Fujifilm Announced X-H2S + Lenses at X Summit Today

Body Shop – Childress, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600

There was a Fujifilm X Summit today? Guess I missed it.

I’m on a long road trip right now, and I was driving when the big announcements were made. That’s not entirely true. I was actually photographing an abandoned car garage in Childress, Texas, at that time. Originally a gas station built in 1940, this building spent its last active days as an auto body shop. I think it’s been abandoned for at least a couple of years. I suppose I could have tuned into the X Summit instead, but this was a better use of my time, as I prefer to invest in experiences over gear.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but Fujifilm announced the X-H2S. Everyone already knew this camera was going to be announced, and what exactly it is. Now it is all official. This is the first of two new “flagship” cameras that will come out later this year. If you need the fastest Fujifilm camera or the best video specs, this is the camera to buy. It’s intended to convince those who are unsatisfied with their current brand to consider Fujifilm instead. I’m not personally interested in this camera, and I already gave my opinions on it.

Ballyhoo – Childress, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”

Apparently Fujifilm will have two different X-Trans V sensors on their future models: the fast 26mp and the high-resolution 40mp options—the 40mp sensor will be the “normal” one. I wish that Fujifilm would focus on other advancements and improvements instead of resolution. And I’m not talking about autofocus speed, either. People complain about autofocus speed, but consider all of the amazing photographs (and movies) that were made well before autofocus even existed, and in its infancy, too. The X-E1’s autofocus is plenty capable, just so long as the photographer is capable. The autofocus on my X-E4 is amazing, yet some people think it’s not all that good. I’ve come to the conclusion that this complaining is just an excuse, and doesn’t have any true merit. Autofocus could improve by 400% and somebody would complain, because autofocus isn’t the real problem. And it’s definitely reached the point of diminishing returns, as it’s already well beyond what most people need for their photography.

Fujifilm announced two new zoom lenses, too: 18-120mm F/4 and 150-600mm f/5.6-f/8. I’m sure plenty will get excited for the 18-120mm for travel and the 150-600mm for wildlife, but I don’t have a desire for either. I suppose zooms just aren’t my thing. Fujifilm did add an 8mm f/3.5 and 30mm f/2.8 Macro to the roadmap, both of which seem like interesting lenses, but no date was given for when they’ll be released. More than anything, I’m excited for an M42-mount Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 that I found at an antique store for $15. It’s been so much fun to use, yet highly challenging. I’d like to see Fujifilm release a prime longer than 90mm (but less than 200mm)—that would be something to get excited for!

Vivitar 135mm – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400

I suppose that I should be more excited than I am at this moment. Maybe once my road trip is over and I’m all settled into my new home, I’ll feel a little more positive about these upcoming releases. I think it’s good to have options. This camera will serve many people very well. These two zooms will open up photographic possibilities for hundreds. That’s truly great! They’re just not for me, and that’s ok, because I don’t need new gear right now. What I “need” is to use what I have, which is what I’ve been doing, and the reason why the X Summit came and went and I didn’t notice.

Why even write this article? It’s 10 PM where I’m at right now. I’m spending the night in a cheap hotel. It kind of smells funny. I have to get up early in the morning and drive for a whole bunch of hours. I could be in bed, and maybe I should be. I’m writing this article because I’ve received a dozen or so messages from people wanting to know my opinions on today’s announcements. A lot has been said already by those on the internet, including those who were given a chance to use the preproduction models. I don’t think I have much to add. If something seems interesting to you, and you believe it might help with your photography (or videography), then by all means get your preorders in. But if you are on the fence, spend the money on experiences instead, and use the gear you already own as best as you can. That’s my advice. Now I’m off to bed.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Preorder the Fujifilm X-H2S at B&H
Preorder the Fujinon 18-120mm at B&H
Proeorder the Fujinon 150-600mm at B&H

PASM is NOT for Me

I hate PASM.

I think PASM is a terrible camera design idea, and I cannot understand why it became a standard feature in photography. Yes, different strokes for different folks—many people like it—but PASM is not for me. It’s probably not for most of you, either, and one thing that likely attracted you to Fujifilm cameras is that they don’t have one.

What is PASM? I’m sure most of you know, but for anyone who might not: it’s a shooting-mode knob (or sometimes a switch) almost always placed on the top of the camera. The “P” is for Program (can vary a little by brand, but is essentially nowadays ISO-Priority), “A” is for Aperture-Priority, “S” is for Shutter-Priority, and “M” is for Manual. Turn the knob to switch between the different modes. Usually the command wheels are what you use to adjust the settings, and (brand dependent) sometimes you have to dig through the menu to make adjustments.

My first experience with PASM was over 20 years ago, way back in my early days of photography. I was shooting all-manual with a Canon AE-1, and someone let me try their Canon EOS-3, which was a “modern” SLR with a bunch of buttons and a little electronic display. I was pretty lost and frustrated with the camera, and only shot one roll of film (I probably would have done less than that, but I wanted to finish the roll) before giving it back. To me at that time, I couldn’t understand the point of this “advanced technology” if all it did was complicate something inherently simple.

Lake Ducks & People – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 50mm – “Kodachrome 64

I didn’t have another PASM experience until I finally gave in and purchased my first digital camera, a Pentax DSLR, in 2009. I tried many different digital cameras from a number of brands (Nikon, Sony, Samsung, Sigma, Panasonic) before finally buying a Fujifilm X-E1 in 2016. While I did get used to using PASM, I always found it to be frustrating and miserable, so going back to the traditional controls found on Fujifilm cameras was a breath of fresh air. I literally said out loud to myself, “Why aren’t ALL cameras like this?!”

The traditional shutter knob and aperture ring make a lot of sense to me because that’s how I learned photography. That’s how I did photography for over a decade. The concept is simple, but it does require a prerequisite knowledge of the exposure-triangle to use them in manual mode.

You might be surprised to learn that Canon introduced the very first PASM camera, the A-1, back in 1978. It was a huge hit with “amateur photographers on a budget” due to its “ease of use” and relatively affordable cost. PASM was originally intended to make photography more accessible to the inexperienced. As time went on and PASM became more common, more and more people learned photography on it. I would bet that most people who started photography on or after the year 2000 (and probably a fair amount of people who started in 1990’s, and maybe even some who started in the 1980’s) had PASM on their first camera. Since that is what they learned photography on and what they used day in and day out, PASM makes sense to them. That’s why almost all cameras today have PASM dials.

Fujifilm is unique. While there are some Fujifilm cameras with PASM, most don’t, and instead have traditional controls. I bet that’s one of the main reasons why many of you bought a Fujifilm camera—it was for me! It’s not the only thing that’s unique about Fujifilm, but it is an obvious difference that’s clearly visible just by looking at it.

After I posted my thoughts on the upcoming X-H2S, which according to Fujirumors will have a PASM dial, I received a couple different reactions: Fujifilm needs to appeal to those who prefer PASM, and Fujifilm has forgotten what made them great.

Brendan’s X-T3 – Haslet, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 50mm – “Kodachrome 64

The first point is that since most photographers are used to PASM (because that’s what they’ve always had), the traditional dials don’t appeal to them. Fujifilm cameras are intimidating, and the traditional controls are confusing. Probably more than anything, it’s simply not what they’re used to and it’s not what makes the most sense to them. In order to attract these people, Fujifilm should philosophically pivot, and make multiple models that are more appealing to the masses. While I think it’s fine to make some cameras that have PASM, I believe that instead of trying to be just like “Canikony” (a.k.a. everyone else), it makes more sense to me to double-down on what is different about your brand. What makes Fujifilm unique? Those are the things that attract people from other brands. Make those unique things the best that they can possibly be, and have a solid marketing campaign that shows the world why these unique things are something they should desire. That’s my advice to Fujifilm.

The second point is that by replacing the traditional controls with PASM on the X-H line, Fujifilm is losing its analog-inspired soul. Maybe they are. I cringe at the thought of the X-H2S having a PASM dial. But, this is just one camera. I think instead of Fujifilm losing their soul, they’re just shifting their focus for this particular model line. The X-H2S isn’t intended for you, the current Fujifilm photographer. Yes, some of you will buy it and love it, but it will likely be more like the X-S10, which was (generally speaking) a little bit of a disappointment for those who already owned other Fujifilm cameras (I know this because many have told me so), but has sold really well to those coming from other brands. The X-H2S is intended to convince Canikony photographers who aren’t completely happy with their current cameras to look at Fujifilm as an alternative. In other words, for those with a Fujifilm X-H1 who would like to upgrade to an updated version, this probably isn’t the X-H2 you’ve been waiting and hoping for.

