I switched to Fuji around two years ago after being a near-lifelong Nikon photographer. The reason why? Well, it was mostly about the bulk and weight of the new generation of DSLR cameras. My (extremely good) Nikon D800 weighed almost 2kg with its zoom lens, and all the other lenses I had for it were pretty big too. I found I was increasingly reluctant to go out with – it was just too heavy to want to be bothered with if I was going to be any distance from the car. If I was taking ‘people’ photos, this bazooka sized camera and lens was often off putting – discrete photography was out of the question. I wasn’t ‘knocked out’ with the quality of some of the lenses – sure the camera itself was awesome with its 36 million pixel sensor, but both my zoom lenses distorted horribly and were not good for landscapes.
Mirror less cameras seemed to offer a good alternative – much smaller and lighter, and ‘good enough’ image quality, and I was impressed by the reputation Fuji had, so decided to take the plunge with an X-E1 and lens. Weighing only around 550gms, it was a delight to carry around and certainly not intimidating to potential subjects. Sure it was a different experience – a fully electronic viewfinder and far less capable autofocussing, but the image quality from the 16Mp sensor was, and still is, outstanding. Everyday JPEG images are sharp and contrasty and the colour saturation is amazing. With some post processing in Photoshop or Lightroom, the RAW images rivalled the photos I was getting from the Nikon, all from a camera a fraction of the size, and far less expensive. I’ve invested in several more lenses (all superb, and a fraction of the size of Nikon) and now have 2 camera bodies and flash units etc…… I don’t claim it’s a perfect system, but it works for me, and it’s restimulated my love of photography. I rarely go anywhere these days without a camera, and now take far more photographs than before. I’m exhibiting a selection of photos for the first time, and have another exhibition planned later this year – I couldn’t have envisaged this a year or two ago.
But there’s one more thing that really sets Fuji apart from the other camera manufacturers, and turns my enthusiasm into real love, and that’s it’s support for the model range. With Nikon (and the others..) you buy a camera and that’s it. It never gets any new features or improvements – you wait a year or so and then there’s a new model that makes yours obsolete. Fuji is different. Very different. Every few months there’s a free firmware update that makes performance improvements and adds new features. And this isn’t just for the latest model – Fuji provide these updates (to the extent they can) on models that are several years old.
Today Fuji announced a radical upgrade to the auto focus system of the X-T1, which will address many of the requests users have asked for to make their cameras function more like a conventional DSLR camera. Chief of these is the implementation of dual Wide and Zone tracking modes which will allow better focussing of moving subjects. Also included is Eye Detection AF which will detect and focus on human eyes, a major benefit if using wide aperture lenses that have limited depth of focus. Other features/improvements include Auto Macro Mode, better Movie AF, improved shutter dial operation, and additional Exposure Compensation capabilities.
I’m really looking forward to this upgrade, due for release in June – it will be like having a new camera!