This turned out to be a longer post than I had planned on, but I think it’s important to know the different elements of the journey that lead me to switch from a camera system I was essentially happy with to one that really makes shooting more fun and exciting for me. So here we go…
Often referred to as Fuji’s gateway drug, the Fujifilm X100 found it’s way into my heart back in 2011. I loved (and still do) the retro styling and approach to photography with the aperture ring on the lens and the shutter speed and exposure compensation dials easily accessible on top of the camera, and of course the old school aesthetics with the rangefinder look and optical viewfinder. I still used my Canon 5D Mark II and L lenses for my photo shoots, but started doing most of my street photography with the X100. This small, quirky yet capable camera was so much fun to shoot with. I’d have a smile on my face every time I took a shot and could barely hear the leaf shutter in action. Fujifilm had really made photography fun with this camera.
Time for a Change
I was happy that the firmware updates from Fuji really improved the performance of the original X100 so I didn’t bother to upgrade to the X100S or even the X100T when it first came out (although I was very attracted to this latest version). But, this year I decided it was time to upgrade from my 5D Mark II. At first I thought I would probably just upgrade to the 5D Mark III, but after spending so much time with my X100 I was becoming more interested in looking at Fuji’s cameras with interchangeable lens options. I had been hearing so much praise for the Fuji X-T1 and there had been a lot of talk about the quality of the Fuji lenses.
Time for Some YouTube Research
For about the past three months I’ve been watching hours and hours of videos on YouTube that showed detailed and passionate reviews of the Fuji X-T1 and the XF lenses. I’d watch presentations and interviews with Fuji X Photographers, especially Zack Arias, David Hobby, Kevin Mullins, Bert Stephani and Damien Lovegrove. I was seeing a passion for Fujifilm that I thought was similar to the loyalty that was similar to the Apple/Mac users. These photographers all talked about how shooting with Fuji really made photography fun again. This was the same thing I was experiencing shooting with the X100.
Testing the Waters
So, I decided to get an X-T1 and a couple lenses. I was going to the the black model until I saw the Silver Graphite and was instantly attracted to that (yes, I’m very visually motivated). So I got that camera body and got the XF 14mm f2.8 and XF 56mm f1.2 lenses. I thought the 14mm focal length would be fun, but quickly moved on to the XF 16mm f1.4 because I’m a big fan of extra light and shallow depth of field. I like shooting on the streets at night and I can use all the light I can get.
The wide angle lenses were fun, but it was the 56mm f1.2 lens that really motivated me. When I unboxed that lens and took the first couple shots I was blown away and instantly hooked! I couldn’t wait to do a photo shoot with that lens! At 1.2 the parts in focus were very sharp, and the bokeh, the out of focus parts were so creamy and beautiful. I was in love with my Canon 50mm f1.2 lens and was curious as to how Fuji’s lenses would stack up, comparing the bokeh. This lens washed away any worries I had about getting beautiful shallow depth of focus images shooting with Fuji.
I’ve acquired the rest of the lenses in the photo (above) over the next few weeks. I’m not using any zooms, just sticking with the primes.
And Now, The Top Reasons I Made the Switch from Canon to Fujifilm
Okay, enough of the backstory. Here are the main points that convinced me to switch to Fuji. (in no particular order)
Fujifilm has really emerged as a pretty exciting company with it’s line of X Series cameras. Their development of their hybrid viewfinder, the Fuji and Classic Chrome film simulations, and other features are pretty cool. Seems like Canon and Nikon are more interested in staying the course with DSLR format (which is great) and continue to battle the high megapixel wars.
The longer I shot with my original X100 I started preferring the image quality of the Fuji over that of my Canon. And now I’m finding myself using the JPEG files rather than the RAW format. (I know, I know, sacrilege.) It’s just that with Fuji’s film simulations the jpegs really look pretty stunning right out of camera. I’ll use them ‘as is’ or maybe just do a few minor tweaks in Lightroom.
I love the way these cameras look, and right or wrong, they inspire me to want to shoot more. They remind me of the cameras I remember seeing around the house when I was a kid. Nostalgic.
This is a huge one for me. The X100, while I was in love at first sight, had it’s quirkiness that really frustrated many photographers, especially with the auto focus system. However, through a series of firmware updates the AF speed and accuracy significantly improved and I’ve loved shooting with it right up until a few weeks ago when I upgraded to the X100T. The thing that really impressed me is that Fujifilm released that last firmware update for the X100 AFTER it had been discontinued. Who does that!? Obviously a company that wants to keep it’s customers happy and loyal. Worked on me.
I bought the X-T1 after firmware v4.0 had already come out, but I’ve heard from many reviews of this camera that each firmware update really improved performance, added new features and almost made it feel more like a new camera with each update. That’s genius on Fuji’s part and I love how they really strive to improve upon each of their cameras even though they are already pretty good to begin with.
Fuji has really put out some stunning lenses for their X Series. I love each of the lenses I’ve picked up. Sharp, fast, and really affordable compared to the L lenses for my Canon. I cannot believe how sharp these lenses are, even shot wide open. Then when stopped down to f4… forget about it! Amazingly sharp. And as I mentioned earlier, I was a little concerned about the bokeh quality, but it’s really beautiful. I love that most of my lenses are f1.4 (and f1.2 for the 56mm). My slowest lens is the 14mm and it’s still not bad at f2.8.
If I had to say anything to Fuji about what I’d like to see regarding their lens lineup, it would be that I wish they would make all their XF lenses weather-resistant. Right now the only WR lens I have is the 16mm. The lenses can also be a bit noisier than my L glass. For the time being I’m finding that rather charming, but still just wanted to give a fair assessment here.
I love street photography and the leaf shutter of the X100 is so quiet. It allows me to get stealthier shots that I wouldn’t be able to get with a DSLR without disturbing the scene. And now with the new electronic shutter available (from the latest firmware update) on both the X100T and the X-T1 I could shoot like crazy in a church during a sermon and no one would hear a sound!! Even if they were standing right next to me!
Okay, this one isn’t as big of an issue to me. I really don’t mind the larger size of a DSLR, but I do have to admit it feels a lot better to walk around for a few hours with my X100T than it would with my 5D Mark II.
When camera makers started adding WiFi to their cameras, I didn’t think that would really matter to me. However, I’m loving the ability to take a shot and either send it to my phone so I can instantly share it to others or to online platforms (facebook, g+, twitter, etc…), or send it to the Fujifilm Instax printer. That’s awesome!!!
Okay, those are basically the reasons why I’m a loyal diehard Fuji user now and very much in love with these cameras and lenses.
I’ve been a little under the weather the past few weeks so haven’t had a chance to do a photo shoot with the X-T1 yet. But here are a few of the images I’ve taken with the camera, most are created from the JPEGs out of camera with only a couple coming from edited RAW files. I’d be curious to hear from you which images you think came from JPEGs and which came from RAW files. 😉
Click for larger.