I've been enjoying my gear so much that I haven't posted any updates on here in a long time. Of course there are a lot of rumors circling about a possible Xpro2 coming out later this year, some new lenses, another camera body. Lots of speculation out there.
I've been using my xt1 cameras for about a year now and am super happy with them.
One rumor that is actually a fact is the new firmware update arriving in a few weeks for the Fuji XT1. This one is supposed to improve the AF speed of the already exceptional XT1. For many this will be a game changer as it will make the camera that much more responsive. For me it has been working great, but there are a lot of action photographers and possibly even sports photographers who have been on the fence about moving over to Fuji for just this reason.
Here is a link to their official announcement: http://www.fujifilm.com/news/n150511.html
In any case a firmware update is always welcome in my book. In the past they have truly transformed these cameras to more capable, easier to use and more customizable. I really can't say enough about the firmware updates and how beneficial they are.
I was talking to a Nikon user earlier today about that and he was asking me why Nikon doesn't do that. I said they do, but its often to fix bugs. Fuji takes a whole different approach in that they will fix bugs and improve the camera.
Some stuff coming soon:
90mm f2 - will be an ideal portrait lens, pre-reviews say its stunning and only a little larger than the 56mm 1.2
new high end camera body - could be xpro2 or something else
(rumor) larger sensor coming soon
a super long telephoto zoom lens is coming out later this year as well
another macro should be out early 2016
what I'm curious about:
a new camera in the XE series
a new xpro2? and how will they improve on what is out there presently
another pancake lens f2 or faster
Let's see what happens!!
There are so many things to love about the quality of Fuji cameras and lenses, but one thing that really stands out is their firmware updates. All the big players offer these updates, but they often fly under the radar. I recall when I was not using Fuji that there would be some firmware updates here and there, but were often ignored.
General reasons for firmware updates:
- To fix a software bug in the camera
- To update functions and compatibility
- To improve on some of the newer features
- No further updates when new model is released
Fuji's Firmware updates:
- To fix a software bug in the camera
- To update functions
- To improve features
- To ADD features that are essential for photographers
- To improve LENS performance with regards to auto focus
- To improve the built in menu system
- To keep up with newer models by including the same features
- CONTINUED firmware updates even after model is replaced
Everyone knows that once the new model comes out the old one loses value and is now considered 'old'. Fuji has built a very loyal customer base by listening and implementing things on the regular. Due to these firmware updates your camera actually performs better the longer you keep it than when you first purchased it. You never fall behind with all the new advancements and you feel confident in Fuji.
There is a new firmware update coming out soon for my X-T1s and I can't wait.
One last thing: You'll always know when a firmware update is about to be released.
So i you are using Fuji or are thinking about giving them a try don't think about how great they are today, think about how much fun they will continue to be tomorrow!
For me the switch was sort of gradual and then bam I put my chips on the table and went all in. To be honest it was very scary. I was going from Nikon gear that had served me very well at many shoots, events and weddings. I had learned everything I knew by using my Nikon. But, I am always interested in learning more. The more I read about mirrorless and full frame cameras and other gear online the more I was curious to know more. At first I felt it was the trendy thing people were doing and later I saw samples and other blogs touting some of the Fujis as the next big thing. Of course I was intrigued.
I started with one Fuji and lens and got to play around a little. I've always been good with menus and electronics so some things I was able to understand, but it was a whole new device. Nothing was where it was on my Nikons and even the viewfinder was more complex and completely different. It was actually scary looking through the viewfinder and trying to get the exposure correctly when it would change on me every time I moved the camera. I was not used to the screen showing me an over or under exposure. Yikes.
The one thing that I felt really comfortable with from the get go was changing of the aperture on the lens directly. In the past I had used lenses that offered that capability as well. And although I understood it I knew that I was in for a whole new experience. And I was excited to know more.
Then I explored some more.
