After a few real-wolrd outings with my X-Pro2 I started to seriously rethink my Fuji kit. Specifically I discussed ditching my current plan to acquire the newly released 23mm f/2 WR. Instead I mused about why it may be a better path for me to skip that lens as well as a planned second XPro-2 and go with an X100t or the upcoming follow-on. That post follows a long and winding path that ends up with an XPro-2, a few small primes that are not 23mm and some form of X100 as my 23mm option as well as my back-up camera.
For my own uses, especially for personal work the X100 setup is far better than an X-Pro2 and my current 23mm f/1.4 and most likely better than an X-Pro2 with the new 23mm f/2. Conversely the X-Pro2 is far better with my 18mm and 35mm f/2 primes than the X100 and conversion lenses. There are two downsides are fixing that second body at 23mm on the X100 present. The first and biggest is that my go-to prime lens combo for not only the Fuji X cameras but for decades has been a 28mm and 50mm equivalent. Heck even when shooting medium format film my two most used lenses were my 50mm and 80mm on 6x6. That's roughly 28/50. The more minor downside is different handling between the two bodies I am swapping back and forth quickly.
You Can Learn A Lot From Metadata
The couple of pictures sprinkled throughout the post are from one of those mornings where for a brief time the light in a particular spot is absolutely perfect. Doesn't coincide typically with where you happen to be on any given day. Doesn't last long but when it does you just have to make some pictures. The ratios are great, the angles are great, the certain way direct sun is bouncing off random objects is perfect making just about everything look great. Not only that but it's super bright too allowing low ISO's and just about any shutter speed/aperture combo you'd want. No reflectors, no other lighting gear required, nothing.
Neesy was hanging around from a workshop we hosted the day before and I just had to make a few random pictures while the light lasted. The 18-55mm just happened to be mounted to my XT-1 used for demo shots and exposure tests the day before so that's what I used. It's interesting using a zoom when your mostly a prime kind of photographer, especially if you are working really fast and not taking a whole lot of time to think about focal length choice within the range. Looking at your choices after the fact can be enlightening.
I didn't make a ton of pictures. On second thought I made far more than I would usually make in the same time period. So I guess not a huge total amount but a crap-ton more per minute than typical for myself. Here's the surprise, the focal length breakdown out of 82 total.
- 28 at 18mm, no giant surprise as I love the 28mm equiv FOV and my 18/2 is one of my most used lenses.
- 27 at in or around 23mm. Now that's surprising.
- 4 at what would be considered 27mm territory.
- 23 at or within 1mm of 35mm.
This is shocking to me given that if I had went with two bodies and two primes instead I certainly would have mounted the 18mm and the 35mm and never would have mounted the 23mm and 35mm (unless I didn't have an 18mm) or even considered the 18mm and 23mm. The metadata suggests either way would have served me well.
I know this is just one circumstance but it's an important one in that I typically use the 18-55mm when using strobes and such rather than on-the-fly like this. In most cases that are remotely similar to this quick set of stuff with Neesy I use primes. Running across this set and doing a quick analysis of that 18-55mm metadata is certainly enlightening when deciding what my travel kit will look like in 2017. This suggests that an X100 type body fixed at 23mm may serve me well along with an X-Pro2 at 18mm or at 35mm, or even at 56mm. I causes me to question if that 18/35 combo all the time is absolutely the only way to go.
18mm Vs 23mm
Depending on how any given photographer works, where they like to stand, their own personal vision, along with dozens of other factors there tends to be certain chasms when it comes to focal lengths. Some may look at 18mm and 23mm as more or less the same, interchangeable in a way. That 28mm equiv vs 35mm equiv is one of my giant lines in the sand. The line that separates wide and not wide. That 18mm FOV is the step that based on my subject matter, working distances, and all the other stuff really starts to exhibit the property of a tiny-bit of change results in giant shifts off difference.
Given the above I should have probably guessed that an 18/23mm combo might be something I should consider but I've never done so. Intellectually they seem to close to matter much even though when asking myself the question of how different they are my answer is always night and day. Based on this mini-epiphany, I'm going to take a bit of time to look back through my archives looking for similar circumstances where I happened to be using a zoom within these ranges. I'll let you know if the same thing I just observed holds up. I'm also going to take a closer look at what my usage between 18/23 and 18/35 (or the equivalent FOV) happens to be in terms of sequence. In other words, do I tend to flip between 18mm and 23mm a lot or do I use one for longer stretches then the other. Same goes for 18mm and 35mm.
If it turns out that I flip-flop between 18/23mm frequently then go to 35mm vs. flip-flopping frequently between 18/35mm the notion of an X100 type body vs a second X-Pro2 is certainly looking like a better travel kit for me. I'm definitely going to do a two body 18/23mm combo my next opportunity to see what that feels like.
Just for the heck of it here's a video contact sheet for anyone remotely interested in what a short session looks like in terms of working the scene. Everything from initial exposure test thru all the ooops frames. Forgive the whacky old-time toning treatment, as far as I can tell theres no way to turn that off for this theme in Apple photos. Also I really hate that the fake photo borders apple plasters on cut into the picture instead of wrap around the photo, that really does a number on shots framed tightly. No I don't really crop into feet and stuff. Too bad because with a tiny bit of customization ability this theme would be really cool.
All images made with the Fuji XT-1 and 18-55mm XF. Processing via Lightroom CC with preset slapped on somewhat representative of a super slow speed fine grained high-contrast B/W film instead of my usual super gritty kind of thing, better reflects the actual shooting conditions in this particular set of circumstances.