The Magic of Fujifilm

The last few weeks have been busy:  I attended a Fujifilm launch event for the new X-H1, helped lead a photowalk, spoke about my love of street photography to a group of photographers (many of whom shoot with the Fuji X Series) and taught a workshop that was attended entirely by people who use Fujifilm cameras.  All of this reminded me of the palpable enthusiasm that people have for Fujifilm cameras, and I’d like to talk about that for a bit…

To this day, seven years after the launch of the Fuji X Series, I still get asked this question all the time:

“What is it that makes you so excited about Fujifilm cameras?”

First, it’s hard to believe that has been seven years already.  Longer, actually, if you consider that Fujifilm announced the original X100 camera at Photokina during the fall of 2010.  The growth of the X series since then has been remarkable:  there are now 7 or 8 distinct cameras in the series, over two dozen lenses, numerous converters, adapters, accessories, etc.  This of course does not include the groundbreaking Fujifilm GFX medium format camera and its 6 lenses.  Add in the native and third party flash systems that are now available and you really do have a robust system that has matured rapidly in a short period of time… one that I use for all of my professional and personal work.  I am all in, 100%.

When asked the question above, there are the obvious things that can be said about the Fujifilm X and GFX series of cameras.  For example:

  • The beautiful image quality, derived in large part from Fuji’s unique awareness of colour and from their history with film.
  • The ergonomic handling of the cameras, with the aperture ring on the lens and the physical dials for shutter speed / ISO / exposure compensation / etc.
  • The size and weight benefits that are gained from switching to mirrorless.

While all of the above is true, it has never seemed like an adequate response because it only focuses on the physical aspects of using these cameras.  There is much more to the equation though to help explain the fervour that people have for the Fuji X Series.

On a daily basis I speak with people from all over the world.  Students, both online and face to face, express their love for these cameras.  I present at conferences and events, where people always ask questions about using the Fuji X Series.  Hell, I get questions at virtually every wedding that I photograph (recently from the groom, much to the bride’s chagrin).  There is something intangible about the Fuji X Series that draws people in.

While I was at the launch event for the new Fujifilm X-H1, the answer to this question came into focus a bit more clearly for me (no pun intended).  The event was well attended, despite some recent snow.  In addition to the audience, I was there with three of my Official Fuji X Photographer peers (Robert Falconer, Joe Ng, Daniel Fox), Take from Bigheadtaco, several reps from Fujifilm and staff from Beau Photo, one of my favourite camera stores.  The event was led by Billy Luong, one of the original Fuji Guys and a manager with Fujifilm, whom I have worked with and presented with at events in the past.  It is always a pleasure watching Billy speak about these cameras.  He is knowledgeable, passionate about the subject matter and engaged with his audience.  He listens, gives honest answers, and then provides feedback directly to the people who design and build these cameras.

This open and engaged attitude permeates itself throughout Fujifilm.  You see it in the lens roadmap, where Fuji announces and timelines future product releases.  You see it in the constant firmware updates they put out, adding new features for free to existing products.  You see the engagement when you speak directly to Fuji representatives at shows and events.  They clearly want to listen, are open and honest about where Fujifilm is today, and about where it can still go tomorrow.  No product is perfect of course, but you get the sense that they are driven to constantly improve their products.

Once the presentations were done, I had engaging conversations with attendees about the new Fujifilm X-H1, but also about photography in general.  We talked about photos, not just gear.  We talked about the joy of using these cameras, not just about features and specifications.  I honestly don’t recall conversations like this happening when I shot Nikon all those years ago.  And, these conversations seem common to all the events I am at where Fujifilm is discussed.

