A Different Year, A Different Kind Of Photography

I’ve always loved photography but I’ve rarely had chance to work with it. Many years ago one of my best friends and I spent a summer shooting aspiring young hard rock bands around Sweden using Leica M6 TTLs. The gigs were usually poorly lit, over-crowded and any photographer with a flash would soon find themselves out on the street, so the Leicas with their fast lenses and superb optics were just the ticket. Later the band members would buy prints from us, all of which were black and white, something unusual at the time, which was about fifteen years ago. Anyone who has used a Leica for any extended period of time will speak of something a bit special about the silky way they render images. “Smooth”, “silky”, “creamy” and other associated adjectives are all commonly used to describe the quality of the Leica image. But then came the advent of serious digital photography. The Nikon D1 arrived on the scene and the prospect of instant quality results with the added financial incentive of not having to buy and store film meant my trusty M6 moved on, as did my photography.

On the Leica forums it wasn’t long, however, before we all started to yearn for a digital Leica M. The Leica company would get deluged with emails asking when we could expect the first digital M and the reply came back each time that it was impossible to create such a camera and there were no plans for such a model in the near future. As digital camera became smaller and smaller the outcry became louder and suddenly, almost out of the blue (for me, at least) the Leica M8 was announced. The results with this camera were typically Leica and typically lauded but by this time I had a full Nikon DSLR system and all my Leica lenses and related equipment had long since found new homes. That coupled with the £4.5k ($7k) price tag of the camera body alone meant the M8 never graced my hands. Then came the M9 and I thought long and hard but justifying effectively $10k+ on a body and two lenses for the use of someone who does not work full time with photography was just not possible if my marriage was to remain stable so that idea also fell by the wayside.

Well, that didn’t stop me looking at some of the stunning images that others produced with their’s and it didn’t stop me yearning for that Leica lustre for some of my images.. and then by chance I stumbled over some Leica enthusiasts who were raving about the Fujifilm X100 and the “Leica-like” images it captured. To be honest, I’d heard this before about other cameras and side-by-side image shots always told a different story. The images these guys were showing, however, were different and whilst they weren’t quite going to match an M9 they were getting pretty close and this from a camera costing £700 ($1200) and that including the lens.

Fujifilm X100

Hmm.. Rather belatedly, as this camera was first announced at Photokina 2010 and hit the market mid-way through 2011, a couple of days ago I slinked off to play with one at my local camera shop. As soon as I held it in my hand I immediately felt at home. Leica enthusiasts will not have had any problems familiarising themselves with this set of controls..

Fuji X100 Controls

It’s been a while since any camera excited me in the way this one did and suddenly 2013 started to click into place. I wanted something different from last year. This was it. With it’s 35mm equivalent Fujinon fixed focal lens this is going to take me right back to the days when you zoomed with your feet and you really had to think about composition and every other parameter for that matter.. and I can’t wait!! Everything I need will arrive by or over the weekend and as I post images taken with this one I’ll also post some thoughts on using this camera and eventually post a full “review” in the second quarter of the year.

Images Credits: http://www.fujifilm.com/