That is the question.
I was thinking about life before SLR and DSLR, and the megazoom digital cameras we can all have, these days. We’ve come to rely on them. But, in the bad old film days, not every man and his dog had an interchangeable lens camera. We had a single focal length, and frequently we also had a single shutter speed. And we used it to effect!
I think it comes down to marketing and expectation. With the increases in the technology, so much more is possible… and if its possible, we should have/do it, right?
So why would I choose to shoot with a single focal length? I have a 15mm (brilliant for early morning long exposures and wide as I want). I have a 35mm macro, great for “normal” photography as well as macro, and the 43, which is tiny by comparison with the others, and nearly makes the Pentax K5 pocketable (coat pocketable that is, its not going in your jeans pocket). So when I go out, I already know what I am going to be shooting. If I choose to go down to the pond, I’m looking for birds, ducks, pondlife generally, so I’ll be wanting a zoom. I do have a 55-300mm for that (and a 50-200 for the wet days). If I want to shoot surfers, thats the lens for that, as well. But if I am not going out to shoot, but want to carry something with me all the time, do I want to carry a bag full of lenses and gear? Nope. I want something light and easy and something that can be carried in a normal bag without any fuss… and these days, 9 times out of 10, I’m choosing to take my X100. The sensor is the same size as the one in the DSLR, and I have a viewfinder (great for my struggling eyes). The quality is fantastic and its wonderful in low light situations. Its JPG engine is so good, I don’t even shoot RAW with it anymore, unlike with my Pentax… thats pretty good, but I like to be sure of getting what I want. With the x100, most times, I nail it.
I keep thinking I want to sell it… but really… its so versatile… I’d be mad to do it.