Why I left Nikon for Fuji X

Why I left Nikon for Fuji X

Maybe you have noticed on Facebook or elsewhere that I have sold my complete Nikon photo equipment and switched to mirrorless Fuji X in November 2013. I promised to write this article, explain the reasons that led me to the change and share my first impressions with the new camera. I know, there are tons of articles about Fuji X around the internet, but I hope also this information may help someone in his/her decision making.



Small sensor? Never more!

(flashback) September 2013, one of my photo workshops. We talked about mirrorless cameras, by the way also about Fuji X line. At that time I had only one experience with mirrorless cameras and it was short (really short) testing of Sony RX1 for a review purpose. The image quality of RX1 has been amazing thanks to 24.3 MPx full frame image sensor and Zeiss 25mm/f2.0 lens. But I didn't want to pay € 3000 for a camera without viewfinder and no option to change lenses.

When the guys talked about Fuji X100S camera, I just said that I like the retro design, but I cannot imagine to make a step back to the smaller APS-C image sensor. (/flashback)


Fuji X-Pro1 + Fujinon XF 18-55mm/F2.8-4.0 R LM OIS.
ISO 6400, 1/140 s, f/2.8, JPG/Velvia (converted to BW).


In a shortcut

When I had been choosing my first digital camera in 2004, I wanted to buy the Fujifilm S5500 or S7500 camera. I liked the Fuji colors, but both S5500 and S7500 were very small compact cameras, more funny than serious for me.

Instead of Fuji I bought a Sony DSC-F828. Also a compact camera, but almost one kilogram piece of metal.

And every my next camera was bigger and heavier - Nikon D70, D200 and finally the fantastic full frame D700. Not just the size and weight, but --and only important-- the comfort of shooting and the image quality was better and better. Actually I had no reason to change the status quo. Nikon D700 is a great camera for shooting. Not for everyday wearing.


Fuji X-Pro1 + Fujinon XF 18-55mm/F2.8-4.0 R LM OIS.
ISO 6400, 1/30 s, f/3.2, JPG/Velvia.


Accidents change the world

Late at night, a bottle of wine was empty and I decided to delete some emails and go to sleep. Among tons of spam was one email from the Scoop.it, leading me to a big collection of Fuji X related articles, currated by a German photographer Thomas Menk, a big Fuji fan. Before I went to sleep, I read about 20 articles from this collection and when I woke up next morning, I knew I am going to sell Nikon and buy Fuji. Danke, Thomas :)


Fuji X-E1 + Fujinon XF 23mm/F1.4 R.
ISO 1000, 1/60, f/2, JPG/Velvia.


Why?

It is small and lightweight. It fits into your winter jacket pocket. You don't feel it inside your bag , it really is a camera that you can carry all the time and your shoulder does not hurt ... Compare the four- or ten-pound SLR gear to two pounds of Fuji X and some lenses. Its retro look and feel draws you back to the old times of photography. The image quality is uncompromising, Fuji offers a nice line of fast lenses for reasonable prices etc...


Fuji X-E1 + Fujinon XF 14mm/F2.8 R.
ISO 3200, 1/60 s, f/2.8. RAF.


Back to APS-C? No problem!

Did I really said that?
The image quality is amazing. I could not believe that photos from the smaller APS-C sensor can look better than from my full frame D700, but they often do and if not, they are not worse. Fuji also great in low light conditions, the colors rendition is literally shocking, you appreciate also its dynamic range and so on and so forth . New and new fast Fujinon lenses (f/1.4, 1.2 ...) are a razor sharp from the center to the edges with excellent contrast and color transfer.


Fuji X-Pro1 + Fujinon XF 18-55mm/F2.8-4.0 R LM OIS.
ISO 1000, 1/60 s, f/4, RAF.


Well, the X, but whiX?

In October, there were three Fuji X cameras fighting for my attention, all with the same image quality, but with some differences.

X100S - the king of compact cameras - but I need to change lenses sometimes, so what else?

X-E1 vs. X.Pro1

X-Pro1 was the Fujifilm flag ship and it seemed to be a clear winner. The main difference between them is that X-E1 has an electronic viewfinder (EVF) and X-Pro1 has a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder (OVF/EVF). It also made X-Pro1 a winner. But later I have read and seen a lot of reviews and comparisons and in most of them the X-E1 has been winning the race. The EVF is very good and in low light environment it is even an advantage. And it instantly informs you about the exposure, you can adjust it to perfection even before you push the release button.

