Fuji X100 tips and a Danish Space Rocket

Having received a few requests for more information on shooting with the Fuji X100 I shall try and list my shooting tips in this post. I will however kick off with something awesomely kick-arse cool: The Danish Space Rocket Heat 1X Tycho Brahe built by Copenhagen Suborbitals. Scheduled for a new launch attempt in just a few days after having failed the first launch last year, fingers crossed this is the time the Danish privately build space rocket ventures into space. Captured with my Fuji X100, and I added the milky way as a slight texture. We are made of star stuff:


Read on for Fuji X100 tips.

Tips and notes on street photography with the Fuji X100

These tips are mostly for street photography with the Fuji X100. If you are shooting landscapes and other stationary objects where you have much more time, you have less to worry about, less time pressure and might shoot using electronic viewfinder or liveview and on a tripod. Sorry for the chaotic mess of these notes, that is how my mind works.

  • First off we just call it a rangefinder as it looks like one, but it’s NOT a rangefinder so you do not have to learn a manual split image rangefinder focus system (see wikipedia article). It is a traditional digital camera with autofocus.
  • I often shoot in aperture mode, turn the exposure ring to A and manually choose the aperture on the aperture ring on the lens.
  • If you want full auto just put the aperture wheel on A as well.
  • For fully manual, choose your manual exposure speed on the exposure wheel. For street photography the light can change a lot from sunlit to shadowy scenes so aperture mode works well.
  • The metering system in automatic exposure seems quite good, perhaps as most digital cameras erring slightly on overexposure. You may wish to turn the EV compensation wheel to underexpose slightly.
  • The small black fn button on top of camera adjusts the iso. Instead of using the crappy wheel at the back I find it easier to use the little black thumb lever to bump iso up or down.
  • Turn off the fake shutter sound in the menu so you can shoot silent! The great leaf shutter is almost completely silent, why would you add a fake shutter sound, baffling.
  • I have turned off the automatic preview of the captured image in the viewfinder. It is an interesting idea but it gets in the way of shooting and documenting an evolving scene on the streets.
  • I much prefer the hybrid viewfinder, the optical viewfinder with digital overlay. It is super bright and just feels so much better, more connected to the scene in actual rangefinder style.
  • The electronic viewfinder is of course more precise and for Christian Fletcher’s benefit, features a virtual horizon!
  • Be aware that the live histogram does not work, neither in the viewfinder nor on the live view! It always shows perfect exposure no matter what your settings. Bit of a bug there Fuji!
  • The optical viewfinder modes can be switched via the small lever on the front of the camera with the red dot on it. Click this and the viewfinder switches between optical and electronic.  In electronic mode you can switch between different setups with the “disp back” button on the back of the camera (you can switch live histogram on and off, you can switch the virtual horizon on and off)
  • If you want live view on the back just press “view mode” button” and it switches on live view. Again, use the “disp back” key to select modes.
  • Focus. Unfortunately the manual focus sucks. I normally use auto focus, or I use manual focus and trigger the auto focus using the AFL button.
  • Manual focus is an odd slow as a wet week focus-on-wire system, almost impossible to use for precise focus. The focus ring has no markings, rotates forever so to speak. It is possible to use zone-focusing, say shoot at f/8 and set the focus at about 3-4 meters. This does speed up street shooting as you do not have to wait on auto focus. I find however that the focus ring is so easily moved, my long fingers end up accidentally moving the ring as I wander with the camera. Manual focus is unfortunately basically not useable.
  • The camera is slow to come alive so I make sure it never sleeps. I had it on “never turn off” but then I forget to turn it off manually, so I use up the battery in no time. So I set it to 5 minutes wait before sleep, and this means while I shoot it basically never turns off. I press the shutter buttom from time to time to keep it alive as I walk the streets.
  • The lens is awesome, sharp even at f/2 and the sensor is low on noise so you can easily shoot in very dark scenes at f/2 and iso3200.
  • It takes the Fuji a long time to save the image and during this the camera is simply not responding! Highly annoying. Apparently getting a super fast memory card helps a lot so I am getting a Sandisk ExtremePro SDHC UHS-I card (with all those capitalized letters, must be fast and good!)
  • And to quote a Magnum Jedi photographer guru: “shoot the sh*t out of it!”. That is one key to reportage photography.
  • …more to come.

Steve Huff Photo has a very informative review and a good article about overcoming the top 7 complaints.

While not a great image, this next image shows how you can capture street scenes up close with the silent Fuji without people noticing or hearing you and the optical viewfinder means I feel completely connected to the scene and can compose properly.


All questions or suggestions very welcome.

12 Comments on “Fuji X100 tips and a Danish Space Rocket”

  1. Hey Flembotaruny…your timing of this post was impeccable! I was just going through the things that I knew with Adrian Wayte and Andrea out at the Old Brewery when your post came through. It answered a few questions that I had and Adrian got a shot of me reading your post on the iphone with the Fuji…how cool is that dude!

    Modern technology mate!

  2. Hey Flemming,
    It was so funny the other night when I went out with your good mate (you know who I’m talking about) and Adrian, talk about typical men. They’re checking out your notes, which are pretty thorough, but they’re trying to work out buttons and this and that and I said “didn’t you bring your instruction manual?” Adrian looks at me funny and says “yeh, but they’re in the car.” Just thought it was too funny, typical blokes won’t read the manual but will look at their mates notes instead.

    1. Hi Andrea, funny story 🙂 I never read the manual of anything, the challenge is making it work without the manual and if that proves impossible then we just blame the manufacturer “yeah they didn’t do it properly at the factory now but I fixed it!” 😀

      1. See there you go, it’s too funny, it’s like they say men will never ask for directions. You’ll drive around for ages lost but never admit that you need to ask for help, oh the joy of men, lol.

        1. Oh I just cracked up big time at this thread.

          I bet the don’t-turn-to-the-manual thing is even worse when the man in question is down with the dreaded and most deadly man flu ay? 😉

          I am patiently waiting for Nikon to bring out a discreet, rangefinder-looking DSLR body so I can use my lenses with it. Although I just remembered, present Fuji DLSR bodies do take Nikon lenses.

          Hmmmm… perhaps the X300 or whatever the future incarnations are called, might lift a bit of dosh off me after all…..

  3. Hehe Charlene can I just point out it was not I having problems with the Fuji, it was Mark and Adrian! I do not need a manual for my Fuji or any other camera, computer or software and have never needed it. Computers just talk to me. Oh and I also use the force 🙂

    Should the rumoured X300 have interchangeable lenses it will not be DSLR lenses. Wrong technology for a leaf shutter like the X100 the shutter must be in the lens.

    1. I know it wasn’t you (given i have observed your competence with the Fuji first hand), but i couldn’t resist. If only to see you guys start being all defensive 😉 Hehehehehehe

      re non-DLSR lenses: Damn!!!!!!!!

  4. …yeah I’m the same mate…computers talk to me as well…it just takes me a while to decipher Cyber lingo!

    Trial and error also works very well for my style of learning…that aint it..nup, nors that…muct be this one! 🙂

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