The 5 Worst Fujifilm Cameras That You Should Never Own

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!

#5 – Fujifilm X-E1

“…performance lags in its class.”

CNET

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.

Barn by the Tetons – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1
Snake River Fog – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

#4 – Fujifilm X-A3

“…the autofocus system is way too slow….”

PCMag

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.

Feeling Blue – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3
La Sal Through Mesa Arch – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

#3 – Fujifilm X-M1

“…it just feels wrong….”

Photography Blog

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.

Vibrant Autumn – Fruit Heights, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Lit Autumn Leaves – Fruit Heights, UT – Fujifilm X-M1

#2 – Fujifilm XQ1

“…it has a number of problems.”

PhotographyLife

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?

Reaching Leaves – Mirror Lake, UT – Fujifilm XQ1
Logs in the Lake – Mirror Lake, UT – Fujifilm XQ1

#1 – Fujifilm AX350

 “Changing the film simulation is pretty much all you can do….”

Fuji X Weekly

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.

Green Summer Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm AX350
Red Trike – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm AX350

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.

Fujifilm X-E4 Thoughts….

I wasn’t intending to write this article. I had other things that I wanted to talk about. There are a couple new film simulation recipes I’ve created that I plan to share. I want to give my thoughts on the new GFX100S. I want to talk more about the GFX-50S that Fujifilm sent me to use. There are a couple of lens reviews that I’ve been procrastinating on. The Android version of the Fuji X Weekly App is edging closer to being finished. But, the upcoming Fujifilm X-E4 has been turning inside my brain all day, so that’s why I’m writing about it instead.

I think a lot of people had high hopes and expectations for the Fujifilm X-E4, and nobody really predicted what it ended up being. It’s like when the X-Pro3 was announced, and everyone was scratching their heads. With the X-Pro3, even though so many didn’t understand it, I think there was a pretty large curiosity towards it, and a lot of people came around to it after awhile. The X-E4 has a similar lack of understanding surrounding it, but it doesn’t carry that same curiosity, so it will likely be fairly ignored. It’s already been overshadowed by other gear announcements.

There was a post I published back in July called Shrinking Camera Market: What Fujifilm Should Do in 2021 & Beyond. I suggested that Fujifilm should make a less-expensive 100MP GFX camera. Guess what? They did! Another thing I suggested is that Fujifilm should do more to differentiate the X-E4 from the X-T30 (and the eventual X-T40) because the X-E3 and the X-T20 were so very similar (aside from camera shape). Well, it looks like they did that, too. My apologies.

The question is: what was Fujifilm thinking when they designed the X-E4? What was their vision? That’s tough to know until the tell us, if they tell us, as they might not. Until then, we’re left guessing, and most of the guesses seems to be along the lines of, “They cheapened the X-E line.” I really don’t believe that was their intention.

As I’ve thought about this, I believe the X-E4 is intended to be a minimalist’s “just shoot” camera. Looking at all of the aspects of an X-E3, the designers asked themselves, “Is this necessary?” If the answer was yes, it stayed, perhaps repositioned or redesigned. If the answer was no, to the chopping block it went! I question if the rear wheel and focus-type-selector were really unnecessary, because I think they’re both quite handy. But someone obviously didn’t think so. An ISO dial on the shutter knob (like the X100V) would have been a great addition, but that didn’t happen, unfortunately. I do believe the design of the X-E4 was very intentional, and there was a purpose to the decisions, even if I don’t fully understand them myself.

Besides being a “just shoot” camera, I think the X-E4 was intended to be a smaller pocketable-ish camera, like the X100V or the X70. Remember the X70? It was the short-lived baby-brother to the X100T, with an 18.5mm fixed-lens. Sony suddenly stopped production of the X-Trans II sensor, which the X70 used, and that killed the camera. The X-Trans III sensor was too hot to place inside the small X70 body, so an X80 never happened. Is the X-E4 actually an interchangeable-lens X80? Maybe. Attach one of Fujifilm’s pancake lenses—the 18mm f/2 or 27mm f/2.8—to the X-E4 and it could pass as an X70 successor. It wasn’t very long ago that Fujifilm said there would be no X-E4, that the X-E3 was the end of the line, so maybe the initial vision of this camera wasn’t X-E at all. Just a thought.

Where I think the Fujifilm X-E4 makes the most sense is as a lightweight, compact, carry-everywhere camera. It could nicely complement the X100V. It might be a good option to replace an aging X70. Or, if you never purchased an X70 but always wanted to, this might be a solid alternative. Maybe the XF10 never interested you because of its sluggish performance, Bayer sensor, and PASM dial, but you’d love a compact X-Trans option. Well, now you have one.

My opinion is that if you can make peace with the minimalistic redesign, and you get yourself the 18mm f/2 and/or the 27mm f/2.8—maybe even use a wrist strap instead of a neck strap—this camera could be a very nice travel/street/have-with-you-wherever-you-go option. Is it perfect? No, but what camera is?

Like a lot of you, I’m disappointed that the Fujifilm X-E4 isn’t the camera that many of us thought it could or should be, but as I’ve pondered what it is exactly that Fujifilm created, I can see its place and it does make some sort of sense. If you embrace it for what it is, and perhaps think of it more as an interchangeable-lens X80 than an X-E camera, than I think the X-E4 could actually be a wonderful and fun option.

I say all of this, but I’ve never used or even held an X-E4, so this rant should be taken with a grain of salt. I was initially bummed by the camera because my expectations were off, but now that I’ve had time to dwell on it I’m actually beginning to warm up to it. I think the X-E4, like many of the X-E cameras that came before, will go under the radar and will be under appreciated, but for those who own one, it will be a joy to use.

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 (Body Only)   Amazon  B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 (w/27mm f/2.8)   Amazon  B&H

Top 20 Most Popular Film Simulation Recipes of 2020

Here are the Top 20 most popular film simulation recipes of 2020! I used page views to rank these recipes. Those with Kodak, Kodachrome or Portra in the name are quite popular. More than half of these use Classic Chrome as the base. It’s interesting to compare these to the 12 most popular recipes of December 2020. Only one black-and-white recipe made this list, which isn’t too surprising because color is more popular than monochrome. No Bayer, X-Trans I or X-Trans II recipes found their way into the top 20, only X-Trans III and X-Trans IV.

