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.

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

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.

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.

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!

Abandoned Location: Hugh’s RV w/ Fujifilm X100V & Fujicolor Reala 100 (Video)

I had the opportunity recently to photograph the abandoned Hugh’s RV in North Salt Lake, Utah, with Fuji X Weekly reader Ryan from Oregon. The last time that I was there I used my Kodak Portra 400 film simulation recipe. This time, both Ryan and I used my Fujicolor Reala 100 film simulation recipe on our Fujifilm X100V cameras. Two photographers at the same location using the same camera with the same settings, but with different perspectives. Check out the video!

I had a great time shooting with Ryan! It was a good opportunity to talk cameras, recipes, photography, and more. I want to give a special “thank you” to Ryan for participating in this adventure, for allowing himself to be filmed, and for sharing his pictures in the video. Please check out his Instagram account, as his pictures are great!

Let me know in the comments what you think of the video. I appreciate the feedback!

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

Gear:
Fujifilm X100V  Amazon  B&H
Fujifilm X-T20   Amazon 
Fujifilm X-T30  Amazon  B&H
Fujinon 10-24mm   Amazon  B&H
Rokinon 12mm   Amazon  B&H
GoPro Hero 8 Black   Amazon  B&H

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.

50160642736_57034461f0_c

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.

50123395623_b3f031f1d4_c

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.

Fuji X Weekly is Back!

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Blue Mountain Lake  – Flathead Lake, MT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

I was on vacation, but now I’m back!

I visited some great places, including Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, but my favorite spot was Flathead Lake in Montana. It was absolutely beautiful! Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake (in America) west of the Missouri River. It’s unbelievably clean and clear. I used to live (many, many years ago when I was a kid) in the Puget Sound area of Washington, and Flathead Lake reminded me of that. Instead of the Pacific Ocean it’s a huge lake, with interesting little towns and communities found along its shore. There’s an island that’s a state park, only accessible by boat, and we saw more wildlife on that island than the two national parks combined. Flathead was fun!

Now that I’m back, I’m going to try to catch up on all the comments, messages and emails that I’ve not responded to. There are so many! It might take me a couple days to answer everyone back. I appreciate your patience and understanding.

I have so many photographs and articles to share. I have a number of videos to make. There’s a lot of content coming, so stay tuned!

Antelope Island State Park – Two Cameras, Two Photographers

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Rainbow over Antelope Island. Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

One of my favorite places in northern Utah is Antelope Island State Park. It’s such a strange land! Antelope Island, which sits in the Great Salt Lake, seems like a world away from the Salt Lake City metro area, even though it is located very close to the city. Wildlife abounds, including buffalo, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, big horn sheep and many other animals. At one time the bison herd on Antelope Island was the largest in America. There are a huge variety of birds that migrate across the area. The water is often calm, and the reflections can be incredible. There are sandy beaches. There are trails that curve across the rugged landscape. There is a unique beauty to Antelope Island that draws me back. It’s one of my favorite places to photograph!

Antelope Island is also disgusting! There’s a certain “rotten egg” smell that can be found near the shores. There are tons and tons of bugs, including biting no-see-ums, brine flies (that cover the shore like a thick cloud), mosquitoes, tons of spiders (venomous and non-venomous), among other things. It’s pretty common to see dead birds. There’s plenty to love and hate about this place. I try to look beyond the gross to see the beauty. It is indeed an odd place, and one has to purposefully look beyond the negative aspects to truly appreciate it. I feel like it is a secret treasure that is easily overlooked.

My wife, Amanda, and I visited Antelope Island earlier this week. I brought my Fujifilm X100V, while she had her X-T20 with a Fujinon 10-24mm f/4 lens attached to it. For my pictures, I used my Kodak Tri-X 400 film simulation recipe for black-and-white and my Fujicolor Reala 100 film simulation recipe for color. I reprocessed in-camera a couple of the rainbow pictures using Velvia. Amanda had PRO Neg. Hi loaded into her camera, but she reprocessed most of her pictures using either Acros or Velvia.

