Ben Tsai

Things I really like: Fujifilm X100T

My Fujifilm X100T delights me.

It’s been 2 years since I bought the camera. That purchase was big step in my photography hobby, having dabbled in it in years prior. It was my first grown-up camera and the most I had ever spent on that kind of equipment. I grew up in the school of thought that the requisite gear to take your photography to the next level was to buy the best DSLR body and prime lens you could afford. Then, play the lens game and begin diversifying from there.

Given that background, I struggled with whether the X100T would satisfy my needs. A fixed lens. What if I grew tired of the one focal length? What if I wanted to someday capture sports or landscapes? The video features are rather primitive—what if I need to do some filming?

The answer to those questions is, “Too bad.” But I found those limitations ultimately to be liberating. There would be no lens game to be played. I would not be taking my camera out for high-action sports or shooting a documentary. My camera had already answered those questions with a “no,” and I could focus on what the camera was capable of.

I carried this mindset into my workflow as well. My old school-of-thought dictated that I must shoot in RAW in order to preserve all of the image data, giving me the greatest flexibility to process the best photos. I decided to shoot only in JPEG. This freed me from a whole category of anxieties and questions. “Where do I store the files? Local back up and then a cloud solution? I’ll need a more powerful machine to operate Lightroom. But first, I need a license to Lightroom.”

Around this time is when Google Photos was released. Unlimited photo storage, as long as you are shooting JPEG. My photos are synced across all my devices. Sold. (Yes, it’s free, so I’m the product being sold.)

Nowadays, my “workflow” is pretty minimal. I take pictures. I’ll copy them to my phone using the built-in WiFi (rather clunky, but usable), or pop out my SD card and copy it on my laptop. Google Photos syncs them to the cloud. If I want to publish something, I’ll bring the photo into Darkroom on my phone. If I want to make a print, Flag app on my phone. That’s it. No post-processing, really.

That’s why I enjoy using my camera. There’s not much to think or worry about. I’ve got no extra lenses to pack. All of the basic functions are obviously exposed on the body. I can set every dial to Auto, and I’ll get great pictures. If I’m feeling particularly artistic, or need to adjust to my environment, those controls are right there. Want less bokeh? Click, click, click. Subject too blurry? Dial in the shutter speed. That’s it.

So, let’s go out and shoot!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017