Without further ado, here are the Top 20 most popular film simulation recipes of 2020:

#1: Fujifilm X-T30 Kodachrome 64

Traffic Lamp – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodachrome 64”

#2: Fujifilm X100V Kodachrome 64

Spring Snow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodachrome 64”

#3: Fujifilm X100F Kodak Portra 400

May Clouds Over Wasatch – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Kodak Portra 400”

#4: Fujifilm X-Pro2 Kodachrome II

From Dust to Dust – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – “Kodachrome II”

#5: Fujifilm X100F Vintage Kodachrome

Weber River Autumn – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Vintage Kodachrome”

#6: Fujifilm X100V Kodak Portra 400

Journal – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Portra 400”

#7: Fujifilm X-T30 Eterna

Neon Reflection – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Eterna”

#8: Fujifilm X100F Classic Chrome

Closed Drive Thru Window – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Classic Chrome”

#9: Fujifilm X-T30 Kodak Portra 160

Goosenecks – Goosenecks SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodak Portra 160”

#10: Fujifilm X-T30 Kodak Portra 400

Pink Tree Bloom – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodak Portra 400”

#11: Fujifilm X100F Fujicolor Superia 800

Goodyear – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Fujicolor Superia 800”

#12: Fujifilm X100F CineStill 800T

Where Was Your Head That Day? – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “CineStill 800T”

#13: “Classic Negative” for X-Trans III

November Morning – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – “‘Classic Negative’ for X-Trans III”

#14: Fujifilm X100V Cine Teal

Sunlit Tree Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Cine Teal”

#15: Fujifilm X100F Kodak Ektar 100

Open Fountain – Brigham City, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Kodak Ektar 100”

#16: Fujifilm X-T30 Kodacolor

Vintage Sunset – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodacolor”

#17: Fujifilm X-T30 Kodak Gold 200

Outside 7-Eleven – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodak Gold 200”

#18: Fujifilm X100V Classic Negative

Boy in the Window Light – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Classic Negative”

#19: Fujifilm X100V Kodak Tri-X 400

Wrong Way – Centerville, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”

#20: Fujifilm X100V Fujicolor Superia 100

Grandmother & Grandson – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Fujicolor Superia 100”

You can find these film simulation recipes and many more on the Fuji X Weekly app!

Which one of these 20 recipes is your favorite? Which recipe do you use that didn’t make this list? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t Steal My Stuff

I’ve become aware that someone has stolen my stuff. Sadly, it’s not the first time, nor will it be the last. Unfortunately, there are crooked people out there, and creatives are particularly vulnerable to having their work ripped off because we put our art out there for the world to see.

Someone is profiting from the film simulation recipes found on the Fuji X Weekly blog. I, Ritchie Roesch, created most of them. Some were co-created between myself and collaborators (friends of this blog). A few were not created by me, but I always ask for and receive permission before publishing them on this website, and I always give credit to the creator. But someone has published the recipes from this website on their own platform; this person never asked for nor received permission from me, and I was never cited or given any credit. Some of the recipes were renamed to something similar, but most were copied straight up. This person is collecting money through solicited donations and paid “premium” content. But most of this person’s content is mine. While this person doesn’t state that they created the recipes, they don’t state that they didn’t, which is downright misleading.

I put in so much time into this blog as a service to the Fujifilm community. It’s disheartening to say the least that someone has taken this work for their own financial benefit. Create your own recipes! Or, here’s a thought: cite your sources. Even better, reach out to me in the first place. What this person did is extremely underhanded and unethical and probably illegal. It’s really shameful.

If the person who did this (and they know who they are) reads this article, my hope is that they stop collecting money (profiting from other’s work without permission) and clearly cite their sources (instead of plagiarism). This person should also contact me. It’s not right what you did. There’s a right way and wrong way to do things, and you chose the wrong way. I ask you to please set things right. Be inspired by this website, but do not steal from it!

About White Balance

This cross process look is made possible by a White Balance adjustment.

I get asked regularly about White Balance. My film simulation recipes require various White Balance adjustments, and sometimes, in different light situations, the results can be unusual, which can be good or bad, depending on what you are trying to achieve. So let’s discuss this, and figure out what you can do if the results aren’t what you want.

White Balance is the adjustment of color temperature (measured in Kelvin) to account for various light conditions, so that white objects appear white, and not yellow or blue or some other color. White Balance Shift is a tool to precisely fine-tune the White Balance. The intention of White Balance and White Balance Shift is to achieve a natural color balance that matches what the eye sees. But you can give your photographs whatever color balance you’d like—this is art; there are no rules.

Back when I shot film, I don’t remember hearing the term “white balance” spoken even once. There were two options: daylight film and tungsten film. The former was most common and was used in natural light situations, the the latter was less common and used in artificial light situations. I carried with me a warming filter and cooling filter to compensate for various light conditions, essentially to adjust the “white balance” when the light changed. You can actually still do this with digital photography, but the White Balance tools on your camera make it unnecessary to carry around warming and cooling filters.

Different film simulation recipes require different White Balance settings. Some use Auto, but many use Daylight or a specific Kelvin temperature or some other option. Most have a shift, as well. Often they are intended for natural light, and a few for artificial light, but when the light changes, the results can look strange sometimes. Occasionally that “strange” result might be something you really like, but often it’s probably not. When that happens, what can you do?

The White Balance in this picture is intended to produce good results at night.

I’ve said for a few years now that film simulation recipes can be seasoned to taste. This means that if you aren’t getting the look you want, don’t be afraid to adjust the parameters to achieve desired results. For White Balance, this might mean selecting something different than what the recipe calls for. Will this make it look more like the film that it’s based off of? Probably not, but if it gets you the look that you want, then that’s good, right? The next time you are in some light situation that’s giving you too warm or too cool results, see if simply selecting a different White Balance (maybe even simply using Auto White Balance) fixes the issue for you.