Even though we used different cameras with different generation sensors, I thought that our pictures worked well together. I wanted to share them with you as a set. I found it interesting that for some images our vision was nearly identical, and for others we captured our pictures differently. Amanda did a great job, and it was a fun experience to go out and photograph with her. Antelope Island once again proved to be a great location for photography. Enjoy!

B&W

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Photo by Amanda Roesch with a Fujifilm X-T20 and 10-24mm.

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Photo by Amanda Roesch with a Fujifilm X-T20 and 10-24mm.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Amanda Roesch with a Fujifilm X-T20 and 10-24mm.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Amanda Roesch with a Fujifilm X-T20 and 10-24mm.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

Color

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Photo by Amanda Roesch with a Fujifilm X-T20 and 10-24mm.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Amanda Roesch with a Fujifilm X-T20 and 10-24mm.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Ritchie Roesch with a Fujifilm X100V.

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Photo by Amanda Roesch with a Fujifilm X-T20 and 10-24mm.

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

Fujifilm X100V Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X100V Silver   Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-T20   Amazon   B&H
Fujinon 10-24mm f/4   Amazon   B&H

New Video Series: #fujixweekly

 

I posted a new video on the Fuji X Weekly YouTube channel today! It’s the first in a new series that I hope to do once or twice a month, maybe weekly if I can manage my time better. It’s a short yet very important video because it features your pictures!

If you didn’t know, Fuji X Weekly is on Instagram. When I created that account I also created the hashtag #fujixweekly. I’ve noticed that many of you are also using that hashtag, and since I follow it, whenever you post using #fujixweekly your pictures show up in my feed. You guys are creating some wonderful images! It’s very inspiring to me, so I wanted share that with everyone.

Please keep using #fujixweekly on Instagram. I’ll pick some of the pictures to showcase in the next video. Obviously I can’t use all of them, but I’ll pick some that I find interesting. If you used one of my film simulation recipes, include which one you used in the description if you don’t mind. I’d love to know what you guys are using!

I appreciate every one of you! Keep up the great work! Below I’ve included a link to everyone’s Instagram accounts who had pictures in the video above. Be sure to check out there work!

@vincent.images
@jamiechancetravels
@damlandberg.photography
@guyfromtor
@drjkgas
@camandcoffee
@sampl_images
@raphvikkivoyages
@rolandfelberphotography
@leoncinialain
@effzwo.thommy

Also, I want to give a big “Thank You” to my wife, Amanda, who put this video together. Really, this was her work, not mine. She did such a fantastic job with all of the editing! Amanda is an important behind-the-scenes member of the Fuji X Weekly team, and the YouTube channel especially is much better because of her talents. Thank you, Amanda!

Film Simulation Review: Dreary Day with Fujicolor Superia 800

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Gone Fishin’ – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

I get asked frequently what film simulation recipes are good for which situations. It can be hard to know when to use each one. When faced with a scene, which recipe should you choose? I hope that this Film Simulation Review series helps to bring clarity to this.

On grey-sky days there’s one film simulation recipe that I love to use: Fujicolor Superia 800. When I invented this recipe, I had no idea how good it was for dreary days. Fuji X Weekly reader Luis Costa shared his use of this recipe on a grey day, and it blew me away! Ever since, when there’s overcast sky and a little rain, for color pictures, my Fujicolor Superia 800 film simulation recipe is what I use.

This series of pictures were captured on a recent dreary day using the Superia 800 recipe. I used a Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens attached to it. This 90mm lens can be difficult to use just because of its focal length, which is full-frame equivalent to 135mm, but it delivers excellent results. It’s super sharp and nearly flawless. It’s such a great lens!

My Superia 800 recipe is based on Fujicolor Superia X-tra 800 film. Fujifilm introduced this consumer grade high ISO color negative film in 1998 and discontinued it in 2016. It was a common film to find at the local store. It was an excellent choice for low-light situations, and it was commonly used by photojournalists. All of the pictures in this article are camera-made JPEGs using my Superia 800 film simulation recipe.

