Zack Arias Claims That The DSLR Is Dead As A Result Of The Fuji X100S

We've all heard of renowned portrait photographer Zack Arias - not only is he a great shooter, but he's got a reputation for making some bold claims. Make no mistake that the Fuji X100S is a great little camera. Small, compact, feature-packed and with great image quality, you've probably heard quite a bit about it lately. But just HOW good is it? Zack Arias says that it's so good, in fact, that the DSLR is dead. Check out the video and let us know if you agree. I've personally used the X100S and while I think it's an awesome little camera, there's just no way it's going to replace all DSLRs any time soon. Obviously Zack's claim is a bit of hyperbole, but how far off is he? I would gladly trade in a DSLR for one of these for street photography, but as far as sports, architecture, and weddings go, the DSLR is still king.

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114 Comments

Brian Isemann's picture

Zack Arias + Hyperbole? You don't say.

Mark Kauzlarich's picture

I'll respect the fact that its supposedly a great camera. I haven't used it. But I can confidently say that the DSLR is not dead. There is no way that professional photojournalists (save those that shoot a style or news type that would warrant a rangefinder, such as documentary or reportage photographers) and sports photographers could function without it.

Andrew Iverson's picture

Not to mention nature photographers too. I just can't see using a rangerfinder type for that. Maybe i'm just lacking imagination, who knows.

Even calling the X100s a rangefinder is a stretch. That clumsy hybrid thing that Fuji invented is in a class of it's own.

After trying both the X-Pro1 and the X-100s I ended up with a Leica M. Even using full MF is faster than trying to focus with that crazy Fuji setup.

The X-100s a nice upgraded point and shoot, but it's not going to replace a DSLR.

Tam Nguyen's picture

I love cheese.

Yeah, they are death! Medium format rules! :P

Lol. Just lol. That is all.

Michael Comeau's picture

it would have made more sense to say "The DSLR is dead for me" but I guess that's not as snappy from a marketing perspective.

Nic Cage's Hair's picture

I've had the X100s for almost 2 weeks now and it's a fantastic little shooter. Will it replace a DSLR? Not quite. Let me rephrase that- will it replace my 5D MK III DSLR with 24-70L and 70-200L II lens? That would be a definite negative. Will i change my mind in 5 years? Nope. Will I carry it around with me in urban environments in place of the MK III like i've been doing? Yes.

The interface and controls of the X100s like anything else that doesn't seem to be come from Apple are a bit clunky and counter intuitive. Changing aperture, speed and ISO on the fly is a bit of a chore but most importantly, and i don't recall Zack ever mentioning this, but even with a fixed lens, the X100s is slow to focus (compared to my full frame)- you won't be using this to shoot your pet dog or a basketball game. And changing focus points won't happen quickly because of the cludgy way Fuji has built it into a multifunction scroll wheel instead of a dedicated joystick button control.

As a walkaround camera though, the image quality is excellent. Like extremely good. And i love the fact it has a built in NDS filter. And the image quality is *really* good (yes, i've stated that fact already). And it looks like an old vintage camera that a hipster bought at a garage sale. Nothing says to people it's a digital and without that Red dot on it, a crook is definitely not going to confuse it for a ridiculous expensive Leica. It's a low profile camera that shoots completely silent and without anyone even knowing- which was the entire reason i bought the camera in the first place.

It won't ever replace my Canon but it will be the camera i can throw in the car with me when i go out on the town.

Well said.

How is it a 'chore' to change aperture or shutter speed? There are labelled, dedicated controls for both. You twist one, it changes.

Also, people mugging you for camera gear don't know what a Leica is.

Nic Cage's Hair's picture

I can change aperture, speed and iso in a fraction of the time on my MK 3 than i can on the Fuji. It's not as ergonomically designed as it could be. It's kludgy at best. And thieves who specifically target shooters definitely know what that red dot means when they see the camera from a distance.

I don't know what rock you been living under for the past 5 years but your average Snatcher / Robber is a lot more sophisticated than what you think.

Bingo. My feelings exactly. I love it. It does many things well. It cannot do everything. DSLRs *may* become a specialty tool (ie: for pros?), but my x100s goes places my 5D2 could or would not. I'm taking more pictures of more things and that's what matters for me with this thing.

the image quality is excellent, period, Not just "As a walkaround camera"

Nice, fun PR piece for Fuji and Mr. Arias that will get a lot of views. I own an X100S and it's an excellent walking-around camera that could also see some studio use, and by far the best fixed-lens camera I've ever used. But with a fixed 35mm-focal-length-equivalent lens and other limitations, this is not a camera that can even hope to replace a DSLR for many users, and I don't think the folks at Fuji believe it can. The DSLR may well die before too many years have passed, but it won't be at the hands of this camera.

Doug's picture

He's right, of course. When I need to get a tight shot of a band member during a concert, or a wild animal on a far mountain slope, the X100s's 35mm equivalent will be perfect.

Jason Vinson's picture

i think its more him saying the DSLR is dead for him and/or the DSLR is dead with mirrorless systems like the X100 coming to market. not necessarily the X100 is a replaces in all DSLR situation. but with the XPRO and the like and the new line of great lenses coming out for them... as well as getting FF into the small frames... the DSLR is definitely on its way out the door!

I gotta admit I was pretty disappointed with his Istanbul photos, at least of the ones we saw in the video. For someone with such nice photos in his portfolio it seemed like his street photos lacked that "oomph" that usually make street photos pop.

Same here. I found them to be just... okay? Nothing spectacular. Good.. not amazing.

Cody Ash's picture

I felt the same way. Zack has some great stuff in his portfolio, but trying to convince the world the DSLR is dead with lackluster pictures ain't helpin'. Leica's are the supposedly the best street shooters, and the X100S is proving to be awesome as well. but at a steady 35mm, the Leica still has it beat with multiple lenses. (albeit a heftier price tag)

The images in the film are ok in the mosque, but I think the message is perhaps DSLR street photography could one day die out with an excellent street shooter that is slim, focuses quick, and works great in low light with a fast fixed lens. From the comments below it appears it is still a slow focusing camera.

Maybe there's a lesson to learn from that....The cliche we used to hear all of the time in school was that some guys "make" photos while other guys "take" photos. In other words, photographers are usually either good at producing a photo (setting up lights, scouting locations, working with props, dealing with talent, coming up with narratives etc) or good at finding a photo (street shooting, photojournalism, documentary, landscape, found-object photography etc). For example, the type of thought process necessary to be good at commercial studio might actually be really bad for doing street photography and vice versa.

Yeah, I completely agree. I never really thought about it that way but it's true.

Arias is a decent portrait photographer whose strength is using and teaching about location lighting. If you gave this camera to a Magnum photographer (the best photojournalists in the world), the headline would mean something.

Oh, well Zack Arias said it, then it MUST BE SO.

Bad move. Not because of what he say but because when you're paid to say something you loose credibility. And nobody with a brain can say that dslrs are dead, actually.
Reputation is hard to gain and easy to loose.

yeah I do agree.
Plus, I have X100s for a little over a month and yes, it is awesome camera. However, it's far away from the responsiveness I have with my D800.
It's really stupid to do such statement, that DSLR is dead because of X100S... I remember another "smart" dude, claiming the same for GH3... bs...

what the f*ck am i going to do now??!!!

Right tool for the right job. End of story.

a dude sponsored by fuji says x100s kills the dslr.. wow, did not expect this conclusion!

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