Fuji cameras - 20+ weddings in...

30th May 2016
Some of you may know that during 2015 I ditched our full frame Canon 5Diii and 5Dii's to switch completely to Fuji cameras, starting with two X-T1's then adding an X-Pro2. And soon to be joined by an X-T2.

Some photographers that were interested refused to switch, others maybe got one Fuji to use at quiet spots of the wedding day to test the water, but once I got a real taste I was sold within a day.

I'd first tried them out with the first X100, then after getting Annie an X-T1 as it was smaller and easier for her to use, lighter, dials more intuitive... I got one for myself and the next wedding we were fully Fuji.
No point faffing about - dive in there and commit ! lol

So with 20+ weddings under my Fuji belt - what is my mid-term report on Fuji gear ?

If it was a report card it would say "Good work, room for improvement but thrilled at how well Fuji has done."

The reason I so got into Fuji - and let me first point out I'm not a gear head, to me the cameras are a tool. I was never in the Canon camp , slagging off Nikon. I'd have used Nikon anytime if I had the stuff and it did the job. But Fuji cameras since the X-T1 were the first that actually did help the way I work - and helped get to where I wanted my pictures to be.

By that I mean, they felt more natural to use the way I work. I like to be up close with people, get involved with the wedding and having a huge DSLR around my neck didn't help that.
With Fuji and their small mirrorless cameras, I can shoot away - when required in full silence - and get up close to the action. Producing beautiful photos straight from the camera that saves hours, no - days actually, in post production.
The cameras do actually feel like they are organic to use with my left hand controlling depth of field on the aperture ring, and right thumb nailing the exposure, you can wait for the moment to happen and capture it first time, not take 50 photos to pick the best one and delete the other 49, then sit in Photoshop on each photo wanging sliders about to get it right.

I shoot in Raw and Jpeg. In most situations I could hand over the jpegs that night to the clients and be happy, but being in Scotland, with the ever changing light & weather the raw files are the ones I work on.
But even then, in Lightroom, the photos are imported with my custom film mode, almost identical to the cameras film simulation jpegs, and they are almost all done at that point.

I reckon I do now genuinely spend more time taking the photos at a wedding , than I do twiddling at my computer. That's the way it should be.

In my opinion anyway.

Is the Fuji system perfect ? Jings.. No ! But no system is, at least not to me.

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To me the PLUS points are:

* Natural, organic feel to the cameras and controls, that make them feel part of the capture of the shot. Almost like you see in cheesy war films and the new recruits being told that their rifle is a part of them... "it's an extension of your arm Soldier!". Like that, but less cheesy :)

* Beautiful straight from the camera pictures with gorgeous colours. (Ooo and black & whites)

* Lenses are sharp. Very sharp. I reckon every lens I own of Fuji's is sharper than the Canon L equivalent I owned. And they cost a LOT less.
Amazing glass.

* The cameras are fun to use. You can't wait to pick them up and use them.

And the DOWN SIDES ?

* No decent TTL flash system yet. There's a new flash gun coming out this summer, and the Firmware will no doubt get better, but anyone that relies on TTL flash a lot (shame on you) will feel lost.
Thankfully I only ever use flash off camera and in full manual, apart from maybe emergency situations like a last minute cake cutting in a dungeon dark room.

* Autofocus
This has got better already with firmware updates, and so long as you learn how too use the cameras and focus properly this won't catch you out. I've never missed any crucial shots through slow focus, but there has been the odd time where I've lifted the X-T1 up in a dark room and had to wait a fraction of a second longer than the Canon would have to get focus.
Not a big a problem as some make out but it IS different.

And the other myths and stories...

Battery life ?
I can usually get a full day's wedding on the X-Pro2 with 2 batteries. Again, it's about learning to use the system properly.
I have talked to some Fuji users who moan about having to use 5-8 batteries during a wedding.
No idea how that comes about, as only 1 in 3 weddings do I need to put in a third battery to get to the end of my shift.

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As you may now have gathered, I am a fan.
I love to pick up my X-Pro2 and wander about, I'm doing a lot of street photography as it helps me train my eye to spot a situation and capture it. All part of the wedding training. When I'm out doing Street or Walkabout photography, I only use the Jpegs and don't need to alter them at all.
I also don't chimp, no staring at the back of the camera to see if I got the shot. I trust the camera that much , and have faith that between the two of us we got the shot.
It's actually quite good fun to get home from a days shoot and see the photos for the first time then.
(That's maybe one reason I don't burn through batteries).

Anyway, that's my take so far.
Will I stay with Fuji forever ? Who knows.
It's the happiest I've ever been with a brand of camera, but next year if something else came out that was better maybe we'll switch.
But I genuinely can't see how it could be better.
The picture quality and size printing is ace with the Fuji's , so it's not as if our albums and finished product could be made better by another brand of camera.
And I've never felt so comfortable to use a camera since the film days.
Dials where they should be, in control without having to think about it.

Come and get your Gold Star Fuji. A glowing report card !





Two straight from the camera wedding pictures.



A portrait shot at iso6400 and used my own black & white preset. Post production time about 15 seconds.


Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question.


G.x

Comments

Photo comment By JOHN MILES CANAVAN: Good balanced article Grahame and some fab shots on your site. More power to you. John
Photo comment By Peter: Well done review thank you! I occasionally regret selling my 5d mk3 and primes.Your comments reminded me of what the system BRINGS to me as a photographer, not what is ocasdionally missing (blazing fast Canon AF and wake up time). I can do without the weight, no one ever enjoyed my DSLR in their face, and the mechanical triad of shutter-apeture-film speed is a godsend when I'm in a hurry!
Photo comment By Grahame: Thanks folks. Another two weddings in this weekend , both shot on 2 X-Pro2's and primes. They make me excited about shooting weddings again. A few full frame guests this weekend , and a new thing I noticed was instead of the " yeah look at my huge kit " , it was more looks of "oh, I've brought too much stuff , the photographer's gear is tiny". Love to swim against the tide.
Photo comment By Grahame: ** side note from yesterday's wedding. It was only a short one, shooting form 10:30 to 4:30, took 800 photos between two X-Pro2s and came home with both original batteries still at 50%. Shot with 2 primes , 23 and 56 , those lenses are amazing. I walk into a wedding with just my suit on, a lens cloth in my pocket and those two cameras around my neck. No bag, no flash , easy.
Photo comment By Image Masking Service: Loving the article. The shoots are really good. Best wishes for you.

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