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Raining in the Alley – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Goodyear – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Drop in the Bucket – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Wet Slide – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Wish Maker – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Green – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Drop of Water on a Blackberry Leaf – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Green Tree Tops – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Trees – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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King – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Catching a Lost Float – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Geese – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Swimming Duck – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

Film Simulation Review: Walk in the Park, Part 1: Kodak Ektar 100

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April Forest – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

Last week I went for a walk in a local park here in Utah. This park has trails that pass through forests. There’s a stream and a small lake. The snow-capped peaks are visible to the east. It’s a beautiful place, especially in the spring when the green is fresh and the flowers are blossomed. On this hike I brought along my Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it, which is one of my absolute favorite lenses. It’s sharp, small, and plenty fast, plus it’s a versatile focal length. On the way up the trail I used my Kodak Ektar 100 film simulation recipe, which are the pictures that you see here in Part 1, and on the way back down I used my Portra 160 recipe, which you’ll find in Part 2.

Ektar is a color negative film made by Kodak. It’s known for vibrant colors, high contrast and fine grain. It’s the closest negative film to reversal film. In fact, when Kodak discontinued Ektachrome 100VS, they recommended Ektar 100 as the best alternative. It’s a great film for landscape photography, which is why I chose it for this walk in the park.

Ektar film, and especially this Ektar film simulation, can be difficult to use because of the contrast. With the film, there are things that can be done in development and/or printing to reduce the contrast if it’s too much. With these settings, one could use +2 Shadow instead of +3, which is what the recipe calls for, if they wanted less contrast. These pictures are straight-out-of-camera (with the exception of some minor cropping) with the  settings exactly as the recipe states.

My opinion is that my Ektar recipe is best suited for low-contrast landscapes, where a boost in contrast and vibrancy is needed. But it can do well in other situations, as well. I thought it served this photographic outing well, although it was borderline too contrasty for the scene. Ektar was a good choice for a walk in the park, but was it the best choice? How does it compare to Portra 160? We’ll take a look at that in Part 2.

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Sunlight Through The Leaves – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Old Log – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Forest Stream – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Stream & Yellow Flower – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Single Tree Blossom – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Green Tree, White Tree – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Blossoming Branches – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

Walk in the Park, Part 2: Portra 160
See also: Film Simulation Reviews

Film Simulation Review: Waiting With Fujicolor 100 Industrial

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Waiting Outside – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

My Fujicolor 100 Industrial film simulation recipe is very underrated. I don’t hear many people talk about it. This recipe doesn’t get nearly as many views as some of my other ones, perhaps because the film that it mimics isn’t especially well known. Make no mistake, this recipe is one of the best! If you’ve never tried it, I invite you to do so.

This particular film simulation recipe pairs well with urban scenes. It’s good for more than just that, but a downtown environment seems to be where this recipe does its best work. These photographs aren’t urban, but my Fujicolor 100 Industrial recipe was a good choice for this series.

Anytime can be a good time for photography. Take a camera with you wherever you go, and you’ll be surprised at the photographic opportunities that present themselves. This series of pictures was captured while waiting in line to get inside of Costco, and I was able to do this because I had my Fujifilm X-T30 with me, which had a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it. With what’s going on in the world, there’s a line to even get inside of the store to shop. I used the wait as an opportunity to create some pictures. This is no special event. The lighting wasn’t extraordinary. It was unremarkable. Despite that, there were pictures worth capturing, images worth creating, even in an ordinary moment. Use the ordinary moments in life as photographic opportunities.

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Architecture of Costco – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Green Tree & Roof – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Removing Gloves – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Pushing Baskets – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Distancing – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Guy in a Red Shirt – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Cart Man – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Red & Silver Carts – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

See also: Film Simulation Reviews

Monument Valley – A Monumental Landscape

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Evening at Monument Valley – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

I just got back from Monument Valley, which sits on the border between Arizona and Utah on Navajo land near Four Corners. Situated on the Colorado Plateau, Monument Valley features large rock formations and red desert sand. It’s a lonely place; there are only a few very small towns scattered nearby. Despite being in the middle of nowhere, it attracts many tourists from across the world. Monument Valley is the iconic American West landscape, and it is nothing short of stunning!

