Why the X100 isn’t the best Point & Shoot

It may seem like a bad thing to say, but it’s the truth, and I think it’s time to be honest about it. The X100 series is not the best Point & Shoot (P&S) on the market. It never was.

Part of the challenge with the X100 series is the appeal. It’s built a reputation as “the” P&S camera to carry and as a result, there are a lot of people buying them that really shouldn’t be. There is this perception that the X100 will take amazing photos and obviously it will, but it won’t for everyone.

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I’m not trying to be exclusive. This is not an attempt to try be part of a special club of X100 owners that you can’t be part of. Fujifilm products were never about exclusivity, if you want that, go to Leica. This is about practicality, ease of use and customer experience. It’s like a mum or dad buying a Nikon D5, leaving it in P mode and wondering why he / she is getting terrible photos. It’s about bad choices.

The problem in this case is that the X100 is not just a P&S, it’s a photographer’s P&S. There is no switch to “Auto” button with scene modes that the lesser beasts like the X70 have. You can’t switch it to sports mode and expect it to take good photos of your kids playing on the grass. Use it in auto (aperture auto, shutter auto, ISO auto) and you’ll get worse outcomes than a camera designed to do the work for you. The X100 doesn’t want to do the driving, it wants you to do the driving and it expects you to know how to drive. The X100 is a sports car without ABS and traction control being driven on wet roads. Obviously cameras don’t kill people so I’m being a little over dramatic but you get the idea.

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I don’t blame Fujifilm, they aren’t marketing this as a beginners camera. Blaming the stores would be incorrect, I’ve never seen stores pushing X100’s down the throat of consumers. 90% of the time, the blame falls on the consumer, fair and square. Mr Consumer walks in and insists on buying a specific model based on what a friend told them and won’t listen to common sense.

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So what do you do if you’re a novice and you bought one?

Take the time to learn how to use it. Take the time to do a basic photography course that teaches you about how to get out of auto mode. Learn how to shoot raw, when you do so, you’ll find it’s an incredible camera and it deserves better than to be left in P mode it’s entire life hoping it will get better.

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