Let’s Not Forget How Awesome Our Cameras Are

I think it’s really easy to get caught up in the hype of advancing camera technology. It’s natural to think that we need the latest and greatest new gear. But lately I’ve been thinking that we should not forget just how awesome our current cameras are. Whatever camera gear you have, it’s pretty freakin’ amazing!

I found it interesting that Rob Morgan prefers the X100F over the X100V. He said, “…although the technical specs of the X100V are ‘better’ it lost the mojo of the earlier models.” In other words, he likes the five-year-old model more than the two-year-old one. What about gear that’s even older than that? Can it still be any good?

Captured yesterday on my X-Pro1 + Xuan 30mm using the Color Negative Film recipe

The Fujifilm X-Pro1 is ten years old now. So is the X-E1. If you are using decade-old camera gear, you are certainly behind the curve, right? Everyone else’s pictures are so much greater than yours, right? Those cameras aren’t capable of capturing worthwhile images, right? Of course, the answer is no to all three questions—your gear is not obsolete, your pictures aren’t inherently inferior, and, yes, your gear is plenty capable as long as you are. Photography has been around for 196 years, but only cameras released in the last 12 months are worth owning, some would say—those cameras that evolved after only 186 years aren’t nearly as good as those that have had the full 196 years to be released. That’s nothing but pure nonsense!

The X-Pro1, the X-E1, and every single other Fujifilm X camera is a capable photographic tool. Is the X-T4 better? Maybe. Is the X-H2 better? Maybe. Is the X-T1 better? There are some who think so. Is the X-H1 better? Many X-H1 owners think so. Does any of it matter? No. What matters is how you use your gear, not what gear you use.

One of my favorite pictures (that has hung on my wall for years) is this image captured on a Fujifilm X-E1 with a 50 year old lens.

The fact is that the X-Pro1 and X-E1 are just as capable today as they were in the year that they were released. Actually, that’s wrong. With Fujifilm’s firmware updates (that they used to be known for), the cameras are better today than they were in 2012. A lot of positive things were said about the cameras back then. A lot of wonderful pictures were captured with them back then. 10 years later and it all still applies, and the cameras can still capture amazing pictures today.

I thought it would be a worthwhile exercise to reread the old X-Pro1 reviews, and quote the positive things that were said about it back then. I think this is a good perspective to have, especially if you’re feeling a little camera envy. The X-Pro1 was a highly desirable model when it was released. I remember drooling over it in the pages of a photography magazine, but I couldn’t afford it back then. I’m very happy to own it now, because it’s still a solid camera, and still worth drooling over, even at the decade mark.

“It’s not just a retro look that distinguishes the Fujifilm X-Pro1, but its cutting-edge hybrid optical viewfinder and emphasis on quality prime lenses. Excellent image quality with very clean detail is the extra surprise inside.” Imaging Resource, 04/18/2012

“The Fujifilm X-Pro1 does almost everything right: it’s a beautiful (if enormous) camera, it takes great pictures and video, and once you take the time to learn its controls and systems it’s as capable a shooter as I’ve tested.” The Verge, 05/22/2012

“The X-Pro1 is certainly right up there with the best APS-C sensor cameras on the market, and some full-frame models too.”Photography Blog, 03/15/2012

“The camera’s images are exceptional, delivering on the claims that it can match up to existing full-frame sensor’s abilities.”What Digital Camera, 03/09/2012

“The image quality is stunning, with excellent, and I really mean excellent pixel level detail, with excellent colour reproduction, great dynamic range, excellent high ISO noise results and excellent JPEG output straight from the camera.”ePhotoZine, 03/12/2012

“This is a high ISO street shooters dream. Yes, I said STREET SHOOTERS DREAM.” Steve Huff, 04/04/2012

“This camera is a wave-breaker. May the other companies take note!”Digital Photography School, 03/30/2012

“With the X-Pro1 Fujifilm has built on the platform provided by the X100, and is beginning to look like a very serious contender at the high end of the camera market.”Digital Photography Review, 06/28/2012

Whatever camera you have, don’t worry about it being “good enough” or “new enough” or anything else. What you do with the gear you have is much more important than the gear you have—the limitation is only oneself. Do the best you can with what you have, and in time you’ll surprise even yourself at what you create. Your camera—whatever it is—is awesome, and we shouldn’t so easily forget that.

See, Grab, Snap & Get Back to Rocking Out — An Interview with Bassist (& Photographer) Rob Morgan

Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F while on stage

Rob Morgan is a curious person—that’s actually the title of his acclaimed podcast series—but who is Rob Morgan? I listened to several of his podcasts in preparation for this article (which is the fourth installment of my interview series). There’s a lot of value for the artist, no matter your medium or genre, in those recordings, and I found them helpful well beyond the scope of this interview. Give one a listen, perhaps Becoming Five Stars, You’re Delusional Until You’re Not, Nobody Wants to Listen to Your Music, The Mistake of Avoiding Mistakes, or How to Fake Extreme Talent—you’re sure to be hooked!

