Recently, I’ve been looking for a very light and unobtrusive camera setup for weddings. One particular camera really caught my interest, the FujiFilm X100T. The camera has only been announced a few days ago at Photokina 2014 and while the X-series have nothing to prove for street photography, I’am wondering if it would be interesting to add this camera to my kit for weddings. I’ve been looking to minimise my gears in order to focus on my photographs rather than my equipment. It is easy to get distracted by all the gears available and justify the fact we need it all but the whole point of wedding photography isn’t to collect lenses but moments. And while I wouldn’t trade my full frame setup yet – which is already quite minimalistic with a FF body & 3 primes – for the X100T only, there is some situations where this camera could just come in handy and be equal or superior to a dslr setup. Without focusing too much on the tech and exact specs of the camera you can find on the FujiFilm site, I’ve listed 5 personal and non objective points I believe are interesting for wedding photographers.
Wedding photography is all about – as for me at least – documenting the day and capturing all these little moments that happen in the fraction of a second. We don’t always have time to change our settings, lenses or we end up missing the moment. I like the idea of a fixed lens paired with a simple and intuitive camera design. Some classic dials allows quick settings, even when the camera is off. It reminds me of cameras such as the Leica’s that are somehow more intuitive to use than modern dslr’s and don’t get between the shooter and his photographs. Just point and shoot.
2. Focal length
I do not use or own any zoom. Only primes. And when checking at my shots from last season, I realised I use the 35mm a lot. From the prep to the first dance, most of my shots are taken with a 35mm focal length. The X100T is a fixed lens camera and it’s a 35mm equivalent lens. It might be the best fit for wedding documentary. I wouldn’t use it during the couple’s shoot as I tend to use a 50mm or 85mm for portraits and achieve shallow depth of field with fast primes but I won’t use the X100T for portraits anyway. However it will perfectly fit for the preparations and the ceremony where the 35mm is the ideal documentary lens.
There is just so many moments during a wedding day where it is easy to disturb the main protagonists with our shutter sound and indirectly alter their behaviours and reactions. After one click everyone know there is a photographer in the room and people are clearly aware when a photo is taken and not. People start to change their attitudes and behave unnaturally. I love the fact that the X100T is almost completely silent when shooting and therefore will be a big advantage when shooting candid moments.
At 440g – with the lens and battery – and with its dimensions of 127 x 74 x 52 mm, the X100T is just ridiculously pocketable. I wouldn’t mind trading it with my current backup camera which weight and size double and that I never pulled off the bag neither used once.
5. Manual focus
I have a bad experience of shooting manual with my dslr. Sure the autofocus works like a charm but it’s not easy to manually focus through the viewfinder. It is too tiny and I’m never sure if the zone I’m focusing on is in focus or not. And while I mostly shoot with the autofocus turned on during the day, I like to switch to manual focusing during the speeches for example when the autofocus is too slow to operate normally in darker conditions. Manual focus seems quite easier with the X100T and its smart features. When using the electronical viewfinder, a display of the area in focus appears on the bottom right of the screen allowing easy manual focusing. A little bit like one would manually focus using the liveview function of a dslr. Except it is directly accessible through the viewfinder of the X100T.
From a theoretical point of view, I believe this camera can – in certain situations – be superior to a regular dslr for documentary wedding photographers. May be not ideal for the full day. But as a second/backup camera it seems ideal. Light, easy to use, small, unobtrusive, silent and with an ideal focal length for photojournalism. My only regret would be to loose the full frame touch but with a 35mm focal length there isn’t much room for shallow depth of field pictures anyway. Might as well close down the aperture, focus manually and capture candid moments with camera settings anticipated like street photographers do. I didn’t have the chance to try the X100T yet but I’m looking forward to use it on weddings – and more – as soon as it is available before posting a real review of the camera on situation. The FujiFilm X100T is priced at 1190.00 Euros VAT included in Europe.
NOTE: Zack Arias had the chance to play with a pre-production copy for a week and posted a promising first look of the X100T with sample pictures and a deeper review of the new features of the camera.