I know what you are thinking, a Fujifilm UK Ambassador talking about Fuji but you need to take the time to get to know me before you make that judgement and also understand the way I have been brought up to know that I would not support a brand that I didn’t 100% believe in.
My star sign is Libra, so I naturally take my time to make a balanced decision on my purchases most of the time and don’t jump from one brand to the other.
I am 54 years old next year so come from a generation that did not throw things away and wanted purchases to last forever and give value for money. I saved up for two years to buy my very first self funded camera and that was a Nikon Fm2. The research time that went into that purchase was probably about three months before the saving started. I ended up with a pair of Nikon Fm2s and I still have one to this day. So my brand choices are based on a lot more than you think. After that initial purchase I was then with Nikon for over 40 years. My purchasing decisions on any item are based on quality and longevity.
You’d be surprised to hear then that contrary to everything I know, I have recently made an error in my recent purchase of mobile phone moving away from Apple to Samsung and it’s got to be the worst move I have ever made! A recent comment on Facebook when I mentioned this was “but you need to take the time to go into all the settings and change it to exactly how you want it and at least with Android you can do that”. Great comment but when I buy a front door for example, I want to go out and come back in, I want it to open and shut without having to spend hours adjusting it! Lets say I am struggling with this Samsung front door! One thing Apple have got right is that they make a premium product that just works. Why did I change my phone ? I changed because my iphone 6 got slower and slower with every ios upgrade. Thinking that the answer was to purchase a new phone, an iphone 7, I discovered that there was no 64 gig, I would have had to spend more money to get 128gig and that annoyed me so I was persuaded by the sales assistant to try the Samsung S7. The S7 is fast, has a good camera and has a few good functions but the apps that I use most and the way my email works just aren’t working for me on the S7. Hence I will be moving back to an iphone as soon as possible and losing a lot of money in the process. Note to self, do my own research and make an informed decision, don’t change a formula that to date has served me well.
I rarely make many rash, mood driven decisions like that they are normally well thought out over a period of time. The decision to change from Nikon to Fujifilm I have shared before but for those who don’t know this is my Fuji story.
I was getting fed up with the size of the DSLR system and also the massive price increases every year, I was shooting mostly with a pair of Nikon D3s bodies and a full selection of pro glass. These things are not small and to hold one in your hand all day takes it’s toll on your fingers and shoulders. I was hoping Nikon would eventually make something more suitable but as time went on I realised this would not happen. My research started and I looked around for an alternative, a new brand that would work for me and the way I shoot or a brand I could adapt myself to.
This was not easy, I am old school and to me Sony and Samsung just meant Music Systems and not quality photography equipment. I looked at the Sony NEX one of the first ever models and it was getting great reviews for the camera and sensor but the lenses were not receiving the same feedback. I used to shoot lot’s of Stock back then and had to use cameras that were on the recommended list, the Sony was not on the list. I did notice a X100 on the list but the reviews were not putting the X100 in a good light. I continued to do my research for about four months after the X100 was released. I was back and forth with Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm and all the time had my fingers crossed that Nikon would bring out a decent Mirrorless Camera.
In the end I found an X100 on ebay, it was going at a reasonable price and so I purchased it. I was blown away by the image quality and the way you could produce such amazing black and white images in only a few minutes in Lightroom. I then realised the reviews and reports on this camera were all written by people that had not really given this camera a chance. It was not the fastest camera in the world, it was no match for the Nikon D3s but it did stop me in my tracks and make me slow down and think. I did have an X10 about this time but this did not work for me, another ebay purchase but I was unlucky enough to get one with the orb problem so sold it on.
My Fujifilm Journey had really started and it was with the X100. Change came and the images I was shooting with the X100 were getting noticed more and more on Social Media and also through my projects more so than all my other work. It really is all about the image, it always has been and for some reason the X100 was forcing me to slow down and see the world in a different way that I can’t quite put my finger on, thinking outside the box and producing more interesting work. I guess shooting Street as well it was such a small form factor camera that no one noticed it and this was a big bonus. I remember going out for two days in a row one with the D3s and one with the X100 and no one even looked at me with the X100, this was the breakthrough moment.
My Nikon gear had some faults and was in need of a Service so on a trip to Wales I popped in to Cambrian Photography to drop off all my Nikon Gear to be sent to Nikon for a service. I got talking to Sarah about the X100 and she had the XPro1 in stock which I purchased the with the 18mm and 35mm lenses. I decided that if I could make this camera work for me I would sell all my Nikon gear and change brand.
I was shooting at the Liverpool International Music Festival at the time and took the Xpro1 along to give it a try ! It was slow and not a DSLR, I was shooting with the Press pack and when I got back home all my images shot on the D3s were the same as the rest of theirs and the only difference was mine were black and white. But the few shots I got on the XPro1 that day had a little more thought go into them. That was it I decided to sell all my Nikon DSLR gear and move over to Fuji Mirrorless !
