A long weekend with Fuji

My micro.blog feed has had some sort of daily picture for the past few days. You may be wondering I have been taking so many pictures this weekend? I’ve been curious about the Fujifilm X-Series cameras as many people have long talked about them. They have been raved about for their color reproduction and film simulations. I have used Micro 4/3s for approximately 5 years and size had been the major factor in why I’ve carried them around. The E-PL7 with a pancake lens is easily to keep at hand while the IBIS is good in those situations.

Last year, I was inspired to pick my camera up and carry it with me more often after hiking with the E-PL7 on our vacation in Ashville, NC. I learned how to process through the day’s photos quickly after many hikes with an infant strapped to me and a light pack on my back. It helped me remember how much I loved the thrill of getting that perfect shot and the process of editing.

This rekindled my love of photography and set me to think about how to display some of these photos in the house. At the suggestion of my wife, she suggested that we make some large prints of some of our waterfall photos and hang them. After seeing them, a new thought came to me. Why not make smaller prints and rotate them through on some of our walls?

One of the local camera club presentations was given by the owner of the local print shop on color profiles and print options. A visit was in order to see how the iPad Pro compared to the calibrated monitor and them printer so that I may adjust my photos to the printer’s profile. During my visit, he asked if I had shown my photos in any competitions. I had not. They had not been something that I had shared with outside of family and close friends. He urged me to present them at some of the local and state competitions. Some of that may have been to get a fresh blood into the mix.

In the past month, I have been out taking wildlife photos the best I have been able to with the rear display on the E-PL7. Many hours of squinting in the bright Florida sun at a screen straining to be bright enough to see has lead me to think that a viewfinder is certainly something that I’m starting to desire while shooting birds as they flutter about or stand as statutes in the water. This means a new camera body is in order to have an EVF. That has lead me to start considering everything available in the market since I don’t have much invested in lenses for Micro 4/3s. As I am open to any lens mount in mirrorless cameras, I’ve started to do research across the board. Fujifilm was at the top of that list.

How should one go about trying a new camera system without bleeding too much cash? I turned to rent an X-T30 and two lenses, the 23mm f2 and the 55-200mm OIS. I had them for 4 days and I was certainly going to get ever dollar of my rental out of them.

After work, I rushed home to open my package from LensRentals. I was eager to see if the battery needed to be charged. It had a full charge! Now, I just needed my SD card and I was off to the races. Taking pictures at home can be very difficult because of how the lighting is almost always terrible. I started with the 23mm and moved to the 55-200mm. I played with film simulations. I turned every knob and spun every wheel. Soon, it was time to get back to parenting and putting the kids to bed. The SD card was dumping to the iPad. Each picture was looked over and scrutinized. Every pixel was peeped. I simply turned to my wife and said this:

This rental is going to cost me a lot of money.

The X-T30 brought back something that I hadn’t felt since I had started shooting with the Pentax K1000. Now, I had to get up at 6 AM to beat the sunrise. And visit the wetlands. And go to the park. And see a sports competition. A full weekend somehow ended up becoming packed because of this camera.

Simply put, this camera amazed me and continued to do so all weekend long. It didn’t matter what I was shooting. Around the house? No problem. Shots at dawn? Sure. Wildlife? No sweat. Sports? Give it some high ISO and it’s fine. This incredibly busy weekend was great to be able to experience how the camera works in all these different conditions while really putting my own skills to the test. At the end of the weekend, I’ve ended up with over 300 pictures that certainly exceeded my expectations.

This rental is certainly going to cost me a lot of money.