Rob Morgan is an internationally touring bass guitar player. He’s a super talented musician that’s often in-demand. He’s a creative director for live shows and world tours. Maybe you’ve even seen him play before in an arena, dive bar, or coffee shop—he’s even performed on The Today Show. Rob’s out on tour right now, so maybe you can catch him live if he’s coming to a city near you.

Aside from the music and podcast, Rob is also a photographer. It started out as a hobby—simply another creative outlet—but has turned into something much more. His photographs have been printed in media globally and he’s regularly commissioned to photograph musicians. He often uses a Fujifilm camera loaded with a Film Simulation Recipe.

Curious yet? I hope so! Keep reading to learn much more about Rob and his photography.

Grand Tetons from Snake River overlook – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F

FXW: Hi, Rob! You play bass guitar—how did you get started with that? Why the bass?

Rob Morgan: There’s a common trope in music: a band needs a bassist, so they convince a guitar player to pick it up. Me, I’ve always been in love with the electric bass. The moment I got one for Christmas when I was 14, it was game over. I knew that was it for me, and there’s never been a Plan B. 

Pre-Show drinks in the Greenroom with Joel Bowers – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F

FXW: What are the biggest music projects that you’ve been involved with? What are your most memorable musical moments? And what are you currently doing?

Rob Morgan: I mean, if we’re talking about memorable musical moments… it’s always the weird ones that stick out, no? A drummer (mistakingly) trusting a fart fifteen seconds before going on stage and playing in front of thousands in Beijing, China—our guitar player and I laughed during the entire set, knowing he was going to need a new drum seat after this show.

But opening for Foo Fighters at Fuji Rock Music Festival in Japan a few years back while playing bass with the band Owl City was definitely up there. Getting to have a private moment with Dave Grohl and telling him how his band’s documentary Back and Forth was one of the reasons I didn’t quit music years before while in a dry spell… that felt like a full circle moment.

As for right now, I’m currently sitting on a bus as we drive through Washington on tour with Caitlyn Smith.

Backstage with Caitlyn Smith – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F

FXW: Let’s switch gears. How did you get started in photography?

Rob Morgan: Growing up, there were these photography kits for kids—it came with a film camera and instructional book—that my mom got me back in the day, but I didn’t really start diving in deep until a few years ago. I was halfway through an Asia tour when I found myself wandering around Tokyo with my friend, guitar tech and stage manager Alex Perkins, who always had a Fuji X camera on him. On a tour that big, you don’t have access to your instruments outside of shows, and through him I realized one of the things I love most about photography: at any given moment, you can enter into the creative process.

Michael Shynes on stage – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F

FXW: Tell me about your cameras. Why Fujifilm? What do you shoot with now?

Rob Morgan: You can absolutely get a killer synth sound on a laptop, but there’s something about the tactile feeling of twisting a knob to change a sound on an analog synth that I love. While on that tour, I picked up a Fujifilm X100 for the same reasons. The fact that you changed the aperture and shutter speed via actual knobs (instead of touching a screen) reminded me of the cameras I grew up with, and the X100 series is still the closest digital version of a film camera I’ve found—its small size and vintage profile also play a large part in my love for it. 

Artists and musicians (uncomfortably) can sense a large DSLR being pulled out instantly. This thing feels far less invasive and my propensity for zone-focusing and manually dialing in the exposure in advance means I can be extremely fast.

Through the years, I kept advancing through the line, moving to an X100S, X100T, X100F, X100V, and back again to my current camera, an X100F. The reason for going backwards is a pretty unpopular opinion: although the technical specs of the X100V are “better” it lost the mojo of the earlier models. The feel of the metal, the tilting screen, and even the shape all seem clunky to me, and I found myself reaching for my camera less often. 

I love the X100F’s 35mm equivalent prime lens, but I also travel with the TCL and WCL adapters. I feel like I see the world in 35mm, but If I’m taking portraits of an artist, I throw on the 50mm TCL. If I’m bringing my camera in close quarters, on stage, or in the tour bus, I like the 28mm focal length (that the WCL allows me to capture) while in the middle of it all. 

Pre-show shots with Caitlyn Smith – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F

FXW: What Film Simulation Recipes do you use and why?

Rob Morgan: Whether it’s Daniel Kramer’s photographs of Bob Dylan, the authentic moments backstage captured by Danny Clinch or the iconic photographs of Anton Corbijn… as I started paying attention to the images that moved me, I realized the majority of them were shot on Kodak Tri-X 400 film (often pushed to 3200). As I said, I treat my X100F like one of my film cameras, and, thanks to your “Pushed Tri-X” recipe, I’m able to take it a step further and make it feel like I’ve loaded the camera with a roll of that film. It’s seriously been a game-changer for me! Shooting JPEG+RAW also allows me to not question it and focus on light and composition knowing that if it calls for something else later, I have the option in my back pocket. Sometimes, I’ll switch over to your HP5 recipe to change it up, but 99% of the time I stick with Tri-X.

