GX7 vs X100s: The Fastest Decision Ever

GX7 X100s

GX7 X100s

It’s 2014 and I resolved to spend less on photography gear this year and spend more time on honing my photography skills by taking pictures and studying the craft. Well, I’ve been taking more pictures and enjoying some additional study, I did not however resist the urge to buy something new and less than 24 hours after purchasing a Fuji X100s, I’ve decided to sell it in favor of keeping my GX7.

Why, when the Fuji’s rendering is so smooth and the ISO performance via the APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor is (arguably) so much better than the GX7? Well, there are a few reasons: I’m not seeing enough of a benefit in the sensor difference for the photos that I take that outweigh the fact that the Fuji is considerably slower to focus, isn’t as easy to hold ergonomically, does not have image stabilization to help offset the handling difficulties, has a fixed 35mm lens which is ok but not as versatile as the GX7, does not have WiFi or NFC for ease of picture transfers, and has a build quality that while solid, looks too much like a toy in my opinion.

Ice on a bush taken with X100s.

Ice on a bush taken with X100s.

Ice on a bush taken with GX7

Ice on a bush taken with GX7

Ice on brick steps taken with X100s

Ice on brick steps taken with X100s

Ice on brick steps taken with GX7

Ice on brick steps taken with GX7

Now the X100s and the GX7 are really different cameras and not intended to compete directly with one another–I understand and accept that. In fact, I’m selling my beloved Ricoh GR and I bought the X100s as a fixed lens APS-C take along camera for use when I didn’t want to pack my micro-four thirds kit or carry my full frame system. The GR and X100s are more direct competitors and I’d hoped the X100s would have replaced the GR. In seeking to reduce and simplify my camera equipment, I’ve discovered that if I’m willing to forego having something truly pocketable (like the GR) and if I’m serious about taking my skills to the next level, a camera the size of the GX7 that is cool looking, fun to use and also capable of using the same lenses and flashes as my OMD EM1 (so that it also operates as a perfect backup camera) is all I really need. Instead of four cameras (6D, X100s, EM1 and GX7) and three systems (full frame, APS-C, micro four thirds), I can simplify to three cameras (6D, EM1 and GX7) and two systems (full frame and micro four thirds) while saving some money and increasing my intimate working knowledge of these cameras through greater use.

Some people swear by the X100s while accounting for performance concerns by stating that through prolonged use you become accustomed to how to best operate the camera and that it’s best suited for thoughtful and reflective photography over quick, catch the moment shots where other cameras might perform with greater accuracy. I’m ok with that, but given the cost for thoughtful and reflective via the X100s, for similar money I favor the creative speed and accuracy of the GX7. There’s also nothing to stop me from taking my time to be thoughtful and reflective with this excellent tool that also allows me to do that and so much more.

It’s an expensive decision and I’ll lose money overall but it’s a lesson in doing more with less and understanding your style and preferences as they relate to the tools available.

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