Another option is to use a different recipe. Some film simulation recipes are intended to work well in certain light conditions. Look for one that might be a better fit for the situation. If you read the articles and view the sample pictures, that might provide a clue of when a certain recipe will work well; however, it’ll probably take some trial and error to really figure out which recipes to use when.

Other than either adjusting the White Balance to something different than what the recipe calls for or selecting a different recipe altogether, your options are to use a warming or cooling filter like in the film days or to simply embrace the unusual results. There’s not a whole lot else that you can do. My advice is to consider beforehand if the recipe will be a good fit for the light; if it’s not but you still want to use it, either accept the results for what they are or adjust the White Balance to something that will give you the results that you want. Don’t be afraid to make an adjustment to the White Balance if that’s what the situation calls for.

Sunset Photography w/ Fujifilm X-T30 + Fujinon 100-400mm

Oquirrh Mountain Evening – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

My most expensive lens, by far, is the Fujinon 100-400mm, which retails for $1,900. Despite the hefty price tag, I find myself not using that lens very often. Why? There are several reasons. First, the camera that I reach for the most is my Fujifilm X100V, which has a fixed lens, so I can’t use the 100-400mm with that camera. Another reason is that the focal length is very long and sometimes difficult to use; it’s not the right tool for many situations. The final reason is that it’s big and heavy, especially compared to my other lenses, and it works best when attached to a tripod, so it’s kind of a hassle to use. I paid a lot of money for this lens, so I need to use it more often.

One recent opportunity I had to use the Fujinon 100-400mm lens was photographing the sunset in Bountiful, Utah. Some distant clouds and haze created the potential for a great sunset. I set my tripod at the top of a hill that overlooked the valley below, attached the lens to the tripod, then attached my Fujifilm X-T30 to the lens. I had my Velvia film simulation recipe loaded into the camera, which is a great recipe for sunset photography because of its contrast and vibrant colors. In the film days, Velvia 50 was a top choice if you wanted stunning sunset pictures, and now with Fujifilm X cameras the Velvia film simulation is a top option.

Temple – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

The sunset didn’t disappoint. Actually, it was more vibrant and lovely than I could have hoped for! It was a great show that lasted about 10 minutes. Even though I had the lens on a tripod, I still kept the shutter speed high to prevent blur from shake because I didn’t tighten everything down so that I could swing the lens around. To get a faster shutter speed I had the ISO set higher than one might expect. I was doing manual exposure. I zoomed in and out, trying to find different compositions. These seven pictures were captured from that one spot within the 10 minutes of the sunset show. The 100-400mm lens allowed me to capture a variety of pictures without moving places.

These photographs aren’t in sequential order. The picture at the top of this article was actually the last exposure, and the picture above of the temple was second-to-last. The very first exposure is the last picture at the bottom of this post. The order of the rest are scrambled up. In some pictures, I think the saturation is a little too much, and perhaps the recipe too bold, but in some other pictures it was the right choice. The X-T30 is a good camera, and the 100-400mm a good lens, and they worked very well together to make these pictures possible. I need to use these together more often.

Lava Sky over Stansbury Mountains – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm
South End of Antelope Island – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm
Antelope & Stansbury – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm
Salt Lake & Stansbury Mountains At Sunset – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm
Stansbury Mountains – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

Fuji X Weekly 2020 Quick Recap

2020 wasn’t great in general (understatement of the year?), but it was a great year for the Fuji X Weekly blog! Let me share with you some of the highlights and statistics from this last year.

In 2020:
– There were 3.7 million page views on this website—that’s more than four times as many as 2019!
– I published 178 articles, almost one every other day (I only promise one per week, hence the name…).
– The #1 most viewed article, My Fujifilm X-T30 Kodachrome Film Simulation Recipe, had 79,939 views.
– This blog was mentioned in videos by Andrew & Denae, Vuhlandes, Omar Gonzalez, and The Snap Chick, among others.
– The Fuji X Weekly App made an appearance on FujiRumors and PetaPixel, among others.
– Oh, and the Fuji X Weekly app for iOS came out on December 1st! Android coming soon.
– Back in October I redesigned the website, making it easier to find film simulation recipes.

How did I find the time? I do all this “on the side” in the spare moments of my day. So many people have helped my photography over the years, and this is my way to pay it forward. Sometimes I wish that I had more time to dedicate to this website and photography, because there’s so much more that I could do.

While 2020 was definitely a big year for this blog—which was only possible because of you, the greatest audience in photography—I know that 2021 will be even bigger. There’s so much in the works, and so much that I hope to accomplish, that it’s bound to be a big year! Some great things for the Fujifilm community await, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

The two pictures below are examples of what will be the first new film simulation recipe of 2021—it’s coming soon!

Fish on a Wall – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – My last exposure of 2020
Leaning into the Frame – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – My first exposure of 2021

On This Day…

I thought it would be fun to share a couple of old articles from the Fuji X Weekly blog. I’m digging back in the archives to what I published on this day last year and the year before. I might do this fairly regularly in 2021.

5 Tips To Become A Better Photographer in 2020

I don’t know if anyone found this post helpful when I published it last year. These tips can be applied to any year, not just 2020. What are the five tips? Read the manual. Understand how your gear works. Invest in experiences. Find the light. Be the person who came back. Obviously to really understand what those tips mean you have to read the article; maybe one or more of them will resonate with you, and will help you improve your pictures in the coming year. The camera pictured above is the Fujifilm X-E1 that I distressed two-and-a-half years ago.

Art & Photography

This essay discusses the artist photographer. You might find it interesting. You might find it boring. You might disagree with what I said. Maybe you don’t care at all. If you don’t remember reading it, I invite you, if you think it might be interesting to you and you have a few minutes to spare, to click the link and give it a look. By the way, that bee picture above (which is not a bee) is an in-camera double-exposure that’s a tip of the hat to Rene Magritte.

