The more I shoot with the X100s, the more I see why it’s become the darling of the photo world and why it’s still so hard to find. The camera’s simplicity and unobtrusiveness make it a delight to shoot with, and the results are gorgeous. It feels like what taking pictures used to feel like, before megapixels and sensor sizes and AF points. It reminds you why you fell in love with photography in the first place, like traveling back in time and cheating on your spouse of 20 years with a younger version of themselves.
Shooting just feels simpler with the X100s. It feels like I’m going back to basics. I still futz with the settings as needed, but the overall process is still so much less of a “production” than shooting with my SLR. I like that I don’t feel like I’m intruding every time I bring it up to my eye to take a picture. I once went busker hunting with my X100s and brought my d700 along in case I wanted any close-up shots. Every time I pulled it out of my bag, I felt like I was intruding. Every time the shutter snapped, I wanted to apologize. Needless to say, I didn’t use it much.
Curiously enough, I find myself shooting for the JPG more and more lately. Like most photographers, once I discovered RAW I never looked back and every photo I’ve taken since then has been a RAW file. When I got the X100s, I started shooting in RAW+JPG mode so I could have a smaller file to beam to my phone/tablet and put online. And since I had the RAW as a straight recording of the scene, I decided to play with in-camera filters to keep the JPGs looking a little unique. I especially liked seeing black & white previews on my lcd after taking a shot; it reminded me of my film days.
Then something strange happened and I found myself loving the JPGs so much I didn’t bother with the RAWs. I kept them, of course, but why did I need to touch them when the JPGs were so great? For the first time in memory, I didn’t feel the slightest need to tweak an image before putting it online. This, I think, more than anything else, reminds me so much of my early days of shooting. No post-processing, no color correction, no running it through Lightroom. Just take the picture and move on.
I think I needed this more than I realized. Post-processing is such a constant part of my work photography that it was seeping into my day-to-day shooting. And while some cases of casual retouching may be warranted, I had gotten to the point where nothing went online without being processed and retouched first. It’s a refreshing and welcome change to be able to share photos without doing anything to them. Sometimes it’s good to get back to basics and reset your head.
Not that I’m turning my back on post-processing, not by a long shot. It’s a necessary for working with RAWs and a large part of what I do and, to be frank, I enjoy it. But all the same, I’m looking forward to more [LEFT OFF] When something takes up a large chunk of your professional life, it’s nice to be able to leave it at the office every once in a while.