For some time now I have been considering adding a small rangefinder type camera to my kit that I can carry with me anywhere, is light and indiscreet and provides complete control over the type of images I make. The daddy of all rangefinders is still considered to be the Leica M but at around £4,200 for just the body that’s a tad outside my price range.
I also did not want to invest in a system camera which requires buying another set of lenses. I’m more than happy with my Olympus OM-D system for the type of photography I do most of the time (i.e. portrait and travel) and was not looking for a replacement for that. I have too much invested with Olympus and am more than pleased with the results and service I get from that kit to change.
Looking around I narrowed my choice down to three cameras:
- Panasonic DMC-GX8 – Great looking camera which gets good results and has the advantage of being compatible with my M.ZUIKO micro-four thirds lenses. However I owned the GX7 and could not get on with it. I found the tilt up viewfinder a waste of time and the buttons were too fiddly for my big fingers and hands.
- Fujifilm X100T – Third generation in the X100 lineup, full control of exposure and wireless control but fixed lens (35mm equivalent).
- Fujifilm X-Pro1 – Gets a lot of good press but now slightly aged (it was introduced in January 2012) and requires buying at least one XF series lens.
In the end went for the X100T.
Even though this is a fixed lens (and fixed focal length) camera I decided in the end this was an advantage rather than a disadvantage. Sometimes, especially in photography, less really is more. Stripping back to the bare minimum of kit forces you to be creative in other ways having to make do with what you’ve got rather than giving yourself lots of choice by carrying several lenses and spending valuable seconds deciding which lens or focal length to use.
I’ve had the camera a few weeks now and here are some initial images from it.
Initial thoughts are:
- The camera ‘feels’ right in your hands. All the controls are in the right place to be easily accessible and can be changed quickly. The only thing that takes a little getting used to is having the aperture control on the lens rather than a dial on the camera. It’s a case of getting used to how (film) cameras used to operate.
- Image quality is what I’d expect from a 16Mp camera. The in camera film simulations are good though I don’t really use them much. It’s sometimes useful to see what black and white looks like before you take an image but I prefer to use Lightroom to adjust things.
- I love the wireless feature which means you can operate the camera from a smart phone. Great for taking some indiscreet street photographs really up close.
- I’ve read of complaints about the lack of battery life but I’ve not that found that to be a particular issue, easily getting 300+ shots out of it.
Overall a great little go-anywhere camera which gives some great results. It’s going to be a good camera for using for some street photography.
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