One-Step Photography

I believe that it’s often better to spend money on experiences rather than new gear. Sometimes a book can be just as good as an experience; perhaps it can be an experience in and of itself. For Christmas my family gifted me three photography books, each one featuring the legendary photographer Ansel Adams. One of the three books was especially surprising: Polaroid Land Photography by Ansel Adams.

Did you know that Ansel Adams, the renown black-and-white landscape photographer who invented the Zone System and who was celebrated for his darkroom mastery, loved Polaroid photography? I didn’t. I was surprised to learn that one of his well-known Yosemite pictures was a Polaroid (Type 55), and this picture was found in one of the other two books I was gifted. Adams’ Polaroid book is a thorough and highly technical look at instant film. It’s the ultimate guide to Polaroid, at least from 1978 when this second edition was published. I want to share a few quotes from the book, then circle it back to this blog and Fujifilm.

“It is unfortunate that so many photographers have thought of the Land camera as a ‘toy,’ a casual device for ‘fun’ pictures, or, at best, a gadget to make record pictures! The process has revolutionized the art and craft of photography….”

—Ansel Adams

It’s clear right from the beginning of the book that Adams considered the Polaroid camera a serious photographic tool. He felt it was under-appreciated and underutilized by the photographic community at large.

“By making it possible for the photographer to observe his work and his subject simultaneously, and by removing most of the manipulative barriers between the photographer and the photograph, it is hoped that many of the satisfactions of working in the early arts can be brought to a new group of photographers. The process must be concealed from—non-existent for—the photographer, who by definition need think of the art in taking and not in making photographs. In short, all that should be necessary to get a good picture is to take a good picture, and our task is to make that possible.”

—Edwin H Land, co-founder of Polaroid

Adams included that Edward Land quote in Chapter 13, Principles of One-Step Photography, and he immediately followed it with this:

“The effect of one-step processing on both amateur and professional creative photography has been revolutionary.”

—Ansel Adams

Polaroid Land Photography is an extensive user’s manual—Adams referred to it as such many times—yet it is full of inspiration, both in written words and great photography. There is so much that I could quote, but I will refrain myself and add just one more.

“As with all art forms, we must accept the limitations of the medium as well as revel in the advantages.”

—Ansel Adams

I was reading all this as I was simultaneously celebrating the fact that I had so easily finished the pictures of my kids opening their Christmas presents. By finished, I mean finished. I captured the pictures, and in the time it takes most people to load their RAW files onto their PC or Mac, I had already uploaded them to my phone, put them into storage, and shared them to loved ones. Done. It occurred to me that this is the modern equivalent of one-step processing.

Over the last several months I have been pondering why my different film simulation recipes are so popular. Tens of thousands of photographers across the globe, from newbies to experienced pros, are using these camera settings on their Fujifilm cameras. I get feedback daily from people telling me how these recipes have changed their photographic lives. There’s been a very real impact that this blog has had on the photography continuum. Yet the why has been illusive to me, until today.

Polaroid changed photography 50, 60, 70 years ago. The biggest name in photography not only embraced it but called it revolutionary. There are a few parallels to Polaroid cameras and film simulation recipes on Fujifilm X cameras, but the biggest is perhaps one-step processing. Yes, if you shoot RAW+JPEG, you can always reprocess the RAW, but there is fun in not having to do so if you don’t want to. There’s a certain satisfaction, not to mention time saved, in having a completed picture right out of camera that needs no editing, or maybe only some small, quick adjustments. I wonder if Ansel Adams were still around today, if he would embrace the film simulation recipe the same as he did the Polaroid. Honestly, the answer isn’t important, because so many photographers are embracing it, and it’s revolutionizing photography.

Here is a small sampling of those pictures that I captured on Christmas morning. I used my Fujifilm X100V camera loaded with my Superia Premium 400 film simulation recipe.

Little Angel – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Christmas Joy – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Sister & Brother – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Girl, Christmas Morning – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Learn To Draw – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Time to Open Gifts – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Pokemon – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Small Gifts – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
The Big Box – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Girls Love Horses – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Christmas Brothers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – Photo by Amanda Roesch
How-To Draw Book – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Santa Was Here – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Josh Playing Christmas Songs – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

Fujifilm Used My Photo!

Did you see this? Fujifilm used one of my pictures!

They, of course, received my permission first. And, yes, that means I have spoken with Fujifilm, and they know that this website exists. I’m not sponsored by them or have any official association—I’m not an X-Photographer, for example. It’s good to know that they know what’s being published on Fuji X Weekly, because this audience is filled with their best customers. I published an article, Shrinking Camera Market: What Fujifilm Should Do In 2021 & Beyond, which contained what I feel is solid advice, but the best suggestions are from you all, found in the comments section. I hope Fujifilm read it, and there’s a chance they might have. I want your voice to be heard.

Back to the picture!

Duskflower – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X100V

The image that Fujifilm used, which is the picture above, is from my article, Fujifilm X100V Hack: Turn Daylight Into Blue Hour. It was captured during the day and not during dusk or dawn like it appears to have been. Read my article if you want to know how I did it. The Fujifilm article, Using Low Key To Create High Drama, is about low-key photography, which is basically an overall dark picture where light is emphasized on only a small part of the frame. In my picture, the flower is where the light is emphasized, and the rest is pretty dark.

It’s cool to see my picture used in an educational piece by Fujifilm. I hope that it inspires you to try low-key photography, or maybe even experiment with flash and white balance. But perhaps, more importantly, it is an indication that Fujifilm is aware of what’s happening on this website, and maybe—just maybe—they’ll be influenced by this community in some way.

Photo Contest & Sweepstakes

I just wanted to pass along to you two things: there’s a photo contest and sweepstakes that you can enter if you’d like.

I’m not a huge fan of photo contests in general. The idea is great, but the execution is often awful. There are a few different types. Some artist association will have a photo contest, but you find out that the judges have little or no photography background; it’s puzzling why the winning pictures were chosen. There are bigger contests with better prizes and well-qualified judges and prestige to go along with it, and these seem to be on the up-and-up, but they cost money to enter. These are like playing the lotto, except maybe worse, because you find out later that there was some controversy or scandal involved. Unfortunately, good photography contests seem rare, but I was made aware of one that seems to be trustworthy and worthwhile.

