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Bangalore-based documentary photographer Nishant Ratnakar has been a professional photographer for 10 years and a Canon 5D Mark III user for the most part. Recently, he’s been experimenting with different mediums, and the Fujifilm mirrorless X100S camera – a dead ringer for rangefinder cameras of old – is his current favourite.

A year ago, when Nishant left behind his Canon 5D on his Sri Lanka vacation, he got to explore the possibilities this portable shooter offered. Today, he uses the X100S extensively alongside his 5D for shooting environmental portraits and other commissioned projects.

Body Design:

The FujiFilm X100S is super-compact and light with dedicated manual shutter, aperture and ISO rings and knobs located on the camera body, which make tweaking settings much faster compared to DSLRs. It also has an exposure compensation dial that can be stopped up or down two points.

The camera has a Function button that Nishant has set to neutral density filter, which is inbuilt rather than being a physical attachment over the lens. The X100S has three composition options – optical and electronic viewfinders you can toggle between using a knob, or the LCD screen.


The X100S is the latest in the Fujifilm X series of mirrorless cameras with a fixed lens, like its predecessor, the X100. It is different from other X series cams in that they are either zoom or interchangeable lens cameras.

The X100S comes with a fixed 23mm lens, which combined with the sensor, gives an effective focal length of a 35mm lens on a 35mm camera. Nishant says it could be a limitation for some, but for him the fixed focal length is a “creative parameter” that forces him to pre-visualise compositions and get really close to subjects, especially while shooting portraits. “I like that working distance,” he says.

In-Camera JPEGs and RAW:

The in-camera JPEGs offer a lot of creative options; it lets you manipulate dynamic range, shoot panoramas, and also simulate old Fujifilm Astia, Velvia and Provia slide film looks. And as Nishant shows in the video, the RAW files capture a lot of detail in the blown out and shadow areas that he could later retrieve on the editing desk.

Leaf Shutter:

The shutter in the X100S is not located on the camera body but is inbuilt into the lens itself. And this leaf shutter has proved to be a real creative force for Nishant. As he explains in the video, a leaf shutter allows you to sync external flash with ‘any’ shutter speed, something even DSLRs cannot; “A DSLR is typically limited to maximum shutter speeds of 1/160 or 1/200,” he says. Because of the leaf shutter, Nishant has been able create some dramatic light effects using flash that you can see in the video.

Battery Life:

Like any mirrorless camera, the X100S also has a short battery life.

Nishant bought the camera at Foto Circle, Bangalore for Rs. 63,000 a year ago.

Watch Nishant share his five-point wishlist for Fujifilm that can make this camera more versatile. 

To view Nishant Ratnakar’s portfolio, visit his website

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