Why i moved to the Fujifilm X system

Ok, i can hear you all moaning already “not another i’ve moved to Fuji blog” well yes, sorry, but it is.  It’s a poignant post for me as i’ve been integrating Fuji x cameras into my workflow for some time and now the move is now complete.  Yes, i’ve sold all my DSLR gear and am now a ‘fully Fuji’ X system photographer.  So, this is a little blog of why ‘I’ personally have made the move.

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The Fujifilm x100

Some years ago, and a year or so after its initial launch, i purchased the original Fuji x100 which I was drawn to after seeing a full page add on the back of a camera mag.  I though “WOW that looks awesome” the design was amazing, it had so much character and it just called out to me – I wanted one so much!!  Yes, i can be a bit of an impulsive buyer but I mused over the idea for sometime on whether to purchase one.  Anyway i did and made my purchase almost a year after it’s initial launch.  Sods law though, not long after my purchase, Fuji released the X100s with many improvements – lesson learned do some more thorough research.  But not perturbed i persevered with the x100 and I remember being in awe of the first few initial test images.  Below is my first portrait of my daughter with the x100, about the 5th frame i made since taking it out of the box.  Simple window light on a dull day with a not so willing model.  Her expression was ‘hurry up, i want to go out’ – she didn’t share my excitement over my new toy.

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First image out of the x100 – 

My kids had been my test subject on many occasions and somehow this little camera made grabbing images of them somewhat easier.  It was far less intimidating than my big DSLR with equally big lens, easier to grab and pop it my my pocket at a moments notice and it quickly became my ‘go to’ camera for family outings etc but thats as far as it went.  For some bizarre reason i never considered it a tool for my professional work.

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X100 | f/4 | 1/250 |iso200

For my professional photography i stuck with the DSLR gear and continued to do so for a couple more years but as a Wedding and Commercial Photographer, along with some other random assignments & commissions, 2 full frame DSLR’s and an accompaniment of lens’ was quickly taking it’s toll, and my back was beginning to groan.  I’m a small chap at 5′ 5″ and i felt like the weight was compressing my spine reducing those valuable inches even further.

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Street photography with the x100

 

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Street Photography with the X-T1 | 1/4sec Handheld

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X-T1 | Ramada Hotel, Leicester

In a bid to ease my back woes i researched and tried many options for carrying the DSLR’s, waist holsters, double harnesses, roller bags, the lot, and none seemed to suit me.  I’d used the ThinkTank belt pouch system for a number of years but sold my set during my quest to find a suitable alternative but i ended up buying another as it proved to be the best of what i’d tried.  But, at the end of a busy wedding at the end of the 2014 season, i could take no more and i decided to look at alternative camera systems.

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X-T1 | xf35mm | f/1.4 | 1/125th | iso200

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X-T1 | xf35mm | f/4.5 | 1/30th | iso400

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X-T1 | xf35mm | f/1.4 | 1/420th | iso200

Over the Christmas break of 2014/15 i looked around at the alternatives.  I loved my X100 and the X100T, a successor to the x100s, had just been released but i wanted a system that offered interchangeable lens’ and being left eye dominant i wanted a central viewfinder DSLR style design.  I was drawn by the Fuji lure to the X-T1.  I can’t remember where i first saw this camera but i had heard wonderful things about it.  It had been on the market for almost a year and a few other photographers that i know were already using it in a professional capacity and raving about it.  So, my Christmas holidays were spent between my family and frenzied research for more info about this camera in eager anticipation of an early new year purchase.

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Fujifilm X-T1

I purchased my first Fujifilm X-T1 Graphite Silver edition with a couple of lens’ and, just like the impact the X100 had one me, i was blown away with the image quality.  It was on par, if not surpassing, what i was getting from my Canon DSLR.  The instant image preview with live exposure simulation in the large EVF was a dream to use and the camera instantly felt much more comfortable in my smallish hands compared to my DSLR.  The tactile controls, reminiscent of a bygone age, were very different to my DSLR but took me back to my days with the Canon AE1, oh the irony!!

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X-T1 | xf35mm | f/1.4 | 1/4000th | iso200

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X-T1 | xf35.. | f/1.4 | 1/2300th | iso200

From the outset of 2015 it worked amazingly alongside my Canon gear, using it to shoot weddings and commercial commissions, but it lacked a vital element that was crucial to a particular genre of photography that i also undertook, corporate events with onsite sales, which required me to shoot tethered.  At The Photography Show last year i spoke to the Fuji team who said the software was coming and had already been given out to a select few for testing.  In fact, i recalled Bert Stephani seamlessly shooting tethered during his presentation at the show,  it gave me hope that it wasn’t far away. By the way, i’ve followed Bert’s work for a few years with his early YouTube ‘Confessions of a Photographer‘ and ‘Motivational Light’ video series and it’s well worth checking out.  Here’s a few commercial jobs undertaken with the X-T1.

One of the biggest factors forcing my move was weight and during my weddings of 2015 i found i was using the X-T1 more and more.  The X-T1 and a selection of lens’ was a massive weight saving.  I felt a sense of liberation from the heavy ‘bricks’ that were weighing me down during long wedding shoots, sometimes in excess of ten hours.  The image preview in the EVF allowed me to see what i was getting before the shot was taken so i was shooting less but ending up with many more ‘keepers’, thus speeding up my post processing workflow.  Here’s a bunch of wedding related images shot on my X-T1’s, nothing overly fancy, im still building on my X-T1 wedding portfolio but you can find more of my wedding photography here.

Very soon the DSLR never made it out of the bag and after just a few months with my initial X-T1 i purchased another, this time a black model, and further lens’ to compliment what i already had.  Additionally, i found that i was favouring prime lens’ having always used zoom’s on my DSLR and the quality of the Fuji glass is equally as good and my Canon L series lens’.  Once the tethering issue was sorted with the software patch for Adobe Lightroom being made available it was full steam ahead with my complete move to the Fuji platform.

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Derwent Reservoir | X-T1 | xf14mm | f/11 | 1/30th |iso200

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Saltburn Pier | X-T1 | xf18-55 @20mm | f/14 | 14secs | iso200 | Lee Filters

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Ladybower Reservoir | X-T1 | xf14mm | f/11 | 1/30th | iso200 | Lee Filters

I’ve used the Fuji X-T1’s extensively now across my compliment of services covering weddings, landscapes, commercial & charity events and also a little travel photography where i took them to Morocco, North Africa.  Shooting from the city to the edge of the Sahara where the temperatures often exceeded 45 degrees celsius and the camera never faltered.  Moreover, the massive weight reduction compared to my much heavier DSLR gear made working thought the day in the blistering heat bearable.  Below are a few images from that trip but you can find my blog post with more images from that trip here and a clip on YouTube here.

This by no means a technical evaluation or reasoning for my move, i’ve purposefully avoided going down that route on this blog post for the sake of simplicity, many of the factors are just personal preference for me.  The system has proven to be a worthy workhorse across all the genres that i cover and not once have i regretted my decision to move away from DSLR’s.   I’m not saying its a camera system that will suit everyone and i’m not ruling out a further change somewhere down the line myself, the recently released X-Pro-2 looks sublime and is receiving much hype on social media and i’m eagerly awaiting to hear more of the much anticipated X-T2, but for now its a tool that i am more than happy with and would happily recommend to others.  The journey, and the story continues………

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x100 | Oban, Argyll

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x100 | St Pancras, London

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x100 | St Pancras, London

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X-T1 | St Pancras, London

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X-T1 | London

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