Note: I wrote this article, which I stumbled across today, over two years ago, but for some reason never published it. I replaced many of the original pictures and corrected some words and grammar, but otherwise I kept it the same.
I love film photography, but digital is so much more convenient. The cost of digital photography is paid upfront, while with film there’s a per-frame cost with each exposure, which is just getting more and more expensive. I rarely shoot film anymore, but I like the look of film. The best of both worlds is when I can get a film aesthetic straight out of a digital camera. That might sound pie-in-the-sky or even pretentious; if I like the look of film, why not just shoot film? If I shoot digital, why not just edit like everyone else?
Fujifilm cameras can create something film-like while delivering digital advantages, and that’s incredible! With digital you don’t have to send off your exposures to a lab or have your own lab set up somewhere in your home. You can know immediately if your frame is any good or not—no need to wait hours or days or sometimes longer. And you are not limited to 12, 24, or 36 exposures. There’s a reason why most photographers shoot digital, yet there’s a reason why some still go through the hassle of shooting film. I think Fujifilm is kind of a bridge between the two.
Using software, such as Alien Skin Exposure or any of the many preset filter packs that are available, it’s very easy to turn a RAW file into something that looks analog. I’ve done that for many years, and I appreciate the results. If I can skip the software step and have a finished image straight-out-of-camera, that’s even better. That saves me some serious time! For many people, editing a picture is half the fun, but for me it’s not. I much prefer to not sit at a computer manipulating photographs. That’s just my preference, and it may or may not be yours, and that’s perfectly fine—there’s no right or wrong way, only what works for you. Shooting Fujifilm cameras using recipes to get film-like pictures straight-out-of-camera is what works for me.
I’m amazed at all the different looks that I can get out of my camera using my different Film Simulation Recipes on Fujifilm cameras. Fuji only gives so much control in-camera— they’re constantly providing more customization options with each new generation, but it’s still limited. Despite that, there’s a lot that you can do to create many different looks. It’s possible to mimic various film aesthetics without using any software. Thanks to Fujifilm’s vast experience with film, they’ve been able to infuse into their camera-made-JPEGs an analog soul that’s frankly missing from most digital pictures.
The photographs in this article are all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs that weren’t edited, with the exception of some minor cropping in some circumstances. They’re all from Fujifilm cameras, including an X-E4, X100V, X-T30, X-T20, X-Pro2, X100F and X-T1. In my opinion, in one way or another, they resemble film—an analog look from a digital camera. That’s nothing short of amazing!
10 example pictures, just to illustrate the point:
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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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Fujifilm X-Trans is 10-years-old, and I thought it would be fun to list the 10 most important X-Trans models of all-time. The first X-series camera was the X100, but it had an EXR sensor, and not X-Trans. The first with the X-Trans sensor was the X-Pro1, which came out in 2012. I already wrote an article explaining the history of that camera, which you can read here. For this post, I’ll simply give my opinion on which X-Trans models were the most important.
Here we go!
10. Fujifilm X-E1
The Sexy One—I mean, X-E1—was the second X-Trans camera introduced by Fujifilm, and offered retro rangefinder styling in an affordable package. It had its problems (many that were fixed or improved by firmware updates), which hindered its commercial success, yet it is still a beloved camera 10 years later. Without the X-E1, there would be no X-E2, X-E2s, X-E3, or X-E4. While the X-E lineup isn’t usually a top-seller for Fujifilm, it is much loved by those who do own them. The Fujifilm X-E1 was my introduction into the X-series, so without it there would be no Fuji X Weekly.
9. Fujifilm X-Pro2
The X-Pro2 was not only the first X-Trans III camera, it was the first with a dual memory-card slot. For some, this was the first X-Trans camera that could be taken seriously—clearly aimed at professional photographers. It not only looked good, but had the specs and features to convince serious photographers to take a close look, and maybe even sell their full-frame gear in favor of Fujifilm.
8. Fujifilm X-T4
The X-T4 is the full-frame killer. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but the it is an amazing tool for both professional photographers and videographers. To date, the X-T4 is the most “premium” X-series model made by Fujifilm, and is the camera that’s convinced countless people to choose Fujifilm over other brands.
7. Fujifilm X100V
The X100V is a solid update to the X100F, and is my “desert island” camera—if I could only have one, it would be this. For a lot of people who are unsure if they want to jump into the deep end of the Fujifilm pool, the X100-series allows them to get their feet wet without having to invest in the whole system. Once people do dip their toes, they discover that the water is fine. Although all of the five X100-series cameras are great, including the original X100, the X100V is definitely the best.
6. Fujifilm X-Pro3
The X-Pro3 is a controversial camera due to its unusual backwards-mounted rear screen. People seem to love or hate it. While it might be Fujifilm’s most polarizing camera, it has been a solid success, and a sought-after body since its introduction. Also, this was the first camera with Classic Negative, Clarity, and Color Chrome FX Blue, among other things.
5. Fujifilm X-H1
While it was initially considered a flop, the X-H1 now has a cult-like following. The X-H1 was even more top-of-the-line than the X-T2. It was the first X-Trans camera with the Eterna film simulation and IBIS, and had the best video specs when it was released. In a lot of ways, it was the X-T4 of the X-Trans III generation models (although in a body more reminiscent of the GFX50S), and was supposed to convince full-frame shooters to consider Fujifilm instead. Due to its high MSRP, sales were super sluggish, and Fujifilm had to steeply slash the price tag to get people to buy it. Those who did buy it were rewarded with an amazing camera! It’s a workhorse for many professional photographers, even if they own newer models, they often choose the X-H1 to do the heavy lifting.
4. Fujifilm X100F
The Fujifilm X100F is the camera that I first started making Film Simulation Recipes with. Fuji X Weekly was originally a long-term review (or journal, really) of this camera. The impact the X100F has had on the Fujifilm community and even the photography continuum cannot be quantified, but know that’s it’s massive. For me, the X100F changed my life, and that’s not hyperbole—it took a lot of self-control to not put it at the number one spot on this list.
3. Fujifilm X-T3
Have you ever wondered why Fujifilm hasn’t discontinued the X-T3 even though the X-T4 has been out for almost two years? It’s because the X-T3 is the top-selling X-series camera of all time, and continues to sell really well even today. Yes, it’s about three-and-a-half years old, but as long as people continue to buy it in droves, it will continue to be manufactured by Fujifilm. I wouldn’t be surprised if the X-T4 is discontinued before the X-T3. This is the only camera on this list that I haven’t personally used, but I know for certain that it’s a great model.
