Love Letter27 Mar 2014
It all started with the Fujifilm X100S. For two weeks in June, the X100S came to Italy with my wife and me. It traveled, unobtrusively, from Liguria to Tuscany to Florence, was at home in museums, on cafe tables, in churches. In silent mode this camera is so quiet you can scarcely hear the shutter; it is perfect for quiet spaces and street photography.
The X100S retro design really resonates. During our Italy trip, multiple people asked me if I was shooting film with a rangefinder, which was kind of cool.
I was so impressed with the fixed-lens X100S that I purchased an X-E2 and a few lenses. The X-E2 continues the rangefinder aesthetic of the X100S, but with interchangeable lenses. The Fujinon lenses, particularly the 35mm f/1.4 and 23mm f/1.4, are exceptional. The X-E2 sports the same 16MP APS-C sensor as the X100S and its images are gorgeous. The X-E2 has been my every day carry camera since it arrived, and the X100S now travels with my wife. Mostly.
Fuji recently released the X-T1, which uses the same sensor as the X-E2 but is styled like an SLR and features a very large EVF, improved continuous autofocus, articulating screen, and weather sealing. The X-T1 garnered glowing reviews.
Another area where Fuji appears to be focusing is customer service. Their software upgrades add significant functionality to the X-series bodies and lenses, in some cases long after the products have shipped. For example, in late 2013, Fuji updated the X100 to add focus peaking and improve autofocus speed by 20%. This is remarkable considering the X100 had been discontinued (and replaced by the X100S) months before. The early X-T1 bodies had light leak issues; within a few days, Fuji openly acknowledged the defect and offered free repairs. Superior support will build some serious customer loyalty for Fujifilm.
What about Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, and the like? Frankly, they all make great cameras. The latest mirrorless systems all have terrific image quality and large(ish) sensors. The differences between manufacturers are mostly in design and usability, and in this respect Fuji has it nailed. An X-series camera feels, well, like a camera. If you’re comfortable with a shutter speed dial and an aperture ring, à la 35mm Rangefinders and SLRs, you’ll love the Fujis.
Some have said that Fuji is the new Leica. After over a year with the X-series cameras, I’m hard pressed to disagree.