I switched to Fujifilm X

Yes, gear acquisition syndrome (GAS) seems ever-present in some photographers.

I had rented or used different cameras over the last few years, including Sony a7, Fujifilm X-T1, Fujifilm X-E1,Fujifilm X-T2, Olympus, Panasonic, Canon 5D Mk II, etc. because I was always curious. But switching cameras system is expensive and would have meant a learning curve to adjust to the new tool. I stuck with Nikon and worked to learn how to use what I had.

I recently switched to Fujifilm. I did not do this frivolously. I did not switch the camera system because Nikon sucks, and Fujifilm is fantastic. My decision was well considered.

My Nikon DSLR broke last winter, and I did not have the budget to replace it right away. I waited until the summer, and I spent the intervening months considering my options – purchase a Nikon D500, or Nikon D7200 or Nikon D5600. I realised that perhaps I should look at other options outside Nikon.

I borrowed a friend’s Canon, and while I was getting used to the difference in menus and controls, I started thinking about how I use a camera. I realised that the modern DSLR was not to my liking. Flipping into menus or holding down a specific combination of buttons to change things like ISO and shutter speed was a drag. I had rented some Fujifilm X cameras a few years ago, and I liked how the controls felt in my hand. I felt some nostalgia for my younger days when my father took us on day trips in his Volkswagen Beatle and took photos with his Asahi Pentax SP II. For me, this realisation wasn’t new.

I had long felt that the D40, D5100 and other cameras I had rented/borrowed over the years were more like gadgets than cameras. When Fujifilm came around the corner with the Fujifilm X-Pro1, Fujifilm X-E1 and started to develop a new system with apparently excellent lenses, I was very close to switching when they released the Fujifilm X-T1. But since I was not too fond of the first version of this camera for various reasons, it took me another four years until I finally decided to concentrate on only one system in the future.

My main subjects of importance were the usability (the pragmatic point) and the fun (the emotional end) that I felt I could obtain from working with this system. My desire for this intensified over the years. For me, the Fujifilm X-T2 is the best in terms of usability for the last 2.5 years now. It’s the perfect symbiosis of form and function.

Mechanical dials are provided for key operation, including the shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, exposure compensation, drive modes and metering modes. The settings can be adjusted even when the camera is turned off so that you can always be ready for the next shot.Fujifilm X-T2 website

I finally bought a Fujifilm X-T2 and the Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR lens. The switch was not because of technical specs but because of how the Fujifilm cameras feel when operated. My choice of camera is about how I prefer to interact with my camera. This Fujifilm X-T2 is mostly all metal, and it has real, dedicated single-purpose individually marked dials for each of ISO, aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation and metering mode. It feels great in hand to have a real metal camera with real dials rather than a plastic thingy with one dial. With the controls/knobs being just at my fingertips, the Fujifilm feels “right”. I like the layout of the controls, the retro-styled knobs and such, which allow me to make quick changes without jumping through menus.

I have only one camera body and one lens. Over time I want to acquire a few more lenses, namely:

  • Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 – With a 41mm full-frame field of view, I think this would be a great travel/street photography lens. I just wished it was weather sealed and had an aperture ring.
  • Fujinon XF8-16mmF2.8 R WR – The 16mm end of the Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR may not be wide enough for most landscapes cityscape photography.
  • Fujinon XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR – A camera system isn’t complete without a sporting lens, but I’m not sure about this one. I rarely shoot sports (but I attend the high school games to support the band) and dislike big, heavy lenses.
  • Fujinon XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR lens for macro work.
  • Fujinon XF100-400mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR lens for wildlife photography, wildlife for me being mostly birds.

For nature photography, I can rent a Fujinon XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR when needed. But I most likely won’t need it regularly. I also want a Fujifilm X100F when Bhavna gets annoyed that the bulk of the Fujifilm X-T2 and XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR have occupied the dinner table when we eat out; but also for personal [photowallks].

On my shortlist of items to purchase for my new kit are a flash unit, L-bracket and strap. I don’t know much about how well the Fujifilm EF-X500 flash units perform. I am willing to consider third-party flash units so long as they are fully compatible with all the functionality possible with the Fujifilm X-T2. I haven’t researched to find out what’s available.

My Nikon L-bracket was from Really Right Stuff, so I expect to purchase from the same brand. I have been getting by without one, but I am annoyed that I can’t shoot vertically on my tripod. The Really Right Stuff BXT2 plates for the Fujifilm X-T2 are currently out of stock.

4 comments

  1. When I saw Frank’s challenge keyword, stack, I immediately thought of the focus bracketing feature of the Fuji X-T2. In macro and close-up photography, obtaining sharp results right across the image frame is challenging. Still, focus bracketing, followed by photo stacking and blending in post-production, can produce good results, with subject areas in focus.
    When I bought my pre-owned Fuji X-T2 two years ago, I had just enough budget for the body and one lens, the Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR. I wanted a macro lens, but the Fujinon XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro and Fujinon XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro lenses are expensive. I considered buying an extension-tube for macro photography as I did with my Nikon D5100, but I remembered the challenges of doing focus stacking with the extension tubes. Last August, after I rented the XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro, I decided that it was best to save my money and budget for a [native Fujinon macro lens.]
    With the 1.52 crop-factor of the APS-C sensors of Fujifilm X-series cameras, the Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR has a focal length of around 24-85mm (in terms of a 35mm camera), which is similar to the well-known “standard” zoom lenses with a 24-70mm focal range. The XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR has a minimum focus distance of roughly 30cm. The focus distance isn’t as close as the 25 cm minimum focus distance of the Fujinon XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro lens but is slightly closer than the 26.7cm minimum focus distance Fujinon XF60mmF2.4 R Macro. The 55mm focal length is almost the same as the 60mm focal length of the XF60mmF2.4 R Macro, so why not try to create some focus stacked close-ups using the XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR?
    With a quick refresher on photo stacking in Adobe Lightroom, I picked a few objects, slapped on the L-bracket, and set up my tripod to use the light from the kitchen window. On my Fuji X-T2, focus bracketing (FOCUS BKT) is in the SHOOTING SETTING -> DRIVE SETTING -> BKT SETTING menu. Scroll and select FOCUS BKT. My shooting setup was FRAMES 50, STEP 5, INTERVAL 0, with my image quality set to RAW + FINE JPEG. I set the lens aperture and focal length to 2.8 and 55mm, respectively. I set the camera was to auto-focus and auto-exposure with ISO 200.
    After importing the JPEG images into Adobe Lightroom, I selected the photos I wanted to photo stack from the Library module’s filmstrip. I clicked Photo->Edit in->Open as Layers in Photoshop to open the selected photos in Adobe Photoshop from the Lightroom menu. Once in Photoshop, I selected all the layers in the Layers panel, then clicked Edit->Auto-Align Layers in the menu. I was sure to have select Auto in the Auto-Align Layers dialogue before pressing OK. The Auto-Align Layers process took over 10 minutes on my iMac (27-inch, Late 2013, 3.5 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7,32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4 GB). I surmised that photo stacking the JPEG images would take even longer.
    I selected all the layers in the group and then clicked Edit -> Auto-Blend Layers from the Photoshop menu. In the dialogue, I selected Stack Images and clicked OK. The process consumed and additional 10 minutes. When completed, I had my focus-stacked image shown as a layer mask. The resultant image was too large to save back to Lightroom, so I flattened the layers into one.
    What do you think of the results? Have you used focus stacking in your macro photography?
    Sunday February 21, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm | f/2.8 | ISO 200
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