2. Fujifilm X-T1
A lot of people might be surprised that the X-T1 made it so high on this list, not because the camera isn’t great (because it is great), but because the reason might not seem obvious. What was so special about this model to make it all the way to number two? The X-T1 was Fujifilm’s first real commercially successful camera. Yes, the X-Trans models that came before this—X-Pro1, X-E1, X-E2, X-M1, X20, XQ1, and X100S—did well enough (more or less, depending on the camera), but the X-T1 sold significantly better than them all. It really brought Fujifilm into the forefront, and made a lot of people take notice. For a large number of photographers, the X-T1 was the first model that made them seriously consider buying X-Trans.
1. Fujifilm X-Pro1
The Fujifilm X-Pro1 was where X-Trans began. All of the current Fujifilm cameras are here today because the X-Pro1 made a big splash with its retro rangefinder design and hybrid viewfinder 10 years ago. If it had not sold well, the X-series might have ended there, or not long after. But it did sell well, and is even in-demand to this day. That’s why the X-Pro1 is the number one most important Fujifilm X-Trans camera of all time.
What about the other cameras that deserve to be on this list? The original X100 is not here because it is not X-Trans (a requirement for this list), but I could have included the X100S, which the first X100-series model with an X-Trans sensor. The X100T was the first camera with Classic Chrome—except that a lot of people forget that one month earlier the X30 was released with Classic Chrome, and the X100T was actually a close second. The X-T10 was Fujifilm’s first real successful mid-range model—the X-T20 and X-T30 were pretty darn successful, too, and the X-T30 II is off to a solid start. The X-S10 has also done well, and is the cheapest model with IBIS. I think there are a number of cameras that could have made this list. What do you think? Do you agree with my Top 10? Would you replace any? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
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I’m a Fujifilm fanboy, but this new Nikon looks quite nice.
Maybe you can relate: I’m a sucker for retro-inspired cameras, and the Nikon Zfc had me drooling the day that it was announced. I love Fujifilm, yet I have nothing against Nikon—I used to shoot with Nikon DSLRs, and a few of my favorite photographs were captured on Nikon cameras. I figured that if I’m interested in the Zfc, maybe some of you are, too, so I purchased one to try. At the very least I could compare it to Fujifilm X-Trans cameras, and explain the similarities and differences.
At first glance the Zfc looks like it’s in the same class as the Fujifilm X-T30. There are certainly some similarities between the two models. The Zfc has a rear screen and knob arrangement that’s more like the X-T4, so I thought it could, perhaps, even fall in-between those two models somewhere, and serve as an upper-mid-tier APS-C mirrorless camera. It’s hard to tell from looking at pictures, but that’s what I was expecting.
When I pulled the Zfc out of the box, a few things surprised me. First, the camera is bigger than I expected. It’s much larger and noticeably heavier than the Fujifilm X-E4 that I frequently shoot with. It’s a little larger and slightly heavier than my X-T30. It’s almost as big as an X-T4, although much lighter. The Fujifilm camera in my collection that’s most similar in size and weight to the Zfc is the Fujifilm X-T1.
The Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 lens (that came with the camera) is massive, too. I thought, perhaps, there’d be some similarities between the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 lens and the Nikkor glass, but other than maximum aperture and similar focal-length, these two lenses are much different. The Fujifilm lens is smaller, lighter, sharper, and superior in pretty much every way. That’s not to say that the Nikkor lens is bad, but it’s definitely not as good as the Fujinon, which happens to be my favorite lens. Nikon didn’t include an aperture ring on the 28mm f/2.8 (or any other Z glass), which I think is a big oversight.
Another surprise is how plasticky the Zfc feels. It doesn’t look plasticky, and its weight suggests that it’s not all that plasticky, but it definitely feels plasticky when you use it. I wouldn’t trust this camera to survive a hard fall. It doesn’t appear to be a cheap camera (and its price tag would confirm this), but when you use it, the feeling is that it’s a budget body, and not mid-range.
After considering where it best compares to Fujifilm models, the one I think the Zfc is most comparable to is the X-T200. If Fujifilm had put markings on the customizable unmarked knobs, the two cameras would be very similar (aside from size and weight). For those who don’t know, the X-T200 was Fujifilm’s budget option, with a price of $700 for the body or $800 bundled with a kit zoom. The X-T200 didn’t last long (both introduced and discontinued in 2020) because it didn’t sell well. Perhaps the Zfc sits a little above the X-T200, but in my opinion that’s the most similar Fujifilm model.
One last surprise is that the shutter and ISO knobs are more for looks than practical use. You see, there’s a PASM switch, and only when you are in the correct PASM position do the knobs actually do anything. If this camera had been designed correctly, PASM would be completely unnecessary, and the knobs would always do something if you turned them. It’s a much different user experience than what most Fujifilm cameras deliver, and maybe more confusing.
I understand that those who don’t have a background in classic film cameras and have only used PASM might be intimidated when trying Fujifilm X cameras for the first time. I think that’s one reason why the X-T200 and X-S10 cameras were designed the way they were: intended to be less intimidating to the uninitiated. So perhaps Nikon had that in mind with the Zfc, but this was certainly an opportunity to break the mold and offer a different experience to their users, and they just couldn’t do it—it really is a missed opportunity.
Fujifilm is known for their Film Simulations and JPEG output. I’ve published over 200 Film Simulation Recipes to achieve various looks straight-out-of-camera. I even made an App (available for both Android and Apple) for these JPEG recipes. Fujifilm used their vast experience with film to create profiles that are modeled after film. For many Fujifilm photographers, Film Simulations (and recipes) are an intrinsic element of the user experience and picture aesthetic. For Nikon, their lesser-known equivalent is called Picture Control, with a subset called Creative Picture Control. While Fujifilm’s Film Simulations are inspired by film, Nikon’s Picture Controls are inspired by feelings and mood. It’s a much different take, and not necessarily better or worse—simply a divergent approach that’s worth noting. Fujifilm infuses an analog soul into their digital images, while Nikon infuses emotions that may or may not be analog-esque into their images.
Those who are regular readers of the Fuji X Weekly blog already know this, but for those who don’t, I’m a JPEG shooter. Many years ago I was a RAW guy, but Fujifilm cameras changed that for me. Shooting JPEG saves me time while making the process more enjoyable, as I get the look I want straight-out-of-camera without the need to edit. That’s my perspective.
It’s clear to me that, over the last decade, Fujifilm has invested more R&D dollars and time into their JPEG output than Nikon has. The Zfc is a new camera, but the JPEG quality is closer to X-Trans I—which is 10-years-old now—than X-Trans IV, which is very soon to be replaced by X-Trans V. When viewing on social media or the internet, you can’t tell, but when pixel-peeping, the Fujifilm X-E4 (for example) produces sharper, more detailed images, with more pleasing noise and fewer banding and artifact issues than the Zfc. It’s not a night-and-day difference (and I’m not suggesting that the JPEGs from the Zfc are bad), but it’s definitely noticeable when viewed closely, and I personally prefer the pictures produced by the X-E4; however, it only really matters if you are pixel-peeping, cropping deeply, or printing posters, and otherwise doesn’t matter.
