Finally A Digital Camera With Some Soul

So I’m posting this here for two reasons.  First because I think it relates to a larger discussion we’ve been having this year about the relationship between digital and analog.  Secondly I think that photography is an important and exciting art that we don’t discuss much in our little SoArch world.

So I have a Leica M2.  It was made in 1958.  It’s all metal, all mechanical, and built to work for 50 years between regular services.  I love this camera because there is something about holding it, looking through the viewfinder and clicking the shutter that is really magical, I’m talking iPad magical.  My digital camera feels different.  It’s huge, button covered, and full of automatic features.  There’s no magic and sadly this is pretty typical as far as digital cameras go these days.

The Fuji X100 breaks that paradigm though.  It is no larger than my tiny M2 but is built like it, solid, heavy, and metal clad.  It works like the old Leica too with a real viewfinder to look through instead of an LCD monitor.  It also has dials for aperture and shutter speed just like the film camera.  These sort of controls put the thought back in photography.  They connect the photographer to the camera.  They are something that got lost a long time ago as more and more features became automated or computer controlled.

It’s interesting to me (but not surprising) that to get the magic back into the camera Fuji had to forget about the digital technology and science and seek inspiration from the simple analog tools that for decades burned images into film.

Professor Ficca spoke in lecture about the digital analog binary and how the tools we use to create our work influence it’s character and affect our work flow.  In a world where technology drives innovation and design it can be refreshing to go back to the analog methods and tools of the past.  The Fuji X100 has soul, it harkens back to a time when photography was all about film and silver gelatine prints and because it’s so tactile, because it’s so old school, and because it doesn’t let the technology dictate it’s form its a digital camera that I could carry every day.




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