Saturday, 2 March 2013

D3200 shoots X100

Last night, as I boarded a number 14 tram, a, friendly but not entirely sober chap recognised me as a fellow snapper and proudly boasted of his Fuji X100, which he pulled out of a bag. By sheer coincidence, it is exactly a year ago that I was testing the very same camera, loaned to me my the husband of Marta, my colleague from work. So yes, I knew about the X100's clever viewfinder and yes, I appreciated its handling and its unobtrusive appearance that made it ideal for street photography. I wrote about it the X100 here (one year ago today!) and here.

The reasons I gave for not buying the X100 and for buying a new Nikon D3200 were borne out by time and experience. The price of a new X100 has tumbled from £720 to £550; and a new X100S has just been launched offering the same philosophy but with a 25% increase in megapixels and faster focusing and operation. It costs £1,100 - double the price of the X100. No doubt a successor to the X100S is being planned even as I write. [2014 update. Yes indeed, the X100T]

Among all the improvements in the X100S, one I'm not reading about is a general enhancement of its robustness and handling over its predecessor, and those were my main gripes, as were lack of screw-in filter to protect the non-interchangeable lens. And so rather than the Fuji, I bought a Nikon D3200 for two-thirds of the price of a lightly-used X100. For this I get: a zoom lens with vibration reduction (OK, the lens is one-and-half stops slower but with VR I can hand-hold at three stops longer), the speed of operation of an SLR, a more intuitive, user-friendlier menu. On the downside, the D3200 with kit lens weighs 220g more than the X100.

And so - here we are - the X100 and its user, shot by a D3200 and its user.

Evening, downtown Warsaw in focus; X100 user not quite.
Photographers snip-snap in the tram

My encounter with the X100 user did re-awaken pangs of desire for a decent digital rangefinder. The X100 is, well, too flimsy in its build quality. I fear issues using it each and every day around my neck. What would I really like (the Leica M being absurdly priced)?

Let me show you my dream digital rangefinder camera - a digital version of the Nikon S3 2000 - a collectors' piece, a re-issue of the 1958 S3. I've mocked up what a digital S3 could look like. Made of lightweight metal, with a full frame (FX, 35mm equivalent) CCD sensor, it could have take manual or  autofocus lenses (with VR - imagine an f1.4 lens with VR!). Beautifully oldschool.
Nikon S3D digital rangefinder, with manual Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens

Nikon S3D digital rangefinder - 3-inch LCD screen, controls

Nikon S3D digital rangefinder body showing full-size CCD sensor

Nikon S3D digital rangefinder top-plate - thumb-wheel for manual focus

I hope to see something like this in the shops in the not-too-distant future!

This time last year:
Weekend with the Fuji X100

This time four years ago:
Sublime sunset, Jeziorki

This time five years ago:
Dramatic sunset, Jeziorki


Anonymous said...

I agree. I really miss the confidence of perfect focus as when shooting with a rangefinder camera. Actually, just adding a split image focusing screen to existing D800's would do it for me if Nikon would only supply them.

Unknown said...

I agree Nikon should have developed an S styled compact with a full frame sensor and use the F mount lenses available...!

Also Nikon could take it a stage further using the 1979 NIKON EM body and make that digital possibly with a full frame sensor (A compact D-SLR) to counter the successful Olympus OM-D models...

In my opinion two easy ventures that could take the camera market by storm...

Anonymous said...

I agree Nikon should develope the Stype DIGITAL!!....
So,I actually made the SP DIGITAL prototype instead of NIKON!
If you are interested in it, could you check "Youtube",the title is:
"nikon sp digital my personal prototype"

The Photographer Indonesia said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)