Camera Thoughts – Fujifilm XT2 versus X100f

I’ve been considering buying a second camera when I reach Da Nang. I can get the FujiFilm XT2 with the 18-55 lens at basically the same price as in the states and I don’t have to wait for customs and shipping.

I think the black body camera would be the one I want. But then I look at the size of the camera with the 18-55 lens kit attached and compare it with my sleek and sassy Fuji X100F.

While the XT2 has the ability to take more lens, the real question is whether I would do that or just stick with the one. Then there’s the portability question. But we get to the real meat of the question:

what would I like about the XT2?

I think the “like” things are the flexibility of being able to change lens. I also like the LCD panel tilting this way and that on the XT2. The final thing about the camera is being able to put in two SD cards at the same time. If I were ever going to shoot RAW this would be nice. I don’t think I will ever do that since now I have no real way to edit RAW files and I’m pretty happy shooting JPEGS with the film simulations.

Here’s the other personal things;

  1. I am learning how to use different ISO values as my next learning experience. Either camera has the ultra usable top dial for that plus still having auto ISO when I walk through a place like a market where the light changes continuously.
  2. I will be learning manual exposure more and zone focusing at some point. Both cameras do this well.
  3. The existing Mark II lens for the X100f ruin the camera to me. Either one is too big or clumsy and I don’t like them. OTOH, being able to switch lens down the road might be nice on the XT2.

Here’s the real question through and its a simulation.

I am walking through a crowded street and want to record people, things, buildings, food, cars, other stuff. I want to not call out attention while doing this so being unobtrusive is a key thing. If I pull out the XT2 with the 18-55 lens I believe that factor becomes less with the size of the lens poking out. I did see the camera body with the lens at a coffee shop so I think when you compare the use factor of shooting in a market or small street the XT2 becomes more visible than hip shooting with the X100F.

I would like to do more hip shooting and being able to tilt the LCD panel out and up is very cool. It means you can look down at the camera at your waist or so and see the representation of the image being taken. The X100f does not do this but you can compensate by using settings that you have preset like Aperture Priority with Auto ISO enabled and just shoot away. When I do this, I always stop and move some images to the iPhone and check it out.

Finally, there is the cost. For the camera kit in Da Nang I will pay about $1399 before VAT. I already have received word back from the camera shop they have new ones in the kit form. I could easily just buy the camera at this point but then I have two cameras. I cannot carry two cameras with the restricted baggage I have. So I would probably leave the X100F with the dealer and have him recycle it to someone else. Then I would have to see if the batteries are different between them. That’s small but its another cost. I would want replacement batteries and SD cards.

Decision Point!

So here we reach the crux of the matter. Mike wants toys that he can use on his travels and he likes to buy toys but there is not room for lots of toys. A camera the size of either the XT2 or X100F fits well in Mike’s limited baggage space. Then there is an interesting comparison piece between the two cameras here.

I will have to apply my massive intellect and go to the camera shop and heft the XT2 around a bit and then decide. Dropping the cash is no big deal. Being happy after with it is a big deal. I would never buy huge things like a Nikon or Canon DSLR or something since I would feel like there are electric signs pointing to me that say,

TOURIST AHEAD!

I want to travel through markets and city streets grabbing images of a variety of things and really not be noticeable. At this the X100F shines. There are others too but the retro form and knobs and dials and where things are have won me over. Questions about learning on the XT2 remain. The X100F is a joy to learn on. I admit to treating it badly and getting it soaking wet when its not water resistant. It is unhappy for awhile and then just works. I also have truly enjoyed carrying it and comparing to those poor souls lugging around pounds of weight of lens and bodies and things. I want to travel swiftly and silently through the markets and streets of Da Nang. A shadowy figure spending time well on the streets of a new city.

So its an open question. I may ask a pro photographer I have struck up a basic relationship with whether there is a value for what I do with a camera buying the XT2. My gut feel is there is a value and I would find a lot of use of the XT2. Having seen and touched one, I loved the feel in the hands. It truly is a well done machine and still has the characteristic Fuji size and function thing going. Still not water resistant though so there is that. Not that I have really been concerned with the X100F over that.

Finally, there is the question of it use in a mixed setting like street, urban, building, landscape, city scape. The person I met only does intense street photography and could not really talk to me about using it in a mix of settings.

We shall see as I leave Da Lat in a few days how the urge strikes me.