It would be too easy, so Fuji anounced new X-E2 with some nice improvements to be released in November. While I was waiting for it, as usually the new camera was sooner in foreign stores than in the Czech Republic and many people started again to compare X-E1 with X-E2. And again, they have found that the image quality is identical and the new features and improvements are good, but not revolutionary.

Anyway, many photographers always need the latest model and internet bazaars have been full of incredibly cheap X-E1 cameras. When I saw it, there was no reason for me to wait for X-E2 and I bought one almost new X-E1 for just 1/2 the X-E2 price and 1/3 the X-Pro1 price.

I had one more reason for this decision - if Fuji developed the X-E2 in November 2013, what will be during the next year? X-Pro2? Now I know it is the X-T1, which is not interesting for me, I don't need a weather sealing camera. One week ago I was shooting in -8°C and the camera was OK. I was not...


Fuji X-E1 + Fujinon XF 14mm/F2.8 R.
ISO 6400, 1/60 s, f/3.2, JPG/Provia.


Fujimania

There are hundreds or thousands articles about Fuji X cameras all around. I have never seen something like this before. Why? Fuji simply has managed to produce camera you fall in love with. And it is not only one camera, it is almost the whole X line. Instead of the usual "Photos of Tuscany" photographers write "Photos of Tuscany with Fuji X".
Congratulations, Fuji.

Even the length of this article is an evidence. I've never felt the need to talk about how great is my new Nikon, but Fuji is a joy and I want to say that.

It's a phenomenon , of course, but ...

Not for everyone

Where Fuji fails? Technically, I have not found anything yet. Some photographers say about the auto focus speed and accuracy. i can say, from my short experience, that focus is accurate and fast. Perhaps it is not as fast as the best DSLR cameras with high-quality lenses, but I feel no limits. For this reason, it is probably not suitable for shooting flying birds, running cheetahs or F1 racing. For normal shooting there is no problem with the auto focus speed. 


Fuji X-E1 + CCTV lens 25mm/F1.4.
ISO 200, 1/125 s, f/1.4, JPG, converted to BW, cropped.


Size matters

Small size and weight is a great advantage of Fuji. However, as I discovered, it also may be its disadvantage. It's hard to believe, but some photographers have told me that with such a small device they could not give the client an invoice. Others have said that they could not use "this" for shooting girls. The bigger camera, the bigger professional.

It's horrible when you think that the client does not pay for the photo, but the impression - a large SLR with a big lens...

This does not bother me at all, fortunately, as a fine art photographer I can take pictures with a matchbox, if it suits me enough.

But honestly I feel sorry for you, colleagues ....


Fuji X-E1 + Fujinon XF 14mm/F2.8 R.
ISO 2500, 1/60 s, f/2.8, JPG/Velvia. More photos of fireworks with Fuji.


Leica for the poor

Really? Well, Leica makes amazing cameras and lenses, but if I saw added value , corresponding to the price, I'd bought it. Leica is 6 or 8 times more expensive than Fuji is. Is it 6 or 8 times better? No, it isn't. And as I have said, Fuji is a joy.

Lenses

The X series is relatively new and Fuji produces new and new high quality lenses for very reasonable prices. The cheaper ones are labeled XC, the higher level have a title XF. I bought FX 14mm/F2.0 for extremely wide shots and XF 23mm/F1.4 as my main lens. I am going to buy also XF 56mm/F1.2, when it finally comes to my country. You may use third parties lenses via various adapters - Leica, M42, Nikon etc... Just for fun I have bought two CCTV lenses (C-mount) that provide interesting lomo effect. Price of one such lens is about ridiculous 20 USD.


Fuji X-E1 + CCTV lens 25mm/F1.4.
ISO 1000, 1/60 s, f/1.4, JPG/Provia.


Too soon to review

I own my Fuji X-E1 only two and half months and it is not enough to write any deep review; everything I wrote here have been just my first impressions and the reasons why I left Nikon DSLRs for small Fuji X.

I have attached some photos, more photographs will be continuously added to my 2014 gallery page.

The best? Probably not

I'm not saying it's the best camera in the world, but it is damn good and suitable for all my needs. That's all, folks! :)

Buy Fujifilm X-E1 on Amazon:
.com .co.uk .ca .de .fr .it .es .co.jp .cn

Jiri Ruzek
Author: Jiri RuzekWebsite: http://www.jiriruzek.net
Czech uglamour nude art photographer, born Aug 29 1967 in Litomerice, living in Prague.
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