How to Shoot with the Fujifilm FinePix X100 for Street Photography

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Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Note: This blog post is by Kaushal Parikh, a street photographer from Mumbai, India. 

Although this is an article about a camera, I don’t believe that gear alone can create good photographs. But I do believe that a good photographer can be inspired to make good images with the right gear.  I recently acquired a Fujifilm FinePix x100 that I have come to love and thought I would just share a few thoughts and tips about this camera.

These are just personal adaptations I have made with the Fujifilm FinePix x100 to help my style of shooting on the streets of Mumbai:

Zone Focusing

I shoot my x100 in manual focus mode between f4 and f8.  I set my focus to about 7 feet, which gives me an acceptable range, and I have barely ever missed a shot, as shutter delay is non-existent.

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

If my subject is out of this range a quick press of the af lock button resets the focus.  On using the af lock button to focus, I always glance down at the distance indicator in the viewfinder to ensure that the set focus distance seems about right.

Manual Focusing

After the firmware upgrade (1.10) I even use the focus ring for slight adjustments in manual focus mode.  (Fuji has recently released firmware 1.11 but I have still not downloaded it so cannot comment on it).

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Reviewing images

I rarely check my images on the LCD so the image review is set to off in camera. However, I set the playback view mode to ‘viewfinder’ so that when I do press the play button the image appears in the viewfinder itself.  This way I don’t have to remove the camera from my eye and can see the review image clearly even in bright sunlight.

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Also when you take a picture and immediately look at your LCD you arouse a curiosity in your subjects about what exactly you just captured.  The viewfinder playback negates this issue as well.

Sound settings

I do not use the camera in full silent mode.  I set all the camera sounds off except for the shutter which I keep at its lowest volume which is barely audible to anyone but me, so I know exactly when the camera has fired and also gives me a better sense with regard to the timing of the shot.

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Metering

I use the camera in manual metering mode only and have found it gives the best exposure (in most situations) when underexposed by half a stop.  With regard to ISO I confidently shoot from ISO 400 up to ISO 1600 (even go higher sometimes)

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Black and White

I like shooting in black and white so I set the camera to RAW+normal jpeg and set the film mode to b&w.  This way the image when reviewed in playback mode is b&w allowing me to see what the monotone image actually looks like, while at the same time the RAW image is available giving me the option of color as well at the time of processing.

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Conclusion

Overall I am really enjoying the Fujifilm FinePix x100 and if nothing else it inspires me to go out and shoot.  It is light, unobtrusive and produces good quality images.  Below are some of the images I have made with the x100.

Photographs by Kaushal Parikh

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Kaushal Parikh Street Photography

Links

You can see more of my work at www.kaushalp.com or on my street photography blog at http://kaushalpar.wordpress.com.

Fujifilm FinePix X100 users– how has your experience been with the camera? Share your thoughts and opinions 

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  • Brian Day

    Ironically, my x100 is out for repair (the “sticky aperture blade” known issue, which affected the early production run, and was causing random overexposures), but I appreciated this post because I love my x100. I shoot with similar settings as you, right down to the shutter sound being the only audible reference enabled. Focusing with v1.11 is improved even more over v1.10. Aside from the issue I’ve sent it in for, my only complaint is the battery life. I keep all battery draining functions (including image preview, autofocus, etc.) to a bare minimum, and yet I can still easily burn through 3 batteries on a busy day. A few accessories (soft release, thumbs up, gordy strap, and JnK case) really enhance the experience nicely. As far as the niche of street photography, I only had two criteria for the x100 to meet: image quality and discretion. On those two counts, it hits a home run. I can’t say I’ll never go down the Leica road (heck, I might still buy a NEX-7), but I’m quite satisfied with the Fuji.

    Great images, too, by the way!

    • http://www.facebook.com/bazzakhan Barry Khan

      I sold my x100, I enjoyed using it, but couldn’t justify the cost of such a closed system. I bought a Ricoh GRD3, a Contax G2 and 3 lens with the money from the sale!

      I don’t miss it yet!

    • http://kaushalpar.wordpress.com Kaushal

      Hi Brian. Eric is here in Mumbai with me and he said a compliment from you meant a lot. So thank you!

