(When I started this post I thought it would be short — but it grew and grew and grew! In addition, right now and for a couple of days after the publication date, there is a Fujifilm instant rebate promotion that takes hundreds of dollars off the prices of lenses and cameras and bundles. See a list of links at the end of the article.)
My friend “Pat” sent me an email recently with the following question:
I hope you have been well. I was hoping you could offer your thoughts on ‘why Fujifilm’ for your walk-around/street photography system. I have been reading (perhaps a little too obsessively) many rave reviews on their cameras and consistently love the look of images that are shared. (Kevin Mullins, Zack Arias and many others) have professed their love for the Fujifilm system.) While my G.A.S. has been in remission lately, I know I am susceptible to a relapse-I’m not sure if I’m looking for you to talk me off the ledge or give me a solid shove. Why do you choose Fujifilm instead of using a couple of the smaller (non-L) primes with your 5D series? I shoot the 6D as my primary body and have been saving for a 24-70 f2.8 (to replace my 24-105) but the current sale on the Fujifilm at Adorama has me thinking.
As I thought about my reply it occurred to me that others might be interested in the answer, too. With that in mind, I’m sharing my reply. The main context of your question seems to be focused on street and “walk around” photography, and Fujifilm is now my primary system for what I refer to as “street photography and travel photography.”
And, yes, G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) can afflict all of us. Let’s see if I turn out to offer an antidote… or become your enabler!
I have recently been posting photographs made with my new Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Before long I intend to share a review based on my experiences — but that is a bit too big of a project for today. For now I’ll just say that it is meeting and exceeding my expectations and I can recommend it to folks who can make use of its special set of features. A few pages on this website mention it:
But the main point of this brief update is to let you know about an excellent deal available on the X-E2, a 16MP interchangeable lens mirrorless camera much like (but better than) the X-E1 that I relied on for three years. Right now you can pick up this camera for as low as $499. Considering that you can apply a free Fujifilm firmware update and give it virtually the same capabilities as the newer X-T10 and X-E2s, this deal is even more remarkable. If you have been thinking about one of these little mirrorless cameras and would like to give it a try, check out these deals.
Several bundles from Adorama include include Fujifilm NP-W126 Battery, Fujifilm Half Case for XE1 Camera, 24/7 Traffic Collection – Small Holster
Fujifilm X-E2 Mirrorless Digital Camera with XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Lens
This website has an affiliate relationship with B&H Photo and Adorama. Your purchases through website links return a percentage of the sale price to this website — but your cost remains the same. Be sure to verify pricing and descriptions at the vendor websites.
Fujifilm just released their newest camera, the X-Pro2. Since I have been relying on an earlier Fujifilm camera (the original X-E1) for over three years — and liking the results a whole lot — it seemed like time to move up to the newer, more refined body. My new X-Pro2 arrived a few days ago, and so far I’m quite impressed. (My time with the camera has been limited thus far, and I’ll share a much more detailed report once I have had a chance to use it extensively.)
The Fujifilm “x-trans” sensor cameras are appealing for a number of reasons:
Small, light mirrorless designs offer an alternative to larger DSLR systems.
The x-trans sensor produces excellent image quality and uses a photo site layout that is designed to minimize aliasing without using anti-aliasing filters.
The Fujifilm lenses are truly top-notch, from primes to zooms, and there is a complete and diverse selection of available lenses.
Until now all of these cameras have use 16 megapixel (MP) 1.5x cropped sensor designs. 16MP is plenty for almost all photographers, and I make beautiful 18″ x 24″ prints from the files. One of the main updates on the X-Pro2 is the addition of an optimized 24MP sensor. If anything, this sensor improves the low light performance and dynamic range of the 16MP versions, and it provides a bit more resolution.
The X-Pro2 also improves on many of the ideas behind the original (and now a bit long in the tooth, though quite inexpensive) X-Pro1. Both cameras use a hybrid viewfinder that incorporates both an optical viewfinder (OVF) and an electronic viewfinder (EVF), both of which have advantages in various situations. The OVF works beautifully with many primes, eliminates shutter blackout, and allows the photographer to see what is going on just outside the borders of the image. The design overlays an electronic display on top of the optical image. These features are very useful to those doing street photography and similar things.
The EVF works well with all lenses, from ultra wide to telephoto and especially with zoom lenses. It can be advantageous in very low light, such as night street photography. It also shows the precise frame edge lines and can display even more image data than the OVF.
The camera feels light but also solid and well-constructed, and it recalls classic rangefinder cameras.
I got mine with the new XF 35mm f/2 WR lens, one of five newer lenses that are optimized to autofocus more quickly on the X-Pro2 (and, presumably, future X-series cameras). It is also weather resistant. I can report that it focuses quickly and accurately in a wide range of situations. Since I also have my older XF 35mm f/1.4 lens, I haven’t yet decided whether I will end up valuing the extra stop of the f/1.4 lens enough to give up the faster AF and smaller size of the new f/2 lens.
That’s all I’ll say for now, but expect more in the not-too-distant future as I gain more experience with the camera. For now, I don’t see any reason to not recommend it.
