10 photos that explain how Fuji changed my (photographic) life...
I am, since August of 2015. a Fujifilm convert. It began with a fortuitous crossing of paths that April with a Fuji X20, a pint-sized camera with big boy innards. It quickly became my sole weapon of choice for everyday outings. Then special occasions. For the first time in memory, I left all my Canon gear at home when P and I went on vacation to Michigan. A solid week with a single camera slung from my wrist like an extension of my hand. When we were home and I had a chance to play with the images, I knew I was in trouble.
In August came the X-Pro1, and it was the camera that changed things for me. After 20 years with Canons, adopting the XP1 was a risk, but was destined to happen. It was love at first sight when I first saw it in the pages of my Rangefinder magazine. A digital rangefinder camera with interchangeable lenses. Huh- I thought. One day I will own you. Research into the camera taught me what to expect, and the people who loved it, who had embraced it, all had similar photographic philosophies to mine. Street shooters, wedding photographers, all seeking to blend in, to be invisible...
Move ahead two full years. Adorama Camera in NYC ran a special on the XP1 body plus two prime lenses. The price was right. The time was right. I had no pressing engagements other than a couple portrait sessions until November. Lots of time to learn a new system. So I sold my 30D, 5D and most of my Canon lenses and accessories on Ebay that week. More than enough to offset the buy-in cost of the Fuji. Three days later- it. was. mine. And I was forever changed.
The first thing I had to learn about the Fuji's was a workaround for the slower autofocus. Back button focusing took care of that. I never really mastered back button focus with my 5D, it always seemed somehow redundant. But with the XP1 it was essential. And it made me predictive in a way I had forgotten over the years. I had to learn to see a photograph evolving like I used to back in my film days with the Olympus OM-1. Predictive and aware. But thats what rangefinders are for, what they do best.
It also made me invisible. The X-Pro1 is half the size of the canons, and has the same APS-c sized sensor as my 30D. But due to some Fuji magic the quality of the images rivals the 5D in every way. But its sooo small. No one sees it. Or at least is put off by it. With the 27mm pancake lens its actually pocketable. And non-threatening. It allowed me to get closer than I ever dared or was permitted with the 5D. And its quiet too. No big mirror slap, just a little "snick" that no one ever hears.
Each of these photos is confirmation to me that I made the right decision. Each of these photos is a gift.
I feel like I've come home, back to that place I lived long ago, a place with small, simple, metal-bodied cameras with knobs and dials and no nonsense. A place that cherished everything I gave up with the Canons, everything I've missed since I gave the Olympus away a long, long time ago.
I feel young.