Recently, a nice lady saw me at a restaurant with my Fuji X cameras, and she asked me for advice on which Fuji cameras to get for her daughter. Her daughter was enrolled in a high school program with a strong specialty on visual arts, and photography was one of their areas of study.
What follows below is an abbreviated version of my Fuji gear advice to them:
“Fuji X cameras with Interchangeable Lenses
While there are Fuji X cameras that have a fixed lens (I’ll discuss one at the very end of this paper), for a student of photography who wants to grow with her art, choosing a camera that can interchange lenses is the wisest, long-term investment.
Different lenses are appropriate for different subjects. I use an ultra-wide zoom (10-24mm) for my real estate photography. But then I switch to a moderate telephoto (60mm Macro) when I do corporate portraits. Ultra close-up shots can also be done by the 60mm Macro.
I like to document life on the streets of Toronto, or blog about a new restaurant or interesting retail shop. For that, I usually carry a couple of small, but fast, prime lenses. One is a moderate wide angle – my 18mm f2. Not as wide as the ultra-wide zoom I use for architecture and real estate, but wide enough to have a good field of view inside a shop or café. The aperture of f2 is quite “fast”, meaning it lets in a lot of light to the camera, allowing bright pictures in dim lighting, without having to resort to a flash.
Any of Fuji’s moderate wide angles with a fast aperture are a great choice as a small, all-around lens: the aforementioned 18mm f2, the very fast but heavy and expensive 23mm f1.4, and the tiny and light 27mm f2.8.
One of the senior executives at Fujifilm itself highly recommended the XF 18 – 55mm f2.8/4 lens for any photographer who is starting to explore the possibilities of photography. Optically this is a superb lens and is also reasonably priced.
Recommended Fuji X equipment
Here are my picks of the current Fuji X system. Depending upon budget, I would choose from one of the following cameras.
This is currently Fuji’s best camera and is built superbly. It is weather sealed, meaning its resistant to most inclement weather like rain or dust storms. It also functions well to -10C, which is handy for our Canadian winters.
Its EVF is big, bright and is virtually real time. When looking through the X-T1 viewfinder, even SLR purists are impressed and some feel there’s no longer any visual disadvantage compared to a mirror system.
The X-T1 focuses and reacts very fast, especially with the current firmware update from Fuji. A major firmware update from Fuji will, literally, transform the camera, making it faster and easier to use.
Fuji is highly unusual among camera manufacturers in that it provides a lot of free firmware updates to their cameras, improving upon their performance, even after they’ve stopped producing the camera. It’s remarkable customer service and maintains current performance of a digital camera for longer than normal.
What are the downsides of the X-T1? Price is one thing. While still cheaper than a high end DSLR from Canon or Nikon, this is Fuji’s most expensive camera body.
Another disadvantage is its weight. Because it’s built so tough and sealed so well, the camera is heavier than its sisters within the X system. Please bear in mind that an X-T1 is still lighter and smaller than a typical quality DSLR, so taken into context, it’s not really that heavy.
Fuji’s latest camera body. This camera also performs very well when it comes to autofocus. It’s also lighter than the X-T1 and significantly less expensive too.
To me, this is THE CHOICE of all current Fuji models, for a photography student. It performs nearly as well as the Fuji X-T1, it’s lighter, it’s less expensive, and it has all of Fuji’s most up to date features.
If your daughter doesn’t need an ultra tough camera body that can withstand desert storms and monsoons, the X-T10 ‘s build quality is good enough for most photographic purposes. If she carries it around in a lightly padded camera bag (or places a padded camera insert within her school bag or knapsack), the camera will be sufficiently protected for day-to-day use.
Other minor disadvantages compared to the X-T1: its EVF is a bit smaller, but still pleasant to view through. And it has a smaller buffer, so it needs to pause after fewer shots when doing a rapid burst of exposures. If one were OK with those characteristics, I would actually recommend the X-T10 instead of the X-T1.
Fixed Zoom Lens
At a price point that’s lower than the Fuji X-T10, I believe the better value is choosing a camera with a lens that can’t be interchanged, i.e. it’s fixed. If one chooses a lens that can zoom, the camera can be surprisingly versatile. Certainly, it won’t allow indefinite growth for the photographer when it comes to options, but a lot can be done with a camera like this.
I gave my wife this camera last year for Christmas. It’s the best camera she’s ever owned and she’s constantly amazed by its image quality.
The sensor is smaller than APS-C, but the quality of the photos are still excellent.
The camera is so small and light that my wife often carries it daily. Yet its build quality is quite good and relatively solid. It doesn’t feel cheap.
The zoom range goes from moderately wide to moderately telephoto. Basically, the most useful focal length range for most photographers.”