  • http://ajh57.wordpress.com/ Andrew H

    I am not quite sold on the X100. It can produce excellent results as Kaushal’s images show and the ergonomics are good too. However I find it prone to flare even with the lens hood and it consistently over exposes by at least 0.5 stops and may be 0.75. At least it is easy to compensate. The high ISO is its real strength for me – way better than the Leica M9. I don’t think it handles contrast terribly well and I find the images rather clinical / clean without much character. I don’t mind a fixed focal length lens as most of my street images are shot with either 35m or 50mm primes. A minor gripe is that the battery charger has packed up too after only a few months. I discovered that last night. Now I think it does better in B&W than in colour so if you don’t want to shoot RAW or you are prepared to invest some time in processing then it can be a decent camera. So having bought one based on the rave reviews I confess to some disappointment. I don’t think it lives up to the hype. I’m not comparing like with like but I don’t feel any emotional link to this in the way I do to my M3. Its a tool capable of good results but I can’t see it ever becoming my “go to” camera. For the record, I am a big fan of Kaushal’s work and thoroughly recommend his blog.

  • Martin Neep

    “However, I set the playback view mode to ‘viewfinder’ so that when I do press the play button the image appears in the viewfinder itself.”

    I can’t find this option anywhere in the menus?

    • Photo Baumgart

      1. press playback button
      2. press “view mode” button 2x
      3. ???
      4. PROFIT?!

  • http://twitter.com/Gazonthestreet Gazonthestreet

    Great article and images Kaushal! I bought my used X100 back in May (yes thats right someone sold it back just a couple of weeks after getting it!) I would say that this camera has been the catalyst to renewing my love for street photography recently. My only criticism is that the auto focus can be slow at times, so that I zone focus now and again. You can view examples of my X100 street work here: http://500px.com/gazonthestreet

    • http://kaushalpar.wordpress.com Kaushal

      Hi Gaz. Visited your blog and absolutely love your images. I strongly recommend a visit to Gaz’s blog. Street photography in its essence – great eye and fabulously captured moments!

      • http://twitter.com/Gazonthestreet Gazonthestreet

        Thanks Kaushal for your kind comments, I think we have a mutual appreciation going on. One day I would love to visit India, it looks an amazing place for street photography. Are you on twitter?

        • Kaushal

          Eric is currently with me in mumbai and he thoroughly enjoyed his first day shooting the streets. I recommend a visit for sure.
          No i am not yet on twitter but plan to jump on soon.
          Will be following your work henceforth!

  • Disraeli Demon

    Shooting RAW+JPEG for black & white is an excellent tip – tried it with my Panasonic M4/3 cameras and LX3 compact and it works the same on those. Thanks.

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  • http://www.jonballportfolios.com/ Jon Ball

    Love the first image. Very cool. I saw the x100 for the first time tonight. What a cool camera. I’ll be checking out your site next.

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  • linbo

    Another viewpoint… I have an online shop selling fabric and yarn and my old camera refused to get colors right; a requirement for my online product photos. I did research online and the cameras with the closest to real life color accuracy were the finepix and the leica x1. That’s correct, not a nikon, not a canon. With all the other specs being great and the ease of use and lower price tag, I picked the finepix. I love my finepix! I set the autofocus and adjust the fstop and my macro pictures come out perfect every time–no goofy attempts to adjust colors by the camera. And if I’m in low light I don’t even need a tripod–just keep setting that fstop back and do a quick autocolor in photoshop. Colors are still true.
    After reading this thread I realize what an incredibly versatile piece of equipment the fuji is. I’m inspired to take it out and do some “real” photography.

  • http://www.olivercargill.com/ Oliver Cargill

    I am currently shooting on film on various old rangefinders, but looking into getting the X100 now it has dramatically dropped in price in the UK and is now in my price range unlike most M Leica’s ;) so was wondering if anyone could advise me if it is worth spending the 500 pounds or is another camera in the price range a strong contendor for shooting street? Check out my work and please give me some some constructive criticism – http://www.olivercargill.com