The camera I got for myself for my 50th birthday

French Fries at the Rodeo - Austin, Texas

French Fries at the Rodeo – Austin, Texas

I think us amateurs all dream of being that certain kind of photographer in some far away fantasy world. Some might think of themselves as sports photographers shooting the Olympics or Superbowl with giant white lenses. Others might see themselves being glamorous fashion photographers with gorgeous Victoria Secret models prancing in front of their cameras. For me, I most see myself being that traveler and street photographer capturing exotic destinations at the decisive moment like Henri Cartier-Bresson and more recently like Peter Turnley.

Cartier-Bresson’s camera of choice was a Leica rangefinder. A style of camera that has fallen out of fashion in a SLR dominated world. But with the change in technology DSLRs are starting to lose their grip. New compact and mirrorless cameras are now bringing small capable devices back into serious photography.

I’ve talked about the Fujifilm X100 and X100S over the years. I’ve always had a secret desire for them because they trigger that Cartier-Bresson fantasy that I have of traveling the world with that one perfect camera and lens. But for me the X100 was too frustrating. As my mirrorless Olympuses continue to speed up, I found the Fuji X100 to be a distinct step backwards in usability. The newer X100S addressed most of these concerns. It’s still not as fast as my Olympus cameras but I think, I hope, they have reached my magic threshold.

I reported in my post, The Fujifilm X100S from an Olympus micro 4/3 user perspective, small, elegant and beautiful are beginning to hold more attraction these days. That test proved that I could use the camera and get great results. I decided to buy one for my 50th birthday. A present to myself, for reaching the 1/2 century mark, which I exercised over the weekend at Precision Camera.

I have to admit that some doubt did creep in a few weeks ago. Would the X100S frustrate me with its speed? I really liked the Nikon J1 precisely because it was so fast, even faster than my Olympus. Should I look at the interchangeable Fuji’s instead? How about that new Fuji X-T1? Olympus, of course, has that wonderful and very speedy OM-D E-M1 that I reviewed last year. That would also be a fine choice.

But my fantasy of being that world traveler continued to pop into my head. I’m not going to buy a Leica. And I know the Fuji X100S is not a true rangefinder. But it was close enough for my inner dream. My justifications say that I’m going to use the heck out of this thing. And when inevitably some future technology obsoletes this camera, this beautiful faux-range finder with the two toned silver and black will take its place in the display cabinet. It will be a visual reminder of my 50th birthday.

Most everything that surrounds us these days conspires to speed up life. Perhaps this slower camera will get me to slow down and shoot more deliberately, even live more deliberately. Only time will tell but all of these thoughts are wrapped up in my elaborate fantasy narrative. Wish me luck. Follow along in the blog to see how it actually turns out.

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20 thoughts on “The camera I got for myself for my 50th birthday

  1. Amazing how many ways we can convince ourselves we need a new camera. Congratulations. I just had a birthday too. We are almost time twins. And congratulations on another camera. They are like potato chips. You can’t have just one. Or 20.

  2. Ah, our ability to justify our every whim 😉 Happy birthday Andy. I do like the X100S and I do understand your fantasy. I picture myself in much the same way though I hope in your case it becomes a reality. I say this in part because I really want to see the photos you’ll take. Have fun.

    1. Thanks Cedric. No doubt, I will show what I’ve gotten from this new camera. I’m already thinking of comparing this to the Olympus cameras.

    1. Tom this is just a “snapshot” with the Fuji X100S in JPEG mode. Shot in color and changed to B&W in post, plus some additional post processing but not much. Some sharpening, some contrast, some highlight recovery and shadow recovery all via Aperture 3. Probably about a minute or less of work.

      Yes, I like your shot and certainly a lot of similarity. There is a nice moodiness to you photo. Nice deep blacks too.

  3. Congrats, welcome to the Fuji camp! I myself had a Fuji X100 and did a switch to NEX series for a year before switching back to the Fuji side. Got myself an X-E2 a couple weeks ago. Can’t wait to see more of your Fuji work. You can check out mine too at

    1. Hi Will. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      I’m in the Fuji camp and the Olympus camp and maybe even the Nikon 1 camp and I still use my Canon DSLR at times. 😉

      Keeps me busy…. But it’s fun.

  4. I think you’ll appreciate the lightweight of the X100s. I had mine out this morning while snowshoeing through the woods of southern Ontario. The optical viewfinder with the brightline overlays works really well, even in the glare of sun and snow. I’m pretty impressed with the battery in the cold, too. Enjoy that little marvel.

    1. Peter, thanks for your visit and comment. There is a lot to like about the camera and somethings I don’t. I’ll write about these in future posts.

  5. I have an Olympus E-P5 and I love it but I find myself reading about the X100S over and over again trying to find a reason to buy one as a second shooter that I don’t really need… or do I? I know I am seduced by the looks and perhaps by a mid-life desire to return to simpler times.

    1. Dylan, you really don’t need the Fuji X100S, of course. I didn’t need it either. Its looks and the hint of nostalgia are powerful forces — ones that have got me.

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