If you want the full Fujifilm photography experience, there’s no substitute for Fujifilm. The Nikon Zfc looks like it could deliver a similar experience, but it falls short in multiple ways. I would suggest the Fujifilm X-T30 II or X-E4 instead, which are similarly priced (cheaper actually), and are better cameras, in my opinion. The Fujifilm X-T3 WW is another solid option with a similar price point (slightly more expensive). With that said, the Zfc is still a very beautiful camera that’s fun to use and produces quality pictures.
If you already own a Nikon Z camera and lenses but like retro-styling, the Zfc is for you. An advantage of Nikon Z is that Z lenses are compatible with their full-frame mirrorless line. So perhaps you start with the Zfc and 28mm lens, but then you later add a couple lenses to your collection, and even later buy a Z7 II. Or maybe it’s the other way around: your Z7 II is big and heavy, so you add a Zfc for travel and walk-around photography, and the lenses you already own are compatible. This is why you buy a Nikon Zfc, I think.
Obviously, they’re hoping that the Zfc will convince those from other brands to try Nikon. My first thought is that those “moving up” from Micro-4/3 will be tempted by this model, although I’m not sure that this camera is convincing enough. Those dissatisfied by Sony, Canon, and Pentax might consider this model, if based on nothing more than looks, which is most likely what it would be based on because the Zfc lacks innovation that would attract photographers from other brands.
I don’t think the Zfc will snag very many from Fujifilm. Maybe if you’ve never liked the lack of PASM—maybe. But other than good-looks, which your Fujifilm camera already offers, the Zfc doesn’t give you a good reason to switch brands. I can tell you with certainty that I won’t be switching brands anytime soon.
If you like your cameras to have retro-styling, the Nikon Zfc is one of your options. It’s a good camera that’s fun to use, but it’s not as good or as fun as a Fujifilm X-Trans model, like the X-T30 II or X-E4, which are slightly less expensive. My recommendation is to buy the Nikon Zfc only if you are already invested into the Z system, or if you are planning to get into that system for the long-term. Otherwise, there are better options, and if you are looking for those better options, let me point you towards Fujifilm.
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Example photographs, captured with Nikon Zfc and Fujifilm X-E4:
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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.
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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.
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.
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 AmazonB&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.
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.
Did you know that there’s a faster way to switch between the C1-C7 Custom Presets on your Fujifilm camera?
The C1-C7 Custom Presets are a great place to store up to seven Film Simulation Recipes. Not all Fujifilm cameras have the ability to store Custom Presets, but most do, and they’re pretty easy to program, especially after you’ve done it a time or two. Once you have the Custom Presets programmed into the camera, for most models, you access them by selecting the Q-Button, which brings up the Q-Menu. In the Q-Menu you can scroll through the C1-C7 options using (usually) the Rear Command Dial. There’s some variance between models, so your camera might be different, and there’s more than one way to access Custom Presets, but this is likely how most of you do it.
If you have an X-Trans III or X-Trans IV camera, with a couple exceptions, there’s a faster way to switch between Custom Presets. This will work only if your model has the ability to assign “Select Custom Setting” to the Rear Command Dial. For those with a capable model, on you camera, select Menu and go to the Set-Up (Wrench) subset, select Button/Dial Setting, then Function (Fn) Setting, scroll down to R-Dial, and choose Select Custom Setting. That’s it! Now let’s try it out.
To switch between C1-C7 Custom Presets, simply push the Rear Command Dial to open a C1-C7 menu on your screen. Use the Rear Command Dial wheel, Joystick, or D-Pad to scroll through the options, and push the Rear Command Dial, Joystick, or the OK button to select the one you want. Because you can use the Rear Command Dial to open the menu, scroll through the options, and select the Custom Preset, you can do this very quickly with one finger while looking through the viewfinder. For some of you, this will noticeably improve your Fujifilm user experience!
Obviously if you use the Rear Command Dial for something else already, this might not be a good solution for you. And this won’t work on every Fujifilm camera. I have my X100V, X-T30, and X-H1 programmed this way, and I much prefer this method for switching between C1-C7 Custom Presets. I think some of you will, too.
If you do program your Fujifilm camera this way and find that it works better for you, let me know in the comments!
Amazon invited me to be an “Influencer” on their website. I never thought I’d be called an influencer, but I suppose to an extent I am (hey, I now have over 18K followers on Instagram! Thank you!). I certainly didn’t set out to be one. I’m just trying to be helpful as we journey together photographing with Fujifilm gear.
What does being an Amazon Influencer mean? Not much. I have a “Shop” on Amazon.com. Basically, I recommend products, and write a little blurb with a photo. It’s an affiliate program, and if you make a purchase, I get compensated a small amount. I have affiliate links already on this site, and every once in awhile you might see them. I try not to be pushy with the affiliate links, but they do generate a very small amount of money that helps pay the bills and such, so I include them (hopefully unobtrusively) when I can. It doesn’t cost you anything, and it helps to support this website. I appreciate those who do use them!
I didn’t realize at first, but there’s another way to view and interact with what I publish on Amazon (click here). It’s set up more like a social media feed, and I see potential to publish meaningful content through this view. I hope to make it meaningful, anyway, so that it’s worth your time if you should visit. I just started it, so there’s not much currently there, but more will be added in the coming days, weeks, and months.
Feel free to follow me on Amazon. Or feel free not to. Either way. I promise I won’t be pushy with it, and I hope this is a positive thing somehow for the Fuji X Weekly community.
I want to know what camera sensor generation is inside your Fujifilm camera. Why? Because I want to be more helpful to you, the Fuji X Weekly audience, when creating new film simulation recipes. I don’t currently have every sensor generation—right now, it’s GFX and Bayer that I don’t own (you never know when that changes), but, since I was gifted an X-H1, I now have every X-Trans option at my disposal. In the coming year I want to focus more on what is beneficial to you, and in order to do so I need to know what you own.
If you have a spare moment right now, help me out by taking the short survey below:
Let me know in the comments what your favorite Fujifilm model is that you own, and what Fujifilm model is the one you’d love to own someday but currently don’t. For me, the favorite model that I own is the X100V, and the one I’d love to own someday is the X-Pro3.
There are a few new Fujifilm deals that were announced today. A couple are worth noting, namely $400 off of the X-T3 and $1,500 off the GFX50R! If you’ve been considering getting into the GFX system, this might be your best opportunity. For those looking out for a deal (perhaps for holiday shopping), those Fujifilm items that are currently on sale can be found below.
