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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

After 3 years with Fuji X-Cameras I say "Domo Arigato Fujifilm and Ganbatte Kudasai!"


It's now 3 years ago when my camera shop called and told me that they just got a Fuji X100 in and that I could buy it. 30 minutes later I was holding that camera beauty in my hands.

I surprised myself a bit by buying a camera that I had never held in my hands and did not read any usability reviews about before I bought it. On top of that I was pretty sure that I would never buy another camera without a full frame sensor since I switched to a Canon 5D / 5D MK II long before.

But the Canon's were simply too heavy to always have them with me. I recall a photo tour to Paris where my giant back pack full of DSLR bodies and premium lenses completely wore me out. Towards the end of that trip I was down to one camera body with my 35mm f1.4 lens and the rest of the gear locked up in the hotel room.

To go "back" to an APS-C size sensor in order to greatly reduce the bulk of gear I had to lug around with me was all of a sudden very appealing. And a camera that had and optical and electronic viewfinder plus the aperture ring, shutter time and exposure compensation on dedicated wheels and in locations where I used to have them in my trusted analog cameras made the X100 worth a purchase without trying before buying.

The X100 was supposed to be my every day casual shooting camera. I still had the big DSLR rig for "serious" jobs. I took my first photos with the Fuji and loved the image quality and color out of camera so much, that I even threw my principle of "never to photograph anything else but RAW again" over board and set the X100 to JPG only.

eye to eye with a shark
Fuji X100 with initial Firmware at the aquarium at ISO 2000

But as much as I loved the X100 I had quickly written down a fairly long list of things that I found quirky about it. One example was the fairly long minimum focus distance before having to switch to macro. I like to get close to the action and constantly ran into that focus trap. I was especially annoyed by the 4 button pushes it took to engage and disengage the macro mode. Quickly I had a substantial list of things written down that, from my experience, should work differently. I mailed it out to reps and posted it into forums without expecting anything to come out from it..

Alsterdampfer St Georg Hamburg ATG
A walk with the compact X100 and returning with great image quality

But then something strange happened. Fuji responded to many of these points (that other photographers had pointed out as well) and implemented massive changes through (free) firmware updates! This was a completely new experience for me. My previous camera brands only did firmware updates if something was seriously broken. But Fuji listened to us photographers and made the cameras better without forcing us to purchase the next years model that fixed all previous issues - the way I was used to from other camera manufacturers.

Vor Frue Kirke - Copenhagen Cathedral - Fuji X100 Pano
Using the vertical in camera pano mode is my hobby

By that time I was hooked! I was first on the list to get a X-Pro 1 with XF 18mm and XF 35mm lenses and my usage of the DSLR's was reduced drastically! Although the early X100 and X-Pro 1 had some special auto focus "characteristics" I somehow managed to still get most of my images sharp out of those cameras. By that time the X-Cameras had gotten a lot of attention and amateurs as well as pros gave it a try. Some were more happy than others, but switching from a DSLR AF to a CDAF AF takes a bit of a different approach. This motivated me to share my experience of how to get most out of the Fuji X AF via this blog post. By today it has been read a few hundred thousand times and I have gotten a lot of positive feedback.

X-Pro 1 + VSCO Film + Alphabet Soup
Happy getting the X-Pro 1

But Fuji also continued to improved the X-Cameras via FW updates in respect of usability, AF performance and features! And even after introducing the X100S upgrade from the X100 after 2 years of production, they still pushed out a major FW and feature update to the X100 for free! This may have actually hurt the sale of new X100S, but it's probably massively outweighed by future customer loyalty.

...and counting - Fuji X-Pro 1
3 years Fuji-X and counting

Today, 3 years after purchasing my first Fuji X-Camera my annual share of photos taken with Fuji X-Cameras vs. my FF DSLR is about 99% to 1%. I almost always take at least one of my Fuji cameras with me when I leave the door (that's what photographers should always do). Now it is hard for me to justify keeping the DSLR, some jobs are still DSLR territory for me, though. But with each lens that Fuji introduces and that covers my previous exclusive DSLR lens field of view, I can sell yet another part of my DSLR set (like XF 35mm f1.4 replaced my EF 50mm f1.4 and XF 56mm f1.2 replaced my EF 85mm f1.8).


A New Dawn - Happy New Year 2014 - Fuji X100S
X100S - right place, right time, right camera :)


Happy Coffee Bokeh Friday 27.12.2013 - Fuji X-Pro 1
Fast lenses like the XF 35mm f1.4 allow for shallow DOF even with an APS-C camera


B&W Portrait - Fuji X100S
The X100(S) is not a portrait camera - really?



Bird and Prey - Fuji X100S
Bird and Prey - Fuji X100S


Reflect on your 2013 photo portfolio - Fuji X100S
The X100S let's me focus on my composition by allowing me to intuitively operate the settings.



Hamburg U4 Underground Station = Space Station - Fuji X-Pro 1
X-Pro 1 with Samyang 8mm f2.8 lens capturing spaceship underground stations



Happy Music Bokeh Friday 14.02.2024 - Fuji X100S
The X100S even produces nice bokeh for my weekly bokeh friday photos


Happy Bokeh Friday 10.01.2014 - Fuji X-Pro 1
Camera and lens FW updates made precise focusing on the X-Pro 1 much easier


Suspense - Fuji X100S
X100S with perfect timing capturing suspense, action and hope in one frame


25 Hours Design Hotel Hamburg Hafen City
The day I gave RAW on the X-Pro 1 my first try



Lines, Street and Cat content - dedpxl01- Fuji X100S
X100S was my tool  for Zack Arias DEDPXL01 assignment #lines



After tenthousands of images taken with my X-Cameras I hope that Fujifilm continues to innovate the X-System like they have done in the past 3 years. And if they do, my DSLR gear will be obsolete for me one day.

So Fujifilm, Ganbatte Kudasai! :)



If you have any further questions or want to share your Fuji-X experiences just leave a comment below, Twitter me @HamburgCam or visit my Homepage at www.MarcoLarousse.com

And if you liked my post I am always happy if you spread the word and retweet, like or google +1 it :-)