After recently having purchased the Fujifilm X-T1 people have been asking how this camera fits in to my current workflow and why I “suddenly” seem to have changed to the X system.
This wasn’t a wild overnight decision and my road towards the X system actually started a couple of years back and gained momentum last year. So before I’ll write my review of the X-T1 I wanted to give you a brief summary of how I slowly moved towards a Fujifilm X setup.
The road to X
Since 2008 I’ve always been happy shooting with my Canon gear. I shoot with two full frame 5D bodies (a mark III & mark II). I shoot primes only. I’ll always roll with at least these 3 lenses; the 35mm f1.4, the 50mm f1.2 and the 85mm f1.8 or 100mm f2.8 macro.
I specialize in wedding photography so a 70-200mm 2.8 is still my case to cover the ceremony and a 16-35mm for impressive venues or for some close&personal dance floor action.
On the action packed moments of a wedding day I’d carry both camera’s (with grips) and I cram everything else in my shootsac. Yet, for the last 2 years I’ve been shooting 80% of my work with the 5DIII & 50mm f1.2. One body, one lens. I just love that focal length that much. I didn’t bother carrying 2 bodies around my neck, the spare body barely got out of my bag, the 70-200 didn’t see any action.
As much as I lovethe 5DIII & 50mm combination … I started to consider that camera as … “work”.
Early in the year, a camera company that wasn’t really on my radar announced the X100. In love with the design and intrigued by the EVF/OV I preordered one. When I got my hands on her it was love at first sight.
To sum up my time with the X100. I really wanted it to work out between us, but it didn’t. After a short holiday romance with some bad arguments I sold the camera. While image quality was excellent I couldn’t get used to the handling and quirks.
Fuji launched their X-PRO1 but after seeing the steep price card and some of the same user complaints I was never tempted. (see I don’t suffer from GAS syndrome)
2 years after the indrocution of the original X100 Fuji announced the X100s . It seemed that Fuji had really listened to their users. Again I preordered. Everything I didn’t like about the original got fixed and was improved. It still took some practice to get used to it. The X100s still is a photographers camera and has a steeper learning curve than you average entry level dSLR featuring a donkey mode button.
Me and the X100s? We got along.
And while the X100S was intented for personal work rather than commissioned work I started using the X100s as a substitute for my 35mm 1.4. At receptions, I’d roam the room with that camera. Silent & inconspicuous (until people notice the strange camera and start a conversation). The main question I would get is “what is the difference?”. After 12 hours into the wedding day my answer would be …. the weight.
A couple of weeks after I got my X100s the shutter curtain got stuck and I had to send it back to the factory for repairs. A known issue and Fuji handled it swiftly. To fill the void, I started reading up on the XPROI, a major firmware update was just around the corner. How come so many pro photographers like Zack Arias, laRoque, Bert Stephani were able to make this system work. I knew I should probably wait for the X-PRO2 but I wanted to see for myself. So I got me an XPROI paired with my obvious first choice of lens: the XF35 1.4 (50mm equivalent) and a slightly wider XF18 (27mm) to push myself into trying something different. (35mm never was my favorite)
I figured I’d sell the body and keep the lenses for an X-PRO2 if I didn’t like it. But we never parted. The X-PRO1 was not as sluggish as I thought it would be and it fit so nicely into my hands, much better than the X100s. Even with the EVF and AF slower than the X100s I really started to love this camera and lens. And having some lens options made me start using this camera as a 2nd body.
Admittedly , it took me some time to really get the hang of the X system , I had to change my way of shooting (more about my settings in the next post). Over time I saw my keeper ratio drastically increased. It also got me thinking more about the picture I wanted to make, my ratio with the X system increased while shooting less.
I am now at a point that I feel confident enough shooting the X system on commissioned work, yet the 5DIII is still in my bag because for some things where I feel I can’t rely on the X-PRO1. I was already moving towards a complete X system but Fuji now released the X-T1 and I feel like that camera will be the last push over the edge.
I’m not a collector, so everything piece of gear that doesn’t see action gets booted. I sold all canon gear that I felt was redundant, including my spare body.
2014 will be a transition year. I still have a couple of specific canon lenses that haven’t been replaced yet (wide zoom & macro). Giving up the full frame look still has my scared but I just welcome the thought of having a full kit that fits inside a messenger bag.
I still haven’t answered my intro question. Why? Because the X system really matured. Because it’s much more compact and weighs significantly less. You don’t stand out from the crowd. (I now don’t mind that uncle bob is sporting a bigger L lens) The lenses are amazingly sharp and the image quality is up to par with the bigger guns out there.
But the most important reason for me is that I simply love holding & shooting these X camera’s and how they helped me rediscover my love for photography in a more pure form.
Note: All images were processed in Lightroom with VSCO presets as a starting point. In a lot of these pictures grain/noise was actually added to fine final image. (I’ll need to tweak my mogrify/export settings. Pictures look oversharpened.)
Last week I started my hunt to find the new perfect camera strap for my Fuji X camera’s. My personal requirements were a bit different than what you would choose for a bigger & heavier DSLR. While the 5D is always tucked away in my camera bag, the Fuji’s are scattered around the house so I can quickly grab one to capture family moments. And when the little camera’s are standing on the shelf I don’t like to see them with a strap attached… For my heavy camera’s I’ve always used the Blackrapid/Sunsniper slingshot straps but for the X camera’s I find them too sluggish and they Fastenrs block the battery compartment.
So in my hunt for a new strap my main requirements were :
After a post on facebook I received the golden tip from Bert Stephani, he directed me towards the Leash, camera strap by Peak Design. The dealer locator learned me that Grobet had them in stock and one day later the package was already delivered.
The Leash came in a nice packaging and attaching the strap was fast! The Leash uses a unique system of attaching the straps to the camera. It comes with 4 Anchor’s that attach with a simple loop to the classic strap attachment points on your camera or on your tripod plate. To attach the strap the Anchors glide/lock into place, to detach you push down and slide it out. Their kickstarter video does a much better job at explaining it
After a weekend of testing the strap, these are my findings: