The Reborn…

After working in Singapore for 6 months, I got myself a little reward, or perhaps early Christmas gift to myself – a Fujifilm X-E2 camera with Fujinon XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS kit lens. It’s not really an impulse buy for me to take the leap of faith jumping from Canon to Fujifilm.

Ever since the first introduction of X100 and X-Pro1, Fujifilm has caught my attention. It’s not just about the retro styling of their products, but it’s something more than that. If you want me to put it in words, they are sort of like Apple Inc. from the technological industry. Both companies develop something that works for their users, and they refine their products and capturing the tiniest detail which makes all the difference in terms of user experience. Cameras from Fujifilm at that point of time may not seemed to be revolutionary, but it has gained a lot of traction from fellow photographers. Soon, other models such as X-E1, X-A1 and X-M1 were developed. And later on, second generation products incorporating new X-Trans CMOS II sensors such as X100S and X-E2 were released.

The X-E2, being a mirrorless camera, is relatively small in footprint, light weight, and easy to use. Being a DSLR shooter in the past, I was really skeptical about the use of Electronic View Finder (EVF) over the Optical View Finder (OVF) on the traditional DSLR. To my surprise, the EVF of X-E2 perform well, much better than what I expected. I always wanted something small, and closer to those Leica range finder kind of size and style… and I got it finally. It may not have the blazing fast AF speed of the DSLR, and it may not have the complex and sophisticated functionality of equivalent DSLR, but just being lighter and smaller alone goes a long way. I started shooting more compared to the old days with DSLR. I won’t feel the burden of carrying it around. It really makes a whole lot of difference.

What I really like about Fujifilm’s camera, other than the film simulations they provide, is how they have made the photographing process so intuitive, pure, and back to the basic. When I’m shooting on my DSLR, is all about pressing this and that button and spinning this and that dials to get the settings dialled in. On the Fujifilm’s camera, you set the shutter speed through dedicated dial and the aperture through a real aperture ring on the lens. It’s very “old school”, but man it really works and feels so good. This is where one should control the aperture, not by spinning any dials or pressing any buttons. For X-E2, I still need to press some buttons and dials in order to change the ISO setting, but since the ISO performance on camera are so good nowadays, I just simply leave it as Auto.

The lenses line up from Fujifilm is growing slowly, but their lenses are of superb quality (though only support APS-C sensor). Coupled with their in camera software enhancement (called as Lens Modulation Optimizer) that wipes out all the distortions, chromatic aberration & etc., the output picture quality is indeed stunning. Praises aside, there are also a lot of quirks on the Fujifilm camera (especially weak video performance and lack of full featured flash systems to name a few) that you need to live with it. But for me as a enthusiast / amateur / hobbyist, I can live with some of the short coming. But for some, this can be a deal breaker to continue using a DSLR. There’s no right or wrong, just different tools for different people with different needs.

After enjoying some sweet time with the X-E2, I got myself the X100S shortly after. Another great camera with so much character in it. I got myself a few lenses as well along the way, and keep shooting for almost every weekend. However, the more I shoot, the more about my photography skills, style and weakness were revealed, and that had actually brought me to the edge of no return… I’ll share more about it in my next post.

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