My worry is that Fujifilm is going to have a split personality—a customer base with competing desires. On one hand, there are those who want a traditional experience, with manual controls and film simulations and such as essential aspects. On the other hand, there are those who basically want a better Canon or Sony, and they want Fujifilm to create that (somehow, despite the smaller budget). Where is Fujifilm going to focus their time, energy, and R&D? It’s an important question, because it determines the trajectory of the business, which in turns affects future camera models. Yes, there’s room for both, and probably some people sit in-between these two camps; however, I’m concerned that Fujifilm might be shifting their focus away from what matters to me (and likely the majority of you) in hopes to gain market share through morphing models to be more similar to what other brands are making. I think Fujifilm can gain market share by hyper-focusing on what makes their brand unique and better engaging the community, but I’m no expert, so my opinion might not be worth much.

I won’t buy another PASM camera. I have used many, and even currently have a few. At this point in my life, the photography experience is just as important to me as the photographs that I create. Fujifilm cameras with traditional controls are what works for me because they provide the shooting experience that I appreciate (plus the picture aesthetics that I want!). I understand that it’s not for everyone, and probably not for most people, and that’s ok. The X-H2S is not for me quite literally by design, but it is for the masses, and perhaps it will sell very well, and convince many people to try Fujifilm for the first time. That’s great if it is successful—I truly hope it is! I still won’t buy it, though, because PASM is not for me.

My Opinions on the Upcoming Fujifilm X-H2S

Fujifilm X-H1

People have been asking me what my opinions are on the upcoming Fujifilm X-H2S, which is the unannounced upcoming X-Trans V camera that Fujifilm will reveal before the end of the month. The only reason why we know about this camera is because of Fujirumors.com, which is the best place to find information on upcoming gear. Fujirumors has shared many details about the X-H2S, so we have a pretty good idea of what is about to be announced.

I have this impression that the Fujifilm corporation doesn’t like Fujirumors very much—it’s a thorn in Fujifilm’s side when it comes to new releases, although they also seem to use Fujirumors to gauge the pulse of the Fujifilm community. So they use ’em when they need ’em and otherwise don’t like ’em. I think that Fujifilm might feel similarly about Fuji X Weekly: they like how it builds excitement within the community, converts photographers to the X system, and generates plenty of sales—yet I use competing brand names (Kodak, for example) and occasionally speak critically of the company, which they don’t appreciate.

I want to circle back around to a word: community. Patrick, the guy who runs Fujirumors, pretty much single-handedly built the Fujifilm community. This wonderful kinship is unique in the photography realm. Yes, there are fans and fan sites for every brand, but none compare to the Fujifilm community, particularly when it comes to things like energy, commitment, kindness, generosity, and probably many other nice words that I didn’t write. Really, there should be some sort of annual Fujifilm convention… actually several throughout the world—I think people would love the opportunity to meet those in-person whom they’ve seen and spoken to online. People love their Fujifilm cameras, and that enthusiasm percolates to those within their sphere of influence. With today’s technology, one’s sphere of influence can easily be worldwide.

Fujifilm needs to do more to embrace this great global community that’s built around their brand. I think because they didn’t create it themselves and have no control over it, they shy away from it. They enjoy the benefits of it from a safe distance, and then deride it behind closed doors when something happens within it that they don’t like. What can Fujifilm do? First, they need to drop the negative attitude towards Fujirumors and other people and websites that are the heartbeat of the community. Next, they need to find ways to engage the community, using already existing channels (find where the community gathers online), as well as double-down on their own efforts (10 Years of X Mount is a great example). Third, they need to bring back Kaizen, and realize just how important this is to the community—by ignoring Kaizen, Fujifilm is ignoring the community.

Last Warm Light on Wasatch Front – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Negative Print

Now that I’ve said all of that, what about the X-H2S? What are my opinions?

The Fujifilm X-H2S is the long-awaited successor to the X-H1, which was a wonderful yet overlooked X-Trans III camera. The X-H2S will introduce the X-Trans V sensor and processor. It would seem the improvements that X-Trans V will bring over X-Trans IV is speed: faster processing, faster autofocus, etc.. There will likely be some new JPEG options, too, such as the Nostalgic Negative film simulation.

I have no doubts that the X-H2S will be a great camera: fast and eager—a true workhorse in the Fujifilm system; however, there are two things that concern me about it: heat and PASM.

Apparently, the X-H2S will overheat if used for video for too long (which is a common problem), and apparently Fujifilm’s solution is an external cooling accessory that can be purchased separately. If you plan to use the X-H2S for video, this accessory will be essential. I want to remind people that the X-H1 does not have an overheating problem.

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you likely already know my feelings on it, but for those who don’t: I passionately dislike PASM. It’s clear to me that the Fujifilm X-H2S is not for those already within the Fujifilm system, but is intended to attract those from other systems, such as Sony and Canon, and bring them into the Fujifilm fold. It’s for people who are used to PASM, and are intimidated by the classic controls that most Fujifilm cameras have. I would definitely prefer the camera to not have PASM.

I have no intentions of pre-ordering the X-H2S when it is announced in the coming 10 days. It’s not for me. It will be a great camera for some of you, though, and if you think it’s the right model for you, don’t let my opinions influence you to not get it. I’m more excited for whatever the second X-Trans V camera will be—I’m hoping for an X80, the even-longer-awaited successor to the X70. I have no idea if this is in the works or not, but it certainly should be if it’s not.

Are you excited for the Fujifilm X-H2S? What X-Trans V camera do you think Fujifilm should release next? Let me know!

Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 90mm = Great Combo with Challenges

Fujifilm X-E4 with Fujinon 90mm

I was cleaning out the notebook on my road trip two months ago—it was a whirlwind to the Grand Teton National Park and to the furthest northwest corner of Oregon—and I was trying to figure out what to write about. The remaining pictures are a hodgepodge, but I wanted to share them nonetheless. I then realized that many of the remaining images were captured with a Fujifilm X-E4 and Fujinon 90mm combination. Suddenly I had my article idea!

You might recall that the 90mm lens doesn’t fit into my “ultimate” travel camera kit, so I couldn’t bring it with me; however, my wife, Amanda, brought it in her camera bag to use with her X-T4. The three lenses that she likes to use are the Fujinon 10-24mm zoom, the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8, and the 90mm f/2, and the 27mm is her (and my) favorite. I had the 27mm in my bag on the X-E4, so on several occasions we swapped. This arrangement ended up working out pretty well for both of us.

Snake River Sun Rays – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E4 & 90mm – “Ferrania Solaris FG 400

The Fujinon 90mm is one of my favorite lenses, but the 135mm full-frame-equivalent focal-length isn’t always easy to use. It’s great for headshots, but definitely challenging for landscape and travel photography. Challenges are actually good if you embrace them because they force you to think outside-the-box and try new things, which will make you a better photographer. While this lens is one of the absolute best in the Fujinon lineup, it’s not always easy for this type of photography; however, if you are up for the challenge you will certainly be rewarded.

The lens isn’t especially compact or lightweight, either. I find that it balances better on bigger camera bodies, such as the X-T4 or X-H1. Using it on the small X-E4 can be a bit awkward, especially if you’ll be shooting all day with it. In other words, it’s not a convenient option. Those who obsess over ergonomics will hate this camera and lens combination. If you can get past that, though, the X-E4 and 90mm will deliver excellent images. Both the camera and lens are highly capable photographic tools, and together, from an image quality point-of-view, they’re a dream team!

Columbia River Rainbow – Hammond, OR – Fujifilm X-E4 & 90mm – “Velvia v2

If you have an X-E4, should you pair the 90mm with it? I love the camera and I love the lens, and they’re great when used together, but they’re not without their difficulties. They’re philosophical opposites. The X-E4 is about “less”—less size, less weight, less complications—while the 90mm is about “more”—more reach, more sharpness, more bokeh. With the Fujifilm X-E4, less is more. With the Fujinon 90mm f/2, more is more. They don’t belong together, yet the images they create together speak for themselves. The pictures are what matter most, and you do what you’ve got to do to create them. That means dealing with the challenges as they come, and, for me, using these two great tools together.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm X-E4 Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Silver   Amazon   B&H
Fujinon 90mm f/2 Amazon B&H

Haystack in Monochrome – Cannon Beach, OR – Fujifilm X-E4 & 90mm – “Kodak Tri-X 400
Pinnacles & Crashing Waves – Cannon Beach, OR – Fujifilm X-E4 & 90mm – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Astoria Bridge – Hammond, OR – Fujifilm X-E4 & 90mm – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
River Boat – Astoria, OR – Fujifilm X-E4 & 90mm – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Winter Sage – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E4 & 90mm – “Kodak Tri-X 400”

The Forgotten Fujifilm X-H1

Everyone’s talking about the upcoming Fujifilm X-H2 cameras (yes, cameras, as there will be two of them: X-H2 and X-H2s—visit Fujirumors for all of the latest and most accurate details… it is the absolute best source for upcoming Fujifilm cameras and such, and should be one of the websites you visit often), so it’s easy to forget the wonderful Fujifilm X-H1, which is an absolute workhorse that’s easy to love.

Fujifilm introduced the X-H1 four years ago. At the time of its release, the X-H1 was the most premium model in the entire Fujifilm lineup, and the first to have IBIS. They didn’t hold anything back—the X-H1 is a dream to use—but it didn’t sell nearly as well as Fujifilm had hoped. The initial price point was too high for an APS-C camera, and Fujifilm had to steeply discount it for people to buy it. It was the very last X-Trans III camera, and shortly after its release the X-T3 was announced with a new sensor and processor and pretty much identical specs (aside from IBIS), yet cheaper. Once the X-T4 was released two years ago, which seemed to be an X-H camera in an X-T body, it was clear that the X-H1 was done, and some thought that the X-H line was also defunct, and there would be no X-H2 ever.

I got my X-H1 because someone gifted it to me. They didn’t need it anymore, and they knew that I didn’t have any X-Trans III cameras to create Film Simulation Recipes on, so they gave it to me for the benefit of the Fujifilm community. Wow! I had no idea how incredible this camera is! It’s quick and eager, but with unbelievable endurance. Like the Energizer Bunny, it just keeps going and going and going and going. It wants to be used, and used a lot. If you ask anyone who owns a Fujifilm X-H1, even if they have newer models, they’ll tell you that the X-H1 is their workhorse camera.

It’s too bad that the X-H1 didn’t sell as well as it should have. The camera is legendary among those who have used it, and pretty much forgotten by those who haven’t. While I’m just as excited for the new X-H cameras as everyone else, I want to give attention to the original X-H model—the X-H1—which just so happens to be one of my favorite cameras. If you are searching for a used camera, don’t overlook the wonderful X-H1. It’s the one that just gets the job done.

Below are some straight-out-of-camera photographs that I’ve captured on my Fujifilm X-H1 over the last several months.

Highrise, Reflection & Lamp – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Kodak Gold 200
Vespa Mirror Reflection – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Kodak Gold 200”
Suburban Adventures – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Kodak Portra 160
Last Warm Light on Wasatch Front – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Negative Print
Fading Light On Wasatch – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Improved Velvia
Winter Berries – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Negative Print”
Blossom Remnants 1 – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Kodak GT 800-5
Doll – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Analog Monochrome
Lamp & Side Mirrors – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Ilford XP2 Super 400
A Y – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Ilford XP2 Super 400”

The Instant Joy of the Instax Mini Link Printer

I recently purchased a Fujifilm Instax Mini Link instant film printer, which is a way to make Instax pictures from non-Instax cameras. It has already proven to be a lot of fun! I’ve been using the Mini Link to make instant film pictures from some of my recent road trip photographs, and it’s been a true joy to use!

As you might know, Instax is Fujifilm’s most popular photographic line, outselling X and GFX by leaps and bounds. It’s extremely popular worldwide, especially among younger people. Instax is currently the top-selling instant film brand, even more popular than Polaroid.

We have a couple of Instax cameras in our house, but sometimes it’s not practical to carry them around. These cameras are larger than my Fujifilm X100V and Fujifilm X-E4, so occasionally an Instax camera comes along with us, but oftentimes not; however, now that I have an Instax Mini Link printer, this is no longer a problem. In fact, in some ways, the Mini Link is actually better than an Instax camera.

The Instax Mini Link instant film printer is just a little smaller than the Instax Neo Classic Mini 90, yet pretty similar in size. It can fit fairly easily into a camera bag, but, unless you are going to an event and want to be able to instantly share pictures on-location, you might as well leave it at home. Not needing to carry around an Instax camera or even the printer is an advantage to using the Mini Link.

No surprise, the Mini Link uses Instax Mini instant film, which measures 2.1″ x 3.4″ with a 1.8″ x 2.4″ image inside the frame. It’s not a large picture whatsoever, but a good size for a travel journal or sharing with someone. Instax film quickly gets expensive. When you use an Instax camera, you don’t know what you’ve got until the picture develops. If it’s an important image (such as family or friends at an iconic location at a National Park), you have to wait a couple minutes for the image to develop, and if it didn’t come out you have to snap a second or maybe even a third frame. But with the Mini Link, you only print the images you want, which saves you both time and film (and ultimately money).

Another advantage of using the Mini Link printer over an Instax camera is that the picture quality is better. Instant film isn’t necessarily known for its high resolution renderings (although this can and certainly has varied), and I think the Instax cameras themselves often don’t allow you to get the highest potential image quality out of the film. While you still have the limitation of the film, using a Fujifilm X camera (or even a cellphone) to capture the images can improve the Instax picture quality. Instax cameras don’t seem to allow you to maximize the film capability, but the Mini Link definitely does allow you to maximize the image quality of the Instax Mini film.

The photographs that I printed on my Instax Mini Link printer were captured with my Fujifilm X100V and X-E4 cameras using various Film Simulation Recipes, as well as pictures captured on my iPhone using my RitchieCam camera app using various filters. While the printed photos retain much of their original aesthetics, the film itself has its own aesthetics that affect the outcome, so it is a combination of the recipe or filter plus the film that make the final Instax image. I especially like how the Nostalgic Color and Fujicolor Super HG recipes—and the MetroColor and Color Negative Low filters on the RitchieCam app—render on Instax film, but I certainly haven’t tried all of the recipes or filters. It’s amazing, though, how Fujifilm Film Simulation Recipes and RitchieCam filters pair so seemingly well with Instax film printed on the Mini Link.

What about the images in this article? The top two pictures were captured with my Fujifilm X-E4 with a Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 lens using my Fujicolor Superia 100 recipe, while the third was captured on my iPhone using the Faded Film filter on the RitchieCam app. The printer requires you to use the Instax Mini Link app to wirelessly (via bluetooth) transfer pictures from your electronic device to the printer. There are several “creative” options within the app that allow you to “enhance” your pictures, but I haven’t found a reason to use these—simply, the fun is found in the magic of instant film. Printing my digital photographs—captured on my Fujifilm X cameras and the RitchieCam app—on Instax Mini film is a true joy, and the Mini Link printer allows me to do this.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Printer Amazon B&H
Fujifilm Instax Mini Film Amazon B&H

An Open Letter To Fujifilm… In B&W

Fujifilm X100V Acros Edition

Dear Fujifilm,

Please make a black-and-white-only camera. I’m writing this because I want one, but—more importantly—it has become quite obvious to me that many Fujifilm photographers want one, too.

How do I know this? A few days ago I published a Creative Collective article entitled Introducing the Fujifilm X100V Acros Edition, and the response that I’ve received has been overwhelming (in a good way). If Fujifilm made a monochrome model (which I propose is called “Acros Edition”), people would buy it. I have zero doubts about this. I’d buy one. A number of Fuji X Weekly readers would buy one. I’m not suggesting that it would do as well as the X-T3, but it would get a lot of attention. People would talk about it. There is a real interest and demand for a black-and-white-only Fujifilm camera.

I know that it’s not as simple as just removing the X-Trans color array from the filter and—presto!—a B&W-only camera. It’s far, far more complicated than that. Because of this, it’s understood that the camera will cost more than the X-Trans version. I personally think that the X100V or X-Pro3 would be the best base for an “Acros Edition” model, but the X-E4 could also work if you want to reduce the cost of the camera. Even if it was in an X-T3 or X-T30 body, I’d definitely still buy one—just don’t put it into a body with a PASM dial and I’ll be happy.

