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2013 is an exciting year for photographers. The race amongst camera makers continues. Competition is good, it accelerates innovation, keeps pricing somewhat sane and gives us plenty of choices. The last thing we need is a single company monopolizing the market. Without healthy competition, two of my favorite, most amazing cameras probably wouldn’t exist, the Fuji X100s and the Ricoh GR.
more after the break
I love walking the streets of NYC, observing the flow of life, one of my favorite things to do when I am not on assignment. I find it relaxing and it keeps me alert at the same time. I am addicted to it. This addiction got a lot worse or better? since I acquired the Fuji X100s and the Ricoh GR.
I have been shooting with these two cameras since the day they were released. I love the X100s and the GR, like for many, these cameras have rekindled my enthusiasm for photography just like I remember it from the film days. Every time I reach for either the X100s or the GR I have a smile on my face, like a kid picking up one of his favorite toys. The X100s is a “positive camera” or a “people friendly camera”, it doesn’t scare the one being photographed. Shooting portraits of friends, snaps of models or asking strangers on the street to pose, everybody shows interest and comments on the camera, many wondering if it still takes film. This of course is a huge plus. I always feel welcome when shooting with the X100s, regardless if I am among friends or strangers.
I shoot raw and found that both cameras perform very well when paired with the fastest SD cards. I absolutely love the inaudible shutter sound on the X100s and the GR, it makes life much easier during candid shooting. The 35mm equiv is the perfect focal length for classic street photography and the 28mm lens adapter works well when things get crowded. On the X100s, in good light af speed is generally very fast and I feel confident about nailing the shot. Always set to high performance mode and “indefinitely on” , the reason I pack about 5 spare batteries. Perhaps one could consider the short battery life a drawback, not a big deal since one can find high quality 3rd party batteries on eBay.
I love the size, silent shutter, look (wish there was a black version) and positive effect this camera has on friends and strangers alike.
X-trans sensor skin tone and low light rendering puts it above the competition.
Ergonomically, every control dial/button is in the right place and after shooting with it for a couple of days, operation becomes totally intuitive. I absolutely love the Hybrid view finder, although I find myself in EVF mode more often than in rangefinder mode.
Two things I would like to see improved on the Fuji X200, the on/off switch needs to have more resistance, it is too loose. I keep turning it off on accident and have missed a few good shots.
Another thing on my wishlist is a manual pre-focus or snap shot mode, just like in the GR. A very real advantage in good light.
This brings us back to the Ricoh.
I seriously think I would not be using this camera if it wasn’t for the snap mode. Although the sensor/lens combo is the best of any APSC sized camera as of this writing, it falls short in the AF dept when compared to the X100s and is outright terrible in low light. Like on the Fuji, the shutter is silent. For such a small camera with full manual control the buttons and quick menu access are first rate. Most camera makers should take a look at the Ricoh GR and learn from it.
Spec’t with the incredible 28mm 2.8 equiv, which is already tack sharp wide open, but for many too wide as a normal lens-a digital crop mode for 35mm and 47mm is available, but it really defeats the purpose of this camera.
I personally like 28mm and also welcome the option to put the 21mm super wide converter on it. Of course I would like to have a built in EVF or the option to attach one (there is an optical viewfinder option). Battery life isn’t great either. Personally I find these two cameras complement each other very well. The GR with the slightly wider lens and point and shoot appearance, the ultra wide option, snap mode and the classic rangefinder style experience with the X100s. So far both cameras have performed as expected, rain or shine.
Now what about usability beyond street shooting? The Fuji X100s wins this one, a very well rounded, classic rangerfinder style camera able to satisfy most photographers shooting pretty much anything. As a bonus the leaf shutter allows you to sync you flash up to 1/4000.
The Ricoh GR is a more specific camera, smaller and easier to pack, has a very slight edge during street photography in good light because of the snap mode and would make a better landscape camera. Oddly, the shutter on the Ricoh, syncs up to 1/400 “only”.
I will keep them both, at least until Fuji releases the X200!
Fuji, please integrate a snap mode like in the GR and you will be the undisputed champion on the streets of this world!
UPDATE: The Fuji X-E2 arrived, you can read my first impressions here.
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