This photography contest is called Beyond the Frame and is hosted by Ben Yan, a Fujifilm Student of Storytelling. It’s free to enter, the panel is full of talented photographers, and the winner gets a Fujifilm X100V! November 30 is the submission deadline. Click here for all of the details. I have no affiliation with this contest. I wish you luck!

Incase, in conjunction with Fujifilm, is giving away a MacBook Air and Fujifilm X-T4. This is only open to U.S. residents and closes on November 22. Click here to find out more. Again, I have no affiliation with this, I’m just passing it along to you.

I hope that one of you will win!

Camera Basics: Shutter Speed

Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm – 0.4 Second Shutter Speed

Let’s talk about shutter speed! What is it? What does it do to your pictures? How do you control it to get the images that you want? For many of you, this is something you already know very well, but for others this will be helpful information.

The quick and simple definition of shutter speed is this: the amount of time that the camera’s shutter curtain is open, allowing light to reach the camera’s sensor or film. A fast shutter speed allows very little light to expose the sensor or film, while a slow shutter speed allows a lot of light to expose the sensor or film. Shutter speed is one of three elements of the exposure triangle, with aperture and ISO being the other two.

Some examples of common shutter speeds are 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250 and 1/500. There are, of course, many other shutter speeds, this is far from a comprehensive list. 1/15 is an example of a slow shutter speed, and 1/500 is an example of a quick shutter speed. You’ll note that these are fractions, as in fractions of a second. You’ll also note that they’re half or twice as long as the shutter speed on either side, which means that 1/60 lets in half as much light as 1/30, and 1/15 lets in twice as much light as as 1/30.

If the shutter speed is too slow, you’ll have blur from camera shake, unless you’re using a tripod. A rule of thumb for the slowest hand-held shutter speed (without the help of image stabilization) is this: whatever the focal-length of the lens is (or in the case of Fujifilm X, the 35mm-equivalent focal-length), the shutter speed should be a similar number. For example, if the lens is 12mm, which has a 35mm-equivalent focal-length of about 18mm, the slowest hand-held shutter speed is around 1/15 or 1/20. If the lens is 90mm, which has a 35mm-equivalent focal-length of 135mm, the slowest hand-held shutter speed is around 1/125. With good techniques, you can often get a sharp picture with even slower shutter speeds, but that takes practice. Otherwise, you’ll have to use a tripod.

Shutter speed is about motion, either freezing it or showing it. A slow shutter speed will show motion (such as the picture at the top of this article, where the water is blurred), while a fast shutter speed will freeze it (such as the picture directly below this paragraph, where the moving car is sharp). In the first picture below, which was captured with a 1/450 shutter speed, you’d never know that the car was zooming by, because the motion was frozen. The second picture below, which was captured with a 1/80 shutter speed, shows the motion through the car’s blur. The third picture below, which was captured with a 1/60 shutter speed, shows the motion through panning, where the car is sharp but the background blurred from the sweeping lens.

Fujifilm X-M1 & Fujinon 90mm – 1/450 shutter speed
Fujifilm X-M1 & Fujinon 90mm – 1/80 shutter speed
Fujifilm X-M1 & Fujinon 90mm – 1/60 shutter speed

You can show motion in a photograph using a slow shutter speed, and some of that motion might not be immediately obvious. In the first picture below, the firework is moving during the exposure, showing colorful light streaks. In the second picture, the earth’s rotation makes the stars streak. In the third picture, intentionally shaking the lens creates an abstract picture through the camera’s movement.

Fujifilm X100V – 20 second shutter speed
Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm – 30 second shutter speed
Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 90mm – 1/15 shutter speed

A fast shutter speed will freeze motion. If there’s some fast-moving object that you want to capture still without blur, you need a quick shutter. This might be a car driving down the road, running kids or jumping pets. Just how fast the shutter needs to be depends on how fast the object is moving, how close it is to the lens, and the focal-length of the lens. The picture below is an example of freezing a moving object with a fast shutter speed.

Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm – 1/2000 shutter speed

It takes much practice to master the shutter, but with practice you’ll know exactly what shutter speed you need to get the picture that you want. There are many variables, so there’s no one-size-fits-all recommendation. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You might fail, but you’ll learn, which will lead to success. Be creative! Put the camera on a tripod and try some different slow shutter speeds. Try photographing your kids or pets using a fast shutter. Pretty soon you’ll be a master of the shutter, totally in control of your camera.

Film Simulation Recipe Cards

There are almost 100 different film simulation recipes on Fuji X Weekly! One problem with having so many different recipes to choose from is that your Fujifilm camera can only save seven custom presets at a time. If there’s more than seven recipes that you regularly use, it can be inconvenient to keep track of your favorites, especially if you’re out-and-about photographing. One person’s solution is a recipe journal that’s kept in the camera bag for easy reference. A few people have created PDFs that can be accessed from a phone. But my favorite answer is this: Film Simulation Recipe Cards!

Fuji X Weekly reader Oleksii Prytuhin created credit-card-sized cards with his favorite film simulation recipes printed on them. They can be kept in a wallet for quick and easy reference. I love this! He printed them 86x54mm on thick paper with matte lamination. Really, I wish I had a box of Film Simulation Recipe Cards for every recipe, and I could pass them out to people who ask about my camera settings. Kind of like business cards. It’s such a neat idea!

The film simulation recipes that Oleksii created cards for are: Vintage Kodachrome (listed as Kodachrome 64, which is what the recipe is an early version of), Kodachrome II, Portra 400, Ilford HP5 Plus, Ilford Delta Push Process, Fujicolor Superia 800, Acros, CineStill 800T, Agfa Scala, Agfa Optima, Eterna, and Cine Teal. These are recipes that can be used on X-Trans III & X-Trans IV cameras. If you use any of these, there’s a Film Simulation Recipe Card for you!

Oleksii gave me permission to share the PDF with you. If you’re interested in printing these cards for yourself, click the download button below (which will open up the file and you can download it), and print them! I want to give Oleksii a big “thank you” for creating these and sharing them. I appreciate it! If you download and print the cards, let me know in the comments. Or, if you simply think this is a great idea, leave a little feedback. Thanks!

