Sep 25

So long and thanks for all the fish

It’s so long Fuji and thanks for all the fish. (Google if not Douglas Adams fan).

It’s been a pretty happy 6 years with Fuji since my original X-Pro1 arrived. I thought the original concept was brilliant and they sustained that throughout. I’ve been impressed with the cameras, the lenses and immensely appreciative of the regular firmware updates.

Despite liking the “Leica influenced’ look of the X-Pro, I was much happier with the X-T1 and then the X-T2. Both superbly well designed cameras and an absolute joy to use. The combination of small size, low weight and high quality was perfect for me. The lenses I owned were excellent by and large with some rising to outstanding such as the 56mm f1.2 and 50-140mm f2.8, the 23mm f1.4 and the 90mm f2 and the wonderful little 14mm. Others were a tad underwhelming such as the 55-200mm which was great until you looked closely. I had two similar samples, others may have been luckier. The 18-55mm kit lens batted way above it place and was responsible for a high percentage of keepers from the cameras. I was hooked on the EVF from day one and always missed it when using the Nikon. I used the Fuji wherever weight mattered, the fells, longs walks, overseas travel or just when I wanted to grab a light bag. It fulfilled those requirements perfectly.

From day one it would have been more convenient to have a lightweight camera that shared a mount with the bigger Nikon. Not least of which to take as a backup camera on trips. When heading for Harris for example, I always had to take two entire systems to insure against breakage or malfunction. I dipped a toe into the DX Nikon range for a while but found it too frustrating.  

The straw that broke the camel’s back however was the instability of the files. A perfect exposure under perfect conditions resulted in a pretty good file if treated correctly. If however the file needed a degree of work in Photoshop, I found them to be fragile and smooth gradation between different tones could disappear quickly. I also found the propensity for the ‘grains’ in the image to form elongated shapes unattractive. Many authors reported on the dreaded Fuji ‘worms’. I never found these particular problematic as they seemed to appear if too much sharpening was applied. Many other photographers evolved specific workflows using software from other companies to arrive at their optimum files. I’m quite happy to admit that the problems I experienced were due to poor technique on my part, a lack of expertise or a lack of subtlety. However I didn’t find any such issues with Nikon and I didn’t want to have to evolve a complex process to edit raw files, I just wanted to operate in the same way as I had always done.

My ideal would have been a Nikon sensor in a Fuji X camera. A really interesting development might be a new series of sensors in the Fuji or perhaps a revised in camera software or processing engine.

Arguably the thing I may miss most about Fuji was the sense that one was part of a project to move on and develop. There was always a very strong sense that Fuji listened to users, listened to wishes and listened to criticism (lesson for Nikon here). Their regular Firmware releases showed this very clearly and they generously rewarded loyalty by improving the camera, at no cost, from the one you originally bought.

I’m sorry to be going, I really am. I may well return at one point but for now it’s off to pastures new and in the next Blog entry I’ll discuss what steps I’ve taken to replace the role of the Fuji X-T2.

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6 Comments:

  1. Martin Reece
    September 25, 2018

    Very interesting blog Mike, I think a lot of us are looking for the Holy Grail which does not exist. As the mirrorless systems evolve I am sure the quality v size and weight will be sorted to most peoples needs. I think the new Sony cameras are getting good reviews that said the lenses are expensive.

    For the time being my Canon 5D4 is my main camera. For days when I don’t want to carry a heavy Canon system I recently purchased a Canon M50 which produces some good images. In addition I have a Sony RX100 which is a great little pocket camera.

    I will look forward to reading your next blog

    Martin

  2. admin
    September 25, 2018

    Cheers Martin, I’d love one of those Sony RX’s, they seem perfect as a ‘shirt pocket’ camera. I think the game is changing pretty fast and increasing options are opening up. As ever I have to try to remember that landscape photographers are a pretty small part of the buying public and many of our needs don’t even reach the table.

  3. Dayve Ward
    September 26, 2018

    Hi Mike. Very good read. I had three systems at the same time a while ago. Sold two with the view of concentrating on a single system (both financially and grappling with too many systems). Did I learn? Was one system enough for all my needs? No! I’ve gone back to three again! Truth is, like Martin said, there’s no Holy Grail. I shoot a range of subjects both personally and professionally and each system had a specific place. The Nikon d810 is good tethered, while the Sony a7riii works for me in most other cases. I bought a Fuji x100t for my walk around. Love the little Fuji but I’d love it more if it had a Bayer sensor!

    We all have differing requirments and there’s usually a camera out there that helps us fulfil them. Or, if not, just wait a month for the next one to be released! Medium format is starting to look (a bit) more afordable. But that won’t be the Holy Grail either I suspect.

    Best wishes,
    Dayve

  4. Andy Phillips
    September 26, 2018

    Good blog Mike.

    My back is wilting under the load of DSLR full frame and yet no one has bought anything out that supplies all my requirements.Its getting closer but still a way off I think. The Sony looks great but I would need to sell the house to get the lenses.

    Does your TS work with the new system?

  5. admin
    September 26, 2018

    Cheers Dayve, appreciate the comment. I do enjoy the problem solving aspect of all this. The Holy Grail may or may not exist but I enjoy trying to find it. I hope I have a better idea this time next week.

  6. admin
    September 26, 2018

    Currently I don’t have a replacement for the Fuji but I suspect that the most likely options will all have issues using remotes, L brackets and B&S heads so I anticipate having to find some workarounds and potentially still some compromises. So amny camera makes put their emote sockets on the left end of the camera creating havoc with L brackets in portrait mode and remotes. Similarly most lens adapters that provide additional tripod mounts assume that everyone uses their cameras in landscape orientation only.


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