I bought a new camera…again.

After much experimentation and deliberation, I pulled the trigger on something I’m very excited about. But we’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s recap.

In the past few years, I’ve owned the following Fujifilm gear, all with its own pros and cons.

Cameras:

⁃ X-T1

⁃ X-T2

⁃ X-E2s

⁃ X70

⁃ X100F

⁃ X100V

Lenses:

⁃ 16mm f/1.4

⁃ 18mm f/2

⁃ 23mm f/1.4

⁃ 27mm f/2.8 R WR

⁃ 35mm f/1.4

⁃ 35mm f/2 R WR

⁃ 50mm f/2 R WR

⁃ 56mm f/1.2

⁃ 60mm f/2.4 macro

⁃ 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS

⁃ WCL and TCL conversion lenses for the X100 series

The caveat being that I didn’t own it all at the same time and most of this gear was necessary for professional purposes. While I enjoyed all of it, I definitely noticed a trend in what I leaned toward using when clients weren’t involved. The “best” lenses weren’t the ones I gravitated toward because they were typically significantly larger and heavier. My favorite lenses for personal use are the 18mm f/2 and the 35mm f/2. Small, lightweight, easy to carry and both focal lengths that I find very versatile.

When it came to the cameras, it’s no secret that I love the X-T1. My first foray into mirrorless and it didn’t disappoint. Even now, this seven year old camera still packs a punch! (So much so that I sold the X-T2 and went back to shooting with the X-T1). The only thing I don’t love about it is the form factor. It’s DSLR-esque to be sure and I much prefer the form factor of a rangefinder style body.

Which is why I took a spin with the X100 series. Ultimately, (though perhaps the most beautiful cameras Fuji makes), I wanted more versatility. Yes, I like to limit myself and I don’t mind shooting with only one lens (in fact, I relish it), but I would like the option to change said lens if the situation warrants. Even if it only warrants a handful of times a year.

I thought maybe the X70 could replace the compact camera void left by the X100F and X100V when I sold them, and it did, to a point. I really loved it to be honest and if I were a camera collector, I would’ve kept it. But I’m not a collector. My cameras are utilitarian tools and the X70 was a little too niché. I loved it when I used it (even if the D-Pad was a little too close to the screen, making it hard to depress the button on the far left), but I couldn’t use it as much as I wanted. It didn’t have a wide enough aperture to shoot in my home, which can be somewhat dark. It was a solid, well built little machine and I do think Fuji should update it with newer features and a flush screen like the one found on the X100V and X-E4. An X80 would certainly peak my interest.

The X-E2s was the most recent of my experiments and I raved about it. I loved the form factor, the size…I even said it could usurp the X-T1 as my favorite interchangeable lens camera of all time. It was a joy to shoot with. I don’t think I’ve ever had a camera that fit my hand so well.

But alas, some of the projects I’m working on need more megapixels in order to showcase the detail I’m aiming for. I was also feeling the limitations of the slower autofocus found in gear that was 6+ years old. I don’t always have the option of taking my time.

I briefly considered the X-E4 but ultimately, the body is just a little too streamlined for me. No grip, no focus mode selector switch, and no rear dial – all things that are very useful to me. Next, I toyed around with the idea of an X-Pro series camera but of course, that’s a significant size/weight increase and I dismissed it on those grounds.

So, after selling off all my gear save the X-T1 and 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS lens, which I kept for my daughter, what did I wind up purchasing? You may have caught on if you were paying attention to the captions in my last post. Keeping in mind my tried and tested 4-S philosophy (i.e. size, speed, sound, savings) I went with…

…drumroll please…

The Fujifilm X-E3! A little bit old, a little bit new, it’s the perfect combination of all the things I loved about the X-E2s but with some more updated features, while at the same time, not sacrificing the tactile functionality. My goal was a small, lightweight, versatile toss-in-my-bag option and coupled with either the 18mm f/2 or the 35mm f/2, I think this fits the bill nicely. It’s been a very busy couple of weeks so I’ve not had a chance to really put it through its paces yet, just grabbing a few shots here and there as I do life. But I think that really demonstrates how portable this camera is. I always have it with me.

I’m also interested in adapting some wide aperture vintage glass (which I haven’t done since I sold off my film gear a few years ago) so I’ll be on the lookout for that as well.

I tried out the 27mm f/2.8 R WR recently. And I sent it back. Sorry, not sorry.

The lens itself is well built and quite sharp so no issues there. However, the included hood and lens cap are ridiculous (the lens cap is the cheapest piece of photographic garbage I’ve ever seen). I wanted to love it for its size alone but honestly, it’s very close in size to the 18mm f/2 and I like that lens better. The focal length is interesting…I think I could love it, but it would take some getting used to.

I could see this lens being fantastic for travel photography or street photography where you’re unlikely to want or need a very wider aperture, but I don’t shoot either of those things often and I need my lenses to be more versatile.

The lens is a solid performer and definitely one I would consider if I lived in a more evenly lit space, or practiced a genre that lends itself to the unique qualities this lens has to offer. As for me, I’ll be sticking with my two favorite lenses of all time: the Fujifilm 18mm f/2 and the 35mm f/2.

Leaves, leaves and more leaves.

One of my on-going projects is photographing leaves. It’s not macro photography, especially given that many of them are oversized, but I do focus on really filling the frame and trying to capture some of the detail that makes each of them unique. 

I’m enthralled by the variety. The colors, the veins, the patterns. All of them so beautiful. I love the imperfections of each as well – adds character. I imagine it will be a lifelong pursuit. Eventually, I would like to print and frame a dozen or so for a gallery wall in my house. Maybe I’ll offer art prints at some point. Who knows? 

Here are some I’ve captured this year.