported in connection with earlier X100 models. I don't see it in these admittedly poor snapshots made handheld in available light at relatively slow shutter speeds. Not the way I normally shoot, but here they are. All I see is slow shutter softness and poor technique, but YMMV:
<Click any image to see more photos from the trip.>
If you’ve braved the cold winds on Louisiana’s beaches recently you might have seen a few small, nondescript shorebirds called piping plovers among the mixed flocks along the surf’s edge, out on the tidal flats and huddled against the cold in tire tracks in the sand. But if you’re like most of us, you may not have noticed them and probably didn’t recognize them if you did.
For that you need a sharp eye and a biologist’s skill, as John Spohrer and I discovered on Elmer’s Island last weekend. Delaina LeBlanc, Migratory Birds Coordinator for the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, and BTNEP Coastal Bird Coordinator Natalie Waters have both, along with special permission to access the entire island to survey and study this threatened species.
Our job was to provide photographs to support their research. Not just any photos of piping plovers, but piping plovers with bands on their legs. Because band colors and placement reveal where along the upper Great Lakes, Midwest and Northeastern Coast the birds nest, improving their understanding of migration patterns and population trends.
With their help and guidance we also managed to see and photograph a variety of other wildlife, including this peregrine falcon, white pelicans and much more.
We left with dozens of images of banded plovers and thought-provoking photographs of startling contrasts: abundant wildlife, offshore platforms turned golden at daybreak and porpoises riding bow waves for shrimpers followed by flocks of hungry gulls.
The Florida panhandle seldom gets as cold as the Midwest or Northeast, but a 31-degree north wind on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico makes that irrelevant. It doesn't matter how many layers you wear, the wind and the humidity and the lack of tree cover on the beach will make you think that the thermometer is an optimist.
We were there in the pre-dawn dark to record the sunrise, so we stood still flexing our fingers and wiggling our toes to make the best of things in the pale light from a 3/4 moon with Venus a pinprick in that indescribably blue pre-dawn sky.
And then the horizon caught fire and the cold no longer mattered.
I was there with friend and fellow photographer John Spohrer, a Florida Master Naturalist. He'd heard birders speak of a "life bird," a species seldom seen in South Louisiana and Florida where I live and work, and he'd invited me over to attempt to find and photograph it.
The bird is a vermillion flycatcher, native to Central and South America and parts of the extreme Southwestern US. With its distinctive black mask and plumage so red it makes cardinals look faded, I figured it would be easy to find -- if it was still there.
As it turned out, spotting the bird was harder than I expected, and approaching it was even more difficult, but John's persistence over the course of two days and a large helping of luck finally put us near enough to make acceptable images.
The area's many tidal pools and pine forests are full of wildlife, even on cold winter days, so we found much more to see and photograph nearby. A flock of yellow-rump warblers was busy catching insects in the pines and wax myrtles, and a few paused briefly for photos.
And when the little blue decided to leave the muddy water and try his luck elsewhere, I was ready.