I’ve been using the Fujifilm system since its inception back in 2011. My very first Fujifilm camera was the Fujifilm FinePix X100 (remember when it was still called the FinePix?).
I’ve been honoured to be a part of theX-Photographer community since those early days and even after nine years or so find the X Series range of cameras the tools that I still use for all my work.
As the system has grown from the embryonic MLC that was the X100 to the high-resolution machine that is the GFX 50S, I’ve witnessed a system that has taken its first baby steps to winning platitudes and awards every year.
Going right back to the FinePix X100, this was one of the first images I took with the camera:
I was smitten with the camera, but I think it’s fair to say that the original X100 definitely had some teething problems.
When I was shooting with the FinePix X100 I felt a deep assimilation with the JPEGs that the camera was producing. However, trying to achieve focus, especially in low light situations, proved challenging.
And then something quite unheard of happened… a firmware update. Not only did the firmware update fix small bugs, it made the whole camera more responsive and even added a feature or two.
This was the sign of things to come, of course, and I think one of the things that define Fujifilm’s success is their unwavering support for the photographic community via firmware updates.
Ironically, according to my Lightroom Catalog, the last personal photography I took with my FinePix X100 – which I still have (I never sell a classic camera!) is this shot of it’s successor, the X100S (note, FinePix no longer in the name):
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trawling through my archives of personal family snaps that I’ve taken with the X100, the X100S, X100T & X100F.
I had over 10,000 images that I considered good enough to keep.
Of course, these are family snaps, nothing particularly arty about them and absolutely the most important thing is the memories for me and my family.
Anyhow, here are the 100 family snaps, taken with my various Fujifilm X100 Cameras and in chronological order. I have a huge debt of gratitude to the original X100. It’s the camera that made me realise photography is fun rather than just for work. Here is my little homage to the X100 and all its incarnations.
This was really when things started changing with the little X100 format cameras, but before the X100S came out, we were bamboozled by the X-Pro1.
Now, my introduction to this camera was somewhat forced. I was writing a monthly business column for Professional Photography magazine when the editor asked me to review the camera;
Him: “Would you like to review the new Fujifilm X-Pro1?”
Me: “Well, not really, the reason I love the X100 is because it’s fixed lens and I don’t want to invest in another interchangeable lens system as I still have my Canon cameras”.
Him: “We’ll pay you £200 for the review”.
Me: “Oh, go on then….”
Fast forward five weeks and I have to take the review copy back to Archant House in Cheltenham. As I hand over the review packages to them, the editor asks me what I thought. I showed him a copy of my order email from WEX where I’d just pre-ordered the X-Pro1 and the three launch lenses.
Not too long after I took delivery of my X-Pro1, XF35mm, XF60mm and XF18mm lenses I sold off all my Canon gear.
At this point, we were then beginning to see new sensors and later, new Film Simulations too but really, what everybody in the photographic world was realising was that these new breeds of mirrorless cameras from Fujifilm were: smaller, lighter, cheaper and crucially, performed very well compared to what we had been used to using.
Of course, there are still some rare situations where a DSLR might be a better option for a particular shooting style, but with the emergence of the X-H1 I think even that is becoming mitigated and the Fujifilm system is catering more and more for all types of photographers. It’s not true that Fujifilm cameras are “only for Street Photographers”.
At some point in 2013, I was in Tokyo and I was using another new Fujifilm camera, the X-M1. The X-M1 used the same X-Trans CMOS sensor as the X-Pro1 and X-E1 but didn’t have a viewfinder. It had a tilt screen and was actually the first camera to have Wi-Fi too.
To be totally honest, I never really got on with this camera. It was too fiddley, and I really missed the viewfinder. I’ve never been a huge lover of tilt screens, and I’m pleased Fujifilm continue to pacify people in both camps with cameras that have tilt screens and cameras that don’t.
The camera did yield me an image on that trip to Tokyo which went on to win SWPP Landscape photographer of the Year award though.
When the X-T1 arrived, the game changed for many people. The X-Pro1, X100S where good cameras, but they were perhaps not quite sharp enough for many to consider for professional work.
However, when the X-T1 came along with its continuous focus and high-speed shooting, this was when I first started seeing a big influx of shooters coming to the Fujifilm stable.
Some of my favourite images to date have come from the X-T1:
And of course, later came the X-T2 and the X-Pro2 and little curve balls such as the X70.
The X70 remains one of my favourite cameras; despite what I said about the X-M1, the X70 is also an LCD only camera and it has ergonomic issues too, but that camera has so much character and is so small that it is still one of my most use cameras when shooting. I shoot with my X70 at weddings as well as personally and I really hope there is a future for that line of camera.