Danny Burke photoshoot for Klergy – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F

FXW: How does being color blind affect your photography?

Rob Morgan: It’s tough to say. I’ve always had a propensity for the timelessness of black & white photography despite being red-green color blind. Ted Grant said, “When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!” I love that, and I think I’d still be shooting the way I do even if I wasn’t color blind, but it’s definitely cemented my style. Now that I shoot portraits of artists, record labels will often ask for color options, too, so I’ll shoot RAW and use a wallet-sized grey card to adjust the white balance in Lightroom. But normally, they’re bringing me in to shoot because they want my gritty B&W style.

Andrew McMahon and daughter – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F

FXW: Tell me about your behind-the-scenes photography. What do you try and convey through these pictures?

Rob Morgan: I’m fully aware of how incredibly fortunate I am to get to travel the world playing music. But, once you do anything on a regular basis, it’s easy to start taking the small moments for granted: whiskey cheers in the greenroom before walking on stage, a candid moment on the tour bus, the band goofing off during soundcheck…. Like anyone else diving into photography, I started taking photos of the world around me. As I started sharing them online, and people connected with them, I realized how rare of a vantage point I have. I’m no Linda McCartney, and I’m not married to one of The Beatles, but the candidness and behind-the-scenes trust seen in her photography have always been something that inspires my work. I’m glad artists and fans connect with the photos I’ve taken, but at the end of the day, it’s purely selfish—I want to remember all the tiny details of this wild ride.

Waiting pre-show – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F

FXW: Tell me more about your interest in street & documentary photography.

Rob Morgan: I adore the documentary photography of Dorothea Lange, and she’s often quoted as saying, “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” That’s everything to me. Whether I’m on tour with an artist or traveling Europe with my wife, Sarah—as long as I stick to my rule of NO ‘CHIMPING’ (looking at a photo you just took), photography helps me to see the moment and my surroundings more clearly. The street photography approach of “F/8 and be there” (setting your aperture to f/8 and hyper-focal zone-focusing) has been massively impactful to my approach, whether backstage or wandering a new city. It’s taught me to anticipate a moment and has given me the speed to capture it, especially if I have a bass in my left hand. See a moment, grab the camera, snap the shutter, put it down, and get back to rocking out.

Frankfurt, Germany – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F

FXW: Thank you so much, Rob, for carving out some time while on tour to do this interview!

Be sure to check out Rob’s website, read his blog, listen to his podcast, watch his videos, and follow him on Instagram!

More of Rob Morgan’s wonderful pictures:

Washington State while on tour – Photo by Rob Morgan using Fujifilm X100F
Long Island Sound – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F
Oban, Scottland – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100T
In the Greenroom – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F
Caitlyn Smith – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F
Caitlyn Smith on stage – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F
Jasper Nephew doing sound check – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F
Dan Rodriguez album cover shoot – Photo by Rob Morgan with Fujifilm X100F

The photographs in this article are © Rob Morgan

Should You Buy a Fujifilm X-H2?

You might have noticed that, while seemingly everyone else was eager to share the news of Fujifilm’s latest camera—the X-H2—and give their opinions and praise, I have been quiet about it. Not that I’ve been quiet about the X-H2 (and X-H2s), but I haven’t said a word about it since it was announced last Thursday. I wasn’t planning to say anything about it today, either, but I’ve received a lot of messages asking for my opinion if they should preorder this camera or not. I’m not really sure what I can add to this conversation that’s unique, but I will try. Also, I’m feeling lighthearted, and I hope that somehow comes across in this article—if the words seem serious, I don’t mean them that way at all. Sometimes critical nonverbal queues aren’t conveyed in written text, so keep that in your mind as you read further down. With that said, let’s dive into this!

I definitely don’t like to state that anyone should or shouldn’t buy any specific camera model. That’s a personal decision, and I cannot know if something is “right” for you—only you can determine that. I can offer my two cents, which might not be worth even two pennies, but it’s not for me to decide what you should do. Because so many have asked, I’m going to offer my advice; however, take it with a grain of salt, and if you are really unsure, seek all sorts of opinions and decide which one resonates with you the most.

A lot of people seem to be surprised that Fujifilm didn’t send me an X-H2 to try. While Fujifilm has loaned me a few cameras to try out for a time (namely, an X-T200, X-Pro3, and GFX-50S), I’m definitely not on their short list to send new gear to. I’m not an X-Photographer or Fujifilm Creator or anything like that, and I have no official or formal connection with the company—I’m just a guy who shoots with Fujifilm cameras, creates Film Simulation Recipes, and shares my opinions and experiences on this blog. I think Fujifilm appreciates that I help to bring them a lot of sales, and that I help to foster excitement among their customers, but I also use competitor names (such as “Kodak”) and I’m not afraid to speak critically of them, so they’re not always happy about this website (I know this because they told me so during one of the handful of times that I’ve spoken with someone within the company). Funny (and completely true) story: Ken Rockwell (after he tried The Rockwell recipe) was kind enough to attempt to get Fujifilm to put me on their press list, but apparently his (unofficial) endorsement wasn’t enough because I’m not on that list (I hear about new gear the same way that you do). And don’t even get Fujifilm started on Fujirumors …within Fujifilm, you don’t talk about Bruno and you don’t talk about that rumor website—ever. I do think that Fujifilm should do more to meet the community where they’re at, and not be so standoffish to it just because they didn’t create the community and have no control over it. I don’t think they fully realize the unique position they’re in, and they don’t really know what to do with it. To capitalize on it, they need to embrace it.

A lot of people also seem to be surprised that I didn’t order an X-H2 to make Film Simulation Recipes on. I do hope to make X-Trans V recipes. It’s my understanding from the reports I’ve received that the X-Trans IV recipes (for the X-Pro3 and newer cameras) are 100% compatible with X-Trans V cameras, and the rendering is essentially identical to X-Trans IV. What the X-H2 does have that X-Trans IV cameras don’t is Nostalgic Negative, and I do hope to someday try that new film simulation. The reasons why I didn’t order an X-H2 (or X-H2s) are 1) it’s not in my budget, 2) I don’t think I’d like the shooting experience (big bulky body with PASM), 3) I don’t have any need for 8K, and 4) I find my current gear to be sufficiently quick already with more than enough resolution. It’s just not a camera for me; however, that doesn’t mean it isn’t for you.

I’ve received messages from people who ordered the X-H2s, and some told me that they really love the new camera and it’s the best camera they’ve ever used, and others have told me that they hated it and it is the worst Fujifilm user experience they’ve ever encountered, so they returned it. How can one camera have such strong yet completely opposite reactions? I went down a couple of rabbit holes, and I think I found some commonalities that might help you determine if the X-H2 is a camera you’ll love or hate. Below I have two checklists: one for buying the X-H2 and one against buying the X-H2. Check as many that apply to you in each checklist, and whichever side has the most, that’s the direction to lean. You still have to make a decision yourself on what’s right for you, but if you are stuck, maybe this will help a little.

You SHOULD buy an X-H2 if…

☐ You don’t mind, or maybe even prefer, PASM.
☐ You don’t care if your gear is bulky.
☐ Your first Fujifilm camera was an X-S10.
☐ Your only Fujifilm camera is GFX.
☐ You own a full-frame camera by Canon, Sony, or Nikon.
☐ Your primary photo/video subjects constantly move quickly.
☐ You like to have the latest and greatest technology and gear.
☐ You have a bunch of money saved up and are eager to spend it.
☐ You own a professional production company and want to phase out your Sony gear for Fujifilm.

You should NOT buy an X-H2 if…

☐ You like the tactile classic controls that Fujifilm is known for.
☐ You don’t like bulky gear.
☐ You don’t own an X-S10 or Bayer model.
☐ You don’t own a GFX camera, or if you do it is a GFX50R.
☐ You sold all of your Canikony gear awhile ago.
☐ Your primary photo/video subjects don’t constantly move quickly.
☐ You don’t mind waiting for tech to go on sale or to buy things used sometimes.
☐ You prefer to spend money on experiences rather than gear.
☐ You are simply a photographer.

Definitely take those checklists with a grain of salt. I know that not every statement applies to everyone, or even everyone equally. But, generally speaking, if one side has a lot more boxes marked, then it probably resonates with you, and perhaps provides some clarity if you are not sure what to do. It matters not to me if you do or don’t order the camera; if you do, I have included an affiliate link below, which, if you use, helps me out a little.

In other news, according to Fujirumors, the X-T4, X-E4, and X-T30 II cameras are apparently being discontinued. If you’ve been wanting to buy one, and if you can find it in stock, it might be a good time to put that order in. It also means that the X-T5 and probably X-T50 (I’m making the wild guess now that Fujifilm will skip the X-T40 name, for marketing reasons, and go straight for 50) aren’t that far out—I think X-T5 before the end of the year, and X-T50 first quarter of 2023. I don’t believe an X-E5 is in the works; if it does come, it will more likely be in 2025, closer to the end of the X-Trans V lifecycle, or perhaps never. I think an X-S20 will come shortly after the X-T50, probably less than a year from now. I don’t have any inside information, these are simply guesses.