I made sure to read a lot of reviews, tutorials and blogs to gain as much knowledge about the learning curve, quirks and and major differences. The biggest topics related to slow auto focus, tough tracking, and some features that didn't seem quite complete. Battery life seemed to be a major concern as well as a laggy viewfinder. And I read all of this, but I also paid attention to the positives; smaller form factor, fantastic image quality, sharp lenses, more information on the viewfinder and really usable manual focusing modes, etc.
Mostly I was inspired by people like Kevin Mullins, David Hobby and Zack Arias. I saw it as more than just something new and trendy and as really high quality equipment. I continued to read as well as head out and practice with my new Fuji gear.
It was frustrating and something needed to change
I was enjoying the Fuji as it felt like a toy and it was just so different to what i was used to. But, I was starting to get frustrated. Putting files side by side from the Nikon and the Fuji they appeared very different (to me). In lower light the colors really differed. I became more and more concerned that I'd have to find a new way to edit my photos. I thought of events and other weddings and fumbling around editing photos that wouldn't quite match.
The autofocus was slower and the 35mm was much slower to the kit lens. I'm a huge fan of prime lenses so I'm used to photographing with them, but the lenses were slower. This also challenged me and had me doubting my decision.
Lastly, the quickness of operation was frustrating. It was fun to learn and play with the camera, but I was hardly quick enough to trust using it for a payed gig. With practice I was getting faster, but it was like retraining myself how to take photos.
I decided that having both a Fuji camer and NIkon cameras it would actually take me far longer to REALLY GET IT. And most of all the more I used my Fuji camera the more I was comparing it with my Nikon. Even on blogs others were commenting what it supposedly couldn't do so I had my doubts. Could I really learn to use it and produce high quality photography? Would I still enjoy using it once the "newness" factor passed? Would people see me differently using a smaller camera? Lots of questions were circling in my mind.
I went all in and didn't look back
In this short period of time of owning my Fuji and two lenses I saw all the potential of the Fuji. I saw all the new things I could do and knew that with practice I'd be able to master it as I had mastered my Nikon cameras. I was also excited to take part of all the new firmware updates and new gear that would be coming out. So, I made my decision and went all in.
I sold off my two Nikon cameras, my lenses and even one of my bags (too big) and purchased another lens and later on a second camera.
I made it a point to head out regularly to practice and practice some more. With no Nikon camera to fall back upon I knew I had to learn to use these cameras well, and fast. I trained my fingers to search for knobs and not buttons. I began to trust the Aperture Priority mode even though my Nikon brain kept telling me to go full manual. Its funny the stigma you get when you tell someone you don't shoot in full manual. Oh well. I found that many photographers who photographed events with Fujis used the Aperture Priority mode as it made it much quicker to respond. I also found that I could trust the Auto ISO from 200 all the way up to 6400. THAT AMAZED ME.
So I would head out weekly and photograph people, places, landscapes, macros etc.
I also worked on my editing. I found a new way to edit with Lightroom that actually helped refine my images. I embraced the way the files looked and truly appreciated the better White Balance and color rendition in lower light.
I slowly started to see more strengths and different way to "see" a photo. I stopped comparing to my Nikons and began comparing one Fuji lens to the other. I found a good setup for my menus and settings and stuck with it.
Things just got better and better.
As I continued to trust the gear more and more I started taking on clients. I started posting more photos online and getting feedback.
I was getting faster with changing settings and focusing as well. With the purchase of the X-T1 I noticed improvements in the autofocus, an incredible viewfinder and overall ergonomics. Paired with the fantastic 56mm 1.2 lens I knew I had made the right choice.
The short battery life which had me concerned at first was now a teaching tool. It was teaching me to pick my shots more and be smart on when I pressed the shutter. I found that I was taking less photos, but also averaging more keepers. I am always ware of how many photos I have left per battery, but it has made more decisive and I think it has also made me a better photographer.
I am now taking all the tools that make these cameras great and using them every time I take photos. I trust the cameras fully and know their capabilities. And I know that if I take a bad photo its because of my skills as a photographer and not my gear. I continue to practice and head out regularly. And I'm enjoying all of it.
As others have mentioned before taking photos with Fuji is fun. Due to their smaller frame and capabilities it is more likely you'll bring them with you more often than not.
