I just handed five pieces of kit to a friend who is helping me sell a few things. Don’t worry about a thing buttercup, there is a strategy in play. Thanks to this same friend I was recently able to do a brief but solid round of testing. When I say testing I don’t mean putting the camera on some scientific device or studying pixel shape or using a color checker then photographing a fountain. No, I just mean “Does this damn thing work?”
There were two new lenses. Each the same size and dimension but faster than my current lot. Two minutes later it was abundantly clear they would work for my needs. Larger than what I have now but not that heavy, faster and better fall off. There was also a new long lens test but mostly for fun. It proved to be WILDLY sharp, fast, stunning beast but a long lens isn’t high on my list at the moment. I shot approximately twenty frames and gave it back.
I also tested a new body with the specific intention of learning more about motion files types, stability and tracking speed. The camera proved excellent in regard to all three. This was after ten minutes of testing even with being limited by NOT having a computer that will playback 4k. My friend was stunned as my twenty second clip just hitched and jerked and hitched and jerked until I exported to something usable. Do I need 4K, not really, but remember…there is a strategy in place. Improvise, adapt and overcome.
The motion camera also came with a Small Rig plus grip which made the experience of handling the camera a total dream compared to trying to hold the body only. Lastly, I got to play with a camera I’ve always wanted to test. This camera reminds me of the years I spent with a small rangefinder. Quirky but light and small, I instantly fell in love.
Okay, the strategy so you don’t go thinking I get joy or excitement from the gear itself. As many of you know, my professional life seems to be in a state of perpetual change. I still work for Blurb but the position continues to change like it has over the last twelve years. I love this job, no two ways about it. But here is the key point. My professional life and my personal life are the same. There is no way for me to separate the two. I don’t mind this. After spending thirty years around the photography industry I can’t escape it, nor do I need to. And bookmaking and printing is a daily thing for me and has been since 1988.
But what I want to create changes as I continue to learn new skills. Travel is beginning to happen again in a major way. I need to lighten my load and simplify my equipment. One camera system instead of two. So, the strategy comes in both short-term and long-term versions. Short term is to sell off five pieces of kit. One body and booster and four lenses. In return I will purchase the 23mm 1.4 as my main lens for both stills and motion. Yes, motion. This lens worked perfectly for my on camera film needs as well as for what I would call general profile footage. One of my professional goals is to start making profile films of other creatives. VERY simple films with good sound, plenty of stills and some basic motion. But I also wanted as lens that world well for the bulk of my stills work. As I mentioned, this lens is fast and light and the fall off for motion is beautiful.
I kept my two ancient Fuji bodies as they are beat up, not worth much and I still love them. I will replace the body I’m selling with something new and will acquire the Small Rig setup for my motion needs. The long-term plan is to buy the 33mm 1.4 as the 50mm equivalent has been my prime lens for the past several decades. It is the exact same size and dimension of the wider 23mm. Ultimately, I will wait for the next generation of the XPro series but am in no rush. I will primarily use this camera for personal, still photography needs.
My goal is to be able to board plane, train, automobile, moto or bicycle with ONE camera, two lenses, mics and Small Rig and be able to produce what I’m looking for regardless of whether it fits the personal or professional side of my life. I also need to cover all my on camera film needs. Right now, I have too many irons in the equipment fire. I also forgot to mention my wife. She loves the old Fuji bodies and she pirates half of my lenses when we are abroad. Consequently, I ended up keeping a wide zoom I was intending to sell simply because she loves it and made my life a living Hell after I mentioned I was going to sell.
I could have sold all this equipment. I could have gone to Sony or Canon or Nikon or Panasonic or any other brand, but for the price there is no beating what you get from Fuji. The size, menus, ergonomics, performance, color fidelity, weight and durability are so solid. My life is changing as is my photography. When I look toward the future I see work. I see images and paper and mixed media and new dimension I have yet to harness or understand. These pieces of technology are nothing more than the facilitators. Sculpted and beautiful, yes, but their heart comes from us. Don’t forget it.