Fujifilm X-Pro2 digital camera body — $1699 at B&H or Adorama
Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 WR lens — $399 / $299* with X-Pro2 at B&H or Adorama (*limited time offer)
(If you find this website and posts like this useful and you are going to get one of these products, consider making your purchase through links on this site. Your price will be the same, but the purchases help support the operation of the site. Thanks!)
These days I use the Canon EOS 5DsR for much of my photography — particularly my landscape, nature, wildlife, and long-exposure night photography. Since people often ask me about the camera, I have decided to offer this write-up. I’ll try to cover some things about the camera that work well for me, acknowledge one or two very small issues, and consider the kinds of photographers for whom it (or its twin, the Canon EOS 5Ds) might be a great choice. (This isn’t the first time I’ve written about aspects of this camera’s performance, and I have included a list of some of my other posts near the end of this article.)
The 5Ds and 5DsR are both 51 megapixel (MP) full frame DSLR bodies from Canon. They currently provide the highest sensor resolution available from a full frame digital camera and, as such, are targeted to photographers who need particularly high image resolution and who will photograph and post-process in ways that provide this. The 5DsR cancels the effect of the anti-aliasing filter found in the 5Ds — more on that subject below.
It is probably fair to say that the main attraction of these cameras is that high-resolution sensor, a fact that might lead some photographers to ask whether or not they will be able to take advantage of the high-resolution. Compared to earlier 5D-series cameras, the 5Ds/5DsR provide some other improvements, too. The autofocus (AF) system has been updated, noise handling is very good, and the camera produces high dynamic range files that can be pushed and pulled quite a bit in post. Some updates have been made to the hardware and software interface of the camera, too.
There is no question that these cameras can produce very high-resolution images. Photographers who work carefully and who make very large prints will be pleased. I have made test prints equivalent to 30″ x 45″ prints that look very good and it is possible to go even larger. However, before you jump at the highest resolution full frame camera purely on the basis of higher resolution, you should ask yourself a few serious questions. Continue reading Canon EOS 5DsR/5Ds: My Experience→
Photographer Louis Mendes rides a historic New York subway car
The timing of our December 2015 visit to New York City coincided with a special event on the New York Subway system — a day when historic subway trains run along one Manhattan route. Our sons had told us about this before, and we all met up at the south end of the line to catch the first train. It is made up of a variety of cars — some from just before the vintage of the current trains and others from much further in the past. It is a big event, and by the time the second run began there were big crowds. (One fun thing was watching the looks of the faces of folks at stations who didn’t know about this… as ancient subway trains rolled in and stopped to take on passengers.)
As I walked through one of the cars there was a big group of photographers, many holding vintage film cameras, some rigged up to work with modern electronic flash units. This fellow immediately caught my eye, and for a bunch of reasons. Many years ago my father had a camera almost exactly like his, and I thought it was the coolest thing back then. I also was taken by the contrast between his rig, with his giant camera and multiple flash units, and what I use to photograph in circumstance these days… a very small mirrorless system that works so well in low light than I never use flash. And I was pretty sure I recognized him, and thought that I had read about him somewhere. It was too crowded and noisy to talk, but I later figured out that he is street photographer Louis Mendes, who is well-known for photographing with this eclectic equipment in Manhattan. (I later ran into him again in front of the B&H store, and I recently read an interview in which he said that is his “third favorite” location for photographing.)
Hi Dan, have heard good things about the Fuji cameras. Have also heard good things about the SONY cameras. Both are mirrorless, but the SONY is a full-frame while the Fuji is APC/1.5X. Is there a reason you would choose the Fuji over the SONY – you indicated in the article you have been using the X-Pro1 and will be moving up to the X-Pro2… Illuminate me on the subject
That is a great subject to consider, Greg. Both Sony and Fujifilm are making some very fine mirrorless cameras these days, but for my purposes the Fujifilm is a better fit than, say, the Sony a7R II full frame mirrorless camera that Greg is thinking of. (Small correction: I have not been using the X-Pro1. I have used the X-E1 for the past three years and I now use the X-Pro2.)
Before I explain, I must acknowledge that the Sony is an excellent body, and another photographer may well find it to be the best choice for his/her needs. The Sony a7R II is, as you point out, a full frame body and the current version has a 42MP sensor rather than a 24MP sensor. The sensor is known for its low noise and excellent dynamic range. Sony has some native lenses, but lots of folks are using their Sony cameras with a range of third party lenses, including those from their Canon and (now) Nikon DSLRs.
I’ve read your reports on the 5Dsr. I assume by now you have one? Maybe you have different thoughts now, but you seem to point to the new body being good for large print/detail, but maybe not so great for fine art print.
If that’s still the case, what would you opt for if leaning towards fine art prints, large, maybe a heavily cropped slice measuring say 16″ x 72″ or so? Minus a mf body.
I’m looking to switch bodies and thinking the 5dsr or possibly the Nikon d810. Just curious what your thoughts might be if you ever had time. Thanks.
It has been a while since I’ve written about the Canon 5DS and the 5DsR cameras here, but since you asked I’ll share more based on my extensive use of the 5DsRover the past months. I have used it to photography everything from landscapes to people to wildlife. I think I see several sub-questions here, so let me respond to each of them.