You’ve seen Monument Valley before, even if you didn’t know what you were looking at. Certainly you’ve seen pictures of it in calendars and magazines and on social media. Many different movies have had scenes filmed in Monument Valley. Forest Gump concluded his cross country run there. Marty McFly went back in time to the old west in Monument Valley. Clark Griswold drove his car off the road at this place. Many “westerns” were filmed in Monument Valley, including a few starring John Wayne. In many ways Monument Valley still looks and feels like the rugged and wild American West, so it’s easy to understand Hollywood’s draw to this location.

Monument Valley was on my photographic bucket list for a long time. I’ve wanted to visit and capture the iconic landscape for many years. I’d seen the black-and-white prints by Ansel Adams and the color pictures in Arizona Highways magazine that showcased this incredible landscape, which made me want to experience it for myself. I had to make my own images. I needed to get to Monument Valley. Honestly, though, I didn’t realize its exact location until recently. I knew it was in northern Arizona somewhere. Or maybe southern Utah. As it turns out, most of it is in far northeastern Arizona, and a little of it sits in far southeastern Utah, but all of it belongs to the Navajo Nation.

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Butte Between two Boulders – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

I was only able to stay in Monument Valley for one day. I had one day to capture the pictures that I wanted, or at least as many of them as I could. I planned the trip carefully, doing much research ahead of time so that I would know what to expect. It paid off because I believe I made the most of my short time there. I didn’t come away with every picture that I had hoped for, but I came away with a good group, and that means I had a good day. I’ll have to return, hopefully soon, for the rest.

Something that struck me about Monument Valley is how quiet and peaceful it was. You can set your own pace and take things slow. The wide open spaces allowed for moments of true serenity. You can find yourself alone. Monument Valley is sacred land to the Navajo, and you can feel that while there, permeating from the stone and sand. My visit was during the off season, and I’m sure the atmosphere during the summer months can be quite different.

All of the Navajo people that I met and spoke with were exceedingly friendly and helpful. They seemed quite proud of this place, eager to share its beauty with the world. One lady, who was selling jewelry along a dirt road, was happy to tell me about her favorite photograph, which had been on the cover of Arizona Highways, that featured a nearby tree, which has since died because it was struck by lightning. I felt like I was an invited guest, and the Navajo people were happy to have me there.

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Mitchell Mesa – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

But I could sense another side. This is private land. Among the rock formations are little houses. There are ranches scattered throughout Monument Valley. Visitors are allowed in only very specific places, which are clearly marked, unless you have an official guide. At one stop I overheard a guide telling his group that he was not allowed to take people to one particular spot because the occupant of a nearby house “doesn’t like white people.” I can certainly understand that past hurts might still sting. The Navajo haven’t always been treated well by America. This is their home. This is their sacred land where their ancestors lived and died. They don’t have to allow anyone in. They could keep Monument Valley to themselves, and not welcome visitors. I’m sure there are some who would prefer that. I was a stranger in a strange land. I was the outsider. Gratefully, I was welcomed in and treated kindly.

From what I could tell from my short visit, the Navajo way of life is slower, simpler, quieter, and more free than my own. There are no Walmarts or McDonalds or Starbucks within 100 miles, probably further than that. I didn’t see any signs of commercialism and consumerism. I’m sure life in the dry desert can be difficult, but to the Navajo it is worth dealing with those difficulties in order to live life their way; to be who they are. Their culture is preserved by living out their traditions.

The photographs in this article were captured with a Fujifilm X-T30 and Fujifilm X-T1. The lenses I used were a Fujinon 35mm f/2Fujinon 100-400mm and Rokinon 12mm f/2. On the X-T30 I used my Velvia (except color +4), Kodachrome 64, Dramatic Monochrome and Agfa Scala film simulation recipes, and on the X-T1 I used Velvia and Monochrome. The challenge when visiting a place like Monument Valley is creating something unique when it’s been photographed from every angle imaginable. That’s an extraordinarily difficult task, but not completely impossible. While most of my pictures have been done before by others, I think a few of them are fairly unique; at least I’ve never seen one identical. I hope that you enjoy them!

