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6 months, 2 weeks ago 44

Since I get constant questions about my decision to use the Fuji X-System as my everyday, go to camera kit, I thought it was time to give Fuji a Report Card!

 

Before you can give a grade you must set a standard, so here is my NEEDS emphasis, “my” NEEDS:

 

1. My carry, everyday, virtually everything system must be:  Smaller & and Lighter than the  Nikon FX/DX system I was using.

 

2.  State of the Art Performance.  I did not want to sacrifice what I could get from my Nikon system to save weight. (Though I had no choice, the weight savings was mandatory.)  Color, Sharpness, Noise, Build Quality.

 

3.  Build Quality has always been imperative to me, the bodies and lenses of the new system had to measure up to my 44 year experience with my Nikon gear.

 

4.  Frankly, Affordability was a factor.

 

So let’s break it down and give a score.  I will use the 5 Star System.

 

Weight Savings:  5 Stars   The full Fuji System is less than half the weight of a the same system in Nikon.  Bodies and lenses are also less than half the size, making packing in camera bags easier.

 

PERFORMANCE

 

COLOR QUALITY:  5 Stars *

* Fuji color closely matches the personality of their films, if you loved Fuji films; Velvia, Provia, Astia, you will love the Fuji digital rendition of color, if not, not so much.  I love Fuji color, so it works for me.

 

SHARPNESS:  5+ Stars *

Sharpness is a factor of the sensor, the file processing in-camera software, and the lenses.  The Fuji X-Trans Sensor combined with no Optical Low Pass Filter and their proprietary file processing, yields the sharpest images I have ever recorded in a 45 year career, PERIOD.  I own the Fuji 14mm, 10-24, 23mm, 35mm, 60mm Micro, 56mm, 18-55, and the 55-200 lenses,  (keep in mind that since the Fuji X-System is an APS-C size sensor camera these focal length are effectively 1.5 times longer).  While I had many 5 Star Nikkor lenses, all of my Fuji lens have been “at least” 5 Stars! Enough said!  O.K. not quite enough, the D800 was and is the most serious high resolution camera I have ever used, nothing is quite like those files, but it and it’s lenses are too heavy for me!  Truthfully the Fuji system has all the resolution I need.

 

NOISE:  5+ Stars *

In spite of the ridiculous results of the Popular Photo test, last month, the Fuji X-System cameras, (I own four; X-T1, X-E2, X100s, and the original X-Pro 1), are among the very lowest noise producing cameras at High ISO I have ever used.  I regularly shoot at ISO 3200 with no fear of noise, when I absolutely must I shoot 6400 I only have to do minor noise reduction processing.  The Fuji cameras are very, very low noise.  Combined with superlative fast single focal length lenses, the Fuji system is the best low light system I have ever used.

 

 

LASTING BUILD QUALITY:  5 Stars  * We are only one year in, time will tell.

O.K., this one is purely subjective since I have no way of testing metal, and I’m not an expert on camera design.  I can say that the design that Fuji chose for the X-System fits my comfort level perfectly.  The retro design, going away from buttons and wheels, to aperture rings on the lenses, and knobs that adjust shutter speed, ISO, and exposure compensation, are very comfortable for this baby boomer.  I have dropped several bodies and lenses with no harm whatsoever, but can’t say a anything more than they sure seem tough enough to me.

 

RESULTS:  5 Stars +

This also falls in the area of subjective response, but here goes;  In  the 45th year of a photography career I have never been happier with the equipment I’m using, the joy of shooting with it, the fun instilled by the gear, and the resulting images! I can’t make it any clearer than that…(samples to follow!)

 

AFFORDABILITY:  5 Stars +++ *

When I started my search for the new; smaller, lighter system I took all the things above into consideration, it was a long search.  I looked at Panasonic & Olympus, and liked them both, but the 4/3rds size sensor fell down at very high ISO and the noise was just not what I wanted.  I considered, (for just a moment) Leica, but there was not much of weight savings in the bodies and the cost was astronomical.  A one body system, (M240) and lenses from 16mm to 135mm had a price tag of $36,500.!!!!!!!  My entire Fuji System that includes four cameras, and 8 lenses that range from 15mm to 300mm and my total cost has been around $11,000.  The Leica is a wonderful instrument and has a full frame sensor, but the long end of their lenses stops at 135mm which is well short of my needs. Since I do not own or have not shot Leica in a long time, since the film days, I can’t say if the technical quality is truly superior, I can say that the cost of the system makes it out of my range, which is also why I do not own a Ferrari!

 

IN CONCLUSION:

I started over a year ago looking for the cameras and lenses that would carry me for the rest of this journey of being a photographer.  I am satisfied that I have found that system.

 

Is it perfect?  No.

What I would like to see?:

 

Firmware changes that make +or- exposure bracketing of at least 7 stops, 9 would be fantastic.

 

I would like a way to set the self timer and it not go off until you change it.  * I use the 2 second timer as a cable release many times.

 

We are getting a 24-85 f 2.8 equiv., 75-210 f 2.8 equiv lenses later this year, if they are not too large, I will own both.

 

A promised long zoom is coming and the “rumor” is sit will bye a 120-400, that would be an equiv. 180-600!!!  ”If” it is a constant f4 with OIS, I’m going to have to own it!!!!  If I can afford it!  That is what I call a trunk lens.  It lives in the trunk until you need it!

 

Things I like very much about Fuji, the company:

 

They listen to the users, and bring our products that the users are asking for.