And, as we come to the end of this whistle stop tour of my time with the Fujifilm X Series of cameras, I can’t possibly leave out two of the new guys in the stable; the GFX 50S and the X-E3.
For me, the GFX is all about prints. I use in mainly in my family photography business which is prints only and I find it incredible that I can shoot with a medium format camera, handheld, in a candid way.
It’s a big camera of course, and that’s why it’s not really suited, for me at least, for fast paced shooting, but anything where the pace is slower, and the images may end up in print, then the GFX is the way forward. I can’t wait to see how this branch of the series matures.
Here is a little snapshot of my own summer, all shot hand held with the GFX 50S:
A ‘Day in the Life’ session is a photoshoot based on the same ethos as the way I shoot my weddings; 100% candid.
It’s critically important for me that my clients can look back at these day in the life images in 10, 20, 30 years’ time and remember the actual moments with their family. Moments that happened naturally, rather than ones that I, as the photographer, stage managed.
By using the very small and very silent Fujifilm X Series cameras I can really blend in as much as possible and just observe the family, photographing the moments that I think are important to photograph. Continue reading A Day in the Life by Kevin Mullins
We asked a few of our X-Photographers why they love the widest of our super-fast aperture prime lenses, the FUJINON XF16mm F1.4 R WR. Here is what they said..
Kevin Mullins – Reportage Weddings
At first I wasn’t sure if I would be attracted to the 24mm full frame focal length having tried that several times in my Canon days. However, as soon as I got the 16mm I just knew it was going to be a flyer. This lens is PIN sharp wide open, focuses incredibly quick and works so well with the continuous shooting mode of on the X-Series. It gives that extra width when shooting in tight areas at weddings and is perfect for shots such as the recessional and really close up but powerful images of the confetti throwing etc.
I love the 16mm f1.4! It’s a surprisingly versatile lens that is equally at home shooting portraits as it is landscapes. The X-Series lenses are all fantastic, but I would say the 16mm f1.4 has something extra special. I can’t really put my finger on it, but there is just something magical about it. There’s a cinematic quality, an epic look, yet a sense of real intimacy when working in close. I like to work with two bodies at a time and the 16mm paired with a 35mm or 56mm is an amazing combo that gets any job done, no matter how low the light!
Stuck in dark, hot conditions with F2.8 being on the borderline of usability, even with high ISOs, the XF16mm offers a popular standard focal length with a wide aperture range that makes it surprisingly versatile. Though you can stop this down for a larger depth of field, many want to use this at F1.4 or there abouts. A very close minimum focusing distance and beautiful out of focus rendering make this a superb lens for placing your subject within an environment but keeping the viewer focused on the subject thanks to that narrow depth of field.
This is lens is so sharp and so fast it’s unbelievable, I carry it with me at all times to get me out of trouble in low light conditions. I used to use a 24mm on my old film camera for Street when I was shooting wide, but now I use the XF16mm. It really comes into its own on busy city streets as it allows me to get in close but also grab lots of other detail in the background. I love the lack of distortion when shooting in cities with lots of vertical & horizontal lines.
When I first received the Fujifilm X70 I looked at it and thought…….hmmmm. Then I scratched my head and glanced sideways at my X100T which was looking back at me with suspicion and concern.
I have to admit that I also had suspicion and concern when I first picked up the X70. It’s teeny. In terms of length and width it’s almost a third smaller than my mobile phone.
My X100T, on the other hand, is larger.
So I challenged myself to see if size really does matter and, more importantly, does the X70 live up to its big brother X100T when it comes down to image making.
Brief Differences and Similarities between the X70 and X100T
This isn’t a review of either camera but it makes sense for me to point out the fundamental differences, and similarities between the two cameras.
Both cameras share the same 16-megapixel APS-C X-Trans II sensor but that, possibly, is where the similarities end.
We already know about the size difference, but really the biggest differences are the interface to shooting and the lens and so I will concentrate on these during this post.
“Beat the fear of Street photography by allowing people to come to you, instead of you to them.
Then just… Click. No pressure.“
The X100T has an excellent 23mm F2.0 lens. Way back when I was shooting DSLR, my preferred focal length was 35mm (full frame equivalent), and actually it still is.
I LOVE the lens on the X100T and this is one of the critical changes because if you also LOVE the lens on the X100T, you need to know that the lens on the X70 is different.
The lens on the X70 is a slower F2.8 but wider 18.5 mm focal length or 28mm (35mm equivalent).
So straight away, we can see that the X100T is going to be better at low light shooting, albeit marginally.
However, the size and weight of the X70 means we can shoot at slower shutter speeds to mitigate this to a certain extent (depending on the subject matter of course).
For me, I love that 35mm FF focal length and I’m getting used to the slightly wider view from the X70.
I instinctively lifted the X70 to my eye when I first got it out of the box. Big mistake as there is no viewfinder in the camera (you can purchase an external viewfinder attachment that slots into the hotshoe).
For me, the reason I never really gelled with the Fujifilm X-M1 was because of the lack of viewfinder. But then the X-M1 was bigger…..and didn’t have the X-Trans II Sensor.
I’ll give it a try I thought.
And you know what, I have learnt to really like the LCD shooting experience of the X70. I’m not a hundred percent convinced I wouldn’t prefer a viewfinder as at least an option, but obviously one of the reasons this camera is so small is because of the removal of the viewfinder.
Instead of the traditional way of shooting, in the X70, you have a remarkably versatile tilting screen, which even tilts vertically above the camera to allow you to take “selfies”.
When shooting with the X100T I have to use the viewfinder, or shoot from the hip using a zone focus technique.
I can still use zone focusing with the X70 of course, but the benefit of the flip down screen is plain to see. Additionally, the X70 implements some neat touch screen features where you can use your finger to very quickly touch, focus & shoot.
That’s a great advantage when out on the street shooting.
“I adore elderly people holding hands and I strive to look for pictures like that.
Pretty much, I just want to be like that with my wife when I’m elderly too.”
Which camera would I use?
This is the question I’ve been asking myself a lot. When would I use one over the other? And I actually sat down and came up with a list of scenarios where I would use either the X100T or the X70.
In really low light I’m going to need the X100T. I don’t use flash, and I find that I use the Optical Viewfinder on the X100T a lot when shooting in low light.
For that reason, and also because of the build and form factor, the X100T will remain one of my primary cameras as a wedding photographer.
However, the X70 really comes into its own when I pick up a camera to go and shoot street photography.
In fact, for me, its superseded all other cameras in the range when it comes to shooting on the street.
I like to get in close and I like to observe and prepare to shoot. Unless I need to use different lenses (for example, I may use a MF lens on the X-Pro2 or X-T10 for rapid zone focusing and shooting), the X70 is an ideal camera for shooting on the street.
The fact that you don’t even have to press the shutter button is a marvellous thing in itself and lends the camera perfectly to candid street shooting.
The X70 isn’t going to replace my X100T, but at the same time, my X100T will be a lot less active for my personal and street photography work.
“These images below were shot using Auto Focus, at F2.8 without the flip screen down.
Simply pointing and shooting from the hip. One handed (as the other was occupied with Guinness at the time).”
Last week I purchased a Fuji X-T10 as I wanted something a little smaller than the X-T1, but with interchangeable lens options, for my street photography.
Although the camera has been out for a while, I’d never actually used one until my one arrived. But as soon as I got the camera I immediately knew it was going to become my 27mm pancake lens camera option.
The 27mm is a lens I love to bits. It’s also a lens I’ve lost twice and I’m now on my third XF27mm lens and I suppose it’s a testament to just how small this lens is that I keep losing them!
I won’t be using the X-T10 as a wedding camera; for me, it’s not quite at the level I need for me to be comfortable shooting weddings with it.
However, it will likely be one of my backup cameras for weddings and it will definitely be a camera I take on my street photography trips out.
It really is a very discreet camera. Couple it with something like the 27mm lens and you can really just blend in and behave like anybody else with a small point & shoot camera.
These are just a few processed snaps from a day I spent in Southampton running one of my street photography workshops.
“I’m a huge fan of the 27mm lens and I think I’ve found the perfect compliment for it in the X-T10.”
I’ve recently been using a prototype of the new Camslinger Streetomatic which is an upgrade to the version I’ve been quite comfortable with for a while. The new bag is PERFECT for street photography. The clasp is better and yet it’s still possible to quickly remove the camera with one hand and start shooting. I used it with the X-T10 and 27mm lens. I had plenty of room for two spare lenses, my wallet, phone and notebook etc.
Kevin Mullins is a Wiltshire-based award winning wedding photographer who specialises in telling stories, through pictures, of weddings. The style of wedding photography he uses is known as documentary wedding photography, or reportage wedding photography and he is passionate about photographing weddings authentically, sympathetically and responsibly.
Our X-Photographer “Why I love” XF lens series continues with our super sharp, super fast aperture prime lens, the FUJINON XF56mm F1.2 R.
Kevin Mullins – Reportage Weddings
Most wedding photographers want to be able to separate their subjects from the background at some point during the day and the amazingly fast 1.2 aperture of the 56mm (85mm full frame equivalent) allows me to do that. Even when I’m shooting fast moving subjects, such as a confetti throw, I will sometimes want to offer a luscious depth of field and there is no other lens that offers that f1.2 aperture that allows me to do that right now. This lens, along with the 23mm lenses are my goto lenses for every single wedding I shoot.
