Fuji Sense

I like Fuji cameras, and have four of them. Five if you count the film-using Hasselblad X-Pan they made, though this is pretty much in retirement, waiting for me to finish the film I loaded into it Northfleet on Jan 1st 2013.  But I also currently own a Fuji X100, X-Pro1, X-E1 and X-T1, though its mainly the last two that I now use. All have their strong points and their weaknesses, but the X-T1 is my favourite.

I’ve never been good at selling cameras. Sometimes the amount they fetch compared with what you paid seems derisory, but more its because I become attached to them and feel one day I might just want to use them again, pick up that X-Pan and go out to take pictures. Though I know I probably won’t.

But although I’m a Fuji fan, I’m also a Fuji critic. And I hope a Fuji realist. And I get quite fed up with the posts on my Facebook feed by people who enthuse about the special quality of images from their Fuji cameras, about how much better they are than those from Canon or Nikon. People who claim the images are sharper, have higher resolution, better colour etc. It just isn’t so, and though I’d be hard put to prove it, the images from my Nikon D800E and even the smaller D700 files have a slight edge. Though a difference that is seldom if ever of practical consequence.

So I was pleased to read a huge chunk of information and common-sense from ,  about the Fuji System, starting with his recent Fuji X-System, A Clarification which I think has a great summary of their strengths and defects- the major strength being that “in the glass department no other manufacturer comes close.”

Although I wrote almost 15 years ago about EVFs as the viewfinder of the future, the future is not quite with us yet. The X-T1 viewfinder is the first I’ve used that I really like most of the time, but sometimes it’s too slow to update and gets wiped out by rapid and extreme light changes. Optical viewfinders update at the speed of light, and my eyes respond pretty rapidly to light changes. EVF still have a little catching up to do, but I’m a little happier with it than Boyer.

About the other problems – the lack of responsiveness and battery life, I agree entirely, though the X-T1 does have a mode where the EVF only turns on when you put your eye to the eyepiece, which surely ought to enable battery life to be improved?

Boyer also comments on the lack of real changes in various model releases, and it is very hard to disagree. But perhaps to be fair to Fuji they have greatly improved the cameras by firmware updates, making hardware upgrades largely unnecessary for existing users. I’m still hoping that the Version 4.0 Firmware promised for late June is going to make the autofocus noticeably faster in low light.

Also worth reading, written over a year ago in his X100S Vs. Nikon Urban Myths (and I’m sure much more.) There he concludes that the main differences in colour between different cameras (quite a few of which use the same basic sensor as the Fujis) are a matter of white balance. Fuji cameras, as he also shows, interpret ISO differently, and my own simple tests agree.  If I meter a typical subject with my Fuji X-T1 set at ISO3200 I find get the same shutter speed and aperture as with the D700 set at ISO1600. Taking pictures at the same shutter speed and aperture produces files that need rather different exposure adjustment, with the Fuji images despite the nominally higher ISO generally a little darker until adjusted in Lightroom.

I generally prefer the colour from Nikon. I seem to have more problems with colour and the Fujis, particularly with greens. Fuji images often seem to be just a little pink while Nikons are just sometimes a little yellow. Bright orange and red seem a pain with both, but then they were with film too.

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