That is when I realized that, for me, the true magic of Fujifilm lies not just in the cameras they make, but in the community of people who use them.  From the engaged, dedicated staff at Fujifilm, to the talented group of Official Fuji X Photographers I am proud to call my peers, to the community of artists who take photos every day with these cameras.  To that, add companies like my friends at FujiLove, who provide high quality content in the form of magazines, videos, workshops and online communities where Fuji users can discuss and collaborate on all things photography.  All of these people, and many more not mentioned here at all, are a big part of the Fujifilm experience for me.  The truth is that photography can be a lonely endeavour at times if you let it be, but when you are a Fujifilm user, you are never far away from a group of like minded people who share your passion.  That’s pretty awesome.

If you are on the fence about whether or not to buy into the Fujifilm X Series (or the GFX Series), I recommend jumping in with both feet.  I’m sure that there is a product that will meet your needs, regardless of the style you shoot.  Throughout this article I have shown landscapes, street photography, travel images and a portrait or two…  and below I will include another dozen or so images to help show the versatility of these cameras.  They get the job done well, are an absolute pleasure to use, and you will find yourself part of a wonderful community of people.

Until next time,

Ian

20 thoughts on “The Magic of Fujifilm

    • Ian says:

      You are going to love the X-T20, you get a LOT of camera for a very reasonable price. Let me know how it goes!

      Cheers,

      Ian

  1. Bud James says:

    I love Fuji since switching from Canon pro DSLR FF cameras and L lenses about 3 years ago.

    My current camera are the X100F, X-T2 and new X-H1 with a bunch of XF Fuji primes and zooms.

    In December I purchased my first Leica, the M10, along with a few Leica Summicron and Summilux primes. This checked a box on my bucket list to own a Leica. After shooting this set up for a few months, I realize how really good the Fuji IQ and lenses are. There is a difference, but not as great as I expected. Kudos to Fuji.

    Regards,
    Bud James

    http://www.budjames.photography

    • Ian says:

      My experiences have always been the opposite of that wherever I go. Sorry to hear yours haven’t been as good.

      Best wishes,

      Ian

  2. Matt says:

    Great work Ian, I’m another convert from Nikon. As soon as I picked up my first X-T1 it took me back to my teenage years when I shot with a couple of FM2’s and Velvia film. Now we have all that and what fuji ‘s X series has to offer , plus the great fuji community online. Thanks again

  3. Thomas Phoon says:

    How do I decide between the X-H1 and the upcoming X-T3?

    – jumping ship from Nikon full frame
    – love shooting landscape / cityscape

    • Ian says:

      Hey Thomas!

      It would be very difficult to advocate between a current camera and one that isn’t even in existence at this time.

      What I can say, which is the advice I give everyone, is to get the gear that you need today. If you have a camera right now that meets your needs it might be worth waiting to see what comes out in the future. But, and this is a big but, if you don’t you will miss so many shooting opportunities between now and whenever a new camera is released.

      If it helps, there is nothing I can’t do with the cameras currently available in the Fuji X Series. 👍

  4. Rick says:

    I shoot a Fuji X-T20 (with various lenses) and a Leica Q. People often ask me about the cameras, and I tell them that they are both superb systems with nuanced differences. To be clear, one can get a nice Fuji body and enough lenses for any situation for less than the Leica Q and could stop right there with an excellent system. It’s an insult to Fuji cameras to call them a poor man’s Leica, and I can say that from first-hand experience.

    I love both cameras for different reasons. I see SO many people shooting Canon and Nikon who never even considered going with Fuji. The local camera shop (there’s only one) seldom carries anything Fuji and certainly no lenses. If somebody wants one, they have to order it first without ever handling it, and the #1 reason I love my Fuji is how it handles, feels and responds. Hold it and you’ll want it.

    Your beautiful work shows what can be done with a Fuji. It’s a system people love.

    • Ian says:

      Good morning Rick,

      Many thanks for your comment! I think it does a good job of highlighting the most important thing, which is to get the tools that work the best for you. Our cameras should feel right in our hands, produce the images we want/need to produce and, perhaps most importantly, inspire us to shoot more often. For me, that is undoubtably the Fuji X system.

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