My Fuji X100s and My 45 Year Old Canon QL17 ~ Photography Gone Full Circle

I’ve been taking pictures for a long time, never professionally although I have been paid a few times, but always just for the fun of it.  I have struggled to understand what kind of photographer I am, nature; city; architecture; landscape; fine art, and have decided that I’m a little bit of all of them.

The one thing I am clear about is that I love taking pictures, I love seeing the world around me and I love looking at it through a lens.  And I always, always have a camera with me.
Fuji X100s 2.0s @f4, ISO 500 ~ Bell Town in Seattle, Washington
photographed through a hotel room window

About 3 years ago I moved away from the large dSLR’s in favor of the smaller more compact systems that are easier to have with me all the time.  I should point out that I’m 66 years old now and loading a bag or backpack with big heavy camera bodies and lenses and filters, and flashes just isn’t that much fun and it’s just not convenient for my style of shooting.  But I really enjoy good image quality and don’t like sacrificing IQ for convenience.

Fuji X100s 1/320s @f8, ISO 200
Gig Harbor, Washington

So when the camera manufactures began producing the micro four thirds lines and the mirror-less lines I got excited about the possibilities and didn’t hesitate.  I jumped right in.  I started out with the very first Panasonic micro four thirds right after it came out and graduated over the next couple of years, through a variety of other cameras,  to the Olympus OMD EM5, which I still have and like very much (especially with the Olympus 45/1.8 lens attached).  But even with the fine EM5 I found myself carting around a bag and lenses, albeit small ones, and that still just wasn’t what I was looking for.  Simpler, easier, more convenient, great IQ and no bag of lenses, that’s what I wanted.

In 1969 when I first got interested in photography SLR’s were just coming into their own and rangefinder style cameras were on the way out, more or less.  I shot with a Canon Canonet QL17 with a fixed 40mm f1.7 lens.  It was with that camera that I learned to see the world around me with photographic eyes.  No zooms, no interchangeable lenses.  

Oddly enough it wasn’t until after I got my Fuji X100s and unboxed
it that I realized how similar it was to my original Canon – Canonet QL17
purchased in 1969, 45 years ago.
I was very pleased with how they compared in looks.

Forty five years later enter the Fuji X100s.  Small, convenient, great IQ, fixed 23mm lens (35mm equivalent) and an APSc sensor, it’s beautiful and can just hang around my neck as if there’s nothing there at all.  Perfect.  But, fixed lens.  How would that work out for me after having access to such a wide variety of lenses?  So I looked back through a large collection of images over the past several years and found that the vast majority of my pictures were taken at or near the 35mm range.  I’ve shot a lot longer and tighter and I’ve shot a lot wider too, but picking through my favorite pictures over the years, I tend to like the 35mm to 50mm range.  After shooting the Fuji X100s for just a few weeks I realized that it’s all I need.  35mm is where I see the world around me and my feet work perfectly as a zoom, in or out.

So it’s been a long journey to end up right where I started with almost identical cameras and fewer choices to make that get in between me and what I want to photograph and I’ve never been happier.  A happy snapshooter grabbing shots of the stuff I see around me everyday, everywhere.  And, maybe, some of the best news is what my wife said; “You don’t look like a photographer, you just look like a tourist”. Yes!  I love being a tourist.

Here are a few more shots:  One from a day trip up to Port Townsend, Washington a couple of days ago with my good friend Mark for lunch and few snapshots.  The other from last weekend in Seattle, Washington to see Bruce Cockburn.

Electric Port Townsend, Washington
This bicycle is electrically operated and the gentlemen with the gracious smile having lunch is the owner.
Fuji X100s 1/125s @f5.6 ISO 200

Bruce Cockburn at Neptune Theater in Seattle, Washington.  I didn’t have good seats so this is cropped way tight
to get this NO flash shot.
Fuji X100s  1/30s @f4 ISO 500

Thanks for reading.


  1. What a great perspective on photography and gear.

    It seems you and I have similar paths in photography.

    Thanks for sharing.

    My Blog:

  2. Amazing the similarities in the QL17 and the new X100s. I know you put a lot of thought into this camera and think you made a solid discussion. It compliments your style in a number of ways.

  3. Tom great post. I have been looking at the Fuji X100S and know that I will get one soon. I had the same thoughts as you as my first 35mm camera was the Canon Canonet 28 and then the QL17. I loved those cameras. Thanks for the post.

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