A very thought provoking article. I suppose I tend to associate character with something I experienced in my formative years. I don't know whether it was the simplicity of things in those days, mechanical even, that I find characterful, or whether it is just that those experiences were indeed formative. Or perhaps it is because we have issue with all the modern technology that is foisted upon us whether we want it or not. It will be interesting to see if, in 20 or so years time, folk brought up today on plastic boxes containing a computer and with a lens attached, will regard them as characterful when compared with the equipment that will then be available.
In that respect my most characterful camera is one I bought some years ago, the Lumix LC1 (twinned with the Digilux 2). Yes, it had an EVF (poor by today's standards, mind), but the whole thing operated in a way that harped back to what I was familiar with, an aperture ring on the lens and speed ring on the top plate. Where they should be! Oh, what joy! Quirky? Yes, the 6 second delay whilst the raw wrote to the card, during which one couldn't take another photo! And the noisy sensor. When I sold it recently I thought how good it would be if they made a camera in the same mould, with the straight forward simplicity, with a modern sensor and EVF. Well, maybe the X-E1 is just that. I am starting to seriously contemplate buying in to the system.
What is interesting, though, is that at the same time as wanting to harp back to my formative years, I am still quite happy to embrace the modern conveniences that come in the retro package, such as a good EVF and A/F!