 

When they have a problem, (and all companies have problems!), they admit it and fix it immediately!

 

Fuji understand that the followers of the X System demand quality bodies, and superior lenses, and that is all they have produced so far, and I believe that they will hold that standard,  I think it is in their DNA.

 

FINAL THOUGHT:

Fuji seems to be feeling pressure to bring out a full frame sensor system.  That would require another entire line of lenses and increase weight and size. Selfishly I hope they don’t, I think they make a near perfect system now, and I want their attention fully on the current system, but what will be will be!!!  I’m a happy camper because they have given us what we have now!

 

Some of my favorite images from the Fuji System:

 

Fuji X-E1 and 60mm Micro

 

Fuji X-E1 with 18-55 lens  -  1:1 format,  center 12mega pixels of sensor

 

Fuji X100s camera set for monochrome.

 

Fuji X-E2 with 18-55 lens  ISO 3200

 

Fuji X-E2 with the 18-55  1:1 format

 

Fuji X-T1 with the 55-200 and the Nikon 5T Diopter  ISO 6400!!!!!!   No noise reduction has been applied to this file!!!!

 

Fuji X-T1 with the 18-55  -  ISO 400

 

Fuji X-T1 with the 18-55  -  ISO 400

 

Fuji X-T1 with 10-24   –  ISO 400

 

Fuji X-T-1 with the 18-55 processed in Topaz Adjust Spicify

 

Fuji X-T1 with the 18-55  -  ISO 3200

 

Fuji X-T1 with the 55-200  -  ISO 400

 

Fuji X-T1 with the 60mm Micro

 

Fuji X100s ISO 1600

 

Fuji X-E2 with the 18-55

 

Be blessed, I am,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 months, 3 weeks ago 2

I made it about 5 hours up the coast today and had a great visit with Mark Hilliard.  We went out to the Pawley’s Island Pier this evening and did some long exposure works, something Mark excels at, actually,he excels at a lot of different kinds of work!  I’ll spend the night ion the coast tonight and then head for Cartersville, and Old Car City.  I shot a few things today and had a good time, miss Sherelene, but she is with her sisters and I know they will have a blast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

6 months, 3 weeks ago 5

 

The Mullis family lost a loving man and mentor.  Most everyone I talked to that knew him well had the most marvelous stories to tell, and it was obvious that he was greatly admired, and cared for.  I only met T. Ray once.  I’d been told that on my 30 year search for the perfect cheeseburger I had to try the one from T-Ray’s Burger Station.  When I arrived at a converted gas station I could hardly get in for all the cars parked out front, and the long line at the counter.  Diane Oliver my sister-in-law took me in and introduced me to T-Ray, he treated me as if we had been friends for years.  I’m so thrilled that I got a picture with him and his son, and other members of their staff.  We had a great visit and I really looked forward to seeing him again!

 

The burger was fantastic, good enough to reign as the number one burger in America for a while. In honor of T-Ray, I’m ranking it Number One again today.  While my introduction to this family was through some ground beef, cheese, and a bun, obviously there was much more to this man’s life than a burger and fries.  In talking to his family and friends I could sense the deep loss.  Should it be said of us all that when we are gone from here, that we leave a hole in people’s hearts.  T-Ray’s life filled many hearts with joy!

 

I bet he is making some burgers on the grill tonight for his “Bull Dawg buddies”!  There has to be football in heaven!

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Ray, Go Dawgs, and know we miss you!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

6 months, 3 weeks ago 3

 

I’m safely tucked away on Amelia Island with Sherelene enjoying a little rest after a fun filled, and busy week at the Florida’s Birding and Photo Fest Event!  It was one of the most fun events I’ve done in a long time, and very well organized and run!  I have to admit that one of the things I most dreaded was shooting horses on the beach, but the folks that did the riding for us were really nice people, and they worked so hard to make it really work.  Sadly the first two mornings the light was just awful and it rained off and on, which made it even more miserable.  In spite of the weather the attendees stayed in high spirits and the horse folks were truly troopers!  On Sunday morning our last trip to the beach,  we had a great sunrise and everyone blasted away!  When we finally lost our light we spent a good hour under the picnic shelter just talking photography, it was great way for my time in St Augustine to end!!!

 

 

 

My time at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm could not have been better, while we fought the elements we got surprisingly good shooting conditions as the thunderstorms rolled in and out! Even though the shooting was fun, being with my dear friend Vinny Colucci and his wife Annette was even better.  Vinny is a world class shooter, and teacher, and even more important to me a dear brother in the Lord, and my friend.  We had a great time just teaching and hanging out in the field.  it had been too long coming, something I will not allow to happen again!  Thanks Vinny for all your help!!!

 

 

 

 

Getting to meet Mike Matthews and photograph some of his friends, like the Leopard Gecko above, was a real treat.  Mike really knew his stuff and we are now really looking forward to a His Light Workshop in Naples in the winter of 2015!  Mike has already become a dear brother and we both had a great time working together, and I know we are just getting started!!!!

 

 

 

 

Best of all is family, Sherelene above, got to celebrate her birthday this week with her sisters, Brenda (left side of frame) and Diane (right side).  I got to spend time with not only Brenda and Terry, and Diane and Ron, but got a lot of time with my son Scott, Diane, and my two grandchildren (not children anymore!!!)  Hannah and Ben.  It has been a great week!  Scott went with me to my Keynote address Saturday night and it was wonderful having him with me!!!!!

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim