I first dabbled with Fujifilm WAY back in 2003 while working on a cruise ship. In an all-film world, we were the first team to go digital with the Fujifilm S2 Pro, and I was really impressed with the quality, so much so, that when I started shooting weddings, I brought an S3 and for the first few years, this was the main camera I used at all of my weddings, but then I went full-frame and moved over to Nikon, and stayed there until the spring of 2016, and the arrival of the X-Pro2.
I’d been lugging around my D4s’ and a handful of prime lenses at weddings for a few years, and it was doing my back no good at all, but it wasn’t until I booked a wedding in the United States that I looked at changing my equipment. “Why change your entire wedding set-up mid way through a season for just one wedding” I hear you shout. Well, the wedding was on top of a 5267ft mountain in the heart of Baxter State Park in Maine.
In fact, it’s the highest point in the entire state and voted by National Geographic as one of the world’s top ten summit hikes in 2015! There was no way I was lugging my old system, lenses plus clothes, sleeping equipment, food and water in a single pack… and the option of a Sherpa wasn’t available!
I needed lighter gear.
I hired an X-Pro2 with a XF56mm 1.2 lens (as I heard from various photographers this was the best combination) for three weddings, as my original plan was to just hire a camera out there, then once I was back, carry on using the Nikon, but what happened took be by total surprise. I shot the first wedding with the odd shot here and there with the X-Pro2, the second wedding I shot about half and half, and by the third, over 75% of the images I took were with the X-Pro-2 (I’d also hired a few other lenses by this point).
I was completely sold. So much so, that four months after buying two new D4s’, I sold them, along with my entire lens collection and brought two X-Pro2 bodies, and a range of prime lenses (XF16mmf/1.4 – XF23mmf/1.4 – XF35mmf/2 – XF56mmf/1.2 – XF90mmf/2) The reason I got the XF35mmf/2 over the f/1.4 was purely because it is weather tight, and I wasn’t sure what the conditions would be at the summit, so I knew with the XF16mmf/1.4 (also weather proof) I could run with two bodies without issue if it was wet.
What I was most impressed about was how clean the images were straight from camera – the colours and skin tones needed very little, if any work at all. Where my Nikon would struggle with purple and keeping warm skin colours, the Fujifilm just laps it up!
In fact, I now shoot JPEG using RAW files as back up in case I need to use the incredible dynamic range the X-Pro2 has to recover some highlights or shadows, but this is something I’ve hardly had to do at all.
Hiking the mountain was tough, but with the weight being next to nothing, I was able to bring my ENTIRE set-up to the top, rather than just one body and a single lens. When I first mentioned to other photographers that I was changing, their initial response was
“Your going from Full-Frame to a crop sensor?! Won’t there be a reduction in quality?” To which my reply was “a change in quality, not a reduction”.
In fact, the RAW files are bigger and hold WAY more information than any camera I’ve had in the past. The last time I remember files being this good off the back of the camera, was when I was using the S3.
In short, going back to using Fujifilm cameras after a ten-year hiatus has been the best move I have ever made for my business.
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