B&W:

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Monument Valley – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Mittens in Monochrome – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

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Mitchell Mesa in Monochrome – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Reflection on a Dirt Road – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Navajo Flag – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

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Four Flags – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Shrub on the Edge of the Wash – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

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Rocks & Mitten – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

Color:

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Forest Gump Was Here – Monument Valley, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Highway Through The Hole – Monument Valley, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Dying Tree in the Red Desert – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Yucca – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Red Ripples – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Puddle In The Sand – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Evening Mittens – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

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Last Light on the Mittens – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

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Photoessay: Monochrome Sun Rays Over Willow Beach, Arizona

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Rays Over Colorado River – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Along U.S. Highway 93, about 12 miles south of the Hoover Dam, there’s a scenic view pullout, which offers tremendous views of desert mountains and canyons and a glimpse of the Colorado River at Willow Beach. This is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It’s easy to drive right on past this spot, as I have done many times before. Those who do stop here are rewarded with an incredible vista. It’s not the Grand Canyon, but it’s like a small glimpse of the Grand Canyon. It’s a quintessential Arizona landscape. Actually, you can see both Arizona and Nevada, as the river marks the boundary between the two states.

When I was at this scenic pullout last week, there was a storm passing through, which provided a dramatic sky with streaking light rays from the peeking sun. It was an amazing sight, yet short lived. I had my Fujifilm X-T30 with me, alternating between a Fujinon 35mm f/2 and a Fujinon 90mm f/2 attached to the front. A more wide-angle lens might have been nice, but these are the two lenses that I had with me. I captured a number of frames, then the great light disappeared as quickly as it had come.

Because I had a camera with me, and I decided to stop, I was able to witness and record this beautiful moment. Many cars zoomed down the highway, perhaps witnessing the scene quickly from behind their windows, or perhaps not noticing it at all, and only a few stopped. I’m thankful that I was one of the few who stopped, and what a great reward I was given for doing so. Sometimes the journey is the destination, especially if you are a photographer.

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Light Streaming – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Light & Mesa – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Shining Down – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Pouring Light Over Desert – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Dramatic Desert Sky – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Rays Over The Desert – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Rays Over Willow Beach – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Is Fujifilm’s Autofocus Any Good?

Captured with a Fujifilm X-T30.

Fujifilm’s autofocus is inferior, apparently. There’s been a buzz on the web lately about autofocus. There have been several tests recently comparing the autofocus capabilities of different camera brands and models, and Fujifilm hasn’t come out on top, and sometimes they’ve come in last place. There’s been a lot of negativity towards Fujifilm in response to these articles, and I want to talk about that.

I have no problem whatsoever with these articles. There’s always something, no matter how hard one tries, that someone points out as unfair in these type of tests. It’s the nature of it, and it’s nearly impossible to be completely fair and unbiased. There’s always something that you didn’t consider, there’s always an apples-to-oranges situation, and somebody will undoubtably point it out. I think it’s important to understand this, as taking these types of articles with a small grain of salt will alleviate some of the frustration that comes with them. In other words, don’t take them as gospel, even though they mean well and might contain useful information.

When I started out in photography, autofocus existed, but many cameras (mine included) didn’t have it, and autofocus wasn’t very good on those cameras that did have it. The best autofocus systems of 20 years ago are embarrassing when compared to those found today. That’s not surprising as technology advances quickly. The best autofocus systems of 10 years ago aren’t as good as the “worst” found in any of those cameras that were recently tested. Sony, Canon, Nikon or Fujifilm, it doesn’t matter which one “wins” and which one is rated last, as they are all great! No one could imagine 20 years ago that autofocus would become as good as it is today, and the autofocus found on “pro” cameras 10 years ago aren’t as good as some “entry level” cameras today. Context is key.