Unneeded Boat Cleat – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Moody Monochrome

There needs to be some schtick, too, because people will say, “I’ll just use the Acros film simulation, and it’s basically the same thing, yet I can still get color pictures if I want.” There are advantages to monochrome-only, and while it might seem that making such a camera would be enough on its own, it isn’t—there has to be at least one more trick that makes the camera unique, in my opinion. Something that not only further separates it from other Fujifilm models, but other monochrome-only models. What exactly? I have a few ideas. Perhaps a new film simulation: Neopan (based on Neopan 400 Pro, Neopan 1600 Pro, or Neopan 400CN)—the “Acros Edition” camera would have Acros, Neopan, Monochrome, and Sepia (I suppose) as the four film simulation options. I think it would also be cool if there were push and pull process options for these simulations, where the pictures become more or less contrasty and grainy (much like push and pull processing film), depending on the settings selected. Another idea is to have a removable IR filter like Sigma did with their SD Quattro cameras, allowing photographers to easily use their cameras for full-spectrum B&W photography whenever they want. How about built-in colored filters? Since there would be no +Y, +R, & +G faux filters, it would be interesting to have real color filters built into the camera, sort of like the ND filter on the X100V. Adding some sort of extra uniqueness would give the camera even more buzz and would make it even more desirable.

My only point here is that I know for certain that there is an interest in a black-and-white-only camera made by Fujifilm. So, if there’s anyone at Fujifilm who happens to read this, please pass it up the chain that such a demand exists. People would pay a premium for a monochrome model. I personally would.

Sincerely,
Ritchie Roesch
Fuji X Weekly

Now it’s your turn! Would you be interested in an “Acros Edition” Fujifilm camera? Which body would you want it in? What special feature should it have? Leave a comment! I don’t know if Fujifilm will ever read it, but they might, so it’s worth a try!

Review: Fujifilm X-Pro3 in 2022?

Fujifilm sent me an X-Pro3 to try for a few weeks. I put it through its paces as best as I could in that short time, and wanted to publish a review; however, what fresh insight can I give that hasn’t already been said over and over? Instead of rehashing all the technical data you probably already have known for awhile, I thought I’d simply answer this question: Is the Fujifilm X-Pro3 still a camera worth buying in 2022? And, is this a camera that you should consider?

The X-Pro3 was originally released in November of 2019, which was more than two years ago. In the digital era, a lot of people “upgrade” their gear every two-ish years, so does that mean the X-Pro3 is beginning to feel dated? Will it seem old even though you bought it brand-new? Will the X-Pro4 be announced the day after your X-Pro3 arrives in the mail?

Fujifilm sent me a well-used X-Pro3, but it was still in great shape. The majority of the reviews you find on the internet were probably from this exact same body. I won’t say that I got it last, but more-or-less that’s true.

It’s still a very similar size, weight, shape, and design as the original X-Pro1—Fujifilm didn’t change much externally over the last decade, but what they did change has certainly caused a lot of controversy. The headline change, of course, is the backwards-mounted rear screen, which forces you to use the hybrid-viewfinder for most of your photography, and only use the rear LCD when you absolutely have to. While I thought I’d love this, I think the execution was lacking, and I found it frustrating at times. Instead of folding down, I think flipping out to the side, and then twisting up or down, would have made a lot more sense. I think removing the D-Pad was a bit of a mistake, too.

Image quality on the X-Pro3 is fantastic—exactly the same as the X100V, X-T4, and the other X-Trans IV cameras. Unfortunately, and despite this being a “premium” model, Fujifilm hasn’t given this camera the Kaizen love that it deserves, and you won’t find Eterna Bleach Bypass, half-step Highlight and Shadow adjustments, or the two new Auto White Balance options. This is a real shame, because otherwise it would feel just as up-to-date as the latest models, but instead it has a sense of being slightly dated. The X-E4, the current entry-level model, has more JPEG options than the X-Pro3, and that just doesn’t seem right to me.

Enough of the negativity, though, because the X-Pro3 is an awesome camera! I thoroughly enjoyed using it. It is such a beautiful model, and is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. I can’t imagine anyone hating it. Yeah, it has a couple disappointing design choices, but if you are aware of those things going into the purchase, you won’t be disappointed. Best-looking body combined with Fujifilm’s fantastic film simulations is a winner in my books!

February Reaching – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 – “Vintage Color v2

Here’s something that maybe hasn’t been talked about much: the ability to save TIFFs. Most Fujifilm models can either do RAW or JPEG (or RAW+JPEG), but you have an additional option of TIFF on the X-Pro3. I didn’t notice any image quality difference between TIFF and JPEG, but the TIFF should allow you more room for editing before the files start to degrade. There’s also the potential that the TIFFs, having more bits, do actually deliver an improved image quality, but if so it is really subtle and I couldn’t tell.

The X-Pro3, though, isn’t a practical purchase—it’s emotional. The rational side of your brain will tell you that the X-T4 is slightly better and slightly cheaper. The rational side of your brain will tell you that the X-E4 is much cheaper, smaller, and lighter, yet basically the same thing, and since you rarely shoot in the rain you don’t really need weather-sealing anyway. But the emotional side tells you that those cameras aren’t as timeless as the X-Pro line. The X-Pro3 is a beast that you’ll keep and use and love for ages. It’s your Leica, except that it’s Fujifilm.

Mutual Conversation – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 – “Agfa Ultra 100

On a more serious note, though, the X-Pro3 is a solid body that balances well with larger lenses. Sometimes, on my smaller cameras, my bigger and heavier lenses are a bit awkward to use, but not on the X-Pro3. If you often use these larger and heavier lenses, you might appreciate the larger, sturdier body of the X-Pro3.

While X-Trans V is just around the corner, I don’t believe that the X-Pro4 is going to be announced anytime soon—I think maybe in 2023, but I’d be pretty shocked if Fujifilm replaced the X-Pro3 anytime this year. I’ve certainly been wrong before, but I haven’t heard anything about an upcoming X-Pro4 on the horizon.

Abandoned Ice Chest – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 – “Standard Provia

I think by-and-large those who would love the X-Pro3 know who they are already. If you are uncertain, that’s a pretty good indication that this camera isn’t for you. That’s not to say you’d dislike it, but you should strongly consider a different model instead. For those who are pretty confident that the X-Pro3 is the camera for them, you can know that you are probably right, and you’re going to love it. So, my conclusion is that the X-Pro3 isn’t perfect and it isn’t for everyone, but for some it will be a much appreciated, much loved, and much used camera for years to come.

I was sad to send Fujifilm their X-Pro3 back, and I’ll certainly miss it.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm X-Pro3 Amazon B&H

Example photographs, captured with a Fujifilm X-Pro3:

Approaching Mesa Arch – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 – “Old Ektachrome
Clearing Clouds Over Winter Ridge – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 – “Standard Provia”
Desert Snow – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 – “Old Ektachrome”
Red – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 – “Agfa Ultra 100”
Blu – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 – “Agfa Ultra 100”

Best Fujifilm X Cameras Under $1,000

People ask me all of the time for my recommendation on which Fujifilm camera to buy. Recently, I’ve received a number of requests for cameras under $1,000. Which one is the best? Which should you buy?

There aren’t currently very many low-budget offerings by Fujifilm. The Bayer models, like the X-A7 and X-T200, have been discontinued, and those are the most budget-friendly Fuji cameras, if you can find them—if being the key word. There are a few X-Trans options that aren’t too expensive, so let’s take a look at what’s available to purchase right now.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Best Value: Fujifilm X-E3

The Fujifilm X-E3 is a discontinued body, but you can still find it brand-new here and there for a good price. It’s X-Trans III (the current models are X-Trans IV, and X-Trans V is just around the corner), so perhaps it’s a little dated, but no doubt about it, the X-E3 is an excellent camera. There are even some who prefer it over the newer X-E4, because it has more buttons and such. While it doesn’t have quite as many JPEG options as the latest models (no Classic Negative, for example), there are still plenty of Film Simulation Recipes that are compatible with it, so you’re sure to still experience that Fuji-Fun. If you are trying to get into the Fujifilm system, or are upgrading from an older model, the X-E3 is your best value option.

