One Camera, One Lens

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I’ve been asked several times now if having a fixed-lens camera is a problem. Is it too limiting? Is it a waste of money? Do you wish you had an interchangeable-lens camera instead?

The Fujifilm X100F has a fixed 23mm (35mm equivalent) focal length lens permanently attached to the front. It’s a great pancake-type lens that allows the camera to fit into a pocket. It’s size, weight and design make the X100F a real joy to use!

Back several months ago I was contemplating purchasing the Fujifilm X-E3 because my X-E1 was getting up there in clicks on the shutter. The X-E3 wasn’t out yet (and wouldn’t be for a little while), but I knew it was coming, and I was set in my mind to buy it when it became available.

But then my daughter, Johanna, was born. Newborn babies need a lot of care, and parents get very little sleep. I found myself up at one or two o’clock in the morning as a daily routine caring for her. To prevent myself from nodding off, I streamed every photography documentary that I could find. In a matter of a few weeks I watched a ton of different shows about photography.

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Kodak Colors – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Something that I found interesting was a lot of photographers–well known, highly successful photographers–used only one camera and one lens. Some photographers owned a couple of cameras and lenses, but would never bring more than one camera and one lens with them. Many photographers used the same gear for decades.

The need for a bunch of cameras and a bunch of lenses is a fairly modern concept, as is the idea that a camera needs to be replaced every year or two. A lot of yesterday’s photographers had only a small selection of photography gear, and they kept it for a long time. They used what they had to the best of their abilities, and created some amazing artwork along the way.

I realized that simplicity is important in photography. Over-complicating things is a trap. Wanting more and more and more is a trap. It’s better to be simple and content with what you already own. Less is more in photography and in life.

At one point several years ago I had four digital cameras with lenses to go with each (plus a bunch of film gear). That was ridiculous, and so I got rid of half of it. That was still too much and so I downsized again. But I noticed, after watching those documentaries, that I still had a lot of photography gear.

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Yashica Rangefinder & Fujicolor – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F

That’s when I began to consider the Fujifilm X100F. I wanted less. I wanted simplicity. I wanted one camera and one lens that I’d be happy with for years. One camera with one lens is all any photographer really needs.

Limitations are only a hindrance if you allow them to be. You are the only thing stopping yourself from creating whatever photographs you wish to create. The issue isn’t your gear. In fact, limitations improve art because they force you to be more creative. You might not think outside the box unless you have to think outside the box. Problems are opportunities for imaginative solutions.

The X100F is not too limiting. It’s not a waste of money. I do not wish that I had an interchangeable-lens camera instead. It’s the best camera I’ve ever owned, not necessarily from an image-quality standpoint (although it’s excellent), but from an experience standpoint.

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