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Captured with a Fujifilm X100F.

It’s easy to get caught up in the results of autofocus tests, but the reality is that it doesn’t matter in practical use. Just because one camera did slightly better than another doesn’t mean that you’ll “get the shot” with one camera and not another. You’ll either get it with both or you’ll miss it with both, because the skill and vision of the photographer is far more important than the technical capabilities of the camera in hand, especially when the differences are so narrow. Cameras are tools, and one tool might work a little better for you than another, but they’ll all capable of getting the job done just so long as the photographer is also capable. One camera over another won’t make you a better photographer.

I don’t doubt that Sony’s autofocus is superior to Fujifilm’s. They’ve been working at it a heck of a lot longer, so they should be. What I argue is that it doesn’t matter, or if it does matter, it matters very, very little. Those saying that Fujifilm desperately needs to “catch up” or else are speaking hyperbole. A lot of the reactions I have seen have been overreactions. Instead of celebrating just how far autofocus has improved, people seem to be far more concerned about being ranked number one. Trust me on this: it doesn’t matter one bit. Fujifilm has made significant progress, and they’re continuing to do so. Autofocus on X-Trans II cameras is plenty quick and capable for most people and circumstances, yet it doesn’t compare to X-Trans IV. There comes a point where the improvements are more “gee whiz” than anything practical. It’s great for the marketing department, but is it something you’ll even notice? Will it really make a difference to your photography?

To answer the question in the title of this article, Fujifilm’s autofocus is indeed good. Very good, in fact! It’s more than capable, just as long as you are as well. So don’t worry so much where Fujifilm (or any brand) ranks compared to another in some test. It’s not important. Creating art is important, and you can use any camera to do that.

Your Websites on Fuji X Weekly

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Phone Conversation – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

Last week I invited you to share your website in the comments of a post on Fuji X Weekly. I thought it would be great to see everyone else’s websites. The response was overwhelming, but in the best way possible! It was great fun to visit all the different pages that you shared. I hope you found it helpful, and perhaps you even found some new blogs to follow. I know I did!

To make things easier, I decided to put all of the links into a new post, so that you don’t have to dig through comments to find them. I hope that I didn’t miss any, and I apologize if I did. If you didn’t get a chance to take part in the previous opportunity, feel free to share your website in the comments of this post.

Here are the websites, in no particular order, that you all shared with Fuji X Weekly:

Best Light Photographic
Best Light Photo Blog
Visual Ohio
The Flying Kitty Monster
Island In The Net
Photo A Day
Find The Right Light Photography
Benoit Takes Photos
Fujitopraphy by Veijo Matikainen
Delatorre f/5.6
A Lens In The Landscape
Fragglerocking
Fraggle’s Other Place
Abijango Street Photography
Tintinburgh
Helen Fennell Photography
Earthponds
Ian Clavis Photography
The City Beautiful
Incrodato
James Posilero Photography
Doug & Abby Vinez
Sam and Steve Photography
Miro and Ira
Travelling Lens Blog
Joaquin Fernandez
Life, unintended
Moments & Moods
Nicolas Olonetzky Photography
Len Dobrucki Photographic Journeys
Dia Khalil Photography

Thank you once again to everyone who participated! Also, James Posilero published issue two of SOOC, and he invites you to check it out.

The 5 C’s of Photographic Vision

Fujifilm X-E1

Photographic vision is essential to successful photography. Many people will tell you that you need it, but very few will explain what it is. You can search the web endlessly, but you won’t find a whole lot that lays out photographic vision simply and coherently. It took me a long time to learn it, mostly from experience, and mostly from failures. And, really, I’m still learning it. In this post I will briefly explain this important concept.

“In order to be a successful photographer, you must possess both vision and focus, neither of which have anything to do with your eyes.” –Kevin Russo

“There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” –Ansel Adams

My definition of photographic vision is “a vivid and imaginative conception.” There are five essential elements of photographic vision, all beginning with the letter C, and three of those essential elements are found within that definition: Clarity, Creativity and Conception. Capturing and Composing are the fourth and fifth elements. Let’s take a look at each.