Of course they are not for everyone or for any situation, but this technology continues to improve with each generation. Many are purchasing them to use in addition to their current systems while others are making the switch. I have made the switch and am really enjoying it. I've now photographed several sessions, a baptism and a wedding with my Fuji gear and they have performed very well. And I have a few more weddings coming up to photograph.
- Rent an X-T1 or the X100s and see how you like them. Try out a lens of two and see for yourself how great the optics are.
- The learning curve can be steep, a two day rental won't tell you much and might leave you frustrated. Borrow from a friend if you can.
- Read blogs and websites and mingle with others using the gear for recommendations on how to begin.
- Try not to compare with your current gear. Pretend this is the first camera you have ever used. (Yes that's harder to do than you think)
- If you make a purchase go for a current model as each generation continues to improve over the last and the firmware updates really help. Or, go for a pre-owned model to stay within budget. With all the firmware updates available its hard to make a wrong decision.
- If you are thinking of making a switch make sure they offer the features and lenses you require. Although there are many options there are still a few lenses which are yet to be produced.
- Ask me anything you'd like about my gear or my experience with them.
All photos on my blog posted after February 1st were taken with Fuji gear.
Both photos taken with Fuji cameras.
Prior to switching over to Fuji I hardly ever listened to many rumors as it was usually pretty obvious what would come next. If there was a D3 out it was obvious a D4 would come out. And if they were at 24mp then they would probably go up to 36mp in their next model. And, the form factor and button lay out would pretty much stay the same.
But, not with Fuji!
Every now and again there are rumors posted on forums and on a nice little website called Fuji Rumors. Yes, some of these don't pan out, or they change the name or are there to have you drooling over something. In any case its fun to see what Fuji will come up with as it is an unknown. For instance, the X-T1, sort of came out of no where as everyone was awaiting the X-Pro2, which still hasn't come out. The X-E2 came out so soon after the X-E1 that some were confused as to why.
But, let it be known that Fuji has a plan and a path they want to take
I've never been concerned or upset by any of their releases, more surprised at how quickly things get launched, but to me that shows progress. We have all seen the lens roadmap and know they have some really nice intriguing lenses coming out in the next 6 months or so.
Key lenses to look for:
18-135mm with optical image stabilizer + weather proof! (launches very soon!)
16-55mm f2.8 with OIS + WP
50-140mm f2.8 with OIS + WP
35mm f1.4 (updated version with faster AF and a distance meter like the 23mm)
16mm f2 (not positive on the aperture)
90mm f2 (long tele lens!) I can't wait to see this!
What about cameras, I like cameras!
Cameras to look out for:
Some serious rumors at this point, but they should solidify very soon.
X-T1p (updated viewfinder to 4k pixels) coming very soon according to the rumor mill
X-Pro2 (newer sensor, 24MP, faster AF, updated features, but not tons of details out there yet)
X100T (originally was said to be called the x200, faster AF, new lens, new sensor, also 24MP)
So as you can see Fuji has been working really hard to keep things moving. Earlier rumors of full frame cameras have been squashed in an effort to perfect their current line up and to launch some more lenses as well. Its so exciting to see the direction Fuji is going and with future firmware updates your existing kit will also benefit from technology placed in the newer models. I'm curious if there are rumors of a huge sale at the end of the year like they did last year. Here's hoping!!
The Mirrorless Difference
Its funny how a few years ago I was having the big debate of Canon or Nikon. I'll admit that I'm a techie kind of guy and reading spec sheets is actually fun for me. I saw the Canon was much superior in their megapixels and in video while Nikon seemed to have slightly better Autofocus and more lenses. At that time I had decided on Nikon for probably the simplest of reasons as I can't remember exactly why I chose them. I do know that I picked up my first DSLR because it was being sold in a bundle with a second lens, bag and memory card. So, I figured I'd have everything I'd need for a while.
Many cameras and lenses later I find that I was so very wrong... ha!
