Fuji X-System – REPORT CARD – One Year In
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.
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!
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.
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,
This entry was posted on Saturday, May 10th, 2014 at 5:51 pm
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