A Story of Love & Hate
I am Johannes Rapprich, 26 — a curious, calm mind with an energetic drive to discover new technologies, places, and people. Currently, I live in my hometown of Tettau, which is in the middle of the forest in Northern Bavaria, Germany. Besides freelance photography, I am a full-time media designer.
Before this photographic journey had even started, I wasn’t into anything creative. It all started with failing my first studies — mechatronics — to realizing that visual creating is all I ever wanted. Cameras have always been a part of that story. There has always been a love-hate relationship with these nifty light-capturing devices.
So back in 2017, when I started studying media design and attended a photography lecture, it reignited once more the fire inside me, and I bought my first camera. Little did I know about all the different manufacturers and lens mounts.
My priority was clear. You need to get a camera system to create. The Lumix System seemed reasonably priced, and the package looked good to me. I went to the nearest shop and bought myself a Lumix G81 with a 25mm f1.7 lens.
I’ve discovered my freedom when I left my hometown for the first time and started my studies. Far places didn’t seem so far anymore. Everything was in reach, and places waited to be explored. Usually, I opt for the ways less traveled, and being outside in rough conditions feels pure and raw – pleasing to me. Sometimes I need to feel the elements to remind myself about being alive and not being bound to a desk.
Especially mountains have caught my attention. Rocky pillars, seamlessly connecting earth and sky. They make me feel small and yet so big at the same time. Impressive, dangerous, and challenging – they bear great beauty in all those vistas. Yet, landscapes and nature are not the only fields of my photography. From portrait sessions to commercial brand work – I love taking pictures.
To be honest, I did not know a thing about Fujifilm cameras when I first started photographing back in 2017, so they haven’t been on my radar. Maybe I would have opted for an X-Mount camera at this point? Over time, the M4/3 Sensor of the Lumix lacked dynamic range, and most important to me, the noise performance was not satisfying.
These circumstances led me to search for a new system – one that would bring back inspiration while shooting. Indeed, you should not stick your inspiration/creativity to technological products. Here, the X-T3 brought back inspiration when being in the field, hiking, and shooting was joyful again. Especially the low footprint of the X-Mount ecosystem and the ease of use are a big bonus to me.
Currently, I’ve built a solid trinity of prime lenses. Together with my trustworthy X-T3, there is the XF35mm F1.4 (the lens that all started on the X Mount system), the XF16mm F1.4, and the XF90mm F2. With this setup, I can almost cover any project and adventure.
After using these lenses day and night for over one year now, I am having a hard time picking one favorite lens in my setup. They all have their reason to exist and their spot in the market.
When it’s about the character, the 35mm is still unbeatable for me. It has its flaws indeed (slow and exterior AF, no WR), but it was my first and only lens of the system for a very long time, and I got used to the downsides. I would say that many of my most memorable images have been taken with this lens, it’s a very special one.
If we are talking about focal length and field of view, I opt for the 16mm F1.4. I fell in love with the versatility and quality that the lens offers. From environmental portraits over wide landscapes up to close macro shots. It’s probably the one lens that is mounted to my X-T3 the most.
For further reach, perfect sharpness, and beautiful bokeh, the 90mm F2 is my lens of choice. I cannot describe how beautiful this piece of glass renders images – razor-sharp and contrasty. The precise autofocus, along with its rather small size, makes it a perfect companion in my setup.
Portraits are not the only option with this lens. It is also very exciting to make it work as a landscape lens and pick out details.
Together with Film Simulations — I almost only shoot Classic Chrome — editing and processing my files became so much easier and straightforward as opposed to the maze I had while being on my Lumix camera. When I started on the X-Mount, I wanted to give my images a clear look from the very beginning, so creating a preset on my own was my priority.
Lightroom gave me great flexibility, and apart from some sharpening, some curve science, and an ever so little vignetting and dehaze, there is not that much I’m alternating in my captures. Of course, there are some basic tonal adjustments, but the film simulation already rendered perfect colors for my taste. I like to keep the post-production process very simple to save time for being outdoors again.
So why is this article a story about love & hate? I love cameras and devices, a real gadget man, so to say. It’s a constant struggle between that love and the constant reminder of not limiting myself by those technologies and pursuing my creativity. There are ups and downs where I’m not sure where to prioritize. However, I have come to the conclusion that gadgets, inspiration and nature can as well go hand in hand.
Technology does not define an image. Yet, it can inspire you and your work — and this is exactly what my Fujifilm bodies and lenses are doing. They are tools, and they inspire me to create. That’s great because it’s what I love to do.
Johannes Rapprich – 26. A curious, calm mind with an energetic drive to discover new technologies, places, and people. He currently lives in his hometown of Tettau, which is in the middle of the forest in Northern Bavaria, Germany. Besides photography, he is a full-time media designer.