Fujifilm X-E3 (Body Only) $699.95 Amazon
Fujifilm X-E3 + 18-55mm $999.95 Amazon

Best For Video: Fujifilm X-S10

The Fujifilm X-S10 serves two purposes: Fujifilm’s “budget” option for video, and Fujifilm’s entry-level camera for those migrating from other brands. It is the cheapest Fuji offering with In-Body-Image-Stabilization (yet the most expensive in this list), and is slightly more video-centric in specs and design than some other Fujifilm cameras. Instead of the classic Fujifilm knobs, the X-S10 has a typical “PASM” dial that most other brands use, so the learning curve might be a little less than with other Fuji models, although you’ll miss out on the true Fujifilm experience. If you do a lot of videography, or if you’re coming from another brand and want the shortest learning curve, the X-S10 is the camera that I recommend for you.

Fujifilm X-S10 (Body Only) $999.00 Amazon B&H

Best Recommendation: Fujifilm X-T30 II

If you want the camera that offers the most for the least and gives you a true Fujifilm experience, look no further than the Fujifilm X-T30 II. This is the ultimate Fujifilm X camera that doesn’t break the bank. While it’s the very last X-Trans IV camera, it is certainly not the least, and the many JPEG options (including Classic Negative and Eterna Bleach Bypass) will allow you to use all of the Film Simulation Recipes that require those. Seriously, if you are upgrading to a new model or buying your first Fujifilm camera, the X-T30 II is one to strongly consider. The only downside is that you might have to wait to get your model, depending on availability, because it is brand-new. Also, be sure that you’re buying the X-T30 II and not the original X-T30 (which has been discontinued), unless you happen to find the original X-T30 for a good discount.

Fujifilm X-T30 II (Body Only) $899.95 Amazon B&H
Fujifilm X-T30 II + 15-45mm $999.95 B&H

Best Minimalist Camera: Fujifilm X-E4

The Fujifilm X-E4 is much like the X-T30 II, except in a different (and smaller) shape and with a minimalistic design approach. This camera is for those who believe that less is more. If that’s you, you’ll love the X-E4, but if that’s not you, perhaps consider a different model instead. I personally own and love an X-E4, but I can say with certainty that it’s not for everyone. This is another model that can be hard to find right now, so if you want it, be sure to snag it if you see it.

Fujifilm X-E4 (Body Only) $849.00 B&H

Cameras Not Included

There are, of course, a number of other offerings by Fujifilm that are currently available for purchase. The X-Pro3 (Amazon, B&H) is Fujifilm’s Leica, but well above the $1,000 top price point of this piece. The X-T4 (Amazon, B&H) is Fujifilm’s flagship camera, and it’s absolutely wonderful—my wife has one—but, again, it’s much too expensive to make this list. The Fujifilm X100V (Amazon, B&H) is my “desert island” camera, but it, too, sits above the $1,000 threshold.

Best Value Just Above $1,000: Fujifilm X-T3 WW

Then there’s the X-T3 WW, which is an X-T3 without a battery charger (USB charging only). The X-T3 used to be Fujifilm’s flagship model until the X-T4 was released. It’s a little above the budget for this article, but it’s worth considering nonetheless, especially if you need weather-sealing. It’s an excellent value, but if you don’t need weather-sealing, the X-T30 II is a wonderful alternative for a couple hundred dollars less.

Fujifilm X-T3 WW (Body Only) $1,099.95 Amazon B&H

Fuji’s Instant Film: The Immensely Interesting Story of Instax

Fujifilm’s top selling photographic line is not the X-series or GFX. By a large margin, Instax cameras and film are Fujifilm’s most popular photo products. Instax, of course, is instant film—their version of Polaroid. 2021 was an especially good year for Instax, thanks to the Instax Mini LiPlay and Instax Wide Printer, which have been hot sellers. This year, the new Instax Mini EVO is already a huge hit. I received a lot of positive feedback from my article explaining the history of the Fujifilm X-Pro1, so I thought it would be fun to explore the history of Instax. It turns out to be an immensely more interesting story than I imagined.

Let’s get started!

Edwin Land was a freshman physics student at Harvard University in 1926, and he had an idea: control scattered vibrations of light using a magnetic field and microscopic crystals. Less than two years later he dropped out of school and moved to New York City to pursue this idea. He spent extensive time in the public library, reading anything and everything that might help him succeed. Since he didn’t have access to a lab, he would sneak into Columbia University late at night to use theirs. In 1932, after four years of extensive experimenting and testing, Land had done it—he had invented an inexpensive and efficient polarizer. That same year he teamed up with George Wheelwright III, a Harvard physics professor, and started Land-Wheelwright Laboratories. In 1936, after years of work to commercialize the product, and 10 years after Land had his original idea, they began selling the Polaroid J Sheet Polarizer for use in sunglasses and photography. It was a quick hit, and a year later they renamed the company Polaroid after their product.

Many years later, in 1944, while on vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Edwin Land snapped a photograph of his three-year-old daughter, Jennifer. As the saying goes, kids say the darndest things. The little girl asked her dad why she couldn’t see the picture that had just been taken. Land thought, “Well, why can’t you?” Within an hour he had figured out the basic idea of how to accomplish this. In 1947 Land had invented a working instant film camera, and two years later Polaroid began selling the Model 95 instant film camera and Type 40 instant film to go with it.

Polaroid Colorpack II camera

Over the next decade Polaroid camera and film sales skyrocketed. Even Ansel Adams joined the instant film revolution, and, in 1963, published a book entitled Polaroid Land Photography. As demand increased, Polaroid struggled to keep up, so in the early 1960’s they contracted Kodak to manufactured their peel-apart packfilm. During that time Polaroid hired Fujifilm to assist with film improvements.

As instant film sales continued to rapidly grow throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, someone at Kodak got the bright idea that they should make their own cameras and film to compete against Polaroid. Using their experience producing film for Polaroid to design their own products, Kodak launched the EK4 and EK6 instant film cameras, as well as their PR10 instant film, in 1976. Polaroid immediately sued Kodak for patent violations, but it took a decade for the courts to make a ruling.

Fujifilm also wanted to get in on the instant film frenzy. They figured that Kodak would overtake Polaroid and become king of instant film, so Fujifilm closely modeled their instant film line after Kodak’s, and paid Kodak for the rights to do so. Fujifilm also approached Polaroid for permission, and Polaroid agreed just as long as Fujifilm shared some technology secrets with them and agreed not to sell their instant film cameras in North America. In 1981 Fujifilm launched the Fotorama instant film camera line, which was marketed only in Asia, and sold mostly in Japan. Instant film photography wasn’t nearly as popular in Asia as it was in America, but the Fotorama line sold well enough for Fujifilm to continue to sell it into the late-1990’s. Fujifilm also began selling instant film for Polaroid cameras during this time, although, again, largely for Asian markets.

Now back to that Kodak/Polaroid lawsuit. Polaroid won in 1986, and Kodak was ordered to stop selling their instant film cameras—they also had to financially compensate those who purchased them. The legal battle continued, and in 1990 Kodak was ordered to pay Polaroid almost a billion dollars in damages for copying seven patents. It was such a wild case that books have been written about it. One might think that Polaroid was the big winner and Kodak was the big loser, but Kodak made as much as 12 billion in profits off of their instant film line, so they still came out ahead, while the lengthly lawsuit apparently stifled Polaroid’s creativity and ability to innovate, right during a time when they desperately needed to innovate.

The 1990’s were not particularly good for Polaroid, and in 2001 they filed for bankruptcy. Polaroid was sold and then turned into a hollow shell, with the brand’s name and products licensed to other companies. Polaroid film was discontinued in 2008.

Fujifilm introduced the Instax line in 1998 with the Instax Mini 10 camera. Instax Wide came out a year later. While the size and shape was different, the film and technology was recycled from the Fotorama line. By this time Fujifilm was no longer obligated to remain outside of the U.S. market, but they continued to stay out, with the exception of the Mio camera in 2001, a Polaroid-brand model that shot Instax Mini film, which wasn’t especially successful. Fujifilm didn’t start selling Instax in America until after Polaroid announced it was discontinuing its instant film.

When Polaroid pulled out of instant film photography, Fujifilm seriously considered doing the same. Sales were sluggish, and largely declining. Instant film was nearly dead, and its demise was all but certain. The writing was on the wall.

In 2007 a South Korean television series called Coffee Prince was a huge success. It was especially popular with younger audiences, particularly teenagers. Prominently featured in the show was an Instax camera, and the demand for Instax in South Korea immediately skyrocketed. Then, in 2009, the South Korean series You’re Beautiful aired, which also prominently featured an Instax camera. While this show was only moderately successful on initial airing, it gained a large cult-like following in the years following, and it, too, boosted Instax sales. The popularity of Instax spread out from South Korea across Asia, then to the rest of the world, including America. Suddenly, more than a decade after it was released, Instax was an instant hit, with sales trending sharply up.

