Rethinking My Fuji X Kit

What a long and winding road my Fuji X transition has been. In one way I've loved all of the X camera's I've owned. In other ways I've loved certain aspects of them so much I was willing to put up with their shortcomings. After having intensively immersed myself in making pictures with the XPro-2 for five strait days a week ago I am seriously re-thinking what my Fuji X kit should look like.

Brief History

  • The original X100, loved it. My biggest issue was not speed or menus, or anything like that. I even liked the way it looked shooting the 23/2 wide-open flaws and all. The dancing framelines even in manual focus kinda bothered me but more theoretically than in reality after I got used to the camera. Actually didn't want to sell it after I got the X100S but couldn't see having two.
  • XPro-1 Loved this camera for so many reasons but just couldn't make it work for me with the 35mm and the 60mm at all in most of my shooting circumstances (darkness). No idea why this was and the original X100 didn't seem unworkable? I literally had to keep my Nikons just because the XPro-1 was unworkable in anything but fairly bright conditions. Might have been different if I opted for the 18mm f/2 early on.
  • X100S For me a "meh" upgrade". I really didn't notice any huge or momentous change from using the X100. In fact the only quirks that bothered me like the dancing framelines were still there. It was only marginally faster in very few circumstances in my reality. No big deal. Had this camera and XPro-1 concurrently but never used the XPro-1. So XPro-1 sold.
  • Up until that point I was absolutely an OVF bigot. I just could not use EVF's and make pictures that I wanted to make. I tried, I really did but they threw my timing off. Honestly I do not give a shit about previewing exposure and stuff. Not how I work and I've been doing this long enough where I know what the hell it's going to look like. EVF to me = all downside. Plus they made me seasick.
  • Enter a bunch of eBuddies, ones I trust telling me I just must try the XT-1 because it's way way different. For a while I was like, sure, right. That's what you guys say about every EVF so far and they all suck. I'll pass. After consistent nagging from various people I did try it. I gave an XT-1 six months of commitment. Boom, sold, doesn't throw my timing off. No, still not as good as an OVF in many ways but in one it's good — It's frigging huge, well it's at least back where 70's film cameras were thank god.

And that's that. After about three or four months I didn't need my whole six months to decide. All other gear gone and I was 100% Fuji X system. There's really no complaints and I could be pretty happy using that camera and the awesome Fuji X lenses.

Fast Forward Current Kit

My current kit is a bit of everything. Well, I really don't have any telephoto options but that's because I never shoot telephoto kinds of things. Why would I want that option if I never use it. Hell I barely used any of my telephoto lenses when I made a living making pictures for other people all day every day.

  • Bodies: XPro-2 and XT-1.
  • 14mm f/2.8
  • 18mm f/2
  • 18-55mm
  • 23mm f/1.4
  • 35mm f/2
  • 56mm f/1.2

All fine and dandy. Don't really need anything else. I'm super happy. Sure I need a macro, or maybe instead those Fuji extensions but not really anything else. That was until I used the XPro-2 24x7 for five days.

Pondering On Contents Of My Bag

You might be able to tell from my first XPro-2 field report that having used a rangefinder style OVF again for the first time in about a year I not only miss it but am convinced it's the right way to go for myself. I'll post more about the XPro-2's wonderful viewfinder in some additional field reports but I'll cut to the chase…

My initial thoughts on the 18mm f/2 and 35mm f/2 being the lenses to use with the XPro-2 were spot-on. In use they are wonderful to use with the OVF, they're small, quiet, discrete, just perfect. Of course my field trip coincided with the actual announcement of the new Fuji 23mm f/2. I immediately knew I was going to buy this lens and there's a good chance my existing 23mm f/1.4 would never see the light of day again. It's really big on the XPro-2. A factor for my psychology when making pictures out and about or even really close to my collaborators as I do. It's also not super-fantastic with the OVF. Not bad but not great.

In chatting with someone on-line about XPro-2 vs the X100T it was my flat-out opinion that if he loved the 23mm FOV that the X100 bodies and OVF were a far better way to go than the XPro-2 and 23mm f/1.4. I'm sure that flies in the face of common wisdom because you know, the 23mm f/1.4 is killer image quality blah, blah.

So here I am with plans that go something like this:

  • Buy 23mm f/2 as soon as it's available in September.
  • Keep XT-1 for a while as my back-up and also my other alternative focal length so I don't have to waste time switching lenses in some circumstances.
  • Wait for a bit after the XT-2 actually hits the street and maybe decide to replace my XT-1 down the road. Probably with another XPro-2 since my guess is 76.564% of XPro-2 shooters will ditch the XPro-2 for "better" EVF and other "better-ness" which I don't give a crap about making XPro-2's available cheap.

Hold on one second. This all makes sense but one tiny thing. Why not just get rid of my 23mm f/1.4. Skip the 23mm f/2 and grab another X100T for my 23mm FOV. In many ways just skipping the 23mm for the ILC cameras and using an X100T instead might be a better option. If not an X100T, then whatever the next one is later in the year or whatever. Sure I won't have as many megapixels if I go the X100T route, that I don't care about.

Here are the only downsides right now at this very moment vs my 23mm f/2 and second XPro-2 strategy.

  • Different controls, specifically the focus point joystick. That's kinda important in juggling cameras fast. Will probably change with the next X100 follow-on.
  • Fewer two bodied focal length options when using two bodies to change up fields of view quickly. This one I've got to think thru a bit. Fixing one body at 23mm may not be what I actually want to do. Then again I'll have to see how it plays in the real world.
  • Way far down the list is the slight difference in ultimate IQ between the new sensor and old. Honestly this is not important to me at all but I'll put it out there.

I'm not going to do a damn thing right now. I'll wait for the 23mm f/2, the XT-2, and that to settle a bit but I probably won't wait for the follow on X100 to figure this out. There's a very good chance I'll end up with an X100T as my 23mm option instead of a second body and 23mm f/2 WR though. I would say better than 50/50. Just something to think about if you are thinking about the 23mm f/2.

End Notes

Early Sunday morning (at least what felt early to me) after a very late Saturday night. Some grab shots of Melanie and Lauren fooling around with some wardrobe and props after breakfast.

All pictures made with the Fuji XPro-2 and 18mm f/2 R at around f/4-ish. Processing via Lightroom CC with VSCO FILM05 BW400CN applied on import.