The super fast aperture of f1.2 and the full frame equivalent of 85mm make this lens an essential part of my kit. It doesn’t matter if I’m shooting a documentary wedding, a jazz artist in a dimly lit room or a well lit portrait, the 56mm lens has a unique look and produces some of the best shallow depth of field creaminess of any lens I’ve ever used. Like all the Fuji XF lenses, the 56mm is also razor sharp and it beats the best of the high end 85mm lenses from the other big manufacturers. I haven’t tried the 90mm f2 yet, but it looks like that too will be an amazing portrait lens.
Many photographers came to the X-Series because of this lens. Offering F1.2 at 85mm equiv. focal length in a compact package that happens to be one of the fastest focusing lenses in the range… The F1.2 effect has so many benefits, from striking portraits to being invaluable in low light conditions. The later is particularly helpful for me. In tropical rainforests you don’t often see wildlife from a far but instead stumble across it. Here the F1.2 helped to capture this baby elephant dozing, ISO1600 F1.2 1/120sec. If this were with a F2.8 lens I would have been shooting at 1/30sec, risking motion blur as I tried to contain my excitement.
The 56mm F1.2 is my most used lens, it’s almost always the first lens I reach for on every shoot. I love the narrow depth of field and the super fast focusing. As a landscape photographer people are surprised when I say that I often shoot with the lens quite wide open, but for my style of long exposures where I’m trying to create a sense of infinite space the wide aperture looses the background nicely obscuring details I don’t need in the image.
So here’s some exciting news, the official X-Photographers website has been updated!
Six of our UK X-Photographer’s have seen further images added to their current galleries to bring even more beauty to the site. So relax, grab a cuppa and take a moment to discover some stunning new works of art within the Fuji realms.
Damien Lovegrove left his role as a cameraman and lighting director at the BBC back in 1998 after 14 successful years to create the renowned Lovegrove Weddings partnership with his wife Julie. Together they shot over 400 top weddings for discerning clients worldwide. In 2008 Damien turned his hand to shooting beauty and portraiture and has since amassed a dedicated following for his distinctive art. Damien now divides his time between teaching the next generation of photographers and photographing personal projects. His book Chloe-Jasmine Whichello is highly regarded as a portrait style guide and his website galleries have over 2000 images to browse through among the 30 categories.
Described as a living legend, Damien is on a roll with the best of his work yet to come.
David Cleland is a landscape and reportage photographer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
He is best known for his landscape and documentary photography which has featured in a number of photographic exhibitions. His solo exhibition, an exploration of the decay of a 400-year evacuated mill received critical acclaim. David also teaches film and animation applying the rules of still photography to the art of moving image.
David’s work has been accepted by Getty Images and been published in a number of national publications and used in numerous book covers.
David has written for a number of publications on the importance of photography in education and also produced tutorials and papers on a range of photography techniques.
MacLean Photographic was founded in 1996 and takes its name from owner Jeff Carter’s full name – Jeffrey Stuart MacLean Carter.
With over 20 years experience in several fields, including commercial, sport, landscape, travel and photo-journalism, Jeff Carter is based in Dunbar, near Edinburgh in Scotland. However he travels the world with his work in the motorsport and automotive industry and is constantly on the lookout for that next great image to capture.
As well as providing photographic services to editorial and commercial clients, MacLean Photographic runs a number of Photographic Workshops and Tours for individual or small groups of photographers of all abilities in and around East Lothian.
Kevin is pure documentary wedding photographer. He started shooting weddings professionally in 2008 and since then has photographed weddings right across the UK and Europe. Shooting in a documentary style he strives to tell the story of the wedding through photojournalism, rather than “traditional” contrived wedding photography.
Kerry is an award winning fine art equestrian photographer, shooting commissions across the UK and worldwide. Her work has also been published in a number of UK and international magazines, websites and blogs. Kerry was also the first female UK photographer to be named as a Fuji X-Photographer, joining a group of brand ambassadors worldwide.
Matt is a black & white street and event Photographer based in Liverpool, England.
His journey through photography has been over 40 years mostly using film. He still shoots film, but most recently he prefers the freedom and flexibility of the digital medium striving to retain the integrity of the original image.
Annual projects have helped him to focus on his personal development within the industry, constantly challenging his own ideas and concepts and forcing him to learn new skills. In 2013 he carried out a Year of Black and White project, this made him rethink his whole style and camera system.
Matt’s stock images have been used in advertising all over the world, his work has also been published in many books and magazines, including many photography magazines.
Matt runs Street Photography workshops and courses around Liverpool and other UK cities passing on his tricks and techniques in Street Photography and processing in black and white.