2004 was the slowest year for Instax, with about 100,000 cameras sold worldwide. In 2015, Fujifilm sold 5 million Instax cameras, and in 2019 they sold 10 million. Unsurprisingly, 2020 was a slow year, but in 2021 things picked up again, although I couldn’t find specific data on how many cameras were sold. Instax is Fujifilm’s top selling camera line, and it’s very profitable. Fujifilm has stated that some of those profits help fund developments within the X-series and GFX—even if you don’t own any Instax products, you can still be grateful that it’s so popular because it does indirectly affect you.

If Edwin Land hadn’t dropped out of college to pursue his polarizer idea, if his young daughter hadn’t asked why she couldn’t see the picture right away, if Kodak hadn’t ripped off Polaroid, if Fujifilm (like Kodak) hadn’t asked Polaroid for permission, if Polaroid hadn’t gone bankrupt, and if two South Korean television shows hadn’t used Instax as props—if any of these things hadn’t happened, Instax wouldn’t likely be around today. Through a series of twists and turns, Fujifilm created a product line that tens of millions of people worldwide use today. While Polaroid invented instant film photography, Fujifilm is currently king.

That’s the immensely interesting story of Instax!

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Instax Mini 40
Instax Mini 70
Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
Instax Mini 11
Instax SQ6

Instax Wide 300
Instax Mini Link Printer

Instax Link Wide Printer
Instax Mini Film
Instax Square Film
Instax Wide Film

So You Got A Fujifilm Camera For Christmas — Now What?

So you got a Fujifilm camera for Christmas—what a wonderful gift! You might be wondering, “Now what?” What things should you do or get? This article will hopefully provide a little clarity to these questions and more.

First, I always recommend reading the manual. They’re a little boring and overwhelming, so nobody wants to do that, but it’s important to know your gear inside and out, and the best place to begin is the user manual. Thankfully, Fujifilm has made their digital manuals easy to explore, so you can quickly and easily find the exact topic you’re searching for. I recommend spending a couple of hours reading the manual right after you’ve removed the camera from the box, and thereafter picking one topic to read each day for a month or more, just so you become very familiar with your new camera. If user manuals aren’t your thing, the alternative would be to go onto YouTube and search your camera with the words “setup guide” (or something similar) and you can watch someone explain it.

If you are new to photography, you should gain some basic knowledge. There are lots of articles and YouTube videos that explain the general principals of photography. A few years ago I published an article that you might find helpful (click here) on photography basics.

After that, you should download the Fuji X Weekly App onto your phone and/or tablet (click here for Android, and click here for iOS). The App is a library of over 200 Film Simulation Recipes (camera settings to achieve various looks straight-out-of-camera) for Fujifilm cameras. It’s free, and advanced features can be unlocked by becoming a Patron. This article (click here) briefly explains how to program these “recipes” into your camera. Also, the SOOC video series is an excellent resource that you should explore.

At this point you are ready to have lots and lots of fun with your new camera! But you still might have some questions, such as what accessories to buy next. I’ll answer that below, although it will depend on the exact model you have. Also, if you’re interested, read about my “ultimate” travel kit (click here).

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm X100V

If your new Fujifilm camera is an X100V—or perhaps an older X100 model—there are a few accessories you should consider. You might not want or need them all, but you should look into these and determine what (if any) will be beneficial to you. Below is a list of recommended X100V accessories:

Fujifilm NP-126S Battery (you’ll want at least one spare)
SD Memory Card (I prefer to not skimp on quality)
Case, Neck Strap, or Wrist Strap (the strap Fujifilm provides is ok, but you’ll probably want something different)
Adapter Ring and Hood (so you can use filters and weather-seal the camera)
UV, Polarizer, Black Pro Mist, and/or CineBloom filters (you’ll want at least one)
Tele-Conversion Lens and/or Wide-Conversion Lens (to add versatility)
Tripod
Camera Bag

Fujifilm X-Pro3, X-T3, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, X-T30, or X-T30 II

If your new Fujifilm camera is an interchangeable-lens model—X-Pro3, X-T3, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, X-T30, X-T30 II or an older model—there are a few accessories you should consider. You might not want or need them all, but you should look into these and determine what (if any) will be beneficial to you. Below is a list of recommended Fujifilm interchangeable-lens-camera accessories:

Fujifilm NP-126S Battery or Fujifilm NP-235 Battery for X-T4 (you’ll want at least one spare)
SD Memory Card (I prefer to not skimp on quality)
Neck Strap or Wrist Strap (the strap Fujifilm provides is ok, but you’ll probably want something different)
Zoom Lens: 18-55mm, 16-55mm, 16-80mm, 10-24mm, 18-135mm, 50-140mm, or 55-200mm (consider upgrading the kit zoom)
Prime Lens: 18mm, 23mm, 35mm, 50mm, or 90mm (you’ll want at least one prime lens)
Flash
Tripod
Camera Bag

Obviously, you don’t need everything in these lists (and there are alternatives). Often less is more, so don’t worry about having everything, because photographic vision is much more important than photographic gear. You have a camera and a lens, and that’s really all that you need to capture great photographs, but it is nice to add a few tools to the toolbox. In this case, those “tools” might be gear, but they might be skills, so a book like The Art of Photography might be a worthwhile investment, as well as experiences (going places with your camera). As you gain more skills and experiences, you’ll have more clarity on what gear you actually need to better achieve your vision.

Creative Collective 009: 36 Frames – Fujifilm X100V – Kodachrome 64 Recipe – All Manual

Red Freightliner – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – Kodachrome 64 – Frame 05

Back in the film days, most of the cameras I had were fully manual. No auto or semi-auto modes. No autofocus. Manual everything. In the digital age, modern cameras are pretty good at taking care of some tasks for you. You can afford to be a little lazy and still get the shot with ease. It’s a marvel of modern camera technology!

Nowadays I mostly shoot in Aperture-Priority (with Shutter and ISO set to A), or occasionally Shutter-Priority (with Aperture and ISO set to A). Only on rare occasions do I manually select shutter, aperture, and ISO. It’s not uncommon that I manually focus, especially if I’m using a vintage lens, but most of the time I’m allowing the camera to autofocus for me. It’s just easier. But sometimes easier isn’t better. It’s good to stay in photographic shape, and to challenge yourself from time-to-time.

I decided to challenge myself yesterday to this: shoot 36 frames (like a roll of film) with the same film simulation recipe, using manual everything. Manual aperture. Manual shutter. Manual ISO. Manual focus. The camera I chose was the Fujifilm X100V, and I loaded it with my Kodachrome 64 film simulation recipe. I headed out right at sunrise.

This was my experience.

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Poll Results: Which Cameras Do You Have?

First, I want to give a big “Thank You” to everyone who participated in yesterday’s survey! To say that I’ve been overwhelmed (in a good way) with the response is an understatement. You all really came through in a big way, so thanks!

Which Fujifilm camera sensor generation do most of you have? I was really surprised by the results. Let’s dive in!

1. 51% of you own an X-Trans IV model
– 19% own either on X-T3 or X-T30
– 17% own an X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, or X-T30 II
– 15% own an X-Pro3 or X100V
2. 22% of you own an X-Trans III model
– The X-H1 represents 20% of all X-Trans III cameras (there were six models)
3. 13% of you own an X-Trans II model
– Nearly 1/4 of those are models without Classic Chrome
4. 7% of you own an X-Trans I model
5. 5% of you own a Bayer model
– About 2/3 have a 24 MP camera
6. 2% of you own a GFX model
– About 2/3 own a newer model

What can be learned from all this data? Well, it’s easy to draw conclusions, but not necessarily easy to draw the correct conclusions. I think it demonstrates that Fujifilm has been growing in popularity over the years. Also, those with “newer” models (say, X-Trans III and X-Trans IV) are more likely to use film simulation recipes than those with older models (or Bayer or GFX), possibly because there are more JPEG options; however, that’s kind of a tricky statement, because there are more recipes for X-Trans III and newer, and less for the other models. If there were more recipes, more people would likely use them. So there’s a bit of truth on both sides of that coin. I think the most surprising statistic is that nearly 1/5 of you own either an X-T3 or X-T30—Fujifilm sold those two models like hotcakes! I didn’t realize that so many of you had one of those two models.