Update:
Oleksii sent me the film simulation recipe cards as JPEGs, to make it easier for those who want to add them to their phone. You can download a Word document that contains the JPEGs below. If you want to print them, the file above is what you want. If you just want to view them without printing, the file below might be better. Thanks, Oleksii!

Part 2

Welcome to the New Fuji X Weekly!

Fuji X Weekly has been revamped! I’ve made a bunch of changes to this website, hopefully good ones.

One thing that you might notice right away is there’s a brand-new homepage, which is where you land when you type fujixweekly.com into your browser. From there you can choose where you want to go. The “old” landing page, which is the blog, is now found at fujixweekly.com/blog.

Instead of all of the film simulation recipes being located on one page, I’ve now sorted them by sensor. Having them all in one place made sense when there wasn’t nearly so many. Now that we’re approaching the 100 recipe mark, it can be difficult to find the one that you’re looking for. It should be much easier now.

There’s been many other smaller changes here and there throughout the website. I’ve been working on this for awhile, but it’s hard to know if everything works well or is actually a good change until it’s online and is put through the paces. I appreciate any feedback. I’d love to know what you like and dislike about the new look. If you find something that doesn’t work right, let me know.

I’m very excited about the new Fuji X Weekly website! If you don’t follow this blog, be sure to do so. I think many good things are just around the corner. I appreciate you coming along for the ride!

Fuji X Weekly Update

Lakeshore & Dock – Flathead Lake, MT – Fujifilm X100V

It’s been very quiet here on Fuji X Weekly, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. In fact, the opposite is true. I wanted to give you a quick update so that you know what’s going on.

First, I’ve been revamping this website. It will have a new look pretty soon. I was hoping to finish it this week, but I’m running behind, so maybe by the end of this month it will be online. I think you’ll really appreciate the changes, and it will make things easier to find.

My review of the Fujifilm X-T200 will be published soon, probably next week. Gear reviews always take a long time to write. I’ve also been working on a review of the Fujinon 80mm f/2.8 Macro, but it’s still a ways off from being published (maybe in a couple weeks).

Time On Bridge – Big Fork, MT – Fujifilm X100V

I have two new film simulation recipes that will be posted in the coming days: one for X-Trans I and one for X-Trans II. At the bottom of this article you’ll find an example of each. I have a few in the works for X-Trans IV, but they’re not ready yet. I hope to create a new one for X-Trans III, too.

There’s plenty of great content coming, so stay tuned!

One other reason why it’s been quiet the last week is that I took a quick vacation to Montana. It was great to relax and reinvigorate my creativity! You’ll be seeing some of the pictures from that trip, too, such as the photographs in this article. I hope that you enjoy them!

Fall Forest – Flathead Lake, MT – Fujifilm X-M1
Rain at the Lake – Flathead Lake, MT – Fujifilm X-T1

Fujifilm White Balance Shift: What It Is + How To Use It

White Balance: Daylight. Shift: +3 Red & +1 Blue. Fujicolor Superia 1600.

What is White Balance Shift and how do you use it on your Fujifilm camera? White Balance Shift is one of my favorite JPEG tools that Fujifilm has included on their cameras. It can have a big impact on the aesthetic of an image, and it’s a critical component of my Film Simulation Recipes. It’s one of those things that’s easy to overlook. In this article I’ll explain what White Balance Shift is and how to use it.

White Balance is the adjustment of color temperature (measured in Kelvin) to account for various light conditions, so that white objects appear white, and not yellow or blue or some other color. White Balance Shift is a tool to precisely fine-tune the White Balance. The intention of White Balance and White Balance Shift is to achieve a natural color balance that matches what the eye sees. But you can give your photographs whatever color balance you’d like—this is art; there are no rules.

How do you adjust White Balance Shift on your Fujifilm camera? It’s not immediately obvious, but quite easy once you know where it is. In your camera’s Menu select White Balance. Once in the White Balance Menu, arrow up or down to whichever White Balance you’d like to use, and then arrow right to adjust the White Balance Shift for that particular White Balance. Select OK to set.

Easy, right?

Now that you know how to adjust the White Balance Shift, let’s take a look at what it does to a photograph. The image below demonstrates the dramatic impact White Balance Shift can have on a picture:

Center: 0 Red & 0 Blue. Top-Left: -9 Red & +9 Blue. Top-Center: 0 Red & +9 Blue. Top-Right: +9 Red & +9 Blue. Center-Right: +9 Red & 0 Blue. Bottom-Right: +9 Red & -9 Blue. Bottom-Center: 0 Red & -9 Blue. Bottom-Left: -9 Red & -9 Blue. Center-Left: -9 Red & 0 Blue.

Those are examples of big White Balance Shifts, but what about subtle Shifts? Do they make a difference? Take a look at the picture below. The left image is without a Shift (0 Red & 0 Blue), and the right image is with a subtle Shift (+1 Red & -1 Blue). It’s not a huge change, but noticeable nonetheless.

Slide left and right to compare images.

Now let’s take a look at some less subtle White Balance Shifts and how it can change the aesthetic of a picture. The examples below are all Auto White Balance using various White Balance Shifts, which are prescribed in different Film Simulation Recipes. The specific Shifts and Recipes are listed under each picture.

Shift: +2 Red & -2 Blue. Recipe: Fujicolor Pro 400 Overexposed.
Shift: +2 Red & -4 Blue. Recipe: Vintage Kodachrome.
Shift: +5 Red & -6 Blue. Recipe: Eterna.
Shift: -3 Red & -8 Blue. Recipe: Cross Process.

As you can see, you can get many different color casts using White Balance Shift. In fact, Fujifilm gives you over 350 different options! You can get creative and mix a White Balance Shift with a White Balance that’s other than Auto. Below you’ll find some examples of this. The specific White Balance, Shift, and Recipe are located under each picture.

