Modern soul

It looks retro, but isn't. But even if the retro appearance were toned down, the Fuji X100S would still have soul. Why?

  • It has just the right amount of size and weight to feel good in the hands
  • Physical knobs let you instantly see the status of the product, no menus or screens required. It's a very direct interaction.
  • It creatively expands its capabilities in spite of its limitations - specifically the hybrid viewfinder (see below)
  • It's highly focused in purpose - one lens, one focal length. this pays off in creative benefits for the photographer by making you work harder, but also allowing you to work faster and more instinctively

when the original version of the X100 came out, Robert Plotkin wrote a wonderful piece for The Online Photographer that began:

When the Fuji X100 was announced at Photokina 2010, the trade show held in Germany, it was as if a supermodel walked into a Japanese lederhosen convention. Mouths gaped, the band’s instruments clattered to the floor, and hands collectively grasped at the Fuji’s shiny dials.

Our dates jabbed us in the ribs and we looked down at their cheap, black plastic and for the first time saw the piratical eyepatches covering the disfigurement of their missing viewfinders. We looked at them and said: where is your magnesium chassis, your knurled aperture and shutter rings, your gazonga sensor? You have let yourself go, happy in your K-Mart sweats, opiating me with cotton candy settings and cheap, slow glass.

You’ve made me lazy. I’m not the photographer I used to be, the dashing, crouching, hanging, contorting, backward-running man of my youth. Now I zoom in and out, flatten the light with pop-up flash, my depth-of-field neither narrow nor wide, my photographs as indistinct as a beige Camry.
— Robert Plotkin

I'll count myself as amongst those who were skeptical about the value of the X100. It seemed expensive (about $1300) for a limited functionality camera.