Selling my Nikon gear also funded a trip to Venice. Not only was it simple for Airport security but I actually found myself enjoying my photography again. The XPro1 was slow to focus and not that easy to get used to, it was almost like going back to film but I was producing better work than I had for a long time. I was falling in love with photography again.
It was through my images that Fujifilm UK started to take an interest in my work and I started to build relationships with some of the Fujifilm Team.
The Fuji X System being so new there was some serious gaps in the X System in terms of Cameras with a decent focus system for Wildlife and Sport and not a very large selection of lenses.
The team in Japan were few in number and had already been shocked by the support of the professional photographers around the world for their product. So much so that they actually listened to what we had to say. They actually took notes in meetings and made changes to the cameras and lenses based on what we had to say.
I was impressed with the whole way Fujifilm worked with its team and customers and one night came up with the the idea of Fujiholics, one big Fuji family of like minded people that wanted to get together and talk about their love of the Fujifilm Camera Systems.
As time went by I started buying more and more lenses and updating my camera bodies. I was then asked for more feedback by Fujifilm and eventually asked to be an X Ambassador and this was all down to my images and love of the brand. I had made a huge decision to move from Nikon to Fujifilm and also spent a lot of money changing over. I also had to play the waiting game for the X System to catch up with lenses and faster AF bodies.
It takes time for a big company like Fujifilm to notice you and even longer for you to build trust. I was asked to test and produce a set of images with the XPro2 before its launch and for this I would receive an XPro2 which came with my name on it! That was a proud moment for me. As a Fujifilm Ambassador I talk for Fujifilm and use exclusively Fujifilm cameras systems only. I am lucky enough to be able to borrow Fujifilm lenses and Cameras on short time loan and to be able to take their camera systems to events and talks.
Working hard is an understatement at times in this industry, my friends can vouch for that and my Fiancee Jane has got used to the amount of time we communicate by text or phone from hotel rooms.
I would not have it any other way, I love photography and I love my job it is the job I dreamed of as a little boy and Fujifilm have backed me all the way pushing me out of my comfort zone out on to the stages at The Photography Show and the support from the X Photographers has been outstanding these guys have become friends for life.
I do believe the Fujifilm XPro2 and now the X-T2 are both game changing camera systems and the new GF50s is also going to make the MF system more accessible for more pockets. I also love the Fuji Glass and still love to shoot with it and prefer it to my old Nikon pro glass. I believe Fujifilm offer me the image quality I need to get the job done. It’s a bonus that the Fujifilm Team around the world are an amazing bunch of hard working people who are dedicated to the brand and that all the X Photographers are amazing people too. On top of that the Fujiholics are also a fantastic bunch of people and through the photowalks I have made some friends for life. I cant wait to see what Fujifilm have up their sleeves for the future and just love being part of the family.
Why Fuji? Well it all started with the X100 I wonder where we will go next…….?
That’s the festival season all over; for another year. I might now have time to catch up on my personal work and this blog! Hope all you guys are well and getting out there and shooting things..
Websites! I get asked all the time about websites, I have to be honest I don’t know a thing about websites! Well not quite true I know a little bit, I could take time out and learn but I am far too busy.
I decided about a year ago I was not happy with the layout of the one I had and the fact some of the site was clunky, I also wanted a site that looked like my 500PX feed and my Flicker feed and well as being able to offer me printing and images sales.
I wanted a trouble free solution that I could build myself in a very short space of time and add or change things as I went, as well as offer prints and downloads for sale and have a client area.
It was at last year’s TPS Photography show I was talking to Alastair Jolly UK Business Development manager at SmugMug. It was at that point I realised SmugMug was not just a website company it was a company that cared about you and welcomed you in to the family.
Following a brief chat I decided to bite the bullet and change my previous provider over to SmugMug. I thought this process was going to be a nightmare, but it was simple, the Smug Mug team are there to guide you if you need help and the SmugMug Pro account was just perfect for all my needs.
I can’t go in to the technical side of the site but it was by far the best choice I had made.
I managed to have a brief look around at all the tools and then went for it! I had the site built and up and running in a day. I launched the site and within hours had an e mail to tell me I had sold an image! I was shocked as I had not even set up the pricing, so the poor guy had paid well over the odds for his print and postage as he was a UK buyer and the image came from the USA ! So I quickly updated the price lists and changed the Lab.
The site has now been up and running without a glitch for nearly 9 months and I love how simple the site is, every week I get a nice emailed analytic report on the site and I have checked this with Google Analytic’s, it looks very accurate, more than I can say for the last site that was miles out.
I did not consider SmugMug at first as I thought it was an American site and would not help me with my business in the UK, but I was so wrong and even better SmugMug use LoxleyColour as there Print Partner who run an extremely tight ship, with amazing prints well packaged and fast delivery times.
So if you are looking for an all in one photography site for your business, or just an amazing site to display your images and order prints now and then, SmugMug is the way forward.
I have had a trouble free 9 months and find it a breeze to update and amend any images or text.
So I am passing on a Discount code that you can use to set up your own account, I am sure SmugMug will welcome you as part of the family.
Web Site: www.lighttraveler.co.uk