In almost every article I have wrote on my website, in the Blog section, regarding Fujifilm gear, I talk about the synergy between beauty and functionality. This is one of the strongest selling point for Fujifilm cameras. Apart from the Fujifilm’s performance required for our photographic needs, (for both pros and enthusiasts), they do provide something that most Fujifilm users, consciously, or unconsciously are attracted to: beautiful, coherent design.
A camera is a tool; there are many types of cameras / tools out there and many of them provide a level of performance that, if we are honest to admit, truly spoils us. When I see what a good digital mirrorless camera can do today, I just wonder, how did pro photographers in the past, managed to use their film cameras? No autofocus, not an LCD on the back of the camera, no high ISO levels and super-fast shutter speeds, etc. What were they thinking in terms of the “perfect camera”, or at least what where their wishes, in order to have something “better” than what they were already using, back then? How did they achieve excellent result with gear that performs less than half of what our camera can do today? Magic? I do not think so.
Something remained the same, though. A photographer needs a good, reliable camera. More than that, a photographer appreciates a camera designed with the photographer’s needs in the designer’s mind. There are so many types of this “tool” on the market, so why not make them look beautiful and feel great in your hands? It is not only me who say, “Fujifilm makes cameras with soul”, but many others do; and it is true. Why? Let me try to make a short list of reasons (in the way I see it), explaining why we love Fujifilm cameras:
Fujifilm is a film & photo camera company; this is the first and most important aspect.
Fujifilm has a long history and tradition in building cameras, lenses and films and they have used this long, valuable experience in designing and building the modern mirrorless cameras, as we know them, today.
They have manufactured all their gear with great care and following high quality standards.
They were not necessarily the no. 1 company in the camera business and this is always a stimulating reason to improve, to innovate. When you are no. 1, you feel too confident and you might be tempted to rest for a while, smoking the victory cigar while bathing in your own feeling of contempt. This is when your competitors truly accelerate and probably overcome you. They are not yet no. 1 and thus, their motivation is always stronger.
They did not necessarily followed the general trend in camera design. They were looking for unique character.
Their cameras are inspired from the old cameras. Even if you have never used a film camera before, “the retro design” is something that catches the eye. The metal build and high quality finish just add to the charm and the desirability factor.
Even if being smaller (the X range with APS-C sensors), the results were always exceptional, comparable to the ones provided by a bigger competitor (a Full-Frame camera).
Probably the list could go on, but those are my 7 points, which summarize why Fujifilm has a place in my mind and my heart.
Nevertheless, we cannot talk about design, while excluding the performance and vice versa. They are interlinked and a good, reliable camera needs to have this strong connection between the two essential aspects.
Even if choosing a camera brand is something quite difficult and challenging (when not being influenced by other external factors, like receiving a good camera as a gift, or just copying some photographer who you appreciate), at the end, a true photographer knows it is not all about the specs. A list of specifications with great values on all technical aspects does not necessarily make a great camera to use.
Getting back to my list of reasons above, I can naturally understand why many people (me, included) have chosen a Fujifilm camera and not a Sony camera (if you have both, maybe this scenario does not apply to you).
Because Fujifilm makes their cameras with a soul, manufactured while following the needs and desires of true photographers. Sony, to push the metaphor a bit more, makes digital devices that captures digital images and videos. The difference of semantics say all that is to be said and yes, I might be very subjective in this bold statement.
I think it is both wonderful and useful to:
have an aperture ring on almost each lens;
have the cameras and lenses built in solid metal (even titanium, with the latest X-Pro3);
have the ISO and Shutter Speed real physical dials on top of the camera (just like on analog cameras, instead of digging into the menus, or putting your finger on a small plastic wheel).
have the rangefinder style design of the X100, X-E and X-Pro series as a valuable legacy, offering elegant design, as well as great ergonomics for such compact cameras.
Using such a camera, one can see that Fujifilm created a link towards the photographic past tense, that many of us, younger photographers did not live. Having a camera designed this way is also a natural and smooth transition from film cameras to digital mirrorless, for those who actually lived that past tense, older photographers, using analog cameras for work, or passion.
Choosing a Fujifilm camera is a subjective process (just like choosing another brand), but from all opinions I’ve heard, online, or in real life, the people who have chosen a Fujifilm camera seem to have most of the fun and least of regrets, compared to the others who have chosen other camera brands. Beyond all subjectivity and the “superficial reasons” of their choice (“it looks like a Leica”, or “people thought my X100 is an old, film camera”, or “I simply love its design”), there is real performance behind those gorgeous, metal camera bodies and amazing IQ (Image Quality) which for me, meant the end of dreaming about a Full Frame camera. How about you? Would you like to tell us why you love Fujifilm cameras?
Exclusive content, previously published in July 2019 on FUJI X PASSION – Inspirational Photography Magazine (Premium Area) – www.fujixpassion.com
© Sebastian Boatca 2020 / www.sebastianboatca.com