Monday, 1 June 2015

How fuji changed my life as a photographer...

They header sounds a bit bold. But I was using Nikon gear vor years and I wasn´t satisfied with the gear. The cameras were just too bulky and heavy. My interest in street photography was growing. But a small Leica was way too expensive. So I decided to buy an old Ricoh 500GX rangefinder on ebay. I bought some film rolls and the photos coming our of this cheap cam blew my mind. It was a whole different way to take a photo without being noticed in the first way. And the fixed lens made me work the scene. There was no zoom.

Photograph upstairs by Nils Kuelper (robvisual) on 500px
Ricoh 500GX

I was using a cheap old SCSI-slide-film-scanner and the results were far from perfect. But there was some magic. The camera was tiny and had an optical viewfinder that allowed me to focus the Leica-way. Just a bit cheaper. It has a light-meter in front of the lens that is very simple and there is no way to set a precise shutterspeed-aperture-combination. But the results were awesome.

Photograph photo of people taking photos of a ship by Nils Kuelper (robvisual) on 500px
Ricoh 500GX

But I must confess that I´am a lazy guy when it comes to film development and processing. I love digital for the convenience and all the possibilities you have to post process photos from raw (for architecture etc.). And then the X100 made it´s debut. A rangefinder style camera with a fixed lens and all the dials you need to take photos without digging trough menus. I was thrilled and bought one to see it with my own eyes. And I was not disappointed (only a bit by the slow autofocus) by Fujis approach to build a retro style camera.

Photograph vintage by Nils Kuelper (robvisual) on 500px
I took the camera nearly everywhere: travel, street, family. I also bought the leather case that protects the camera when you throw it into your messenger bag. A fantastic combination. How could I do that with a DSLR?

Photograph Brasilian Cocktails by Nils Kuelper (robvisual) on 500px
The X100 is a great camera. But without an interchangeable lens-system I felt so sad. So I decided to sell my whole Nikon-stuff and buy me an x-e1 equipped with the 35mm 1.4. And the quality of this combination of a small profile camera and a tack sharp lens (even wide open) was an eye opener for me. I realized now what Fuji did right. The camera-body is an important factor. But the quality of the glass is the thing that really counts. I knew that before but professional lenses were way to expensive for me (remember that bulky L-stuff). And yes, Fujis lenses are expensive too. And they leave no way to buy cheaper ones for 100 bucks. So you have to pay a bit more for their stuff. So after I sold my four best Nikon lenses I turned four lenses into one 35mm. After using this combination I realized why Fuji has positioned there lenses between the cheap and the expensive stuff of the competition. Because the quality of the glass is the most important factor to show how a sensor can deliver outstanding results. That was a good decision. If you own a Fuji you will know what I´m talking about. They do a great job.

Photograph golden stonepath by Nils Kuelper (robvisual) on 500px
After hanging around with the x-e1 for about one year I ditched the body and my beloved X100 for an x-t1 and a X100s. I also bought the 18mm, 60mm, 55-200mm and the Zeiss Touit 12mm to have the most important focal range in my bag. And after the massive price drop of the x-pro1 I decided to buy one (it will arrive tomorrow, I will write about the new old camera from the perspective of an x-t1-user) for backup and size.

Photograph walking down a street in stockholm by Nils Kuelper (robvisual) on 500px
Today I´am happy that I found my "always with me" camera that fits into every messenger bag. A camera that isn´t loud and bold and feels like a good old precision-instrument in my hands (yeah! they also look good for my taste). I will write some more blog-posts about photography and Fuji related stuff.

Enjoy life and photography!


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