In one of my earlier postings I extolled the virtues of the Fujifilm X10, that being the camera which to a large extent re-connected me to the world and passion of photography. Since then I have continued to expand my Fujifilm X-series collection to include a number of bodies and lenses and as we head further into 2016 I hope to add a few more, dependent upon commissions, as, not yet being a ‘professional’ photographer, I essentially use any money made from my images to purchase new equipment.
So looking back over the past 12-months I have bought no fewer than 5 camera’s and 5 lenses and sold 2 camera’s. To date I have gathered the X10, X20, X30, and then sold both the X20 and X30 – the X10 remains my favorate camera, if for sentimental reasons as much as anything else; it was my first ‘X-series’ camera and re-engaged me with photography as more than something I just did on my holidays. In June I sold my X100. That I regret in hindsight although at the time it was little used and had been gathering dust. I’d bought that early 2013 but after having it sent back for repairs to a fault, it came back with a dust spec on its sensor which probably put me off a little and my confidence in it never really recovered. However to ‘replace’it, in a manner of speaking, I bought a now-discontinued X-S1, probably the least successful of all the X-series cameras. Essentially an X10 with a large zoom, it was my go-to camera during the summer and I bought it with trips-out in mind. Actually, although not used massively, I have captured some lovely images with it and it remains part of the collection for now.
In August I bought into one of those deals Fujifilm frequently offers its customers, in this case an X-M1 with a two-lens package of an XC16-50mm telephoto zoom and an XF27mm ‘pancake’ lens which is an outstanding lens and given the whole package was something like £400, really a bargain. The X-M1 was my introduction into the mirror-less interchangeable lens system. While not having the build quality of some of its stable-mates (plastic body), the IQ from its APS-C sensor is very nice indeed. With the 27mm attached it produces some stunning images and as a compact ‘street camera’ that combo works a treat. Of course there is a lack of a viewfinder. While I much prefer camera-to-eye shooting, for street work the articulated screen is very useful and I have captured some lovely images from it – as in the image above, captured in Manchester in January 2016. I would add that, for a ‘cheap’ kit lens, the XC16-50mm is also a very capable piece of kit to have available.
In October I was able to purchase a significant step-up in quality when I bought an X-Pro1 and both the XF18mm f/2 and XF35mm f/1.4 lenses. Now I am aware that Fuji have just launched their new X-Pro2 and there is a tendency to play up the newer model and make unflattering comparisons when set against the older sibling. It may be true that the newer version is much the better camera but I really so like the X-Pro1. It’s a wonderful camera which, when married to the prime lenses is capable of capturing some wonderful images of real quality. However when looking at the lenses, I must confess a preference -so far – for the 18mm rather than the much-loved 35mm. I think that from both using it on the street and while shooting a wedding in December, I found the ‘space’ afforded by the wider lens more useful. That said both are lovely pieces of glass and along with the 27mm pancake, offer me some nice options.
So looking ahead to 2016, what’s on the cards? Well I have just purchased an XF60mm f/2.4 macro which I will use for portrait work and I think will be a nice addition to the collection. My next lens target will be the XF 10-24mm but given the cost, that will have to wait a while yet. More immediately, an X-E2 body with an Xf18-55mm lens will be in the offing as this again will offer outstanding IQ with much more usable focusing – always the weakness in earlier X-series cameras – and Fuji’s new ‘classic chrome’ film simulation which I have seen examples of and really like. Along with the X-Pro1 I feel this will offer me a good solid range of cameras and lenses for the weddings I have coming up this year. Beyond that, well as work comes in, investment – and that’s what it is – will continue… X-T1… X-Pro2!?
*Update 08/02/2016… well it didn’t take long for the X-E2 to arrive along with an XF60 mm f/2.4 Macro. I have to say that this combination of camera and lens is outstanding for portrait work and I used it last weekend for my shoot with baby Zoja to good effect. Additionally, no sooner had I bought the X-E2 then Fujifilm very kindly upgraded to firmware to version 4, effectively bringing it’s specs up to those of the ‘X-T’ series… and at no cost either! So next comes a Samyang 12mm, mainly for landscapes and some lighting for the home portraiture arm of the business… And, with 4 weddings in the offing, I will be purchasing an X-T10 body to compliment the X-E2. Heady days!