If you are looking for your first Fujifilm camera, it can be difficult to know which one to buy. Perhaps this will be your first “serious” camera. Or maybe you’ve had a different brand of camera for awhile, but you don’t use it all of the time, and you’re not all that experienced with it. It could be that you’re interested in a Fujifilm camera because you want to try my film simulation recipes. This article is intended to help you with your buying decision.
I’m making a few assumptions with this post: you’re in the market for a new camera, you want a camera that’s easy-to-use yet you can grow with, and you’re on a limited budget. Maybe those assumptions are incorrect for you, but I bet they’re true for many of the people who this article was intended for. My hope is that this post will give you some clarity.
So let’s look at a few Fujifilm cameras!
This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.
The X-S10 is a mid-range mirrorless offering from Fujifilm that’s great for both still photography and video. It doesn’t have all the typical retro stylings and controls that most Fujifilm cameras are known for, but if you have some experience (even if just a little) shooting DSLRs or mirrorless cameras from other brands, this camera will likely feel more natural to you, and the learning curve will be just a little easier. It’s an extraordinarily capable model, and will keep up with you as you become a better photographer. If you are looking for the best budget Fujifilm camera for video, look no further, as the video-centric X-S10 is well-regarded for it’s cinematic capabilities. The camera retails body-only for $1,000, or $1,500 bundled with the Fujinon 16-80mm lens.
I recommendation the Fujifilm X-S10 camera if: – You have some experience with a different brand and want the easiest transition to Fujifilm. – You will be doing a lot of videography.
I don’t recommend the Fujifilm X-S10 camera if: – You want the full Fujifilm retro experience. – You are on a tight budget.
The Fujifilm X-T30 is a great retro-styled mid-range mirrorless camera, but it is a couple years old now. Despite having the same X-Trans IV sensor and processor as all of the other models in this list, it is more like a previous generation camera. Don’t get me wrong: the X-T30 is an excellent option. I have this camera and use it frequently (you can read my review of the X-T30 here). Of all the cameras in this list, the X-T30 is the one I recommend the least, but I do still recommend it. It’s a solid option for both stills and video, but it is beginning to feel slightly dated. The camera retails body-only for $900, or $1,300 bundled with the Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens or Fujinon 18-55mm lens; however, it might be possible to find it discounted.
I recommendation the Fujifilm X-T30 camera if: – You like the retro-styling. – You can find it on sale.
I don’t recommend the Fujifilm X-T30 camera if: – Having the latest and greatest is important to you. – You’ll be primarily using it for video.
The Fujifilm X-T30 II is a minor update to the X-T30, but if you plan to use film simulation recipes and/or use the camera for video, the new model has some important features that make it worth choosing. The X-T30 and X-T30 II share the same sensor and processor, but are basically two different camera generations. Not surprising, the new version is better. The camera retails body-only for $900, or $1,000 bundled with the Fujinon 15-45mm lens, and $1,300 bundled with the Fujinon 18-55mm lens; however, the X-T30 II isn’t out just yet, but it is available for preorder.
I recommendation the Fujifilm X-T30 II camera if: – You want the best mid-range retro-styled Fujifilm model. – You will be doing both still photography and videography.
I don’t recommend the Fujifilm X-T30 II camera if: – You need a camera right away. – You can find the original X-T30 on sale for significantly cheaper.
Fujifilm doesn’t currently have any low-budget entry-level models—the Bayer-sensor cameras, which serve this purpose, have all been discontinued, at least for now—so the X-E4 currently sits at the bottom of the roster, but, make no mistake, this is a mid-tier camera, similar to the ones above, and not low-end. While the X-E4 sits at the bottom, it is actually my top recommendation, with one exceptions: If you will be doing a lot of video, the X-E4 has some limitations that the X-T30 II and (especially) the X-S10 do not. Otherwise, my best suggestion for those in the market for their first Fujifilm camera is the X-E4. The camera isn’t perfect (you can read my review of the X-E4 here), and perhaps Fujifilm went slightly too minimalistic with it, but it is a pretty darn good option, and an excellent choice for someone wanting an uncomplicated camera that will grow with them as they become better and more experienced. The X-E4 retails body-only for $850, or $1,050 when bundled with the Fujinon 27mm lens.
I recommendation the Fujifilm X-E4 camera if: – You want the cheapest mid-range retro-styled Fujifilm model. – You want an uncomplicated option.
I don’t recommend the Fujifilm X-E4 camera if: – You will be primarily using it for video. – You think you’ll want a lot of programable buttons and dials.
Obviously, if this will be your first Fujifilm camera and you are on a tight budget, you are going to need a lens—a body-only option won’t likely be your best bet, as you will want a lens bundle. Unfortunately, the X-T30 II bundled with the 15-45mm is the only option if you don’t want to spend more than $1,000. The 15-45mm lens is decent enough for a cheap zoom, but there’s a reason it only costs $100 (when bundled). Also, the X-T30 II isn’t out yet, although you can preorder it if you don’t mind waiting. Your next best bet is the X-E4 bundled with the (excellent) 27mm f/2.8, which is $1,050. The rest of the bundles are $1,300-$1,500, which very well might be above your budget.
If these prices are outside of what you can afford, you might consider a used camera, perhaps an X-Trans II or X-Trans III model. Something like the X-T1, X100F, X-E3, X-T20, or a number of other older cameras are good options. The used route is a good way to get into the system without breaking the bank.
If, by chance, you can afford a $1,400 camera, I have one more recommendation for you.
The Fujifilm X100V is my “desert island” model—if I could only have one camera, it would be this! I love mine (you can read my review of the X100V here), as it’s such an excellent camera. The X100V has a fixed lens, so you don’t need to go out and buy one, although the lack of interchangeable capability is a limitation you’ll have to consider carefully. Of all of the cameras in this list, the X100V would be considered the most “premium” of the group. The camera retails for $1,400.
I recommendation the Fujifilm X100V camera if: – You want the most enjoyable Fujifilm experience. – You want a compact option.
I don’t recommend the Fujifilm X100V camera if: – You have a limited budget. – You don’t think you’d like the limitation of a fixed lens.
First, I’m not surprised whatsoever that the Fujifilm X-E4 is the last X-Trans IV camera. In fact, before the X-E4 was even announced, I predicted that it would be the last camera model with that sensor, because Fujifilm has previously used the X-E line to close out sensor generations. The X-Trans IV sensor is excellent and doesn’t need to be replaced, but digital technology advances quickly, and Fujifilm will continue to incorporate new technology to not only stay relevant, but gain market share, so X-Trans IV has to come to an end at some point, and apparently we’ve reached that point.
