There are Canon guys, Nikon guys, Sony guys, Leica guys, etc., people who praise their camera brand and criticize all the others. These are known as fanboys. They are fanatical about one camera brand, like someone who roots for a particular sports team.
There was this photographer I knew back when I lived in California who was a Canon guy. He would exalt his Canon gear up one side and down the other. He would tell anyone who didn’t have a Canon camera that they should get a Canon camera. He would eagerly inform you that Canon was the number one camera brand and that most pros use it “for a reason.”
A few years back I overheard one photographer tell an aspiring photographer, who was seeking guidance on how to improve, that he needed to buy a certain Nikon camera in order to make better photographs. He needed more dynamic range and better high ISO performance and quicker auto focus and if only he had this specific gear from this certain manufacturer he’d be able to achieve the results he wanted.
Leica has perhaps the most fanatic followers of any camera brand, and it has been well documented and heavily discussed all over the web. Leica guys will tell you that there is nothing like shooting with a Leica, and once you photograph with one you’ll never touch another camera brand ever again.
I never really understood this. There’s not a huge difference between camera brands. Every camera is good nowadays and none are perfect. People squabble over a two point difference in some meaningless score over at a website that rates cameras (and that website states a two point difference is imperceptible). It seems so ridiculous.
I doubt you’ve ever said, “That picture must be from a Canon camera!” Or, “The photographer must have used a Nikon to capture that!” Or, “You can really appreciate the Sony look in this image!” Or, “Only a Leica could have created that picture!” That’s because a RAW file from any camera can be manipulated to look however you want. You can make identical pictures with cameras from every camera brand.
The only things that really separate one brand from the next are really small things. One might have a little bit different setup or tiny innovation that the others don’t. I know this because I have owned digital cameras made by Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Samsung and others. By and large they are all the same, much more similar than dissimilar.
I bring up all this because I have been accused of being “another one of those Fujifilm fanboys.” And, based on the title of this blog, it’s understandable. I do love my Fujifilm X100F. And I loved the X-E1 that I used to own.
What is it about Fujifilm that makes me like it more than other brands of cameras? Am I really a Fujifilm fanboy? I decided that there are two things that separate Fujifilm from everyone else in my book. The first is user experience and the second is JPEG quality.
One thing I really like about Fujifilm is the retro styling. People ask me from time to time if I’m shooting a vintage film camera. That’s great and all, but what I really appreciate are the old school controls. There’s no PASM dial. You don’t have to dig through menus to adjust the aperture, you twist a ring around the lens. The shutter and ISO are controlled through dials on the top. Having learned photography in the film era (with a Canon A-E1), all of this is normal, natural and simple. It’s a joy to use! It’s the way cameras should have always been, and I wonder why camera makers ever moved away from it. This isn’t completely unique to Fujifilm, but it’s not all that common, either.
Straight-out-of-camera JPEG quality on Fujifilm cameras are beyond that of any other camera brand. You are probably saying things like “so what” and “you should try RAW” right about now. I was there with you before I began using Fujifilm cameras. I shot a lot of RAW. But then I discovered that Fujifilm cameras can produce JPEGs that resemble post-processed RAW files. I soon realized that I didn’t need to edit my pictures!
I used to estimate that for every hour spent photographing I would need two-to-three hours for editing, depending on exactly how many exposures I made and how much work each needed. That’s a lot of time sitting in front of a computer tweaking images! I always wondered if there was a better, more efficient way. And there certainly is!
You might be wondering about the seemingly unrelated photographs that I’ve included in this article. A few days ago I picked up my aunt from the Salt Lake City airport. I arrived about 20 minutes before she found her way to baggage claim, and then we waited about 15 minutes for her luggage to show up. I brought along my Fujifilm X100F and snapped some street-type images while there.
I captured pictures (off and on) for about 35 minutes, which, in the days before I shot Fujifilm, meant that I’d be staring at a computer monitor post-processing RAW files for somewhere between an hour and ten minutes to an hour and forty five minutes. Instead, it took me ten minutes to upload the JPEGs from the camera onto the computer, sift through them to decide which were keepers, then upload those to Flickr (which is what I use to backup my work). Done. I went about the rest of my day. Tons and tons of time saved.
The pictures here are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs. No editing done or required. Do they look like typical JPEGs? No, they don’t because they look finished. They look like they would if I had made RAW exposures and then edited them with software. Or perhaps they have a film-like quality to them.
I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent sitting at a computer editing pictures–too many to even begin to estimate. There were times in the past that my workflow was so backed up that I purposefully left my camera on the shelf collecting dust for days and even weeks because I didn’t want to create any more post-processing work. Instead of that, I now spend more time with my family and creating images.
If I didn’t have a Fujifilm camera, my life would consist of significantly more time at a computer. I already spend too much time with my face looking at a screen. Life’s not happening in an office. Life’s not happening at a desk. I missed out on a lot, but I’m not missing out on it now. That may seem over dramatic, but it is true.
I’ve found something that has made a difference to me personally, and I love to share that with you. Does that make me a Fujifilm fanboy? Perhaps. If it does, I’m not ashamed of it. I hope you understand.