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-H2 Amazon B&H
Fujifilm X-H2s Amazon B&H
Fujifilm X-T4 Amazon B&H
Fujifilm X-E4   Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-T30 II Amazon B&H

Interestingly, the Fujifilm X-E3 can still be purchased brand new. Amazon

Fujifilm Needs to Drop Everything and Make an X80

Fujifilm X70 — Captured with a Fujifilm X100V + Kodak Tri-X 400 recipe.

Fujifilm needs to drop whatever they’re currently doing, and make an X80. This should be priority number one!

Not that I think they’re going to do this—I really don’t think they will—but they absolutely should. They should do it right, and they should do it right now.

Fujifilm introduced the X70 in January 2016 and discontinued it in December of that same year. You might think that the camera was a flop, but it wasn’t. Unfortunately, to Fujifilm’s surprise, shortly after the camera launched, Sony suddenly discontinued the 16-megapixel APS-C sensor that the X70 used, and Fujifilm had no choice but to fully move on to X-Trans III as quickly as possible. The X70 was a casualty of that situation. No successor was ever made, supposedly because heat dispersion was an issue with the X-Trans III sensors. Even though the camera is six years old now, people love their X70 camera—you don’t see very many for sale, and when you do it’s usually for a similar price to, or even higher than, the original MSRP.

Even though the camera is an old model, photographers are still enjoying their X70. Omar Gonzalez said that he loves the X70, and it’s his favorite fun pocketable camera. Reggie Ballesteros called it his favorite pocket cam. Samuel Streetlife called it an amazing camera for street photography and it’s sad that Fuji didn’t continue this line. People love the X70 because it is basically a smaller and more wide-angle X100T, but without a viewfinder; the viewfinder is a make-or-break for some, but other people don’t mind its absence at all.

So what would an X80 look like? What features should it have?

Fujifilm should try, as best as practical, to keep it the same size and shape as the X70. It should have the same 18.5mm (28mm full-frame-equivalent) lens. The rear screen can stay the same. I’m sure that Fujifilm would replace the d-pad with a joystick… I’d like to see both, but it will be a joystick and not a d-pad (and not both). Fujifilm should include the shutter/ISO knob of the X100V. Swap the command switch thing for a command wheel. Otherwise, don’t change a thing. The X70 is a cult classic because Fujifilm did so much “right” with it. Don’t overcomplicate it; don’t “fix” what’s already good.

Fujifilm X70 — Captured with a Fujifilm X100VGAF 500 recipe

The electronic viewfinder will be the controversy. The X70 doesn’t have one, and I personally don’t think it’s a requirement for the X80, but some people will have a strong opinion that, in 2022 (or 2023), it is a requirement. Perhaps Fujifilm should consider a pop-up viewfinder (right underneath where the X70 says “X70”) similar to the Sony RX100 III, or (my preferred option) a shoe-mount viewfinder that’s an optional accessory.

Obviously on the inside it needs to have a new sensor and processor. X-Trans IV? X-Trans V? Something else? Heat dispersion is obviously the biggest obstacle. The Fujifilm X100V can run hot, and it has a larger body, so it’s possible that the X-Trans IV sensor, despite being “cooler” than X-Trans III, is still too hot. Is the 26mp stacked X-Trans V sensor cooler? I know it’s quicker, but instead of quickness, can it be utilized for its coolness? How about the 40mp non-stacked? I personally would prefer it to not have a Bayer sensor, but if it did, it needs to have Acros and Classic Negative and Clarity and all that, which hasn’t been included on any Bayer model. I don’t know what sensor it would need to be or what Fujifilm needs to do to make it work, but I’m sure it’s possible, and they should do what it takes to figure it out.

How much would an X80 cost? The X70 had an MSRP of only $700, which seems like a steal of a deal! I think the X80 could have an MSRP of around $1,000 and people would buy it. Go much higher than that and people will start expecting more premium features (like weather sealing), but even at $1,200 I’d preorder it. Look, a Fujifilm X-E4 with the 18mm pancake, which is still noticeably larger than the X70 yet the closest you can get to it with Fujifilm’s current lineup, will run you $1,450, so it shouldn’t seem unreasonable to pay significantly more for the X80 than the X70. Heck, some people will pay a grand for a used X70!

If Fujifilm made an X80, that would be epic. It’s my number two “wow” camera that Fujifilm should make. However, I believe that Fujifilm believes that the market for such a camera came-and-went, and current camera buyers aren’t as interested in such a model; however, the feedback that I have received suggests that there would be a heck-of-a-lot of excitement for an X80 if Fujifilm ever did make one. I hope they do.

It’s your turn! What features should a Fujifilm X80 have? Which sensor? Would you buy one if they made one? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! While I think most likely Fujifilm will never read this, there is a chance that they might—if they do, make sure your voice has been heard.

