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…….?
I am getting lots and lots of e mails and questions about my switch from Nikon to Fuji!
To be honest it could have been Canon to Fuji, it’s a change that needed to be made and the main reason was size and weight, following my fall on Skye last year I have been getting fed up carrying 20-30 Kilos of camera gear around, and also I want to change the way I work, for my future projects.
It’s strange but if you go back through my blog, I have been having this dilemma for a long time, and way before all the big names in the industry made the switch! I just had to wait to finish a few projects before I could part with my D3s, and I wanted a camera system that has some great lenses! I was thinking Sony a while back but their lenses were just not up to it. When I got an X100 I was so stunned by the images and the lens Quality it was a no brainer!
So before I went to Venice I sold all my Nikon Pro gear! I have to be honest here and say the only parts of the system I will miss are the D3s and the Sigma 300mm 2.8! I sold everything DSLR related, tripods and filters etc So am now completely DSLR free and will never buy another.
I will just say this, I was Nikon for 40+ years but feel over the last four years Nikon have been all about profit and are forgetting the end user! The last 18 months they have just been clutching at straws and bringing out one camera after another! The D800 is fine but the image sensor is too big, the D4 is not that much of an improvement on the D3s and in some respects the D3s is better ! The best camera Nikon have at the moment is the D7100. It’s a shame people with the D3 and D700 and D300 were all looking for a great camera when there model was worn out. But it’s just not happening. In my honest opinion a second hand D200 is still a stunning camera and back in my blog the cheep early Nikon VR lenses are still stunning. I see Nikon are now going to follow Fuji and try and make a Nikon FM2 style retro copy ! Let me tell you the Nikon FM2 was an amazing film camera and came from the days Nikon were top of their game ! The image sensors in Nikon cameras are good but just go out for a day with a Fuji X series and think again! The X Series sensors are stunning and the dynamic range and lack of noise is also stunning. The rumor is Nikon are going to put a full frame sensor in this retro camera! Give me strength! Please Nikon get a grip, no one will be able to keep the sensor clean it will be a nightmare for any one that can’t clean their own sensor and they are going to keep the same lens mount! I think someone at Nikon needs to get there head out of the sand and look to the future!
I will just say that in the last 18 months I have never had so many faults with Nikon gear, and it was driving me mad having to send it back to Nikon for repair! It’s not great when a company forgets how it got to where it is, let’s hope they sort it out before it’s too late.
Nokia are going to shake things up over the next few months with their camera phones and tablets so the future of the consumer camera market is going to be a mess for a while, the phone companies have taken over that market!
Fuji has got it right in my opinion, using the X100 and the Xpro1 to me were like going back to my Nikon FM2. It slowed me down and made me think, and this I like. I also want to be ready for the future and the future is not in DSLR’s I can tell you that for a fact, Mirrorless are not quite there yet but they will be and I want to learn how to use them now and know them inside out.
I decided to get the Xpro1 and a few lenses, with the hope they bring out an Xpo2 next year so I can use the Xpro1 as a back up to the Xrpo2. I sold my X100 and do miss it, so I might buy an X100s but we shall see.
So what do I think so far! I am in love with Fuji; I have seen every one trying to jump on their bandwagon Olympus etc and good luck to them. But for me Fuji is where it is and I hope Fuji stick to their amazing customer focused business! When you buy a Fuji and you open the box you know you have just made the right decision, even the box is stunning! (Take note Nikon and Canon)
The X100 and the Xpro1 are quirky to use just like film cameras used to be and I love that, but some of the things you can do with a mirrorless rangefinder are just amazing. Filters work like a dream and the camera even has a built in Bulb Timer! How cool is that for long exposures! Talking of long exposures you can focus the Xpro1 in the dark using the scale in the monitor to set the focus and depth of field and its spot on. It’s not as fast AF wise as a DSLR but there is a trick in the menus to speed things up and if anyone wants to know how its done message me and I will send you details. There are so many great things about these little cameras I just don’t have time to write it all down for you, but I walked around Venice for 5 days 10 hours a day with a camera body and 6 lenses and a tripod and my shoulder did not ache once!
No one looks at you with the Fuji, so you can shoot where you like and no one bats an eyelid.
You can put a huge amount of Fuji gear in a flight bag and carry it all on and off a flight, so perfect for travel.
I will only miss my DSLR for Wildlife and high ISO and I might miss a few shots when I shoot gigs or events due to AF speed but I just don’t care to be honest.
I have a few ideas up my sleeve and a few projects for the next few years that will make me fit the system.
So that’s it for now, if you want to know more about the Xpro1 and lenses feel free to come find me on Facebook or any of my other social media links and have a chat.
I will write more on the camera and lenses when I get the chance so bare with me.