White Balance: Daylight. Shift: +2 Red & -5 Blue. Recipe: Kodachrome 64.
White Balance: Fluorescent 1 (Daylight Fluorescent). Shift: -3 Red & -1 Blue. Recipe: Kodak Vision3 250D.
White Balance: 6050K. Shift +3 Red & 0 Blue. Recipe: Kodak Ektar 100.
White Balance: 2650K. Shift: -1 Red & +4 Blue. Recipe: Jeff Davenport Night.

White Balance and White Balance Shift affect black-and-white pictures, too! You can manipulate how grey tones are rendered in an image using these tools. The picture below was captured using Acros+R. The version on the left has Auto White Balance and no Shift (0 Red & 0 Blue), while the one on the right has a White Balance of 4200K and a Shift of 0 Red & +9 Blue. Otherwise these two dramatically different images have identical settings.

Slide left and right to compare images.

Below are a few more examples of combining White Balance and White Balance Shift in black-and-white pictures. The specific White Balance, Shift, and Recipe are located under each picture.

White Balance: Auto. Shift: 0 Red & +9 Blue. Recipe: Monochrome Kodachrome.
White Balance: Daylight. Shift: +9 Red & -9 Blue. Recipe: Kodak Tri-X 400.
White Balance: 2750K. Shift: -5 Red & +5 Blue. Recipe: B&W Ifrared.

There’s one more application of White Balance Shift that I’d like to mention: Multiple Exposure photography. One example of White Balance Shift applied to Multiple Exposures, which is the first image below, is an exposure (the “main exposure”) made without a Shift, and then a second exposure of white paper or card-stock with a Shift applied. This gives the picture a faded color-cast aesthetic. Another example, which is the second picture below, is to capture two or more (for cameras capable of more than two) exposures, changing the Shift between exposures. This creates an abstract color rendering.

Shift: +9 Red & +9 Blue. Recipe: Faded Color.
Four exposures, each with a different Shift: +9 Red & -9 Blue; +9 Red & +9 Blue; -9 Red & -9 Blue; -9 Red & +9 Blue.

Most Fujifilm cameras do not have the ability to save White Balance Shifts within Custom Presets. Most of my Film Simulation Recipes require a Shift, yet you cannot save the Shift, so each time you change Recipes you must manually adjust the Shift. This is unfortunate, but thankfully Fujifilm has fixed this issue on the X100V (review here), X-Pro3 and X-T4! If you have one of those three cameras, you can save a White Balance Shift with each Custom Preset. As much as I love the new Clarity setting, Color Chrome Effect Blue, and the new Classic Negative film simulation, my absolute favorite new feature Fujifilm has added to their cameras is the ability to save White Balance Shifts. Thank you, Fujifilm!

White Balance Shift is an amazing tool on your Fujifilm camera! Found within the White Balance Menu, it allows you to fine-tune the color cast of your pictures. You can use this tool to customize your picture aesthetics. I use it extensively in my Film Simulation Recipes, both color and black-and-white, to achieve various looks. Without White Balance Shift many of my Recipes would not be possible. You can use it subtly or dramatically, with Auto White Balance or one of the other White Balance options.

Now you know what White Balance Shift is on your Fujifilm camera and how to use it. Now it’s time to get creative with it!

Shrinking Camera Market: What Fujifilm Should Do In 2021 & Beyond

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Fujifilm X100V captured by a Fujifilm X-T1

It’s no secret that camera sales have been declining for several years. The global pandemic has unsurprisingly significantly impacted the camera industry. Some companies have had bigger declines than others, and I think over the coming couple of years we’ll see some camera makers restructure, put themselves up for sale, or go out of business altogether. What should Fujifilm do to minimize declines and maximize profits in these tough times?

I’m not an industry insider or business expert. There aren’t any good reasons why Fujifilm should listen to me on this topic (other than I’m one of their customers). Besides, they have a pretty darn good track record for dealing with change within the industry and economy. Fujifilm doesn’t need my help. This article is more for my own enjoyment and perhaps yours. It’s fun to consider and discuss this topic. I don’t expect anything else to come from this.

Camera sales have been declining since the collapse of the compact camera market. Cellphone camera technology has come a long ways, which has rendered point-and-shoot cameras obsolete. The casual amateur snap-shooter uses their phone now to capture pictures, and has no need or interest in another camera. Before cellphone cameras had decent image quality, camera manufacturers were selling cheap automatic cameras to these folks. Lots and lots of them. But now that market is all dried up.

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Captured with a Fujifilm X-T1. This camera is four models old but is still quite capable.

The more serious shooters are still buying cameras, but cameras have reached a point of diminishing returns. Digital technology changes quickly, but if a camera is already really good, these improvements have less of a practical application. For instance, if a photographer finds that his or her camera’s autofocus is already more than good enough for their photography, a quicker autofocus system won’t likely tempt that photographer to upgrade. If a photographer finds that his or her camera already has enough resolution for the size they print, more resolution won’t likely tempt that photographer to upgrade. In other words, photographers by-and-large are keeping and using their gear for longer than they did 10 years ago, or even five. Digital is still disposable, but it is becoming less so, or at least photographers are beginning to realize that they don’t need to “upgrade” as frequently as they used to.

The camera industry isn’t Fujifilm’s main business. After the film collapse, Fujifilm diversified, and now they’re a pharmaceutical and cosmetics company that also happens to sell cameras. Their camera arm, which is just a small part of their business model, is doing better than many other camera makers right now. Still, the current market is impacting Fujifilm, and will continue to do so, which means Fujifilm might need to consider some changes.

