San Francisco with a Fuji XT-1
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Fujifilm in the retail market for the past few years and I am very familiar with their products. However aside from borrowing an X100s for the blur of a day that was my wedding last summer, I haven’t had much real world experience with Fuji’s cameras.
With some major traveling ahead for 2015, I made plans to sell my bulky Canon gear and take the plunge into mirror-less. I had enough scratch for an X-T1 and the little 18mm pancake lens. So on a recent trip to the west coast, another first of mine, I finally got the opportunity to get some real world experience with my new camera.
Since I knew a much larger trip was on the horizon I thought I would use this opportunity to see how well the Fuji system would travel.
I was doing a bit of work in San Francisco so I still needed my standard Canon kit. Heading out the door with my two carry-ons (one for clothes and one for gear) it occurred to me that my gear bag was still just too heavy. I really did not want to carry that weight around with me for the whole trip. I wanted to be nimble and travel as light as possible. I couldn’t dump the Canon kit just yet, so out came the laptop and it’s accessories. A bunch of weight was gone, I could see how I would do without a computer and the job didn’t require any on-site editing anyways.
Now that meant my smartphone would be the only means of editing, sharing and backing up my images. It was only a short 4 day trip and if I was missing anything, it really wouldn’t be the end of the world. (So long as my cards didn’t get lost!)
Before and after the paid work, my Canon stuff stayed at the hotel. Which made my bag seem almost weightless. I was free to explore a new city with new friends, unencumbered. It was excellent! I transferred a few shots here and there directly to my phone via wi-fi and shared some wonderful shots online instantly.
Using the on camera’s preset filters allowed me to have some great creativity without having to do any editing on my images at all. Even for posts to Instagram for example, I found I would crop it square and be done with it. Once I got home and back on the full-size system I was certainly able to play around a little more and enjoy my typical workflow, but holy crap, I didn’t miss it at the time.
Because I shoot digitally there is always this tiny thought in the back of my head saying “I can fix this or adjust that in post”. Being an event photographer though, I often shoot at high volume so I know I really don’t want to do anything in post if I don’t have to. And what I found with the X-T1, along with some great glass (Thank you @PhotoTrev!) is that even when I did get on the full system at home, I really didn’t feel the need to do much of any processing at all. The .jpegs straight out of the camera were beautiful!
My worst attribute as a photographer, from the standpoint of an editor is my horizon lines. I’m always shutter button heavy and it sets me off balance. But with the custom viewfinder I can remove all distracting elements from the screen and leave only the level. This meant I could see the entire scene before me with a friendly reminder to keep my shots level. After a few frames with this feature enabled I was addicted!
There are so many things I like about this Fuji set up. The custom viewfinder, the glass selection, the silent shutter, the wi-fi connections, the size and portability, weather resistance, manual focus assist, ISO sensitivity, the Q button, film simulations…the list is pretty long and even continues beyond this.
I would say for me personally the only major drawback would be the flash options. Having come from the magic that is Canon’s new 600ex-RT system, I was pretty spoiled. There is so much control at your fingertips with those flashes. But I am travelling for most of 2015 and a grandiose flash system is not going to be travel friendly. There are also various other solutions. Even some things from Fujifilm directly should coming very soon, from what I’ve been told.
Everything about this set up allowed me to enjoy my time in San Francisco without feeling like I was carrying a studio around with me. And to be honest I didn’t long for anything. I had a gorgeous wide angle 12mm Zeiss-Touit lens, a good mid range 27mm f/2.8 and the ever beautiful 56mm f/1.2. It was travel photography heaven. (I left the 18mm at home)
I have never been a fanboy of anything really. If it’s the right tool for the job, I couldn’t care less about who makes it. But FujiFilm seems to have made a fanatic out of me. The people that work there are incredibly kind and generous. They are open and honest about all product glitches and their plans to correct them and they support their clients better than any other in the industry. But most importantly they have created products that are capable of producing incredible images. For the avid Adventure Seeker Fuji’s lineup certainly has the right set of tools for the job.