24 hours in Tallinn with Fuji X100F
I’m not your usual camera reviewer guy, but I decided to write a couple of words about Fujifilm's X100F that I had with me on our latest trip to Tallinn.
First, let’s get back to year 2014 when I was in Willemstad, Curacao with my Canon 5Dmk3, 35L and 50L. I was tired of carrying around the heavy full frame body and big lenses. At that time it was already crystal clear to me what kind of gear I really need for my trips. A fast 35mm lens would cover 99% of my photographic needs. I found myself looking at Leica cameras and other mirrorless options with fast 35mm lens. After some searching I found an interesting looking little camera from Fujifilm - X100S.
So I bought the X100S. After shooting with it in Hong Kong, Portugal, Thailand and many other places I decided to sell it since there were some issues that bothered me. However after some years I started to regret selling it and decided buy it back. This time I bought the newer version - X100F. And luckily I have to say things are nowdays little bit different!
I don't know if it's the bigger sensor X100F has (most likely yes) or what, but the 3D separation is way better than in the older models. With the X100S I found myself taking extra steps closer to objects when taking portrais to get some good bokeh. And then begun the problems..
Lens of the camera isn't the sharpest one when shooting wide open the objects with close focusing distance. It was very annoying to see all skin details gone. With the X100F I haven't witnessed this kind of behavior that much, even though the lens is the same old f/2 lens as in the older versions. That was the main reason for me to sell the X100S.
Take a ferry
From Helsinki to Tallinn it takes only 2-3 hours by ferry. If you're travelling to Helsinki, it's easy to take a day trip to Tallinn. Of course there are several flight connections as well, but at least in the summertime it's great to drink your morning coffee on the sun deck of the ferry while checking out views of the Finnish Archipelago and the Baltic Sea.
At least three companies operates year round between the cities: Eckerö Line, Tallink and Viking Line.
When travelling I shoot jpg's only. There's no reason for me to fill memory cards with big raw files. I did some research with my full frame Sony A7ii body and 35mmm 1.4 lens vs X100F by just shooting the same object at same field of view and distance. Fuji's files were aproximately 30% larger than Sony's every time. So there's plenty of detail.
Another great thing are film modes that can be defined in advance. I love to shoot modes like Classic Crome, Provia, Velvia etc. Colors are great and post prosessing is much faster when using those presets!
Rotermann Quarter is in the city center, between the Old Town and port.
The area has a lot of funky new buildings mixed with old industrial buildings, transformed into unique architecture gems. There are several good restaurants and bars like Tap Tap & Brewdog to mention a few.
The X100F seems very capable for action shots as well. Autofocus works well. Generally menus and settings work smooth and fast! Start up time is pretty fast too.
Telliskivi Creative City is located in a former industrial complex in Kalamaja. There are many small designer stores, studios, places to eat and drink, photo galleries, and a lot of street art. You can even watch various sports events in the fifth floor of an old factory building.
Nightlife is active there as well. You can sit in an old railroad wagon in a bar called Peatus. Also F-hoone, Kivi Paber Käärid & Hill Hill are worth a visit.
The hipster district of Tallinn. This once closed Soviet border zone located between the scenic Tallinn coast and Old Town hides some nice cultural happenings.
There are a few great bars to see the sunset. Real gem is a summer garden called Pada. If you're into tech house, techno or other electronic music it's a must visit.
These shots from Pada (above & below) are all taken with ISO 8000 - 12800. Image quality is still pretty damn good. At least very usable for internet purposes. It's actually quite impressive what kind of pics you get when shooting f/2 hand held in almost total darkness.
The design is the closest any digital camera has gotten to a film rangefinder. I just love how the X100F feels and looks. It's a pleasure to carry it around day and night on your shoulder. It doesn't weight too much but still feels solid and well build.
Port of Tallinn
It doesn't get much darker than this in the summertime. The sun is already rising in Tallinn harbor at 4 am.