The Day I Went Fuji X-System

I've written a bit here and there about my plunge into the Fuji X-system that started with a six month commitment to use only an XT-1 to see if I could actually use an EVF only camera. I liked certain things about my on-again, off-again use of various X-cameras that ended up with my main camera system being Nikons and my fool-around camera an X100S. I chalked the decision to use an XT-1 exclusively for six-months up to those things I really liked in combination with a few eBuddies continuously telling me how much different the XT-1 EVF was and that I would like it. Looking back at the time I made that self-imposed commitment there was a bit more to it than that.

Yesterday I stumbled across a folder of pictures I made with Patty when my main system was Nikon and the X100S was my fool-around camera. For the first time it registered with me that this folder of messing around with Patty was the last time I ever used my Nikon system.

Here's the thing; I made far fewer pictures that day with the Fuji X100S than I did with my Nikons but I liked far more of my X100S shots than I did my Nikon shots. Not every single one, sure I made quite a few with my Nikons that I loved but given the number of frames vs stuff I really loved the hit rate was far more with the X100S. Most of the criteria used in judging which ones I liked had nothing to do with anything remotely technical like resolution and what not.

The truth is I actually had a thought process that day. My X100S was at the ready for more "BTS" candid kind of stuff I thought I would just snap off a few frames here or there while Patty was getting ready, fixing her hair, taking a break, whatever. That's how the day started but as it progressed I found myself just using that X100S more and more for the "real shots" too.

What was that difference? The difference I was seeing in the pictures I made that I liked better. It certainly was something but nothing that I could put my finger on exactly and precisely. It's something I noticed before but never really attributed it completely to the camera I was using. In fact I was looking at it in reverse in many ways. I was looking to see if a smaller, simpler, more compact set of tools could be as good as my full frame faster camera for a different set of things. Some of those things were technical and measurable, some of them were less measurable but related to my perception of what my Nikons did well.

Reflecting on that difference I was seeing and felt before this last session I could see that I was choosing different moments. Or was I being given different moments from the person in front of the camera? Was it the size, the sound of the camera or lack of sound? Was it how the camera looked? How it felt? Was it me or the person I was working with? A combination of both? Maybe all of the above. Does it matter?

Short answer — Absolutely. Long answer — whatever the reasons, anything that changes your psychology will change how you go about working with people. In turn that will change reactions of people in a giant circle. No matter what the reason The Fuji X cameras I've used have (forgive me for this) a certain X-factor that for my purposes hits all the right notes and causes me to work differently, choose different moments, and either directly or indirectly causes the people to work with to give me a little bit more of what I am looking for. That's significant and very personal.

Choosing A Camera

These reflected thoughts, actually the motivation for a post were prompted by an article I saw somewhere describing why one particular wedding photographer could never use a small mirrorless camera for her work. In the shortest summary possible her conclusion was that they were too cute and didn't give off an air of professionalism. They weren't big enough or loud enough (loud not just in an audible way) for her clients to feel comfortable they were in good hands.

My initial reaction was something along the lines of "you're an idiot". My second thought was, you're absolutely right for what you want and how you're psychology works which is just as important as anything else, probably more so when choosing what camera you use. This is probably ten times as true if you primarily work with people as your main subject.

Me, what was I looking for? Something, anything that would get me holistically back to where I was when shooting small, simple 35mm film cameras. Just digital. Prior to my long and winding journey on-again, off-again affair with the Fuji X cameras I was shooting 35mm film cameras quite a bit. Now? Not so much. I'm super happy with my current main setup being an XPro-2 and a few small prime lenses. For me that's the current optimal setup that hits all the right notes technically and psychologically to make the pictures I currently want to make.

What's best for you? Who knows but I consider how you feel when working with gear probably has a far greater effect than any negligible performance differences no matter how you parse them out. Sure there are edge cases that may dictate one thing over another on a pure and measurable basis but those are pretty clear. What about everything that's not any particular edge case?

End Notes

All pictures made with the Fuji X100S. Processing via Lightroom CC with some random black and white preset plastered on at import. From the looks of it probably one of my own concoctions given that the histograms tell me there are black blacks and white whites.