Going Backward?

In my view, digital technology has been the best thing to happen to photography. Ever. I know, there are people who would roll their eyes at that statement. But I honestly believe it’s true.  Since the digital revolution, more people are producing better quality and more creative images.

Greater creativity comes from having the immediate feedback of seeing your image on an LCD screen immediately after pressing the shutter release. When we experiment and try different techniques, we don’t have to wait a few days to get our results. With film, by the time we’d gotten our photos back, we’d have forgotten what we did to achieve the result (unless you happened to be one of those extremely rare persons who wrote down your camera settings for every image you took). But with digital sensors and LCD screens to view our images, we can see immediately whether we achieved the result we were aiming for.  And no, I don’t mean we should snap away wildly, not thinking about our exposure settings, only to delete any image where our exposure isn’t on the mark. I’m talking about experimenting with creative image making.

I recently read an article about a new camera on the market – the Fuji FinePix X100. Fuji is a good company and I don’t doubt the quality of their camera. But  to me, their approach is all wrong. Completely backward.

One of the apparent selling points of the FinPix X100 is it’s retro look. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a new digital camera that looks 50 years old. Don’t get me wrong, I like old things. I love antiques. But I don’t want a new camera that looks like an antique. What’s the point?

Another feature of this ‘retro-cam’ is that it has a simulation mode in which images can be made to look like they were taken with film. Ugh. You’re kidding me….

Yes, you can set your camera to a setting and have your image look like it was taken using Fuji Astia, Velvia, or Provia film.  Ugh again. Back in the day when I shot slide film, I always used these films, particularly Provia. I loved them. Great film. But that was back then. We’ve moved on. In a recent blog, I touted the beauty of digital – the vibrance and contrast that digital sensors are now capable of providing – and my disappointment now with film.  When it was all we had, it was great. But there are other options now. Better options, in my opinion. Unless you’re shooting medium format, why would you want to shoot film? To me, film generally lacks the ‘punch’ of digital. I know… that digital ‘punch’ is mostly due to post-processing. Fine. But at least we have the option. And today, if for some bizarre reason we wanted our image to look like it was shot with film, we can do this with post-processing.

So why on earth would I spend $1199.99 on a camera that looks old and can be set to make your images look old (and of lower quality, in my opinion). Sorry, but ‘retro’ isn’t worth the price tag.

I imagine the camera itself is pretty good (although I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure) in that Fuji is a good name. Maybe it’s the lousy sample images that accompany the article that turn me off. There are three images showing the various ‘film settings’. I know the images were chosen to highlight the blues and greens, for which Fuji film is so famous. But the images are terrible and do nothing to convince me that the ‘retro’ film look simulated by the X100 is worth it’s hefty price tag. No thanks. I’ll stick with moving forward, not backward.

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2 Comments

Filed under Creative Photography, Opinion

2 responses to “Going Backward?

  1. The Fuji X100 is a beautiful camera that looks like a Leica M series, which is considered to be one of the best handling/ergonomic designs ever. Plus no mirror noise – which is a must for street photography. The reason the camera comes with all the presets of film types is because the market demands it. . . even if the point is moot with post-processing of RAW files. The JPEGs will be great though, without having to open up a laptop/desktop and run them through Lightroom, Aperture, Bridge, etc. . .

    • Thanks for the info, Doug. That’s interesting that there is market demand for presets that emulate different film types. I guess I don’t tune in to the circles that have the desire to have that film effect. But if folks like it, then why not. For me, it just seems like a step backward, but that’s just me. I agree that if that’s what you want, it’s easier to generate it in camera rather than spend time behind the computer.

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