If you are looking at this and thinking, I have a low-percentage model, so I guess there’s no hope for new recipes—don’t despair! I plan to make new recipes for as many camera models as I can. With that said, 41% of you own either an X-Trans III or X-T3 or X-T30 camera, and that large segment hasn’t received nearly enough new recipes over the last year. There have been just nine new recipes in the last 12 months for the X-T3 and X-T30, six of which are also compatible with X-Trans III. Of those, two are Patron early-access recipes on the Fuji X Weekly App. So I definitely need to do a better job in the coming year of creating new recipes for the X-T3, X-T30 and X-Trans III.

Whatever you Fujifilm camera is, I hope to publish more film simulation recipes for you, so be on the lookout for those in the coming days, weeks, and months.

I Was Gifted A Fujifilm X-H1!

Fujifilm X-H1 w/Fujinon 35mm f/2 – captured with Fujifilm X-E4 w/Fujinon 90mm f/2Kodachrome 25 film simulation recipe

I got a big holiday surprise in the mail yesterday: a fan of this website gifted me a used Fujifilm X-H1 camera! Whoa. And thank you so very much!

He wanted me to have it because he knew that I didn’t currently own any X-Trans III cameras. This was such a generous (and thoughtful) gift. It most certainly made my Christmas merry!

I have already put it to use. The picture below was captured this morning using a new vintage-like film simulation recipe that I’m working on. I have to test it out more and maybe tweak it a little, but if all goes well it should be published sometime this month, so be on the lookout for it.

Early test shot on the X-H1 – upcoming X-Trans III Film Simulation Recipe

What do you think? Do you like the look of this picture? Is this a recipe that you’re excited for? Let me know int he comments!

Best Fujifilm Cameras For Beginners

If you are looking for your first Fujifilm camera, it can be difficult to know which one to buy. Perhaps this will be your first “serious” camera. Or maybe you’ve had a different brand of camera for awhile, but you don’t use it all of the time, and you’re not all that experienced with it. It could be that you’re interested in a Fujifilm camera because you want to try my film simulation recipes. This article is intended to help you with your buying decision.

I’m making a few assumptions with this post: you’re in the market for a new camera, you want a camera that’s easy-to-use yet you can grow with, and you’re on a limited budget. Maybe those assumptions are incorrect for you, but I bet they’re true for many of the people who this article was intended for. My hope is that this post will give you some clarity.

So let’s look at a few Fujifilm cameras!

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm X-S10

The X-S10 is a mid-range mirrorless offering from Fujifilm that’s great for both still photography and video. It doesn’t have all the typical retro stylings and controls that most Fujifilm cameras are known for, but if you have some experience (even if just a little) shooting DSLRs or mirrorless cameras from other brands, this camera will likely feel more natural to you, and the learning curve will be just a little easier. It’s an extraordinarily capable model, and will keep up with you as you become a better photographer. If you are looking for the best budget Fujifilm camera for video, look no further, as the video-centric X-S10 is well-regarded for it’s cinematic capabilities. The camera retails body-only for $1,000, or $1,500 bundled with the Fujinon 16-80mm lens.

I recommendation the Fujifilm X-S10 camera if:
– You have some experience with a different brand and want the easiest transition to Fujifilm.
– You will be doing a lot of videography.

I don’t recommend the Fujifilm X-S10 camera if:
– You want the full Fujifilm retro experience.
– You are on a tight budget.

Buy the Fujifilm X-S10 here:
B&H Amazon

Fujifilm X-T30

The Fujifilm X-T30 is a great retro-styled mid-range mirrorless camera, but it is a couple years old now. Despite having the same X-Trans IV sensor and processor as all of the other models in this list, it is more like a previous generation camera. Don’t get me wrong: the X-T30 is an excellent option. I have this camera and use it frequently (you can read my review of the X-T30 here). Of all the cameras in this list, the X-T30 is the one I recommend the least, but I do still recommend it. It’s a solid option for both stills and video, but it is beginning to feel slightly dated. The camera retails body-only for $900, or $1,300 bundled with the Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens or Fujinon 18-55mm lens; however, it might be possible to find it discounted.

I recommendation the Fujifilm X-T30 camera if:
– You like the retro-styling.
– You can find it on sale.

I don’t recommend the Fujifilm X-T30 camera if:
– Having the latest and greatest is important to you.
– You’ll be primarily using it for video.

Buy the Fujifilm X-T30 here:
B&H Amazon

Fujifilm X-T30 II

The Fujifilm X-T30 II is a minor update to the X-T30, but if you plan to use film simulation recipes and/or use the camera for video, the new model has some important features that make it worth choosing. The X-T30 and X-T30 II share the same sensor and processor, but are basically two different camera generations. Not surprising, the new version is better. The camera retails body-only for $900, or $1,000 bundled with the Fujinon 15-45mm lens, and $1,300 bundled with the Fujinon 18-55mm lens; however, the X-T30 II isn’t out just yet, but it is available for preorder.

I recommendation the Fujifilm X-T30 II camera if:
– You want the best mid-range retro-styled Fujifilm model.
– You will be doing both still photography and videography.

I don’t recommend the Fujifilm X-T30 II camera if:
– You need a camera right away.
– You can find the original X-T30 on sale for significantly cheaper.

Buy the Fujifilm X-T30 II here:
B&H Amazon

Fujifilm X-E4

Fujifilm doesn’t currently have any low-budget entry-level models—the Bayer-sensor cameras, which serve this purpose, have all been discontinued, at least for now—so the X-E4 currently sits at the bottom of the roster, but, make no mistake, this is a mid-tier camera, similar to the ones above, and not low-end. While the X-E4 sits at the bottom, it is actually my top recommendation, with one exceptions: If you will be doing a lot of video, the X-E4 has some limitations that the X-T30 II and (especially) the X-S10 do not. Otherwise, my best suggestion for those in the market for their first Fujifilm camera is the X-E4. The camera isn’t perfect (you can read my review of the X-E4 here), and perhaps Fujifilm went slightly too minimalistic with it, but it is a pretty darn good option, and an excellent choice for someone wanting an uncomplicated camera that will grow with them as they become better and more experienced. The X-E4 retails body-only for $850, or $1,050 when bundled with the Fujinon 27mm lens.

I recommendation the Fujifilm X-E4 camera if:
– You want the cheapest mid-range retro-styled Fujifilm model.
– You want an uncomplicated option.

I don’t recommend the Fujifilm X-E4 camera if:
– You will be primarily using it for video.
– You think you’ll want a lot of programable buttons and dials.

Buy the Fujifilm X-E4 here:
B&H Amazon

Additional Thoughts

Obviously, if this will be your first Fujifilm camera and you are on a tight budget, you are going to need a lens—a body-only option won’t likely be your best bet, as you will want a lens bundle. Unfortunately, the X-T30 II bundled with the 15-45mm is the only option if you don’t want to spend more than $1,000. The 15-45mm lens is decent enough for a cheap zoom, but there’s a reason it only costs $100 (when bundled). Also, the X-T30 II isn’t out yet, although you can preorder it if you don’t mind waiting. Your next best bet is the X-E4 bundled with the (excellent) 27mm f/2.8, which is $1,050. The rest of the bundles are $1,300-$1,500, which very well might be above your budget.

If these prices are outside of what you can afford, you might consider a used camera, perhaps an X-Trans II or X-Trans III model. Something like the X-T1, X100F, X-E3, X-T20, or a number of other older cameras are good options. The used route is a good way to get into the system without breaking the bank.

If, by chance, you can afford a $1,400 camera, I have one more recommendation for you.

Fujifilm X100V

The Fujifilm X100V is my “desert island” model—if I could only have one camera, it would be this! I love mine (you can read my review of the X100V here), as it’s such an excellent camera. The X100V has a fixed lens, so you don’t need to go out and buy one, although the lack of interchangeable capability is a limitation you’ll have to consider carefully. Of all of the cameras in this list, the X100V would be considered the most “premium” of the group. The camera retails for $1,400.

I recommendation the Fujifilm X100V camera if:
– You want the most enjoyable Fujifilm experience.
– You want a compact option.

I don’t recommend the Fujifilm X100V camera if:
– You have a limited budget.
– You don’t think you’d like the limitation of a fixed lens.

Buy the Fujifilm X100V here:
B&H Amazon

Should Fujifilm Make One Body with Multiple Sensors?