Second, the Fujifilm X-H2 will be the first camera with a new sensor and processor, and while I assume that means X-Trans V, there’s a chance that it might not be X-Trans at all. I think it will be X-Trans, but it might not—it might not even be made by Sony. At this point, only Fujifilm knows for sure, but I can see a partnership with Samsung (it’s been quietly rumored for a few years now). Who knows, maybe it will even include pixel binning and ISOCELL, a technology that Samsung developed with the help of Fujifilm. We can wildly speculate, but we’ll have to wait to find out what exactly the new sensor is. My prediction is that it will be at least 32-megapixel, maybe more.
Third, Fujifilm is taking a break from releasing new cameras, which is great! I suggested that they should do this, and to not be in such a hurry to replace existing models. What Fujifilm should do over the next six-to-eight months is focus on kaizen firmware updates. This would make current Fujifilm users more happy and more likely to spend money on future Fujifilm gear, and it would also create new excitement for a camera like the X-T30, which, despite being a couple years old, can still be purchased brand-new and is the latest model of its type, but feels like a generation behind even though it has the same sensor and processor as the X-E4. The X-Pro3 is a premium model, but missing features included in the cheaper X-E4, which is a shame. Fujifilm should take some time to rectify this before moving on to the next sensor. I don’t know if they will, but they absolutely should.
Fourth, it’s probable that we’ll see another camera released by Fujifilm in 2021. It won’t be an X-series camera, or will it? Word on the street is that another GFX camera is in the works, which will replace the GFX-50S, but will be both better and cheaper. The GFX line is doing very well for Fujifilm, so it makes sense to keep the momentum going. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fujifilm release a Bayer camera later this year, maybe an X-A8 or (less likely) an X-T300 or (even less likely) an XF20. If it does happen, you heard it here first, but if it doesn’t happen, well, don’t be surprised, because it probably won’t. It might, though.
Fifth, I don’t really have a fifth point, but I didn’t want to end on fourth. Fujirumors is rarely wrong, so I believe what they say is true: the X-E4 is indeed the last X-Trans IV cameras and the X-H2, which we’ll see sometime in 2022, will be the first with a new sensor. I’m pretty excited for the X-H2, which will be video-centric (8K anyone? 4K 120 FPS anyone?), with improved IBIS and autofocus, and specs that will rival or exceed full-frame cameras. I’m just throwing out guesses, but that’s what I think the X-H2 will be, and you’ll see it proclaimed as the “full-frame killer” by some. I just hope that it’s more commercially successful than the X-H1, which was plagued by poor timing and a high price-tag at launch. I’m sure Fujifilm learned their lesson. Above that, I hope Fujifilm uses this break to release some great firmware updates, which is what they need to do because it’s long overdue.
This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.
There are five Fujifilm cameras that you should never, ever own. Don’t even think about it! These cameras have qualities that are downright awful. If you should buy one, you’ll certainly regret it. How do I know? Because I have personally used all five of these Fujifilm cameras, and trust me, you should never own one. Ever. They’re the worst!
What are these five foul Fujifilm cameras? What makes them so bad? Read on to find out!
Never judge a book by its cover. The X-E1 might be one of the most stylish cameras ever made, but on the inside you’ll find sluggish low-light autofocus and an unbearably antiquated menu. Where’s the focus joystick? There isn’t one. You won’t find any film simulations with the name Classic in it, either. The camera is almost 10 years old, which in digital terms is ancient. It received plenty of criticism when it was brand-new, and cameras weren’t nearly as good back then as they are now, so it must be especially awful when judged by today’s standards.
Besides, are 16 megapixels really enough? I mean, we’ve got 100-megapixel cameras now! Nobody is making cameras nowadays with such low resolution. They’re all going to laugh at you with a measly 16; that’s barely enough for social media posts, and not nearly enough for pictures of fluffy the cat. If you’re serious about photography, you need more resolution than this camera has. Lot’s more.
It’s best to avoid the Fujifilm X-E1, even though you can find it sometimes for super cheap. You get what you pay for, so it’s better to spend as much money as possible on your gear. The more you spend, the more successful you’ll be, or at least the more successful other people will assume you are. Remember, perception is reality.
Fujifilm X-A cameras are essentially cheap X-E copycats. You can buy Lucky Charms or you can buy Marshmallow Mateys; they might look similar, but do they taste the same? No. The X-A3 might resemble an X-E3, but don’t be tricked! X-E is X-Trans, yet X-A is Bayer, which might as well be Sony, and Sony isn’t Fujifilm.
When you judge books by their covers you are usually right. The X-A3 has a lot of plastic on it, and plastic cameras are basically toy cameras. No serious photographer would ever use a toy camera, because toys are for kids. The X-A3 might as well be a Holga or Diana; unfortunately, the Fujifilm model doesn’t have any of that lo-fi sugary goodness that attracts lomographers. This camera sits in a weird spot: too cheap on the outside to be loved by real photographers, too good on the inside to be loved by hipsters.
The X-M1 is an X-E1 trapped inside the body of an X-A1.
What happens when you combine the worst parts of an X-E1 with the worst parts of an X-A1? You get this Frankenstein camera. Fujifilm took all of the bad points of #4 and #5 on this list and mixed them together in what can best be described as a mistake. There’s a reason why Fujifilm never made an X-M2.
Trust me, you’ll regret putting a charged battery inside this camera to bring it to life.
The XQ1 is a pocket zoom. Remember those? They were all the rage eight years ago. Were is the keyword. Nobody uses cameras like this anymore. It was trendy for a time (not necessarily this particular model), but they’re just not cool anymore.
Besides, it has a 2/3″ sensor. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s X-Trans II, and produces results similar to the much larger and heavier and more expensive X-T1, but the sensor is so itty bitty. A postage stamp looks large in comparison! Nobody will suspect you’re a photographer if you use it—they’ll just ignore you as an out-of-town tourist or an out-of-date amateur. What’s the point in being a photographer if nobody knows it just by looking at you?
#1 – Fujifilm AX350
“Changing the film simulation is pretty much all you can do….”
The AX-what?! This pocket point-and-shoot is a camera you likely don’t remember, because it’s entirely forgettable. Intended for the tenderfoot, the AX350 was made obsolete by the cellphone. You might find one at a thrift store for the same price as a cup of coffee. Maybe a friend or relative has one in the back of some junk drawer or at the bottom of a storage box in the attic. If you find one, just leave it be. If someone offers to give you theirs for free, politely decline. Not even those who it was made for want it, and neither should you.
If you had to choose between this camera and your cellphone camera, you wouldn’t choose this one. I mean, what kind of image quality could you possibly get from such a cheap, amateurish, old, obsolete piece-of-junk? It’s best that the AX350 remains a forgotten relic of a time long past, the good ol’ days when only expensive DSLRs were capable of capturing good pictures, and you knew who was a pro (and who wasn’t) by the gear they carried.