1. Clarity

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Passerby – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2

In order to have photographic vision, you must have vivid clarity. You must see in your mind’s eye what it is that you want to create before opening the shutter, which means that you must pre-visualize the finished photograph. This might be a brief moment before the shutter opens or this might be something that you’ve thought about for days, weeks or even years in advance. It doesn’t necessarily matter how long that you pre-visualized, it just matters that you saw the finished picture prior to capturing it.

Great photographs are very rarely happy accidents. Almost all worthwhile pictures took some thought and planning to create, even if just for a moment before the shutter clicked open. The more clearly you can see in your mind what it is that you want to capture, the more likely you are to accomplish it. Clarity means vividly seeing the end while still at the beginning, which is the first key to capturing great pictures.

2. Creativity

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Ethos – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X100F

In addition to having clarity, you must be creative. Some people seem to be naturally creative. If that’s not you, don’t fret! I believe that creativity is something that can be learned and fostered. The more you allow yourself to think outside the box and look at things from different angles, the more creative you’ll become. Creativity takes practice.

You have to relax. You have to keep an open mind. You have to use your imagination. Try to channel your inner child. This all might sound cliché, but the only barrier to creativity is yourself–your rigid self–the self that says words like “no” and “can’t” and “shouldn’t” and other negative things. Think positive and throw all the so-called rules out the window. Take a deep breath; let yourself go.

3. Conception

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Barn By The Tetons – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

Your photograph begins as a concept. You have an idea. You begin to see that idea vividly in your mind’s eye. As the thought forms, you begin to consider other ways to look at it. Your creativeness takes the concept to new places. This is a vivid and imaginative conception.

Speak some message through your picture. Show your unique perspective. You have something important to say, so say it! Photographs are a form of nonverbal communication, and they all say something. The stronger the communication, the stronger the image. Use your strongest communication in your photos. Make your concept as clear as practical so the viewer isn’t left wondering what the point of the picture is.

4. Capturing

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Jacob’s Ladder – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2

The next step in photographic vision is to capture the image on film or digital sensor. You’ve come up with a creative concept that you can clearly see in your mind. You’ve made a vivid and imaginative conception, so now is the time to make it a photographic reality. This is when you take what you saw in your head and make it happen photographically.

There is a lot to this, of course. You must consider gear and settings and lighting and composition and everything else. You have to know how to put what’s in your mind into something tangible. If you don’t know how, then perhaps you should learn. There are so many resources available on the internet and at the library–it’s all at your fingertips if you put in a little effort to learn. And oftentimes learning-by-doing is a good approach because, after all, practice makes perfect. The more you do, the better you’ll be. Because this step might be the most difficult, I cannot overemphasize the importance of understanding how your camera works at a deep level, and knowing fundamental photographic concepts. Capturing what’s in your mind is much easier said than done, but it can be done.

5. Composing

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Brush Strokes Over The Great Salt Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Composing probably reminds you of composition, but that’s not what I mean, as composition can be found in the previous principals. Instead, think of a symphony composer, putting everything together, placing consideration on even the smallest details. In the case of photographic vision, composing means taking account of all the little details, including editing. Especially editing.

Editing might mean post-processing your files if they require manipulation to fulfill your vision, knowing how much manipulation is enough, and knowing when no manipulation is better. Editing also means editing out the lesser exposures, deleting the bad ones and not including the mediocre ones with a body of work. Consider composing to be a synonym for curating. Additionally, it’s knowing when the vision or execution of the vision wasn’t good enough. Composing means knowing when to take it from the top and try again. It means being responsible for the finished image.

Conclusion

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Twisted Tree – Keystone, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2

It takes a lot of work, mostly mental work but also physical work, to create worthwhile pictures. You are creating pictures, not merely taking them. Your art requires your best craft. Understanding what photographic vision is goes a long ways towards this, but more important than understanding it is practicing it. Grab your camera and head out with a vivid and imaginative concept in your mind so that you will more successfully create great photographs.