Funny enough, right around the same time I was getting into my first couple DSLRs the Mirrorless segment was being introduced as well. But, the hoopla was so minimal that I really didn't start paying attention to the chatter until 2013. Mostly, to be honest, is the continued message that if you don't have a Full Frame camera, you're not really a photographer.
It seemed like many of us were working hard to be able to one day purchase a Full Frame camera and maybe feel better about ourselves. This can happen if you hang out with a lot of photographers.
But, later I found that Full Frame wasn't everything I thought it'd be and although awesome in so many ways I was ready to explore my options.
In comes Fujifilm. Finally, they are on my radar and I really start to pay attention. Raving reviews all over the internet, youtube and people are really starting to pay attention. Me being a techie guy thought, hmm, something very different to what I'm used to, but still able to produce superb image quality. Tell me more!!
I'm the kind of guy that will buy a movie at Best Buy without ever watching it before, just to see if its good. I was at the point in photography where I knew the settings, how to find favorable light, and how to use my creativity. So, I knew I'd be capable of using these cameras. But, there is always the unknown.
So I made the leap to Fuji head first. I started with the X-E1, which I soon returned as I found it slow. I then picked up the X-E2 and it felt responsive and was a lot of fun. I picked up a few lenses and headed out to explore the world around me.
Biggest differences I saw:
No optical viewfinder - As these have no mirror what you see through the viewfinder is what the sensor sees. Sort of like looking at a mini tv screen. To some this is strange, but I took to it very quickly. Possibly because I've spent years playing video games or because I spend tons of time on my cell phone, who knows. Because this is like a tv screen Fuji has been able to make these screens super customizable. I love customizing!! So things like showing you the histogram on the screen are neat, or changing to a black and white display if you are shooting in that mode, to showing you your exposure and on and on.
Knobs galore - If you ever shot film or like the retro styling of using knobs instead of tiny buttons this could be the camera system for you. By using knobs you'll know most of your camera settings even before you pick up the camera and turn it on. Very handy! If you're a hands on person this is great, while others will prefer the buttons their used to on a DSLR. Your fingers WILL have to learn a different way of taking photos. If you're looking for a mini DSLR, this isn't it. But, once you get over that and start getting used to the Fuji it is so much fun!
Small form factor - A lot of people are starting to look at these cameras due to their smaller footprint. Pro DSLRs and lenses are very heavy. I would think that after yrs of carrying around 20 plus lbs would start doing a number on your neck and back. And now, there is an alternative. These cameras are also mostly metal in their construction but do weigh a lot less and are smaller than a full DSLR. Some like to use these for travel or as a backup to their existing gear.
Phenomenal lenses - A great camera doesn't reach its full potential without amazing lenses to pair with them. And, Fuji has really delivered. Their kit lens is faster, better built and produces better images than any other kit lens I've seen out there. They offer 1.4 and 1.2 lenses! All their lenses are metal and have metal mounts. I think there are a few of lower end ones that are part metal and part plastic. Compared to Nikon, most of their current lenses are plastic. The Fuji lenses are also smaller and lighter to the competition. And, Fuji releases a roadmap for up to a yr, so you always know what's coming down the pipeline. And that helps you have time to get your wallet ready.
They keep getting better and better! - When Fuji cameras first rolled out their biggest weakness was slow autofocus. But, Fuji rolled out many firmware updates specific to their cameras and lenses. So, over time, your camera would actually improve. How awesome is that? To give you and idea I've had my gear for almost 5 months now and I've already had one update for each of my lenses and cameras in that time. Not only has this improved performance, but it has added features as well. I'm seeing a trend of them releasing two high end cameras every year and about 4-5 lenses per yr as well.
NOW TO THE X-T1
The X-T1 was released shortly after I purchased my X-E2. I figured I'd probably like it as it had some new features like its massive and quick Viewfinder, weather sealing, better grip, ISO dial and tons of customizable function buttons, but the price difference made me think on it a while. I learned to really enjoy my X-E2 and at the time was wondering if I could afford the X-T1 as I already had 2 X-E2s. I told myself they were just too similar and kept debating back and forth. I even tried it out for a could weeks and my wallet kept telling me no. So I decided I wasn't quite ready for it yet.