Fujirumors suggested that Fujifilm is making a mistake by using the same sensor in multiple bodies, instead of what Sony does and offer multiple sensor options in one body. For example, Sony has the A7, A7S, A7R, which have nearly identical bodies, but each with a different sensor inside. Fujifilm does the opposite, and includes the same sensor inside a bunch of different bodies. For Sony, the differences between camera models is closely tied with the sensors inside, while the differences between Fujifilm models are largely external.

I think the reason this topic came up is that there are supposedly going to be two different X-H2 cameras coming out next year. It’s possible that it will be the same exact body for both, but two different sensors inside. Could Fujifilm be taking a similar approach to Sony? Nobody (outside of Fujifilm) knows.

If Fujifilm does this, I think it would make sense to have three options: a high resolution 40-megapixel sensor capable of 8K video, a 26 to 30-megapixel sensor that is the “all-around” option, and a lower resolution 16 to 20-megapixel sensor that maximizes high-ISO, dynamic range, and speed. Honestly, though, I hope that Fujifilm doesn’t do this, although admittedly I do like the idea of a lower resolution option to maximize high-ISO, dynamic range, and speed.

What I do appreciate about Fujifilm’s current approach is that, no matter the camera you have, if it has the same sensor, it will have the same image quality. You can have an X-T1, X100T, and X-T10, and the image quality will be identical between these models. You can have an X-Pro3, X-S10, and X-E4, and the image quality will be identical. The advantage of this uniformity cannot be understated! This is ideal for those wanting consistency across their kit.

On Sony models, image quality is certainly similar between the three nearly identical options, but definitely different. If you have an A7R IV and an A7S III and captured the same scene with identical settings, you’d be able to tell that two different cameras captured the pictures, if you compared them closely. If you did that same experiment with an X-T3 and X-T30, the pictures would look identical.

I’m sure that Fujifilm watches closely what Sony is doing, looking at both what is working and what isn’t. They’d be wise to find lessons that can be applied to their own products. With that said, Fujifilm should not lose sight of what makes their brand special, and why their current customers chose them. They can learn a lot from themselves. I can’t tell Fujifilm what to do, and I’m certainly not an expert at camera marketing, but I think they’d do better to differentiate themselves from the competition, and not copy what Sony is doing. Sony is Sony, and Fujifilm is Fujifilm. If someone wants a Sony camera, they’re not going to buy a Fujifilm camera. If someone wants a Fujifilm camera, they’re not going to buy a Sony. Fujifilm should do more to convince potential customers that they should want a Fujifilm camera, which means highlighting what makes them unique, and why that uniqueness might be better for one’s photography. This blog does a pretty good job of doing that on Fujifilm’s behalf—not because I’m paid to (I’m not), but because of how I feel about their products, and what their cameras mean to my photography. I hope that Fujifilm doesn’t lose sight of their uniqueness, and doesn’t try to copy what other brands are doing—that just doesn’t seem like the right move to me.

Rumor: New Fujifilm X Camera Coming Soon

According to Fujirumors, Fujifilm will release a new X-series camera in 2021. It was previously reported that the X-E4 was the last with the X-Trans IV sensor and the upcoming X-H2, to be released sometime in early 2022, will have a new sensor (X-Trans V, most likely). So what is this new mystery camera?

Back in May I said, “I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fujifilm release a Bayer camera later this year, maybe an X-A8 or (less likely) an X-T300 or (even less likely) an XF20. If it does happen, you heard it here first, but if it doesn’t happen, well, don’t be surprised, because it probably won’t. It might, though.” Well, it looks like maybe I was right, assuming that it ends up being a Bayer sensor X-series camera. Personally, I’m hoping for an XF20. We’ll see.

Of course, what would be amazing is a Monochrome-only camera! Technically speaking, this wouldn’t be X-Trans, because it wouldn’t have a color filter array. While this is certainly a possibility, it seems highly unlikely, which is unfortunate, because I’d be much more excited for a black-and-white camera than a Bayer model.

I don’t have any inside information, so I can only speculate. Logically speaking, unless Fujifilm changed their minds and they produce one more X-Trans IV camera (X80?), or they introduce the new sensor with a camera other than the X-H2 (X-T40?), then it makes sense that it’ll be a Bayer or Monochrome model, with Bayer the most likely (by far) option. I wonder if Fujifilm will announce this camera on September 2nd during the X Summit, or if they’ll wait for another date? I suppose we’ll know soon enough.

Fuji Features: Fujifilm X-Pro1 in 2021?

The Fujifilm X-Pro1 is nine-years-old. It was the very first interchangeable-lens X camera and also the first to have an X-Trans sensor. If it failed, this website and film simulation recipes probably wouldn’t exist. Thankfully, despite its shortcomings, people could see the potential, and the X-Pro1 was an instant hit.

My Fujifilm journey began with an X-E1, the X-Pro1’s little brother. I briefly shot with an X-Pro2, a camera that I loved. I never had an X-Pro1, but it’s a well-regarded camera, even today. The last Fuji Features article was entitled Fujifilm X-Pro3 in 2021, so I decided this week to find articles and videos about using the X-Pro1 in 2021.

Hopefully, you’ll find this post interesting, and it will help you get through another Hump Day. Maybe it will inspire you to add an old X-Pro1 to your camera collection. I did. More on that later.

The Phoblographer

The Inspired Eye

Daniel Ian

Fuji Features: Fujifilm X-Pro3 in 2021

The Fujifilm X-Pro3 was released in late-November 2019, with much fanfare and much controversy. It was the first of the second-era of X-Trans IV, and is unique with its backwards-mounted rear screen. So much has been said, both good and bad, but now that we’re a year-and-a-half later I thought it would be fun to revisit the X-Pro3 for this week’s Fuji Features article. I didn’t want to share all of the old reviews, but only the ones that have been published this year, just to keep things fresh.

The X-Pro3 is a camera that I would love to own, and maybe someday I will, but it’s just not in the cards for me at the moment. I did shoot with an Fujifilm X-Pro2 that I absolutely loved a few years back, but I didn’t really own it, and unfortunately had to part with it (long story). The X-Pro line (along with the X100 and X-E lines) is beautifully designed, and better looking than most cameras made today.

Below are the Fujifilm X-Pro3 reviews from 2021 that I found on the web.

The Phoblographer

5050 Travelog

India Today

Below are the Fujifilm X-Pro3 reviews from 2021 that I found on YouTube.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm X-Pro3 Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-Pro3 Dura Silver   Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-Pro3 Dura Black   Amazon   B&H

Fuji Features: A Roundup of Fujifilm X-E4 Reviews

There doesn’t appear to be one place on the web to get your full Fujifilm fix. You might frequently visit a handful of websites, and the Fuji X Weekly blog is hopefully one of those websites. I have a few regular daily stops, plus a few that I visit less often. I realized recently that I’m missing a lot of great content that’s out on the web regarding Fujifilm, and perhaps you are, too. If there was a frequently visited website that gathered these articles and put them into one place, that would be very convenient. Seeing a need and wanting to fill it, I’m creating a new series called Fuji Features, which will have links to recent Fujifilm related articles. My intention is that each of these posts will have a theme, and the theme for this very first one is Fujifilm X-E4 reviews.

I searched the web and found a whole bunch of Fujifilm X-E4 reviews. I’m not including all of the reviews that I found, only those that were published over the last few weeks—if they’re older than that, it’s more likely that you’ve already seen them, so I didn’t include those in this article. I’m sure that I missed a few, so if you know of one that should have been included, don’t be afraid to add it via the comments section. Of course, I have my own Fujifilm X-E4 review, and I invite you to view it if you haven’t already. If you are considering purchasing an X-E4, my hope is that this post will be useful to you.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm X-E4 Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Silver   Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Black + 27mm f/2.8    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Silver + 27mm f/2.8   Amazon   B&H

Below are the recent Fujifilm X-E4 reviews that I found on the web.

5050 Travelog

Digital Camera World

ShotKit

The Phoblographer

Pocket-lint

Shutterbug

Photo Review

Amateur Photographer

SGEEK

Plus some videos! Lots and lots of videos….

Hopefully you found this this post helpful or interesting. I plan to do more articles in this series, although the exact format might vary from post-to-post. I’m not certain how frequent these will come out, but my plan right now is weekly, but we’ll see how that goes. If you found one of these articles or videos especially helpful to you, let me know in the comments!