This, of course, is satire. You probably figured that out awhile ago. I’m poking fun at negative articles and videos with titles like: The Absolute Worst Camera, Cameras You Should Never Own, Top Cameras To Avoid, The Most Hated Camera, Things I Hate About This Camera, Why I’m Disappointed With My Camera, Why I’m Selling My Gear, etc., etc.. Negativity is popular, and titles like those get views.
Any camera in the hands of a skilled photographer is a capable photographic tool. As Chase Jarvis coined, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” Do the best you can with what you have, and you’ll be surprised at the results. It’s more important to have photographic vision than expensive gear. It’s better to invest in experiences than new things.
All five of the cameras mentioned above—the X-E1, X-A3, X-M1, XQ1 and AX350—are fully capable artistic tools. Even the AX350 can produce beautiful results. There’s nothing wrong with using any of them. No matter what your camera is, it’s plenty good enough. Spend less time worrying about the gear you own, and spend more time considering what you can create with it.
I didn’t always shoot JPEGs. I used to shoot RAW. Now with Fujifilm cameras I am a JPEG guy, and I’m inspiring many others to shoot JPEGs, too.
This is my journey.
I learned photography in the film era just before digital photography became a big thing. I didn’t like digital photography in those early days—I could spot a digital picture pretty easily. I resisted buying a digital camera for about 10 years. Technology changes quickly, and digital camera technology advanced to a point that it made sense for me to jump in. I’ve been primarily shooting digital for a little over 10 years now; I still shoot film, although since using Fujifilm cameras I’ve shot a lot less of it.
When I started in digital photography, I took the advice that is often given to newcomers: shoot RAW. JPEGs are terrible, so if you’re serious, shoot RAW. I didn’t initially heed this advice as the learning curve for RAW editing software is steep, but I quickly learned a tough lesson. I was in Sedona, Arizona, at Red Rock Crossing at sunset with a clearing storm, photographing the iconic Cathedral Rock with the Oak Creek in the foreground. It was incredible! I shot it with the camera set to JPEG. Later, when I reviewed the pictures on my computer, I discovered that the JPEGs were simply awful! I tried to “fix” them in software, but it was simply a missed opportunity. That’s why you shoot RAW.
One of the problems with RAW is that it can take a lot of time to edit, or really develop, the images. Some pictures can be quick, but some can take hours. I once had a particular brand of camera with a unique three-layer sensor, and it would often take 30 minutes to an hour or more to get a finished picture from a RAW file. It was painfully slow! I spent a lot of time sitting at the computer editing pictures. I tried to find shortcuts to speed up the process, but editing still took up a significant chunk of my time.
My first Fujifilm camera was an X-E1 that I purchased used. I immediately loved it, but I did not understand how great the JPEGs were. I was still a RAW shooter. I did some RAW+JPEG with that camera, and I was impressed that the JPEGs actually looked pretty good. Several months later I purchased a Fujifilm X100F. While shooting RAW+JPEG on the X100F, I began to notice that the straight-out-of-camera JPEGs looked an awful lot like the RAW images that I had spent time post-processing. It was a lightbulb moment.
I began to experiment with the different JPEG settings and I realized that I could achieve in-camera different looks that I liked. I’m not 100% sure where the term “recipe” came from—if it was something that I invented or if someone else came up with it first—but I began to create film simulation recipes (sets of JPEG settings) for my X100F. The very first recipe was simply called “Acros” and I published it on August 27, 2017. It was the fifth post on this blog. My “Classic Chrome” film simulation recipe was published later that same day. I stopped shooting RAW and relied entirely on camera-made JPEGs.
I thought it truly amazing that high-quality pictures that looked like post-processed RAW images could come straight-out-of-camera. It felt good to not spend hours and hours sitting in front of a computer editing pictures. What was most meaningful to me is the time that shooting JPEGs saved me. Suddenly I had a lot more free time, which I spent on two things: my family and photography. My family life improved while my photography simultaneously became significantly more productive. It may seem like hyperbole to state that it changed my life, but it really did!
Time went on and my film simulation recipes were noticed by others. They spread by word of mouth, and more and more photographers began to use them. The more that I experimented, the more creative I got with the settings. I began to get requests to create different film looks. I collaborated with others on some settings. People began to create their own recipes, sharing them on social media. Film simulation recipes are now more than just JPEG presets, they bring people together, the foundation of community.
The way that the world is being captured today is in part through the filter of the film simulation recipes on this website. People across the globe, from new-to-photography to experienced-pro, are using these settings. I’m honored and humbled to influence photography in this way. I cannot tell you how many times people have told me that these recipes have had an impact on their photography, either rejuvenating their passion or saving them time (or both).
When I was in Photography 101 in college, my pictures weren’t as good as some of my classmates, and I wondered if I’d ever amount to anything as a photographer. Through various photographic failures that I’ve endured over the years, I wondered if I should keep pressing forward. When I began this blog three years ago, I wondered if anyone would even read it. There’s no need to wonder anymore, except perhaps to where all this might lead.
I don’t consider myself an influential photographer, but there’s no doubt that I’m influencing photography. The stigma attached to the camera-made JPEG is changing (in part) because of me. The aesthetic of today’s pictures is (in part) the recipes from this website. My reach on this website is worldwide and the audience much larger than I could have ever dreamed.
I still primarily shoot JPEGs, but I discovered along the way that film simulation recipes are much easier to create when you can reprocess RAW files, either in-camera or with X RAW Studio. Instead of strictly being a JPEG-only photographer, I use RAW+JPEG, but I still only use camera-made JPEGs. That’s what works for me.
Really, it’s about finding what works for you and your photography. RAW might work best for one person, RAW+JPEG for another, and JPEG-only for another. There’s no right or wrong way to do things. There’s advantages and disadvantages to each. Nobody should say that everyone should do things one way, or put people down for doing it different than them.
For myself and a growing group of photographers, using film simulation recipes on Fujifilm cameras is the preferred method. I’m a JPEG guy, or, really, RAW+JPEG. I get the pictures that I want straight-out-of-camera without the need for editing, except for minor cropping and occasional small adjustments, which I do on my phone. You won’t find me sitting at a computer fiddling with files. There’s no need to. That’s why I love Fujifilm JPEGs.
Your Fujifilm X camera has three aspect ratio options: 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1. You can see an example of each of those above. Have you ever wondered which one to use? Why these three? Why not others? Should you crop to a different aspect ratio? What do the numbers mean? I hope to answer these questions and more in this article!
Before moving on, I want to quickly discuss the aspect ratio numbers and what they mean. For instance, what does 3:2 stand for? It’s math, and it means that one side of the picture is 3 parts long (whatever the measure), and the other is two. It’s the shape of the image, and the shape matters when you print. A 3:2 image can be printed 4″ x 6″ without cropping, as well as 8″ x 12″, 12″ x 18″, 16″ x 24″ and 20″ x 30″. If you want to print at those sizes and don’t want to crop, the 3:2 aspect ratio is the right shape for you. The shape also matters for composition. What might look great with one aspect ratio might not with another. You will likely compose your pictures differently depending on the shape.
