Some personal background
As many of my generation I began shooting film (was not trendy at that time ) with Instamatic type cameras. Later on I bought a Yashica film camera with two or three lenses and started to practice a more conscious and intentionally driven photography, but my practice of the art was still casual and not consistent. As it is frequently the case when you go through your life some events in mine made me want to renew with my old passion. This was the time of the early 2000’s when digital started to become more mainstream, and the first social communities around photography appeared (who remembers Photolog ?) I started to buy and use consumer grade Nikon cameras. As a non pro, with no huge budget to put in my growing passion, I grew accustomed to the brand and its products. Like many of us I suppose, I bought some cheap glass and shoot whenever I had opportunity to do so; travels, kids and family. This is not to say that I didn’t photograph other subjects to but they where fairly occasional. As years passed, my hobby grew stronger my travels more frequents and my gear better. I’ve never been a gear obsessed person though, probably because I’ve always been quite on a tight budget, but even when I could afford it I always thought that it was quite a ridiculous amount of money to be spent in all that gear anyway, not really justified, as a non pro I mean. If you follow all those nice YouTube channels (which of course I do) you get the impression that you need to spent all those bucks and you normalise it. Anyway I’m digressing… Long story short: I ended up with a Nikon D750 and a fixed 35mm prime lens (Sigma Art 1.4) which I was and I would still be very happy with, because it is such a great quality combo to have.
But.. (there’s always a but right ?) As I found myself lugging around my gear in my hikes and travels I started to look out for some lighter setup, mainly for two reasons ; weight and discretion. For that I looked briefly at Sony of course, but I must admit after looking at quite a fair amount of reviews the sexyness of Fuji bodies is what finally draw me to it. Little did I know at that time what love at first sight experience would it be, and how I quickly would I become a lover and unconditional fan of the system.
So what is it that makes me praise the system and be so fond of it ?.
Being in control again
You know, photography has always been about light and the different degrees of it we use to balance it nicely. I’m talking about the combination of sensitivity, speed and aperture . Most capable Fujifilm X cameras have all these tree controls right there at hand for you to tweak and use them if you wish so. Of course like any other brand you can let the camera take the decisions for you, but I found that for me, having to think about it, made myself question why I did this rather than that, made me observe which effects my settings and decisions had on the final image and how this allowed me to better translate these decisions into something that was closer to my photographic / artistic vision and style. Of course if you want this kind of control you don’t want it to be overly complicated. I really don’t feel like having to immerse myself in long and intricate menus, Here you have two physical dials and one aperture ring to rotate and voilà ! Genius.
“One jpeg a day will keep you from the screen away”
Ok it’s all over the internet and every Fuji fanboy will tell you. But man it is true, these jpeg’s Straight Out of the Camera are so damned gorgeous. Yes, I’ve done it too, being in front of your computer screen and spend countless hours applying countless filters that you bought or found in the internet because they all “look good” and not being able to decide which one to keep in the end.
It wasn’t until I saw these beautiful colours that I realised how wrong other brands get it !. Those Fuji colour engineers are true alchemists. It is truly a joy to experiment the degree to which you can precisely fine tune your jpeg’s. You can easily tweak the light and mood of any shoot and scene situation. This results in spending more time doing photography and less endlessly editing.
If you want to learn more about tweaking the Fuji JPEG’s you can have a look at my article about film simulations.
Very good and reasonably priced glass to choose from
We all know that you may have a good camera, but if your lens is not up to the task then you’ll be half there only. With Fuji X system you have plenty of prime lenses to choose from, and in sizes and weight that go with the small setup that we love. Fujinon lenses are beautifully crafted, with metal parts, I think they look gorgeous on the camera and each one of them has its own character and specific colour and rendition results.
Fuji cares about its customers
Yes, you would think this is a normal thing to have, but unfortunately not every company is like that. The Fuji community is very supportive and passionate and the company tries knows it and tries to respond to its base. Of course the company as such, makes its own marketing and design decisions sometimes can be quite controversial, but they pride themselves of gathering the opinion of their users and ambassadors. Another very valuable characteristic is that the company is very well known about its updates policies (known as kaizen). Even the older cameras get regular firmware updates during extended periods of time, which not only correct potential problems (this would be normal) but also add further functionalities and capacities that make your camera better than when you first bought it !