Prologue - the analog beginning:
I am new in this forum, therefore I thought that I start with a couple of words about me. Long time ago, when I was still a boy, I have received from my Godfather small, Russian camera – Smena 8M. Back then, shops were completely empty, so even this simple camera was not easy to get. I’ve started taking first pictures (monochrome negative). Later on, I have managed to buy Zenith 11 with camera lens 44M-4 (50mm/f2). Slowly, I’ve managed to acquire all the equipment for the amateurous photo lab, such as enlarger, chemicals, developing tank etc. I was using this dark-room for around 10 years.
Falling in love – my first digital camera
Later on, after a long break, another revelation: very technically advanced at that time Olympus Camedia C-765 Ultra Zoom. The optical zoom 10x, f2.8-3.7, 38-380mm, manual modes, 11 elements in 7 groups, including two aspherical lenses and one ED glass – for an amateur it was real digital power! Even though I got it over a dozen years ago, this camera still works just fine. However, certain features of this one, typical for compact cameras, such as long delay after pressing the shutter button, became annoying after some time.
Reveal – Canon era
My third milestone was my first Canon DSLR – 40d model. For a very long time I liked the style of Canon’s pictures, Nikon’s one was never that appealing. Other systems also weren’t what I was looking for. Canon was making true photos, with real colours. I felt that it was my style. Canon 40d used with a lot of cheap camera lenses (sometimes really good ones) gave me a lot of happiness and in the same time, really good photos. It cooperated with lenses Helios, Zeiss Flektogon, Sonnar, Planar, medium format Biometar, EBC Fujinon, SMC Takumar, HFT Rollei, and even amazing Minolta Rokkor PF 1.4/58mm. Afterwards, I have replaced Canon 40d for Canon 5d Mark II, which was giving even better results. The culmination point was replacement of Canon 5d Mark II with Canon 1Ds Mark II – my best ever Canon’s camera and best in general. I love it’s solid construction, long lasting battery life, amazing “analog” style and distinctive, quick service. Although, the camera was old, it had a number of professional functions and the resulting photos were best so far. Thanks to Canon I have started respecting the manual work and the usage of short focal lengths: 35, 28 and 22mm. Those are wonderful optical perspectives. In this chapter of my life I have learnt, that the best camera lenses (for me) are Zeiss Planar 1.7/50 C/Y, Minolta Rokkor PF 1.4/58 and… Canon EF1.8/50STM (excellent micro contrast, extraordinary in B&W).
Consciousness – Fuji era
The fourth chapter of my story is the beginning of my adventure with Fujifilm. The only problem I have encountered with Canon 1Ds Mark II was its weight. Often I was wondering, if I should pack it into my backpack or leave at home. I thought, that I should go back to the roots and change the camera to something small, which I can always have with me. I have started looking at other systems: Olympus, Pentax, Sony, Fuji. The Olympus’ pictures I enjoyed only for a short while. Pentax, despite its beautiful technology, had slightly too sugary colour style. Sony, despite the best matrix, gave picture so sharp, that felt “plastic”. Those are obviously my own, amateurous conclusions. I have started wondering about Fuji photo style. It was interesting, however different than my favourite Canon’s. Fuji gives picture involved in the situation, often slightly dramatic, exaggerated, a bit deceitful, however… that was interesting and addictive… And yet it happened, I have replaced Canon with X-T1 with Zoom 18-55 (that is also a revolution for me, up until now in 95% of time I have been working with camera lenses with fixed focal lengths). The precision of X-T1 is a strong argument, even after using 1Ds Mark II I don’t have a feeling that the camera has a bad construction. Obviously a lot of work is needed on my side to change my usage philosophy, however most of the things is in the right place. Even the different RAF format is not an issue, my Darktable handles it without a problem. An additional upside is the possibility of using old, analog camera lenses, that weren’t available for Canon EF (Minolta Rokkor, Canon FD, etc). My habits are going to lead me to fixed focal lengths camera lenses, probably manual ones first.
Epilogue – summary and questions
I appreciate the size and weight of the new system, my backpack is now almost empty. Also the camera lens makes a good impression, both mechanically and optically. I have started to appreciate the high quality of JPG files generated in body (including emulation of analog Fuji films), although I save images in RAF+Fine, I start to think that a lot of private pictures, I can accept in the JPG format produced by body. When it comes to photo style: I enjoy the greater photos’ dramaturgy, which sort of leads to a reportage. Those pictures are not too sweet, there are rather very real, showing both pretty and ugly things. However, sometimes I would like to take neutral photos, gentle, as from my Canon and I still can’t do that. When I ask on a forum if Canon’s and Fuji’s styles are different, I get responses that files RAW(Canon) and RAF(Fuji) I can moderate in a way, that they would give the same style. This is one of the biggest questions that has been bothering me last couple of weeks, I would like to know that I can take dramatic and real photos, however when it is needed I can also take ones that are clear as those taken by Canon. Therefore, I would like to ask, if you can help me with this matter?
Thank you very much for reading my long disquisition. Have a nice weekend!