Let’s take a look at each of the three aspect ratios that Fujifilm gives you, plus some other common aspect ratios not found on your camera.
The 3:2 aspect ratio is the native ratio on your Fujifilm X camera, and that’s because it’s the shape of the sensor. It’s the common aspect ratio of full-frame and APS-C sensor cameras, and it’s also the aspect ratio of 35mm film. The 3:2 aspect ratio is one of the most used, if not the most used, aspect ratios in digital photography. It’s a very familiar shape that most of us use every day, and it conveniently matches a number of different print sizes.
While the 3:2 aspect ratio is a very common shape, for some it’s too wide, and for others not wide enough. There are other shapes that might suite your photography better.
The 16:9 aspect ratio might seem cinematic, and that’s because it’s the shape of wide-screen televisions. When you watch your favorite TV show or movie at home, you likely view it in this aspect ratio. This is a common shape for video.
While mainly intended for video, the 16:9 aspect ratio can be used for still photography. The long, thin proportions are almost panoramic, and can be especially great for landscape photography. In order to create this shape, your camera crops a little off the top and bottom of the image and doesn’t use the whole sensor.
The 1:1 aspect ratio is square, but that doesn’t mean it’s lame. In fact, it’s the original shape of Instagram. The square picture has been around nearly as long as photography itself. There have been numerous cameras over the years that capture square images, including many 120 and 126 film cameras.
Magazine and newspaper editors used to prefer square pictures because they could crop them tall or wide, whatever would best fit the available space. On your Fujifilm X camera, some of the picture is cropped off the ends to make it square, so it doesn’t use the whole sensor.
The 5:4 aspect ratio is not found on your Fujifilm X camera. In fact, none of the rest are, only the first three. In order to get this shape, which is almost square, you’ll need to crop your picture using software.
This aspect ratio is from large format film, which commonly come in 4″ x 5″ or 8″ x 10″ sheets. You might note that this is the shape of 8″ x 10″ and 16″ x 20″ prints, which are common sizes. While it’s not unusual to print in this aspect ratio, it is a bit unusual to find a camera that captures it.
The 4:3 aspect ratio, which has its origins in medium format film, is very common. Most digital cameras with sensors larger than full frame or smaller than APS-C use this aspect ratio, including Fujifilm GFX. It’s not as wide as 3:2, but wider than 5:4. I wish that Fujifilm offered this as an option on their X-Trans models. Since they don’t, if you want to use the 4:3 aspect ratio you’ll have to crop using software. If you print poster-sized, you might make a 30″ x 40″ print; otherwise, the 4:3 aspect ratio will require some cropping to print common sizes.
The 7:5 aspect ratio is very uncommon. It’s a not-especially-popular large format film size. You can make 5″ x 7″ prints, too. Outside of that, this is a pretty much forgotten aspect ratio. With that said, it’s a nice in-between to the 3:2 and 4:3 ratios, which might make it a good option if you’re looking for something different.
Your Fujifilm X camera has 3:2 as its standard aspect ratio, which is good because it won’t require cropping for many common print sizes. You also have the option of 16:9 if you want a wide picture, or 1:1 if you want a square picture, although the camera won’t use the whole sensor. Any other aspect ratio will require you to crop using software. You can make a picture any shape you want, but the more uncommon the aspect ratio, the more difficult it might be to print. Still, that shouldn’t stop you if that’s what you want to do. It can be tricky to discover what aspect ratio works best for your photography, so if you aren’t sure, I invite you to try different shapes until you find what you like best. You might find that you appreciate different shapes for different subjects or situations. There’s no one-size-fits-all aspect ratio, but the 3:2 aspect ratio is one-size-fits-most, which makes it ideal to have as the shape of your sensor.
“…the Fujifilm X-T30 isn’t an especially good or practical way of achieving an out-of-camera Holga look. Can you? Sure, to an extent. The use of a couple of apps improves the results. Even so, there are only a few of these pictures that I really like. I think next time I’ll just load a roll of film into my Holga 120N.”
That statement above is how I concluded Part 1. Put more simply, the Fujifilm X-T30 isn’t a good option for digitally recreating an in-camera Holga aesthetic. Or is it? I’m not one to easily give up. Many of my different film simulation recipes took much trial-and-error to achieve. I failed over and over, but I didn’t give up. I kept trying! Yes, the Toy Camera effect isn’t a good option, but there has to be another way. And there is!
What I ended up doing was punching a hole in some black cardstock, and taping it to the front of the Industar 69 lens. This provided the vignetting that Holga cameras are known for. I added some tape to the edges of the hole to increase the blur at the frame edges. The aperture of the lens had to be preset (I chose f/4) because the cardstock and tape blocked it. I set the aspect ratio on the X-T30 to 1:1 for a square picture.
With this setup I could use any film simulation recipe that I wanted, and I could even do in-camera double exposures. This was a much better way to get an in-camera Holga look! This is a significantly better option than using the Toy Camera effect. It didn’t take very much work to add cardstock with a hole to the front of the lens. While better, this still isn’t the same as shooting film in an actual Holga camera, but it isn’t a bad facsimile, either. This was an interesting experiment that was worth doing, but I probably won’t be doing it again anytime soon.
These are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs using this faux Holga technique:
Fujifilm just announced the much anticipated X100V, which replaces the much loved X100F. The X100 series hasn’t changed much externally since it began. This is one of the most beautifully designed cameras in the digital era, so why change it? There’s no reason, so Fujifilm doesn’t. The X100V looks nearly identical to the original X100. What’s different is internal.
Fujifilm redesigned the lens. It looks the same and has the same specs, but with improved sharpness, particularly corner sharpness wide-open. The rear screen now tilts and is a touch-screen. Unfortunately, and this is perhaps the biggest external change, the D-Pad is now gone, but this isn’t a huge deal, as you get used to the touch controls pretty quickly. The viewfinder has been given a small upgrade. The X100V is weather-resistant, which is not the same as weather-sealed; it’s designed to handle the elements a little better than previous versions.
The biggest upgrade for this camera is the X-Trans IV sensor and processor. This is the same sensor and processor found in the X-T3, X-T30 and X-Pro3, yet the X100V has the new features found in the X-Pro3 that aren’t (yet) found in the X-T3 and X-T30, including the Classic Negative film simulation. The X100V is faster, more feature-rich, and has better video capabilities than the X100F.
Is the X100V a camera that you should buy? Whenever a new camera is released, it’s easy to want it. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype. It’s easy to have camera envy. The X100V will be a fantastic camera, no doubt about it! The X100 series cameras are easy to love. But should you really drop everything and order your copy today?
