“Remarkable things happen in front of us every day,” says photographer Paul Von Rieter, “but most of the time we just stare in awe, trying to understand, to take it in, or just plain enjoy the moment.” Training yourself to use that sense of awe as the trigger to take a picture, Paul says, is a real challenge, “but when you catch yourself staring at something, that is your cue to take a photo!” Once you commit to engaging with that moment by raising your camera, he says, your photos will also become remarkable.
Having the right camera makes this easier, says Paul, who took on a series of recent projects with FUJIFILM X100V. He normally uses the FUJIFILM GFX system, but spent a week with X100V, “putting the camera through its paces in a multitude of shooting scenarios,” from an evening date in Laguna Beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean to a professional shoot, with a little snowboarding and family time in between. “X100V felt at home in every situation, and it was always ready for the remarkable,” he says. “I actually think it’s the most versatile camera I’ve ever used.”
Why is versatility so valuable in a camera? For Paul, it’s simply the ability to create when others can’t. To capture moments that otherwise might be lost. “I might be on location, working with a commercial client, recording an incredible wedding, or even on a plane to a far-away place, spending much-needed days off with family,” he says, “but X100V fits into all of these scenarios, so it’s the perfect companion for any working pro who doesn’t always want to lug their full kit around.”
Size is certainly one of the most important elements in this, says Paul, “as I’m able to slip it into my jacket pocket and pull it out at a second’s notice to capture a fleeting moment.” But the advantages don’t end there. “When using a smaller camera, there’s an immediate sense of relaxation from my subjects, too. They become playful, even. When people think of a professional photographer, they immediately think of someone with a big camera and a big lens. This can make them tighten up a bit. Instead, with X100V, they’re faced with something that, while still looking professional, has the appearance and charm of a vintage film camera. It’s also an attractive piece of gear. I’ve never had so many subjects wanting to play with it!”
Paul saw both of these advantages firsthand in his week with X100V, as it helped him shoot a precious family moment and draw out something unusual on a commercial shoot. “I love the picture of my son, Xander, sitting in the snow with his hands in the air. That was such a fun day, and I was so happy to have something there other than my phone to capture it.”
“At the other end of the scale, there’s the image of Renae and Dustin leaning against the nose of his plane,” Paul continues, “exactly the kind of image this camera was built to make – a genuine moment of connection and joy, captured with professional quality. Renae and Dustin were hired for that shoot, but they’re a real couple and that moment was unprompted. It’s something I wouldn’t be able to get with the more conspicuous GFX and GF110mmF2 lens. X100V’s tilting screen is a great addition for pictures like that, too.”
Paul also felt X100V changed the way he shot, bringing back “a sense of carefree photography that I haven’t experienced in some time, and making the camera a true joy to work with.” He explains: “I found myself working in Aperture Priority mode – something I haven’t done in years. The spot metering, coupled with the exposure compensation dial, allowed me to create images I’d typically only trust myself to shoot in manual mode. I also found myself shooting in JPEG. Normally I only shoot RAW, but X100V’s Film Simulation technology is so fantastic you can’t help but want to use it. ETERNA and CLASSIC CHROME are my favorites.”
Image quality was even apparent to Paul’s subjects, he says, “because when I showed them pictures on the screen, I don’t think anyone was expecting the quality that comes out of that little body!” The 26.1-megapixel X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor, as used in FUJIFILM’s interchangeable-lens bodies, plays a big part in that, but so does X100V’s 23mmF2 lens, says Paul: “The clarity, the color rendering, and the quality of the bokeh are all superb, so I can push the shutter with confidence. It really is a gorgeous piece of glass and, allied to the sensor, photos are comparable to my X-T3 and XF23mmF1.4 combo. I think the new lens puts the images on par with cameras three times the cost. The AF is much faster than the previous model and makes shooting on the fly fast and efficient, too.”
“For working photographers, it’s interesting to note,” says Paul, “that it was the X100 line that started Fujifilm on the path of professional-grade digital cameras. With the latest version, it’s more refined than ever. X100V is gorgeous to look at, lovely to hold, and even more pleasing to use. Practically, the optional weather resistance is a fantastic step in the right direction, too, as not having to worry about the well-being of your gear allows you to focus more on the world around you.”
For Paul, X100V’s appeal is complete. “This is one of those cameras,” he explains, “that will truly find a home in anyone’s pocket. From parents wanting to create meaningful images of family life, to world travelers and seasoned street photographers – and even wedding professionals looking for a tool that captures candid moments. I’ve taken it snowboarding, out to dinner with friends, photographed my family with it, and used it on a professional shoot, and it’s been great in every situation. I haven’t missed a shot. And that in itself is remarkable.”
This is one of those cameras that will truly find a home in anyone’s pocket
About The Photographer
Paul Von Rieter is a professional wedding photographer whose stylish images have earned him a long list of happy clients and global recognition in the industry.