My photographic reborn story with Fuji X system

“Fuji X is like entering a new relationship you might have some reservations at the beginning, you might have to break through some barriers, but what you find is a deep passion and a new love for an inspiring… new start.”

I am a Photographer of over ten years now and I am completely self taught, I was a Nikon addict for most of my photographic journey shooting Strobe, Portraiture, Landscape, HDR, Sports and so on, so you might call me an all rounder.

Like some photographers I lost my inspiration at times and retired my camera to its place of rest until I felt the creative juices flowing again. I even started a photographic club for beginners, which had well over a hundred members for a few years and I found as much enjoyment teaching as I did shooting. However, slowly over the past couple of years I had lost my inspiration again. Why? Was it due to trying to compete with the best? Was I not happy with the work I was producing? Was I fed up of carrying all that equipment around and competing in the market of buying the most expensive equipment?

So here is my reborn story, I have always had photographers I aspire to be like; we all do and there are so many, but if I could name one in particular, it would be Bert Stephani from Belgium. He started commercial and personal work with Canon many years ago and I loved the way he simplified his shooting style and his creative flair. His personality mirrored mine in the way he conducted himself and approached his work, especially with models.

All I focused on for some time was how I could channel my artistic side to see and capture the images he was producing. Then, a few years ago, he made quite a radical change which I had trouble understanding at the time: he moved from Canon to Fuji X. His work over the coming months changed, his modelling and commercial side slowed down and his personal work increased.

Fuji X-T10 . Fuji XF56mmF1.2R . f/2.2 . 1/180″ . ISO 200
Fuji X-T10 . Fuji XF56mmF1.2R . f/16 . 13″ . ISO 200

I could see a new passion evolving in his work and was intrigued as to why! Then a year ago I took the plunge and bought a Fuji X-E2 with a Fuji 60mm F2.4 as I loved the look of these new retro mirrorless Fuji cameras. From the moment I took it out of the box and it was in my hands I knew that this was something special and the start of a new relationship.

The first love I found was the size of the camera, it went absolutely everywhere with me, it sat in the middle console of my car and was always at hand, which is where I first realised why these cameras are loved as much as they are.

Fuji X-T10 . Fuji XF56mmF1.2R . f/1.2 . 1/2000″ . ISO 320

My Nikon, due to the cost and size, was always packed away in my backpack until it was time to shoot, where the Fuji was in my hands ready at all times so I was shooting photos all the time capturing moments I would never of caught before. It was less conspicuous, so I was capturing street art where I could retain expressions of people, where as with the Nikon, they had caught the camera in my hands and lost the emotion I wanted to capture…

The Fuji remote Wifi app is amazing; having the ability to control the camera from your mobile phone opened up another world for me. Now I was transferring my images to my phone or iPad on the go and editing with Snapseed app to publish instantly on Facebook and Instagram, which was taking me away from Photoshop and Lightroom and slowly changing my view on what should be a finished image.

Fuji X-T10 . Fuji XF56mmF1.2R . f/1.2 . 1/375″ . ISO 400
Fuji X-T10 . Fuji XF56mmF1.2R . f/2 . 1/36″ . ISO 200

I realised that perfection, sharpness, low noise, image quality was all a thing of the past for me, as these are rules we learn or are taught when starting out. We have always had famous photographers and art from the first days of cameras, but never had the technology we have now, which leads me to where I am now and which is where I have changed my photography. I prioritise the image I am looking for over any feelings of, do I need or have the equipment to take the shot? If the lighting or focus is not perfect, does it matter? No! I now utilise all of the photography techniques I’ve acquired and create as artistic and lifelike photos as I can. My studio days are far and few, as I love photographing people, wildlife, architecture, etc, in as natural surroundings as possible.

The Fuji X system has inspired and changed my whole outlook on photography, it is more personal and exciting now, like in the days when I started photography. It has reset my mode of thought and taken away all of the built up advertising pressures around equipment, ie “to produce fantastic images you need the best equipment”.

Fuji X-T10 . Fuji XF56mmF1.2R . f/1.2 . 1/320″ . ISO 200

I use the X-T10, Fuji 56mm F1.2, Fuji 20mm F2, Two ND8 Filters, two flashes, two pocket wizards and cables, Tripod and that is my kit, for all my work!

As you have read, there are a lot of positives with the Fuji X series, but like anything there are a couple of negatives. However, in my opinion these are only small niggles and do not alter the enjoyment I get from using the Fuji X series.

Firstly, I wanted to do some outdoor strobe “off camera flash” work with a model and realised that the Fuji X series does not have high speed sync. So, how am I going to kill the ambient light, as i could only shoot at 1/180 sec maximum sync speed? Well for me, one or two ND 8 filters did the job quite adequately, to retain F1.2 – F1.4 which I use on my Fuji 56mm F1.2 in bright daylight.

Fuji X-T10 . Fuji XF56mmF1.2R . f/1.4 . 1/1500″ . ISO 250
Fuji X-T10 . Fuji XF56mmF1.2R . f/1.2 . 1/180″ . ISO 200

Finally, the second niggle I suppose was that I was use to top end full frame bodies with amazingly quick AF “Auto focus.” I noticed that the AF was reduced a little on the Fuji, this was something that over a matter of weeks I adjusted myself to and now I do not even notice the difference.

What I do love is the face and eye detection system that they have, when I am doing close portraiture work, it is so accurate and allows me to engage with the model more whilst I control the camera from my phone or iPad, relying on the superb detection system to capture a perfectly focused image which it does amazingly.

I have been so overwhelmed with the camera the past year that I have just sold thousands of pounds of all of my Nikon gear and completely gone over to Fuji now.

Fuji X-T10 . Fuji XF56mmF1.2R . f/1.2 . 1/431″ . ISO 200
Fuji X-T10 . Fuji XF18mmF2R . f/2 . 1/1722″ . ISO 200

I have never classed myself as a professional photographer, why? Have i done paid work YES? Can I teach photography YES? Are my technical abilities good enough to photograph any form that is in front of me YES? I don’t suppose I ever will think of myself as a professional, as Photography is a constant learning curve. What I am is an experienced photographer, who has a passion for capturing images and enjoying photography, which are the reasons I started photography and Fuji X series has bought me full circle. Fuji have done something very clever, they have not offered a series of cameras that boast this or that over other brands, what they have produced is a series of cameras that once in your hands, sparks for many reasons the drive, passion, a new artistic flair to capture images you would never have taken before.

“You can only take amazing images if you can see them, or create them, your passion drives what you do. The most expensive equipment in the world can not find that for you, it has to come from within.”

Fuji X-T10 . Fuji XF56mmF1.2R . f/1.2 . 1/4000″ . ISO 100

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