Fortunately for me I do make money from this business and was able to book an additional wedding for the year. This helped me to justify the purchase and eagerly ordered my X-T1 (which was actually sold out until the week I booked the wedding!). More and more reports on how awesome the camera was and how it had improved in many areas over the X-E2 had me anticipating the camera's arrival. I thought to myself that maybe I hadn't played with it enough when I had tried it out.
I was right! Without the worries of my finances I was able to put the camera through its paces and I was thrilled. The autofocus was faster than the already great X-E2. The grip helped my larger lenses feel a lot more balanced. The Viewfinder was huge and a pleasure to use. I just felt the overall camera to be quicker. Even small things like the tilting LCD screen on the back stood out. There are times when its nice to be able to see what you're taking a photo of when the camera is way below or above your eye level. The camera feels a little more substantial to the X-E2 and although they share a lot of similarities its clear that its a class above. But, in all fairness, I could photograph anything with either one.
But, these cameras are very complex in their own ways. I'm sure that even 6 months from now I'll discover more neat things I can do with it. And, as more lenses are released there will be a lot more options for people making the move to Mirrorless.
Let's be honest here...
The camera is not perfect and there are still a few areas I hope and know will be improved in newer models, but my Nikon's weren't perfect either!
The key thing to note here is that heading out with the X-T1 is fun!! Looking through the awesome viewfinder and composing your photo, moving the knobs and "feeling" the camera do its job is awesome. Some famous photographers have said how the Fuji cameras have soul and I have to agree. They have their own personalities and will react to different lighting conditions differently to a DSLR. But you can adjust and be creative on the spot and SEE it happening in the viewfinder. It really is hard to explain. The best way to find out what I'm talking about is to go and rent an X-T1 for a few days. You'll probably be frustrated the first few hrs as all the menus, dials, knobs, controls are not where you think they should be, but once you start thinking like a Fuji camera it is nothing but fun!
I recommend you try a mirrorless camera. Fuji, Olympus and Sony are the main manufacturers and all are very different. Perhaps one of them is your next FAVORITE CAMERA!!
Yesterday I got in my Fujifilm X-T1. If you recall from a previous post I had tried it out, but ended up returning it as my budget would not allow it. I had and still have my X-E2 which I am really enjoying. Given the newest firmware update the X-E2 is coming closer and closer to the X-T1 in performance. So why did I pick up the X-T1?
Since having the X-T1 my business has improved and I can now afford the X-T1. With more work comes more use and that is where I found the X-T1 would be a great investment. It offers a few key benefits to the X-E2.
- Weather sealed body: I don't often find myself in inclement weather, but with weddings you never know what you'll be faced with so its good to be well prepared and not have to worry too much about your gear.
- Large EVF. I had seen it before and it was very nice to use, but wasn't sure at the time if it was worth it. Having shot events recently without this sized screen I can see just how beneficial this is.
- Tilting LCD screen. When I was trying it out last time this was not something I really cared about at all. Since then I've been doing photo walks everywhere and there have been times I wish I could put the camera over my head or to "shoot from the hip". I know that I'll be using this LCD more often.
- It uses the same batteries. I already knew this, but whenever you upgrade a camera its always good to check. Luckily I already have some spares.
- More controls on the camera exterior. It looks like Fuji has listened to its customers and placed more options and settings on the camera body itself to minimize the need to dive into the menus. Not that I went in there often, but over time I'm sure this will become extremely convenient.
I'm really excited to use this camera and make full use of it. Not worrying about whether I can or can't afford it is awesome, but purchasing a top of the line product is even more rewarding. With some use I'll decide if I'll get a second one as I use my cameras in tandem for weddings and events.
Please enjoy a few photos of the new X-T1!
This camera is the big brother to the X-E2. It has a larger grip and the traditional viewfinder hump as well. It looks a tad large until you see the large viewfinder housed within. I prefer the rangefinder styling of the X-E2, but to be honest these are both very different cameras.
