S100fs: bridge to the past or path to the future

Started Aug 3, 2008 | Discussions thread
Flat view
Greg Photo Sydney Regular Member • Posts: 379
S100fs: bridge to the past or path to the future

Since its introduction six months ago this camera has aroused passions of the love-it or hate-it variety on this forum.

I have been using the S100fs for four months. At this moment, there is no other digital camera I aspire to. My reasons might help those considering buying the camera.

Maybe the DSLR-at-any-price lobby that hangs here might gain some insight too (but I won't hold my breath).

First to clarify a source of confusion: the common description of the S100fs as a point-and-shoot (P&S) camera. This either shows a sad misunderstanding of photography and cameras, or willful intention to misinform. A P&S is clearly a camera with automatic only controls - designed for the snap shooter only and also known as a pocket or compact camera.

And the Fuji is not a digital SLR either: no-one is unclear about that except ad copywriters. The most common word for it is a 'bridge' camera, a marketing term meant to imply that it will 'bridge' the progress of newly-serious photographers to the natural pinacle of a DSLR.

But that ain't right. Regulars here know that there are several experienced and talented photographers showing their work who make it clear they aren't on a bridge to anywhere. For now at least, they've arrived at their photographic destination.

I prefer to call it a true digital camera because it is the only design not modified from a film model and utilises the specific strengths of digital technology.

Where I'm coming from

I've been addicted to photography (and the visual arts) since I can remember. I got my first Minolta SLR in the late Sixties and have accumulated virtually a full set of lenses. I mostly carried two camera bodies shooting black & white and colour film up until joining the digital stampede in 2004 with an Olympus C8080WZ. I still carried two cameras: the digital for colour and film SLR for black & white. A DSLR looked a poor choice at that time and that hasn't changed yet.

In 2005 Panasonic announced their FZ30. This was an exciting development to me because of the long zoom range and I would have taken that but Fuji came up with the S9500 and I changed horses for the extra wide angle (to 28mm). That camera did everything I wanted for more than two years and was finally replaced by the S100fs. Soon after getting the S9500, I mostly stopped carrying the SLR (events, cultural festivals). I did the maths. That one small and lightweight camera got all the use. The SLR and lenses were just a drag. Photography took on a new dimension. One small bag and one camera equalled no impediment to movement, faster reactions, more confidence, less fatigue ... and more, much more good pictures.

Just consider the comparison. Before the S9500, two SLR bodies and minimum of six lenses to make the most of the system potential. And I'd been doing that for years.

However, I do a lot of formal portraiture, so I continue to use two cameras for this work. Not sure why, but black & white still seems to have the edge on colour. One thing is for sure, composition and approach to black & white portraits on a film SLR and colour on the Fuji digitals has to be completely different. This makes photography precisely twice as interesting and challenging.

Going DSLR?
Not yet, no way. Three reasons:

1. Must be full frame, so waiting for Sony now. With a so many lenses, the undersized sensor makes zero sense. None are able to do the job they were designed for. They are laughably useless at the wide end.

2. Must have live view in the viewfinder as Sony A300/350. This is an essential in the digital age. I won't be one of those photographers permanently squinting at the back display to try and figure out what's happening.

3. I come to terms with dust allergy. (I will, but still strongly believe this issue compromises the long-term viability of the SLR model).

Future cameras

Motivation for this thread was recent debate here about carrying two camera bodies to reduce lens changing. While I love the new freedom to do a lot of work with just one, I can still cope with the concept of two.

And so to the way I'd like to see cameras go. Given the limitations of ultra zoom lenses, it would be great to have something like the S100fs released in two versions: one with fisheye to normal focal length zoom, and another with short to long telephoto. I'd take both. Add decent manual focusing, improved electronic viewfinder and a dedicated exposure compensation ring or dial and I can't imagine a better set up.

Flat view
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow