Another rant on photography

Another rant on photography

If you read my article on photography then you probably know the story with my downgrading and choosing Fuji over Sony as my cameras.

What you don’t know is the fact that in the meanwhile as much as I said I don’t need another camera an opportunity knocked and I managed to grab a brand new Fuji X-T20 (from, the store, warranty, etc) for almost half the usual price.

Taking into consideration that I sold the kit lens that came with it the price was even smaller in the end.

So now my kit consists of a Fuji X-T1 and a Fuji X-T20, one 18-55 lens and one 50-230 lens.

I have sold my Samyang and also a big backpack so I’m really travelling light these days.

My article today will come with more ideas, more thoughts and some disappointments after shooting Fuji for the last 8 months.

I will try numbering my ideas and try not to jump too much from one to the next so you won’ t get confused easy.

A couple of things made me think about writing this article and the more I look on the internet, the more I am convinced things need to be said.

So here are some  things that i love and some things I hate about Fuji:

  1. I love the handling. My original Fuji X-E2 and the X-T1 are both delicious. They look hot, they operate easily and frankly I do love them. I love the way they are built, the dials, that huge EVF on the X-T1(really… It is huge), all these lead to a world class experience from a handling point of view with Fuji.

The X-T20? Well… Not really. Even after placing the Meike grip, the thumb rest, the shutter button… Something doesn’t really feel Fuji at all.

The EVF is small and the camera looks smallish in my hands(190 cm, 105 kg).

I certainly must confess that if the X-T20 only had 16 mp I would have sold it in an instant. Alas, it has 24 so this is one bonus point.

  1. Sold the Samyang. While this is a great lens I realized I would never ever take it on trips with me. Manually focusing takes some time and while I am out, exploring new places I don’t care about spending so much time setting up my camera.
    Yes, I know what everybody says about shooting in F8 and all will be in focus but would you risk it?
    If this was your first visit into an amazing new place would you risk coming home with blurred shots? Or keep reviewing them after each shot?
    I often touch the lens when removing it from the pouch and that would mean focusing again, seeing if something changed and taking the pic.
    And really, I don’t want to do that. I want time to admire the new not time to spend focusing or changing the dials on my camera or lens.
    However if you love to shoot landscape or night photography by all means get it.
    It is small, cheap, superbly built and it gives great pictures.
    I can get a second hand one anytime for about 200 euros so if I ever want to shoot again with it, that is OK, I can buy it quickly.

At this point I would like to tell you a little secret.

Just like apple versus android, cameras are prone to wars.

From what I noticed on the internet Sony users and Fuji users are not on the best terms.

And unfortunately this is really hurting  photography instead of enhancing it.

Now it should be no secret that there is no such thing as a perfect camera. Sony is not perfect, Fuji is not perfect and neither are Canon and Nikon.

The only problem when reading internet forums is that you think that some cameras are the Holy Grail while others are complete rubbish.

Now, the worst part on the internet when it comes to photos is this:
* nobody or almost nobody  has a portfolio
* most of the times, if they have a portfolio it is pure rubbish.

And trust me… I looked over millions of pictures of so called experts.


Now that we have this out of the way let me tell you my problems with the fujifilm cameras and lenses.

* fujifilm comunity is not reliable. Yes there are some great photographers, yes there are some helpful guys but most of the community is just a lot of fanboys.

And fanboys really help nobody.

Looking on the internet, reading the reviews you could think that every bloody camera that Fuji made is amazing. And that is far from the truth.

And it is not helpful for people like myself who are looking for honest advice.

Everything is wonderful, everything is perfect and don’t dare bring another camera in discussion or a wave of hate and criticism will hit you.

And I do mean hate. So many people taking it personally. That’s far from healthy.

*lens prices. If you read the forums all Fuji lenses are perfect.  A gift from God. Wonders of technology.

The most common example on the internet is the Fuji 16 1.4 claimed to be the best from Fuji and one of the best in the world.

Small disclaimer: I did not own, test or touched this lens. It comes with a price of 1000 euros in Romania so far from my reach.

And people keep saying”well it is an amazing lens, it is normal to cost so much”.

Well, no. Actually you are wrong.

I shot with the amazing Sigma 16mm 1.4. And guess what? There is not one person saying anything bad about that lens.

Because it is an incredible lens.

And it is 450 euros in Romania. Half the price. Or the same price of the Fuji 16mm 2.8.

So, while I understand technology and superb/great I still think it is an overpriced speciality lens.

And let me be honest here.

From my point of view there is just one focal length that is an all rounder. The 35mm length. You can shot portraits, travel, landscape, just about everything with it.

Try shooting portraits at 16(yes 24 since it is crop sensor) and see how the faces look.

I know that many will tell oh but I shot this and that with it but that don’t mean much. You can shoot landscape with 105 if you want but that doesn’t make it a landscape lens.

So sorry guys the 10-24 is wider and more versatile(f4 OK)and a bit cheaper, the Samyang at f2 is wider and 3 times cheaper and the Sigma is two times cheaper.

And there are not many bad reviews of those lenses.

*processing photos.

This here is my biggest problem with Fuji.

Up until recently if you didn’t own a Mac or you weren’t a PRO, editing Fuji raf files sucked big time.

Mushy colors, artifacts, passing the files through several programs just to get a decent file.

And instead of admitting there is a real problem with x trans files what are Fuji forum guys tell us?
Well the jpegs are so nice who needs raw?

So let me get this right.

I am spending 1000 grand on a camera and who needs raw?

Bitch please… Are you kidding me?

All that bullshit that jpegs force you to be more creative, that you need less time to arrange the shots?  That the colors are so good you don’t need to edit them?

Crap. Pure crap.

Yes, Fuji colors are special but I for example love to shoot landscape and night pictures.

I can tell you before you roll your eyes and say that your jpegs are great that even Fuji X ambassadors who specialize in landscape DO SHOOT RAW AND EDIT.

Don’t give me that “oh but i shoot street, people, whatever and i’m happy. Good for you. This doesn’t mean that all photography genres can be shot in jpeg with the same results.

*Then there’s the software problem. Adobe kind of sucks, Capture One needs a lot of time to learn and so on.

Believe me, processing a Sony file in Lightroom is easy. Too easy. Processing Fuji is… Well it sucks.

Once again, if you are happy with your results fine.

For me processing Fuji raws has taken half the joy out of taking pictures.

No matter what I do I can’t seem to get the files as sharp as I want. And don’t give me that crap about sharpness being a bourgeois concept. The way I process my files is the only concept I am interested in.
I don’t sell, print, etc. I want them to look like I want.

For me, Fuji is something of a love-hate relationship.

The old cameras look great, feel great and they are so easy to shoot with.

The X-T20 is somewhere in between. Not that bad but not great either.

But as much as I love shooting with them I am really upset with the ridiculous processing process.

I am in the middle of a trip now actually and by the end of it I will know for sure if I keep my Fuji gear or sell it all and I don’t know… Return to Sony maybe.

And don’t start that crap that Sony is not a photo company.

That’s bull.

The only thing you or I should care about is if you are getting the results you want.

That’s it.

All camera companies make good cameras. Yes, Sony included.

You wouldn’t think that if you spent time reading flame wars on the Internet but that’s the truth.

If I could get the pictures I want from processing I would never consider switching from Fuji.

The cameras are beautiful, small, easy to operate, etc but there is one big elephant in the room.

If you need new software, new skills , if you need new flows or spending much time to process files, then sorry. It is not right.

I want to spend half an hour framing, composing, trying to get a shot and 5 minutes editing it than the other way around.

Looming on the internet, on various Fuji resources websites I do see a lot of portraits, a lot of black and white photos, etc, things that maybe don’t require raw processing, Lightroom or Capture One.

But for somebody who gets up at night, drives for hours, waits for the perfect moment and shoots, well… Jpeg won’t cut it.

And it shouldn’t have to cut it.

Right now I am in the middle of a big decision. I already have all my gear on the web and I reserved the cameras for some people but I am hoping that this trip would make me change my mind.

Because otherwise it would really be a shame.

You see, Fuji is really amazing when it comes to feel. You really want to pick up the camera and shoot it. It doesn’t matter if it is the old X-Pro 1 or the shiny new X-T3.

All Fuji cameras feel special when you use them.

And I do think that by having all the manual controls and dials Fuji made me more aware of exposure, compensation, white balance, shutter speed, etc.

And that helped me understand the technical part of photography more.