10 “WOW” Products Fujifilm Should Be Making Right Now

“We are working on WOW product development.” —Jun Watanabe, Product Planning Group Manager, Imaging Solutions Division, Fujifilm

Fujirumors reported on an article by Digital Camera Life that translated and summarized a video by Map Camera, which featured an interview with Fujifilm Product Planning Manager Jun Watanabe. In addition to the quote above, Jun also said, “I would like to continue working to create ‘WOW’ products with the development team, including me, so that we can meet everyone’s expectations and say, ‘I definitely want to buy this.'”

Before we go any further, I must point out that this seems a little like the “Telephone Game” where one person whispers something into someone’s ear, and that person whispers what they heard into the next person’s ear, and so on, until the last person speaks what they heard, which doesn’t much resemble what the first person whispered. Now add to that a translation of a translation, and we get these quotes by Jun Watanabe, which may or may not be what he actually said. However, for the purpose of this article, we’ll assume that Fujifilm is indeed currently working on products that will make people say “wow”—or at least products that the Product Planning Group thinks will make people say that—and they want to “meet everyone’s expectations” somehow.

There’s a lot to digest, of course. Sometime in the 1400’s, monk and poet John Lydgate stated, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” No one product will “meet everyone’s expectations” but perhaps he simply means that between all of the projects that they’re working on, once they all come out, that there will be a “wow product” for everyone.

Coastal Blooms – San Simeon, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Pacific Blues” recipe

I’m in a unique position here at Fuji X Weekly, because I hear from a lot of Fujifilm photographers—granted, mostly those who shoot with Film Simulation Recipes, which is certainly not everyone with a Fujifilm camera, but a large number nonetheless. I have a pretty good pulse on a large segment of Fujifilm’s customers. I know what would make a lot of their customers say, “I definitely want to buy this!” But Fujifilm has never asked me. I have a lot of valuable feedback that I would be more than happy to give to them, if they’re ever interested.

I think the top two things that would make the Fujifilm photographers in this audience say “wow” are 1) a recommitment to Kaizen updates, and 2) more JPEG options (film simulations and such). For example, the Classic Negative film simulation has more of a wow factor for many of the tens of thousands of people shooting with recipes than the autofocus speed of the X-H2s, and giving that film simulation to the X-T3—the all-time top selling model—via a firmware update is a no-brainer for making your customers happy. I assume, however, that the Product Planning Group is not involved with those things—it’s different departments altogether—so Jun and his gang might completely agree, but it wouldn’t make any difference.

What I thought I’d do with this article, on the off-chance that someone from Fujifilm reads it (maybe even Mr. Watanabe himself), is provide some ideas for “wow” products that Fujifilm photographers would want to buy. These are things that would make people take notice. I don’t think becoming more like another brand is a good way to make people say “wow” (except, perhaps, sarcastically). These are ideas for products that would set Fujifilm apart from the crowd, and not blend in. Ordered from least exciting to most (in my opinion anyway), here’s my list of the 10 “WOW” products that Fujifilm should be making right now!

10. Minimalist Model

Maybe just have this little screen and remove the big one.

The Fujifilm X-E4 is already a “minimalist” camera that people either love or hate, and in some ways Fujifilm wen’t too far, removing too many dials and switches and such. But, what if Fujifilm went even further?

Here’s my idea: no rear screen—just a hybrid viewfinder (maybe like the one in the X-Pro2?). Maybe include the little “box tab” screen of the X-Pro3? No video mode. Incorporate the dual shutter/ISO knob of the X100V. Add back the M/C/S switch. Maybe include a C1-C7 knob (or switch of some kind)? Otherwise, clean and simple. Small and lightweight. This wouldn’t be the X-E5, but a new model altogether, made for the experience of shooting with it.

I’m sure this would not sell like hotcakes, and a lot of people wouldn’t like it, but it would certainly grab headlines. Every camera reviewer would want to get their hands on one, just to try it. A lot of people would want to try it. I would want to try it, and most likely own it. Crazy? Yes. Great? Probably, depending on the design choices—it will be a tough balancing act, though, and making it “just right” won’t be easy.

9. 135mm Lens

135mm focal-length.

Fujifilm has a 90mm prime and a (really large and expensive) 200mm prime, but nothing in-between. I found a vintage Vivitar 135mm lens that I just love using, and it made me wonder why doesn’t Fujifilm have a 135mm prime? They should.

This isn’t something to get carried away with. Should it have OIS (stabilization)? It could, but it definitely doesn’t have to. Should it have a wide maximum aperture? F/2.8 is plenty wide enough. Should it be weather-sealed? Probably, I think that’s more-or-less expected nowadays. This shouldn’t be a $6,000 lens or even a $1,200 lens, but sub-$1,000—maybe around $800-$900.

8. Another Pancake Lens

The 27mm pancake helps make this setup super small and lightweight.

