Starting at the beginning: Journey to Fuji (s)

Maybe the best place to start this new blog is at the beginning. Why did I start using Fuji’s and what has led me to this point.

I’m not going to try to explain why these cameras are able to produce such high quality images from what seems comparatively small bodies and lenses, if you want to know that, read this interview with Optical Device & Electronic Imaging Products Manager Takashi Ueno. This is just a potted history of how I came to switch from DSLR’s to Fuji mirrorless cameras.

My journey started in November 2011 and the original X100.

The earliest ‘commercial’ image in my library taken on the X100  – A sing-a-long of Grease at the Prince Charles Cinema in London

The first big step with it was a trip I made to Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo 2 months later in January 2012. It was a trip to document some of the work by CARE International in the region and I traveled with DSLR’s as well as the X100. Of the 496 images I came back with, 83 were from the X100. Considering how long I had owned it and how “raw” the camera was, the quality and type of images I came back with from it was a revelation.

X100. 23/01/2012: 2 children hold each other on a street corner in Goma, DRC. In 2002 a volcanic eruption destroyed approximatly 30%% of the city. Many buildings and roads are built upon the lava flow.

This trip led to me giving a talk in Brighton later in the year where I was introduced to the X-1Pro. I could see it fitting in but could not really see what it would offer me over the X100 at that time. After all I could not really see either camera being anything other than a lovely tool for personal work, occasional ‘stock’ and maybe adding some value to client commissions as an ‘Alternative view’. I finally succumbed a year later, in Sept 2013 I purchased an X-1Pro along with the 35/1.4 and 18-55/2.8-4.

I shot my first gig on it in the October. Katie Melua plays The Roundhouse on 02/10/2013.

I continued with these 2 Fuji cameras supplementing the work I carried on on my Nikons. In the summer of 2014 I took a look at the X-T1. It was clear from the first time I handled it that it was not a replacement for the DSLR’s – It was not fast enough, but it was faster then the X100 & X-1Pro and it handled more like an SLR. Hmmm.

In 2014 I covered 6 main music festivals and the last one was planned to be Festival No.6 at Portmerion, a place I know and love. This festival is quite laid back and I had agreed that our cover of it would be more quirky, more laid back, more documentary style. Hmmm.

I managed to lay my hands on an X-T1 along with a wide range of lenses from 14mm to the 55-200. I did pack a Nikon but left it in the car knowing it was there if all failed, planning to cover the festival with only the 3 Fujis. You can read about my weekend here and see the a sample of the work.

X-1Pro, 3200ISO, 14mm.28. Drumming Corp SPARK! perform amongst the crowd .

Basically I was hooked. No it was still not fast enough, there was the flash issue (a later blog), focusing was not the best, but the colours and the quality of the files. “That was one of the best sets of images this year” (from one of my Picture Desk editors).  It took 3-4 months to convince myself that the X-T1 was a viable proposition and at the beginning of this year I purchased one along with the lenses I used most at No. 6: The 14/2.8, 56/1.2 & 55-200.

Roll on to June this year and the update to the X-T1 known as Firmware 4.0. With this firmware the focusing became ‘almost’ as responsive as my DSLR’s. Yes there are knacks and yes it needs practice as well as carefully setting up but this was the nail in the coffin for my DSLR’s. By switching I could carry more options (lenses and lights) due to the size and weight, I could fit the kit easily in my scooter, built in WiFi enabled fast social media posting and sending for the clients to whom this was important! Yep it was time to change and a second X-T1 was purchased.

Thats the history lesson and us up to date.

This weekend it’s WOMAD and I have managed to lay my hands on a 50-140 (80-200 equivalent) to test (I always test new kit on a job before buying). More to follow….

2 thoughts on “Starting at the beginning: Journey to Fuji (s)

  1. Pingback: Starting at the beginning: Journey to Fuji (s) | Julie Edwards

  2. Pingback: miXed zone: X-T1 Vs. X-T10 video by Damien Lovegrove :: Switch Stories from DSLR to Fuji :: XF 90mm Tests & more! | Fuji Rumors

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