Fujifilm has several camera models that are essentially the same, but look different and have only small feature differences. Fujifilm should consider ways to either further differentiate their similar models or combine them into one. The X-T200 and the X-A7 have nearly identical features, and having both models seems redundant. The X-Pro3 was made more unique to further separate it from the X-T3, and that worked out well, I believe. I look at the X-E line, which I love. My first Fujifilm camera was an X-E1. The X-E3 is so similar to the X-T20, aside from camera body design, so what differentiates the two besides shape? Fujifilm should consider discontinuing the X-E line, or do something to the eventual X-T40 or X-E4 to better differentiate the models. For example, if Fujifilm added IBIS to the X-T40 or made the X-E4 a black-and-white only camera (the “X-E Acros” is what I’d call it), that would separate them, and Fujifilm would have unique models. I think, alternatively, the X-T40 could basically be transitioned into a higher-end model, and serve as the (eventual) X-T5 without IBIS. The X-H line, now that the X-T4 has IBIS, is also redundant, so the X-H2 would need something to make it stand out, such as 8K video. Since the X-T4 has been so well received, I’m not sure how much of a market there is for an X-H2, but Fujifilm insists that this camera is in the works. It will be interesting to see it when it comes out, perhaps next year, and how well it does.

Fujifilm has situated itself as the leader in digital medium-format. It seems like overnight they went from not-even-in-that-market to top-dog, thanks to the success of the GFX line. Still, it’s more of a niche market than anything mainstream. I think what’s missing is a “budget” rangefinder-style 100-megapixel camera without IBIS. Essentially a GFX-50R, but with the 100MP sensor of the GFX100 inside. Maybe Fujifilm should consider adding IBIS to whatever camera replaces the GFX-50S. I have no idea how profitable this line has been for Fujifilm, and if it will stand the test of time, but I think it was smart of Fujifilm to jump into a market that they could easily dominate.

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This is a camera-made JPEG from a Fujifilm X100V, but looks more like film.

Something else that I think Fujifilm should consider is replacing cameras less frequently. When they release a camera and then replace it with a new model one year later, that’s too soon. Two years is too soon. Three years should be a minimum between updated cameras, and four to five years is even better. I know this might sound counter to what consumers want, but X-Trans III cameras, such as the X100F, X-T2, X-T20 and X-E3, are still very excellent! The X-E3 hasn’t been replaced yet, and the X100F was only recently replaced after three years, but the X-T2 is three models old now, and there’s already “talk” of an upcoming X-T40, while the X-T30 isn’t even a year-and-a-half old yet. It’s better to get the most out of a model, then replace it with something that’s a significant improvement over the previous edition. There’s a latin phrase festina lente, which means “make haste slowly.” Fujifilm needs to keep pushing the envelope and strive to produce more technologically advanced cameras, but not be too eager to release new models that only have small improvements over previous versions. If Fujifilm were to update the firmware on the X-T3 and X-T30 to breathe new excitement into these models, these cameras could still be sold for another two years easily.

There’s one more important point that I’d like to make, and this relates to Fuji X Weekly. I think Fujifilm needs to focus even more on JPEGs. I’ve discovered that there’s a huge community of photographers who love the camera-made JPEGs produced by Fujifilm cameras, whether straight-out-of-camera or with X RAW Studio. The film simulations—a brilliant idea by Fujifilm—were just the tip of the iceberg, and now film simulation recipes are all the rage. There’s something big here, bigger than I think Fujifilm realizes. Yes, Fujifilm has demonstrated their commitment to the JPEG with the X100V, X-Pro3 and X-T4, but they need to continue their commitment on future models. This is a fairly unique angle that Fujifilm has. While other camera makers do, in fact, have some nice JPEGs, Fujifilm is perhaps the only brand with a cult following based on it. They should absolutely capitalize on that, more so than they have been.

I doubt that Fujifilm will read this article, and I’m even more doubtful that they’ll make any internal changes based on it. I think it’s sound advice, but what do I know? Whether or not Fujifilm does any of the things I suggest, I think they’ll be just fine and will weather this “storm” without too much trouble. The guys running the company seem pretty smart to me, and are doing just fine without my advice. It will be fascinating to see exactly what happens within the camera industry in 2021 and beyond, and what Fujifilm does to find success during these tough times.

RAW vs JPEG? The Debate Needs To End

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Did I post-processed a RAW file or is this a camera-made JPEG? Does it matter?

There’s a debate in the photographic community that I get really tired of: RAW vs. JPEG. Most of the time, what I find is RAW shooters telling JPEG shooters that they shouldn’t shoot JPEGs for one reason or another. Usually there’s name-calling or a put-down thrown in or a condescending tone. Sometimes it’s the other way around, although I find that to be much more rare. Here’s my opinion: find what works best for you and your photography, and do that.

I wasn’t intending to write this post today, but over the last few days I’ve seen a number of articles and videos that tell me why RAW is really remarkable and JPEGs are just junk. Some make a reasonable argument, while others are absolutely ridiculous. Earlier today I watched a video that falls into the latter category, and that’s why I’m writing this.

Here’s the deal: it wasn’t very long ago that camera makers across all brands did a poor job at in-camera JPEGs. Some were better than others, but by-and-large none of them were great. RAW made sense, since you were going to be editing your pictures. But over the last decade every camera brand has improved their camera’s JPEGs, and some, like Fujifilm, have really made massive strides in this department. Today’s camera-made JPEGs are nothing like they were 10 years ago. Fujifilm’s JPEGs can look like post-processed RAW images, or even film-like. If you plan to edit your pictures, RAW is your best bet. If you don’t want to edit your pictures (or only lightly edit), you can achieve some great looks right out of camera. Neither option is the “right” or “wrong” way, just different means to an end, which is a finished photograph that you’re happy with.

Shoot RAW if that’s what you want to do. Shoot JPEG if that’s what you want to do. One method is not inherently better than the other. One way might be right for you, but wrong for another. You might find that you use both, just depending on the situation. While I almost always shoot JPEG, I do also still shoot RAW sometimes (it’s helpful for developing JPEG recipes). I used to shoot RAW exclusively once upon a time, but I don’t anymore.

RAW vs. JPEG is a tired debate. You don’t need to justify with strangers why you choose one over the other. I don’t want to hear why I’m “wrong” for shooting JPEGs. Don’t try to convince me that RAW is better. I won’t try to convince you to abandon RAW and shoot JPEG only. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and there is a time and place for both. I would encourage you, if you are unsure whether to shoot RAW or JPEG, to try both for a time, and see which you prefer. There isn’t one right path. The debate needs to end—find what works best for you and your photography, and do that!