One obvious advantage of APS-C over full-frame is size and weight. A big draw to Fujifilm cameras, from those who in the past shot Canon or Sony or Nikon, is the smaller package. It can be such a pain to lug around big and heavy gear, and after doing that for awhile it’s refreshing to have something less intrusive around your neck. Not only are the cameras smaller and lighter, but the lenses can be, too.

Fujifilm has a number of small and lightweight primes, but only two pancakes: the 18mm f/2 and 27mm f/2.8. The 18mm is long overdue for an update (keep the optics, give it a faster and quieter motor). The 27mm, which was recently updated (but is hard to find because it sells out even before hitting the store shelves), is my personal favorite lens. Why not add another pancake option?

I think there are three potential focal-lengths for the new pancake, but I’m not certain which would be best. My personal top-choice is something longer than the 27mm, perhaps a 40mm f/2.8. This short-telephoto would be good for portraits and walk-around photography. Another option would be something wider than the 18mm, perhaps 14mm (or 15mm) f/3.5. The third option would be something in-between 18mm and 27mm, like maybe 23mm f/2.8. I don’t know which one should be made, but I know that one of them should, because size and weight are a big draw to the system, and having a serious series of pancake lenses would do a lot to emphasis that advantage.

7. GFX100R

This is shape that the GFX100R should have.

I don’t own a GFX camera, but if I did, it would definitely be a rangefinder-styled model. So far, the GFX 50R is the only rangefinder-styled camera in the GFX lineup, and it’s old—almost four years old now. It’s the cheapest GFX model—you can pick one up for $2,850 right now—but maybe it hasn’t sold well, I don’t know (perhaps that’s why it’s the only one). If it has sold at least somewhat well, I think it makes a lot of sense to offer a 100-megapixel updated model with the same sensor as the GFX100S. That for sure would make people say wow!

6. ISOCELL

I captured this picture in 2012 using a Samsung NX200.

This isn’t so much a product as it is a technology. Samsung partnered with Fujifilm to develop the ISOCELL technology that is used in a number of cellphone cameras now. If Fujifilm used a Samsung-made ISOCELL sensor with “Tetra” pixel-binning for X-Trans, that would grab headlines. Imagine a 112-megapixel X-Trans VI sensor that produced 28-megapixel images for high-ISO or extended dynamic range, and otherwise delivered medium-format-like high-resolution pictures. People would take notice!

5. Infrared Camera

Straight-out-of-camera infrared picture on non-converted Fujifilm X-E4.

A number of people want to do IR photography, but the conversion process is invasive and expensive. The only camera-line that makes infrared photography easy is the Sigma SD models, which include a removable IR filter—take the filter off and shoot IR photography, put it back on and shoot normal. I don’t know if that’s particularly practical for Fujifilm, but they could make an already-IR camera model. In fact, Fujifilm did this with the X-T1; however, it was only available for medical purposes, and not sold to the general public.

I don’t think an IR model would need to be the X-T4 (or future X-T5), but something more affordable, like the X-T30 II or future X-T40. Obviously not everyone would go out and buy one, but I think there’d be enough interest to make it worthwhile for Fujifilm to produce. It would certainly be a wow-camera for some photographers.

4. Digital XPan

XPan aspect ratio captured with the RitchieCam App on my iPhone.

The XPan cameras were a joint venture between Fujifilm and Hasselblad, beginning in 1998, that used 35mm film to capture panoramic pictures in the 65×24 aspect ratio. While XPan cameras weren’t huge commercial successes, they gained a cult-following—so much so that Fujifilm has included the XPan aspect ratio as an option on the latest GFX models.

My idea is not for a 65×24 crop, but for a camera with a 65×24-shaped sensor. This would require a special-built sensor, which might be both difficult and expensive to procure. I think it would need to be in an X-Pro-like body, and probably should have a fixed-lens… maybe 30mm f/2.8? If it were interchangeable-lens, perhaps it would require two or three special lenses to use the full sensor (for the XPan ratio), or use any other X-mount lens and the camera automatically produces a 3:2 aspect ratio image. To me, the fixed-lens option makes the most sense.

I don’t think a digital XPan camera is especially practical, but it would be a huge headliner. Without a doubt it would make people’s jaws drop, and maybe even their wallets open.

3. X200 (Full-Frame X100)

Imagine this bigger….

I do not see Fujifilm jumping into the full-frame market. It’s crowded, and between X and GFX, Fujifilm can already basically indirectly compete well against it. Still, a lot of people have asked Fujifilm to produce a full-frame line; however, that’s like starting over from scratch, since most of their current X lenses won’t cover the sensor, and the GFX lenses are large and expensive compared to many full-frame options. It would be a huge financial risk that probably wouldn’t pay off. With that said, I do think there’s one full-frame camera that Fujifilm could produce that would be much less risky: the X200, a full-frame version of the X100-series.