What I do think that made me a worse photographer is the Fuji XF 18-55 lens. But that’s not Fuji’s fault. I think that by using a zoom, any kind of zoom, my photography went a bit downhill.

When I got the fixed 16 prime my game really stepped up. I kept looking for the best angle, the best lightning, etc.

Now I am being lazy and just turn the dials and from 18 I reach 55 in a second.

But that’s just normal I think.

You see, I love to travel. And no matter what so called experts might say bringing on a trip with you 2 cameras, 4 to 5 lenses, tripods, filters, remote controls, etc… Well that’s taking away from the joy of travel.

Even though I have 3 cameras and 3 lenses when I travel I only bring one camera and one lens. Maybe two lenses after I weigh the pros and cons.

Yes I know, camera back up, cover all angles, etc. Well to be honest I am not getting paid to take photos. And 99% of people who worry about those aspects are not paid either.

I just want some memories when I get back home.

Don’t understand this wrong. I STILL LEARN AND TRY TO IMPROVE MY GAME EVERY DAY. But I am aware of my condition and actually try enjoying my time spent away more.

My travel kit consists for this trip of a Fuji X-T20, 2 lenses(one I never used) , 3 filters(never used them), one small remote(never used it), a tripod and an external battery(never used it).

I knew I did not need all of those things but I brought my best gear just so if I decide to sell the Fuji I couldn’t say I did not tried my best.

One thing I am extremely happy with is the fact that I stopped using my phone so much and actually used the camera instead.

And that is thanks to Fuji.

In my past trips in Spain, UK i got about the same number of pics on my camera and also on my phone.

Ever since Morocco and Fuji my phone pictures started dwindling and I can honestly say that so far in this 8 day trip I took just about 30-40 pictures with my phone.

Later edit: been back for two weeks now. AlL the pictures were uploaded, retouched a bit and some of them uploaded on Instagram or on my personal FB feed.

I like them. I really enjoy them and I have ran different tests, editing jpegs and raws, using Lightroom and Capture One and so on.

I have decided to sell my X-T1 and just keep my X-T20.

Yes, I am losing a camera that feels great in the hand, has weather sealing, a magnificent viewfinder but there is a visible difference between the cameras regarding picture quality.

Now if you read on the internet you’d think that the Fuji engineers are really dumb. Almost all claim that the difference in image quality is minor but that’s crap.

We are talking about a few years of development, 16 vs 24mp, better DR(dynamic range) and things like that, things that really matter for the quality of the picture.

While I admit is a bit difficult to see the difference on a small Instagram picture or on the screen of a laptop/iPad I realized that I am not looking at my pictures like that.

I show them to my family or I look at them on a 47-50 inch TV.

Except editing I rarely look at my pictures on my PC.

I select the best, the ones I enjoy the most and I like to see them on my TV while relaxing.

And trust me on a 47 inch TV you will see differences.

If all I wanted to do is fill a Tablet or a laptop screen then yeah, I don’t think that I would have ever got the X-T20. The old X-T1 was more than capable of doing the job.

I will be completely honest. If I’d have the money now I would love a Sony a7ii but I don’t think I’d sell my Fuji kit for that.

I think I can produce some decent photos with it and I realize that at one point it just becomes an obsession more than a passion.

I am no master editor. I know for sure that any of my Fuji pictures could look stunning if I knew how to edit better.

But you know what… I still don’t think I will start taking editing serious and spending much time on it.

Yes, I would love some/more lenses for my Fuji but that’s just because I really enjoy photography and cameras.

Some people are. Fascinated by cars, some by watches or clothes. I really like cameras. If it were up to me 3/4 lenses would join my bag today but luckily or unluckily this hobby is pretty expensive as it is now. Without buying more lenses.

So I think, unless I start taking some amazing pictures and get a sponsorship from another camera company me and Fuji will go a long way together.

And maybe that’s not so bad after all…

Later edit: I have managed to sell my Fuji X-T1 so now my main and only camera is a Fuji X-T20

Bellow you can see some pictures I took with the X-T1 just before I sold it. The cheap 50-230 lens was on it and I must say the results are not that bad.

I might not ever use it again but someday I will buy an old X-T1. Just to keep it and look at the camera that made me love photography more and more.

If you can pass all the things I wrote above do yourself a favor and buy this camera. Especially if you don’t have a camera and you are looking to enter a new system

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