Silver Belle

on January 06, 2019
I reported on the Fujifilm X-100F some time ago - comparing and contrasting the black version of this camera with the black X-100 that I owned at that time. They were separated by a number of generations of development but closely tied in form and function - go look in the archives of this column if you'd like to read the original articles. The last report on this one was on the 22nd of June and was pretty comprehensive in explaining the retro nature of the model. I'm afraid I got canned on our Facebook page for this post by a reader who thought I hadn't pointed out the right features. I daresay he is leaping for the keyboard right now, but what the heck - the camera is a bit of a gem. This week I was curious to see what might be made of the images taken at closer distances...into the macro range of the X-100F. The older X-100 had a very close focusing capability in-built but you had to tell it to concentrate on this. There was also a little controversy about the resolving power and contrast at that close range - some people felt it to be soft. I did not use it for studio shooting at the time as there were dedicated macro lenses on the other X- cameras. The new camera features the joystick control, as we mentioned before. This is coming to be one of my favourite items on any camera that has it - if the makers will let it freely steer the AF selection point, the playback point, and the sequence review, I am more than satisfied. Any other features they can program into it are just extra jam on the crumpet. In the case of the X-100F that joystick plays right into the trick I have of re-focusing for layer effects on the model layouts I shoot. The basic layer trick is to secure the camera very well ( tripod and ball head for preference ), put a larger model at the front of the scene and focus on that. Make one shot, then remove that model entirely, together with any other elements that are in the same plane of focus. Then refocus on the next plane back and reshoot. It is rare with an APS-C camera that you need to make more than two deliberate planes with small dioramas - but in theory, you could do as many shots as you felt were needed. Between the shots the point that you focus on changes, but the way you change that is critical - you really do not want to shift the camera about as you do this. That's where the hefty tripod and ball head come in, and as well - you need to be light on the controls as you turn the focus ring or poke a D-pad to shift the AF point. The joystick is very light and you can shift that point of focus with real delicacy*. There is an optical point, however, where the size of the front model will not be covered adequately when doing this trick - you'll end up with a disparity between the layers that you cannot disguise. The 18mm and wider lengths will not work, and neither will the ones past 50mm. You are going to be best served between 23mm to 35mm - fortunately the X-100F falls just at this limit. It also has the advantage that the centre of the lens' axis is close to the bottom plate of the camera - it can be lowered until it sees the miniature world at the height of a scale observer. My only beef is that the 23mm F:2 Fujinon doesn't go to f:22...I'd have liked that for that little more DOF that it provides. In any case here is the result taken at RCAF Wet Dog station. The Armourer got the idea from an ice cream van. He goes by the hangars each afternoon just before teatime...with a set of tinkley chimes that plays the " Dambusters March ". Note the Canadian Car And Foundry Hurricane in the back is loaded for U-boats...which is pretty good considering that RCAF Wet Dog is in Alberta, eh... I suppose now I'll get another Facebook blast... But the camera is actually pretty good at this specialty shooting. One more point scored for the retro team at Fujifilm. You can see why this basic design has stayed so long in their catalogue. And it is great on holidays. * I been delicate fer years.