One of the major additions to the X-T1 to the X-E2 is the dedicated ISO dial on the top left. On the X-E2 you could access it via a menu using one of the function buttons. Although I tend to stay on the auto ISO settings I can see that studio work and other situations how convenient it is to have the dial right on top.
This is a view from behind the camera. You can see the ISO dial and the different shooting modes underneath as well. One less thing to go menu diving for. Nice!
As you move to the right you have the large viewfinder and the tillable LCD screen below.
To the right you'll see the other dials. These are in similar positions to where they are in the X-E2. You have the large shutter dial, the on off switch and the exposure compensation dial. I really like that dial on the X-T1 as its raised and very easy to grip. For my style of shooting I am constantly adjusting that dial so making it easier to grip is phenomenal. You can also see one of the function buttons there that you can customize. And you have the video record button as well, which I believe you can customize as well.
This is a different angle so you can the backside of the camera.
I'm really excited to use this camera more. I put a few lenses on it already and that viewfinder is just awesome. Also, I felt like some of the lenses focused faster as well.
I'm sure to post more about the X-T1 as I get bonded to it.
If you are looking for the full package in a mirrorless body this one is high on the list. It has been winning awards and causing many photographers to dump their gear and start looking at Fuji.
Good job Fuji!
Fujifilm continues to impress me. I've only been using their gear for a few months, but they continue to improve and enhance their systems. I was impressed with the X-E1, but more so by the X-E2 and feel like I made a fantastic choice. Its quick, takes great photos and really makes me want to go out and shoot more.
So of course I've been out and about on a variety of photo walks taking photos and having fun. Then, a couple days ago Kevin Mullins, one of my favorite Fuji photographers, posts that the newest firmware update for the X-E2 is finally here.
I'd heard rumors of some of the things they were going to introduce (which is why I held off of getting the X-T1) and went immediately to his post to find out more.
Some of the improvements:
- The big one for me is an improved Electronic Viewfinder. The refresh rate of the X-E2 viewfinder was improved to match the quickness of the X-T1 viewfinder. Even more impressive it keeps this high refresh rate in low light! On all previous models the refresh rate would slow down to almost half the speed in low light and took some getting used to. Not anymore. Hurray for Fujifilm
- The view mode is re-introduced. A lot of people were really bugged by the view mode being removed from the X-E2. It bugged me at first, but I enjoy reviewing quickly in the viewfinder. I only really noticed it when I wanted to show someone a photo I had taken. The average person finds it strange reviewing a photo in the viewfinder. But, now they don't have to.
- Focus peeking highlights color option. This is something I haven't really used much, but the standard color is white. In very bright scenes or low contrast scenes the white is hard to see. They have now added red and blue which is really helpful in those situations.
These are the major improvements, but all are significant. So if you have the X-E2 I highly recommend updating your firmware. You can download it here.
No its not dejavu, but I did own an X100s temporarily about a month ago. I tried it out and enjoyed it, but I was hesitant about the lens focal length. As the lens is fixed I really have no option and that worried me at the time. But, now that I have my two "for work" cameras I feel really good about getting to know the X100s better and I know it will serve quite useful during wedding ceremonies as well as times where I need to be discrete.
Reasons why I know I'm going to really enjoy this camera:
- The built in lens is very small which adds to the discreteness when out shooting. It also keeps the camera very light.
- The silent shutter. From more than three feet away you can't hear it. No joke.
- At times I will need this wider field of view and this is a very sharp lens.
- The close up capability of this camera/lens combination is really good. To the point where I can do semi closeups of things without any problems.
- It has an optical and electronic viewfinder. Although I use the electronic viewfinder primarily I can see how street photographer and landscapes could benefit from the optical view.
- This will become my primary photo walk camera for street, landscape and city photography.
- A very easy pick up and go type camera. No fumbling around trying to decide what lens to use.
Please enjoy a few photos of my new black X100s. I highly recommend this camera as a companion camera to your current system, or a do-it-all travel camera, or the perfect street photography camera. If you have a chance rent or try one out. You will be very pleased!