My opinion is this: if you already own the X100F, keep it! The upgrade isn’t significant enough to justify buying the new model. The X100F and the X100V are very similar to each other. If you wear out your X100F, then buy the new model, but if it still works just fine, don’t change cameras. If you have an older model, such as the original X100, X100S or X100T and are considering upgrading, I say sure, why not? But if those cameras still work and bring you joy, why rush to get the new model? If you are trying to decide between the X100F and X100V and money is no issue, go with the X100V, which is a little better than its predecessor. But if you are like most people and have a tight budget, the X100F is nearly as good and can be found for a little cheaper.
The X100V will be released on February 27 with an MSRP of $1,400.
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An interesting side note: I predicted that this version of the X100 would be called the X100V way back in September of 2017. The “S” in X100S stands for second, the “T” in X100T stands for third, and the “F” in X100F stands for fourth, so nobody really knew what the next one would be called. Some predicted X200, or X110, or X110F, or X100N (“N” for new or next), or X100A (because A is the first letter of the alphabet), or X100Z (because Z is the last letter of the aphabet). I took a guess at “V” because it’s the Roman numeral for five, and this is the fifth iteration of the X100. I have no idea what the next one after the X100V might be called. Any guesses?
Dramatic Silver Mountain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
In my last post I suggested that Fujifilm should make a monochrome camera like the Leica M10 Monochrom. I wasn’t planning to say anymore about it, but the response I received from that article compelled me to type out this one. The majority of those who replied, either in a comment under that post, via Instagram, or through email, said that they would consider buying a black-and-white-only camera if Fujifilm made one. Some of you had great ideas for it. There’s a chance that someone at Fujifilm reads Fuji X Weekly, so I’m writing this with that in mind.
I had suggested that, if Fujifilm did make a monochrome camera, it should either be in an X-Pro3 or X100V body, and they should call it “X-Pro3 Acros” or “X100V Acros” after their film and film simulation of the same name. It was pointed out to me that it doesn’t have to be in those bodies. It could be in a cheaper body, such as the X-T200, and since it doesn’t require any special sensor, just one without a color filter array, and would have a stripped down menu, the camera could potentially be made affordable. The less expensive the camera is, the more copies it will sell. Of all the body suggestions that I received, the X-E3 was the most popular choice for a monochrome camera by Fuji X Weekly readers.
Someone had an interesting idea for a feature on a monochrome camera: color filters. The X100F has a built-in neutral-density filter, so why couldn’t a monochrome camera have built-in yellow, red and green filters (and perhaps blue)? Click a button and the filter of choice is applied. That made me wonder: is it possible to have a color filter array that can be turned on and off? With the click of a button, perhaps the X-Pro4 can become a monochrome camera, and with another click it’s back to normal. That would be cool! It might be completely impossible, but I’m sure someone smarter than I can figure it out.
Bountiful Peak – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
The second largest response that I got from my last post, not far behind the “I want that” replies, is, “would a monochrome camera even produce better results than what I can already get with the Acros film simulation?” My initial response was, heck yes! You get a big bump in resolution. But then I was shown two different YouTube videos that do blind tests between the Leica M10 Monochrom and the Fujifilm X-T3 (here and here), and it changed my mind. I did the blind test in both videos, and I was surprised by the results. In the first blind test, which compares the Leica with the Fujifilm and a Sony A7 III, the author uses the Monochrome film simulation, and not Acros, on the X-T3. Even so, the camera that I blindly picked as I looked at the pictures was the Fujifilm. I watched the blind test part twice before making up my mind and viewing the reveal. In the second video, which compares the Leica against another Leica monochrome camera and the Fujifilm and actual film, the author uses both the Monochrome and Acros film simulations. There were five pictures to choose from, and a few looked very close so it was more difficult to pick a favorite. I was surprised that the one I picked was the X-T3 with the Monochrome film simulation. Again, I watched the blind test part twice before deciding and viewing the reveal.
I’m not sure how much stock one can put into YouTube videos, where it’s difficult to really appreciate the pictures. Even so, I made two conclusions: Fujifilm cameras are especially great for black-and-white photography and I need to shoot more with the Monochrome film simulation. I use Acros on my X-T30, but it’s about time that I create a recipe using the Monochrome film simulation, which is apparently better than I gave it credit for.
Would a Fujifilm monochrome camera be awesome? Yes, it would! Would it be better at black-and-white than your current Fujifilm camera? Probably, but not by a big margin, that’s for sure. Perhaps if you print very large, that’s when the monochrome camera would be advantageous. I would still buy one if Fujifilm made one, but it’s good to reaffirm that Fujifilm is already superb at black-and-white photography, and I’m not missing much by not owning a monochrome-only camera.
In closing, I’m very curious what your results are with the blind tests. If you watched the videos, please let me know in the comments what your results were. Which camera made the best black-and-white pictures in your opinion? Thanks!
Fujifilm just announced the upcoming X-T200, which is the successor to the X-T100. While the X-T200 looks a lot like the camera that it’s replacing, and some of the specs might seem identical, this is definitely an improved model. Essentially, it’s a Fujifilm X-A7 that looks like an X-T100, but with some brand new features. The camera will ship on February 27, but you can pre-order now.
The main upgrades on the X-T200 are auto-focus, video, and the rear screen. For still pictures, there’s not much to distinguish this camera over the previous model. Auto-focus got a very nice boost, with the same capabilities as the X-A7. This camera also now has the same rear screen as the X-A7. Video is a night-and-day difference. The X-T100 has disappointing video capabilities, while the X-T200 overflows in this department.
One of the interesting new features is called “digital gimbal” which essentially crops the image slightly to make a smooth video without image stabilization. It’s similar to what GoPro has on their new models. It’s a great addition for those who plan to use the camera for video.
Who is it for? The X-T200 would make an excellent first interchangeable-lens camera for someone new to photography. It could be a great second body for someone who already has another Fujifilm X camera. Those who vlog or make YouTube videos might especially appreciate this model.
The X-T100 was clearly a step-down from the X-T20, both in price and features, while the X-T200 keeps up with the X-T30 quite well, and is a little cheaper, but not by a huge amount. It is a Bayer sensor camera and not X-Trans, and because of that it’s missing some of the options that the X-T30 has, yet the X-T200 has some features that the X-Trans model doesn’t. I would recommend the X-T30, but if you want to save a little money, the X-T200 is a surprisingly solid alternative. The X-A7 doesn’t have the “digital gimbal” feature found on the X-T200, but it’s also a little cheaper, so if you don’t need it, you might as well buy the X-A7 instead, because it’s essentially the same camera, just in a different shape. For still photography, the X-T100 is basically just as good as the X-T200, and you can pick it up for much less, but if video is important to you, the X-T200 is the camera to buy.
This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking my links.