I’m lying a little bit here actually: I haven’t switched completely yet. I’m a part-time Fuji shooter (the rest of the time, I have Canon gear in my bag), but I’m happiest as a photographer when my hands are full of Fuji kit.
And it’s not just because of the image quality. Fuji images are great of course. But so are Canon’s. So are Nikon’s. Hell, even Pentax’s are amazing. At this point, you can get consistently great images from any brand’s pro-level or enthusiast gear.
Nope, so it’s not the image quality. What I really dig about Fujis then are the following four things.
The electronic shutter. This changed the game for me because it allowed for silent shooting. And I mean silent. If you haven’t heard it (or notheard it, I should say) for yourself, search for a YouTube vid with a demonstration. It’s an incredible feature if like me you need it to get the job done. It’s invaluable for street photography or shooting at speeches, meetings, literary readings, in-studio recordings, and film productions—basically anytime you need behind-the-scenes pics and want to remain as unobtrusive as possible.
The JPEGs and the film simulations. I’ve been shooting RAW for well over a decade, so I couldn’t imagine a time when I would be extolling the virtues of returning to JPEG. But it’s happened now. And we have Adobe to thank for it. Lightroom does not play well with RAW files from Fuji’s X-Trans sensor, so it makes more sense to take advantage of Fuji’s excellent film simulations (especially Across and Classic Chrome) and in-camera lens corrections. It’s mildly terrifying to not have the headroom available in RAW files, but it has made me slow down and truly nail down exposure in camera. The added benefit too is that I spend far less time processing and can get photos to clients more quickly. We all know that post processing is an integral component of photography and that at least 50% of an image is often made in the digital darkroom….but I confess that I’m really enjoying the extra time away from the computer. So Fuji has essentially forced me to slow down so as to speed up. It’s awesome.
All those dials! I’m not quite old enough to have exclusively cut my teeth on film cameras and lenses, but I’ve always appreciated the feel—the tactile certainty—of a physical shutter dial and an aperture ring. They somehow just seem…right. The postmodern relativist in me shudders at so categorical a statement, but I’m going to allow myself to be blinded by Fuji love here. If you appreciate film cameras too, Fuji is the only game in town for modern optics with an infusion of old-school cool.
The styling and form factor. I hate to admit it, but I’m shallow, simple, and easily seduced. Because Fuji gear is just so, so bloody sexy, I can’t keep my hands off of it. It’s also generally much lighter than a full DSLR kit. For street shooting or any gig where I can take only a single camera bag, Fuji is my first choice.