555 – Found What I’m Looking For?

FUJIFILM X-Pro1 (192.9mm, f/9, 1/125 sec, ISO200)

Blog post number 555. I never thought that I will keep this thing running for such a long time. Time to look back and ahead.

I started this blog in 2012, almost 7 years ago. At that time I just started to work for a new company. In my previous job I used to travel extensively to former Eastern Europe countries like Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Ukraine and Russia. The last year my Fuji X100 was with me on those trips. My new job took me even further away. Less frequent but longer trips to Asia and India. Places I have not visited before.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO2500)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (42.5mm, f/4, 1/1700 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (16mm, f/5.6, 1/1250 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (14mm, f/5.6, 1/150 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro1 (14mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO800)

This extensive traveling for business meant that I needed a small but capable camera to take it with me on those trips. I got my X-Pro1 for Christmas 2012 and the XF 14/2.8 R when it was released in February 2013. Just in time for my first big trip to South East Asia. On my first trip I took the X-Pro1, the 14/2.8, 18/2 and 35/1.4. All Fuji lenses I owned at that time.

I have bought 11 cameras within this time period. That’s an unhealthy high number. Seems that I constantly buy new camera gear in search for the perfect camera. Here is the list:

  • Sony RX100
  • Fuji X-Pro1
  • Canon 6D
  • Ricoh GR
  • Panasonic GM1
  • Fuji X-T1
  • Sony A6000
  • Sony A7R
  • Canon G7X
  • Fuji X-Pro2
  • Fuji X100F

Now when I see the list it looks even more unhealthy. But I have sold most of those already and¬†I have a good excuse: I’m mad!

FUJIFILM FinePix X100 (23mm, f/2, 1/60 sec, ISO640)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (14mm, f/4, 1/60 sec, ISO640)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/4, 1/60 sec, ISO1000)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (23mm, f/1.4, 1/500 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/8, 1/480 sec, ISO200)

 

Why so many?

It took me a long time to understand that I don’t need a full frame DSLR and those big and heavy lenses. My Fuji X-Pro2 is perfectly capable to replace those. In 2016 I finally sold my Canon 6D and the Sony A7R plus all lenses.

It took me even longer to understand that I don’t enjoy to shoot with compact cameras. I always had compact cameras beside my SLRs and DSLRs in order to have a camera with me when I didn’t like to bring a big camera. But those small cameras always meant a lot of compromise. In the early days it was because of their small sensors but that changed with the Sony RX100. The 1inch sensor produces very nice images but the handling of those small cameras is still awkward. The Panasonic GM1 and the Canon G7X were slightly better in that regard but I still didn’t like the handling and that’s why I finally sold them.

The Ricoh GR was by far the best small camera big sensor camera. Ergonomics were perfect and so it was a joy to shoot with it even though I missed the viewfinder. The problem with the Ricoh GR was its sluggish AF but most of all its erratic white balance and ¬†sometimes strange colours. At that time I was already spoiled by my Fuji cameras and so I couldn’t stand all the post processing anymore and at the end I also sold the Ricoh.

My compact camera today is the Fuji X100F. Not really compact of course but ergonomics are perfect and the output is amazing too. I have to admit that I don’t have it with me if I don’t plan to take pictures which means that I’m without a camera often. But if I still want to take a picture I simply use my iPhone Xs. Its camera is good enough now for an occasional snap shot.

FUJIFILM X-T1 (14mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO250)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (230mm, f/6.7, 1/1900 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/5.6, 1/60 sec, ISO250)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (14mm, f/5, 1/1900 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro1 (14mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO200)

 

Almost There

For my business trips I settled with the X-Pro2, the XF14/2.8R, the XF23/2WR and the XF35/1.4R. Almost the same lenses that I have used on my first trip to Asia six years ago.

For my big vacations I take the X-Pro2 with the XF10-24/4 OIS, XF16-55/2.8WR, XF100-400/4.5-5.6OIS and my three small primes for the city walks. The XF16-55/2.8WR has become my most important lens when I’m on a vacation where I travel by car. I haven’t mentioned the 55-200 anymore because I plan to replace it with the XF50-140/2.8OIS. I also plan to add a second camera body but I’m undecided at the moment.

So I ended up with an all Fuji setup which has a number of advantages but the biggest two are that post processing is down to almost zero even though I shoot RAW and most important that I can operate my cameras in my sleep. A huge advantage if you have to shoot fast i.e. if the mass of visitors pushes you through the entry gate of the Taj Mahal. There is no time to fumble around with your camera settings or to dive into menus. There is barely time enough to compose the shot and push the shutter button.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (14mm, f/4, 1/60 sec, ISO2000)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (23mm, f/2, 1/6000 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro1 (14mm, f/8, 1/30 sec, ISO320)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (14mm, f/8, 1/210 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro1 (14mm, f/10, 1/340 sec, ISO200)

The Future

Honestly I don’t know. I don’t think that I will ever return to full frame even though I like the new Nikon Z cameras and new lenses that Canon introduced for their R system. I’m sure that both companies will produce amazing mirrorless systems over the next couple of years. I just don’t think that I’m willing to carry along all that gear.

The main reason is that I travel a lot. And for travel photography nothing comes close to Fuji X. Compact and easy to operate cameras and excellent while still rather small and light lenses. Plus one of the best auto white balance and out of the box colours in the industry which reduces post processing time dramatically. Dynamic range and noise performance is slightly below the best full frame cameras but its close enough for me.

Have I finally settled with the best camera system? I don’t know but what I know for sure is that it is the cameras system that works best for me.