It would obviously be bigger, heavier, and more expensive than the X100V. I think the focal-length of the lens should be different, too, so that it is not just the sensor size that separates the X100 line from the X200. Perhaps 50mm? Maybe 30mm? 35mm could be perfect, so it might not be a good idea to mess with it. There should be something more to differentiate the APS-C version from the full-frame, and Fujifilm would have to figure that out.

If Fujifilm did produce this camera, it would for certain have a big wow-factor, and I have zero doubts that people would line up to buy it.

2. X80

Imagine this smaller….

The Fujifilm X70 was doomed from the start. It was announced just three months before the first X-Trans III camera, right when Sony announced that they were not going to produce anymore 16-megapixel APS-C sensors. Fujifilm used their last X-Trans II sensors in this camera (plus the X-E2S), and when supplies ran out, so did this camera. When people asked when they were going to release a successor, Fujifilm stated that the X-Trans III sensor was “too hot” to place inside the tiny X70 body. The closest thing to a successor was the XF10, an inexpensive Bayer model with a PASM dial. But the X70 is much beloved by those who own them—to this day they can be tough to find, and they’re not cheap (don’t expect to find a bargain just because it’s old).

If Fujifilm were to release a real successor to the X70 (which would likely be called X80), it would no doubt be a hit. Smaller, lighter, and more-wide-angle than the X100 series, with the latest technology and JPEG options, would make people look. And buy! I’m confident that this would be a top-seller.

1. X100 and/or X-Pro “Acros Edition”

My top recommendation to Fujifilm for a “WOW” product is a monochrome-only camera based on either the X100 or X-Pro line, and called “Acros Edition.” It would basically be Fujifilm’s version of the Leica’s black-and-white-only cameras, like the M Monochrom, M10 Monochrome, and Q2 Monochrom.

What advantages do monochrome-only cameras have over color sensors? For one, all of the pixels are used for luminosity information (not just half, or in the case of X-Trans, 55%), which means more apparent resolution (more detailed image), less digital noise, improved high-ISO performance, and increased dynamic range. You can use color filters with it just like with black-and-white film. And it’s fun and cool. I’d be first in line to buy one, and I’m sure many reading this would be right beside me, as this would be the wow camera of all wow cameras.


I don’t know if any of these 10 product ideas are currently being considered by Fujifilm or not. Their idea of what would make people say “wow” and mine might be two completely different things. Fujifilm’s idea of what might make people say, “I definitely want to buy this,” could be 180º from mine. If Fujifilm should happen to read this, I want to make sure that my ideas were stated, because maybe—just maybe—this could impact future designs in some way. Probably not; however, it’s still fun to dream.

Now it’s your turn! Which of these 10 ideas would you be most excited for? What products would make you go “wow” that I didn’t include in this list? Let me know in the comments!

Fujifilm X-T1 (X-Trans II) Film Simulation Recipe: Color Negative Film

Yellow – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 – “Color Negative Film”

One of my favorite X-Trans I Film Simulation Recipes is Color Negative Film, which has a white balance shift inspired by my Fujicolor 100 Industrial recipe. This recipe, which was a Patron Early-Access Recipe on the Fuji X Weekly App but is now available to everyone, is an adaptation of the X-Trans I recipe for X-Trans II. It doesn’t mimic any specific film, but just has a more generic film aesthetic. It’s not an exact match to the X-Trans I recipe, but it’s pretty close.

This “Color Negative Film” recipe is a great allrounder for daylight situations. My Fujifilm X-T1 was boxed away for over two months as I moved, and when I unboxed it last week this recipe is the one that I programmed and used first. It’s a recipe that I know many of you will love, too. If you have an X-Trans II camera, give this one a try!

No Swimming – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 – “Color Negative Film”

Provia
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +2 (Hard)
Shadow: +2 (Hard)
Color: -2 (Low)
Sharpness: -1 (Medium-Soft)
Noise Reduction: -2 (Low)
White Balance: 3200K, +8 Red & -8 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 3200

Exposure Compensation: 0 to +2/3 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs captured using this “Color Negative Film” film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T1:

Sunlit Leaves – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T1
Green Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 – Photo by Jon Roesch
Early Autumn – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1
Forest Trail – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1
One Dead Leaf – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1
Backlit Autumn Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1
Autumn Flare – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1
Changing Leaves in the Woods – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1
Yellow Shrub – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1
Trail to the Trees – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T1
Water Logged – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 – Photo by Jon Roesch
Little Purple Blooms – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1
Reeds of Summer – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1
Magenta Blossoms – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1
Trumpet Flower – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1
Pride of Barbados – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1
Jon by a Wall – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1

Find this Film Simulation Recipe and over 200 more on the Fuji X Weekly App!

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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!