It's time I had a backup camera for the Fuji XT-1. The six month experiment is over, I don't see myself changing back to full-frame Nikon cameras any time soon so this is it. Call it habit, personality, whatever; I'm someone that must have a backup body. Anything else makes causes me undue stress and anxiety. I could use the X100S as a backup but that doesn't quite cut it for me. It's only a sort of backup for one lens which might not be at all appropriate for what I am tryng to do on any given day.
I'm not saying it won't work for you, it just doesn't work for me even if that's all in my head. If you are at a point where you might need a backup camera for you Fuji system things are a bit difficult to decide. It's not that there aren't enough choices, there's too many. Here are a few thoughts causing me to vacillate wildly on various "buy now" buttons my mouse hovers over.
The Economy Route
What's the likelihood my XT-1 will up and die? Not likely at all. Given my track record it's also unlikely to get damaged, broken, or stolen. that's never happened to me. I'm not an outdoor guy, I'm not an adventure guy. I don't rock climb or go into combat zones. The fact is I've had lenses go belly up not bodies.
The most economic and maybe the most sensible choice is that cheapest same-sensor Fuji X camera out there. The XM-1. Hell they are dirt cheap and if you go used then they are practically free. This makes a lot of sense if the back-up sits there doing nothing. It also weighs nothing and takes up very little bag space. It's only there in case of disaster. If that doesn't cut it or you want to add a bit of emotion into the econo route mix, there's the XE-1 or better yet the XPRO-1 route. Heck you can get the XPRO-1 kind of free with a deal I just saw; XPRO-1 with two free lenses at the price of ummm, the two lenses.
The Sensible Route
This would be the absolute nexus of most bang for the buck. The obvious choice for XT-1 photographers. The baby XT-1, AKA the XT-10. Enough said?
Oh, you disagree. Well take a look at XE-2 prices. It would seem to me that an XE-2 makes no sense at all for a backup to the XT-1 unless you happen to have one already. The XT-10 checks all the logical tick boxes of balancing economy, similarity, performance, etc. Unless you really do have other needs.
The All In Premium Route
The choice real photographers make. The one where we rationalize all the reasons having the exact same body and the main camera make sense; A second XT-1. I've made this decision more times than not over the last few decades. The controls are the same, the feel is the same, the pictures are the same (doesn't really count for the Fuji line up at this point). It just makes sense.
But does it, really make sense? It makes no sense at all if what you end up with is an XT-1 that sits around doing nothing 99.9% of the time. Just a waste of money. Candidly, I'll probably rationalize my way to this particular option based on the expanded possibilities and much better working method of having two bodies with two different primes mounted like I used to with my Leica cameras. The truth is probably more like I want a GS version of the XT-1 too.
The procrastinator Route.
We all know the XPRO-2 will be out any moment. It will have all sorts of new wonderful-ness. What's more is it will most definitely have the first sensor upgrade ever in the Fuji X System ILC line-up. More mega-everything, what's not to like about that? It would make no sense to buy an expensive back-up option at this point right? You may as well just wait and spend the money on the new camera.
That's not really a back-up camera decision. That's a camera upgrade decision for XT-1 shooters. It's a decision to get a new primary camera and end up using the XT-1 as a backup camera that sits there doing nothing all the time (unless you really will mount two primes and have both bodies on you all the time while shooting). In reality this just sends you back to the top of the loop if being sensible.
Even if you do end up using two bodies at the same time with two primes, do you really want different sensors in them? That's why this decision puts you back to the top of the loop. When the new camera comes out the XT-1 falls into current XE-2 territory. Too expensive compared to other options to make a lot of sense at current prices. Unless of course you already have one or there is a massive price drop which is unlikely due to the XT-10.
Heck, this route is always kind of recursive because we all know every tier in the current line up will see the new sensor as well as other stuff the XPRO-2 has in fairly short order. The XT-2, XT-20, etc.
The Bottom Line
X System photographers are spoiled with choices at the moment and it looks like we'll be spoiled with choices when the new better-er-er sensor makes it's way through the line up. Even more so, as all the cameras discussed will be flooding the used market at fire-sale prices shortly.
For now I think I know my route. I'll wait for the XPRO-2 announcement. Then I will wait for a fantastic price on an XT-1 Graphite Silver Edition. Done. Well sort of done because you might come back tomorrow and find that my itchy buy-now button finger just went and did that today since I've already decided. Alternatively my buy-now button finger might be so enamored with the market-speak on the XPRO-2 I do that instead.
I'll report back as soon as either of those two things happen.
All images made with the Fuji XT-1 and 18-55 XF f/2.8-4. Processed with VSCO Film05 BW400CN+