I hadn’t planned to buy a new camera. Doesn’t stop me looking, obviously. Particularly around this time of year when Photokina, the world’s largest photography trade fair, takes place in Cologne. This is the time when the camera makers display their latest and greatest offerings.
I keep a particular eye on what Fujifilm is up to since I happen to have a Fujifilm camera, the X-E2, which has served me well for the last four years. (And will they ever change the brand name? The company is routinely referred to as just plain Fuji, and there’s every indication that Fuji’s commitment to film is less than wholehearted. So maybe it’s time to drop the ‘film’ bit. Perhaps they could go back to the old Fujica name.)
Anyhow, Fuji did indeed have a collection of new offerings on show: some very nice, and in one case very expensive, lenses and a new more ‘affordable’ medium format camera (which is really a cropped medium format camera if we’re being accurate).
What was of greater interest to me, though, was the announcement of the X-T3, the latest iteration of Fuji’s high end SLR style camera. My own camera is from the mid level X-E series, in the rangefinder style. Even though the X-Ts are very nice cameras I was never tempted because I preferred the rangefinder style of the X-Es and the X-Ts were a lot more expensive – typically $1500 compared to $900.
A while back Fuji introduced the X-E3, a nice upgrade in many ways but I was reluctant to go for it because Fuji, for reasons I still don’t grasp, decided to remove the ‘traditional’ four way controller and transfer those functions to a touch screen. Now touch screens on phones and tablets are a great idea – I’m writing this on a touch screen – but, for me, they have no place on a camera.
So I was content to stick with my X-E2 as long as it continued to work and worry about how to replace it when it stopped working. Then Fuji introduced this X-T3. While it was still too expensive for me, a year of photographing with film SLRs meant that I was once more comfortable with the SLR style. Having introduced the X-T3 Fuji then decided to shift X-T2 stocks by offering a very generous $500 discount. It was too good to pass up.
While the X-T3 is an improvement on its predecessor the major areas of improvement (video recording and specific aspects of the autofocus system) are not relevant to my style of photography. Given this it made much more sense for me to pick up an X-T2 at a bargain price than to spend the extra for features I don’t need.
Meanwhile, I’ll also be keeping my X-E2, an excellent camera in its own right. Even though it was first introduced five years ago Fuji’s policy of providing major firmware updates means that many features of newer cameras eventually find their way back onto older models.
One person sounded surprised when I mentioned that I had ordered an X-T2, presuming that my next move would be to ‘full frame’. There are many reasons why I’m not interested in going that route but one key reason is that no other camera handles the way Fuji cameras do.
Shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation – these key adjustments, the ones that actually matter for photography, are all on dials on the top plate, where they should be. Aperture is set by a proper aperture ring on the lens, where it should be. No amount of electronic gimmickry, or even a bigger sensor, could persuade me to give up on the Fuji’s classic controls.