Fuji Oh no, I didn't!

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
After all this, all this hemming and hawing what do I have in my hands? A full set of Fujifilm gear!

And I am quite satisfied with M. In 8 months I've shot 10,200 frames plus with it. I've got two lenses coming and I'm extremely satisfied with the ones I've had time to play with.

At the same time, it's been sad to see Q just gather dust while M is having the time of its life. So I've been trying to sell it. But the markets have been slow. And I don't exactly want to sell it for peanuts because in theory it's the ultimate street shooter, never once can a better camera form against the purpose.

But yeah, not much interest towards the camera.

Finally I gave in and updated the ads, now mentioning that I'm willing to entertain trade offers (Fuji gear and Leica M glass). Of course, all this discourse we've had and I've been having in my head about RF vs TTL, German Leica philosophy vs Japanese computerized-kitchen-sink-approach, all that. For parting with my beloved Q, for compensation I would be asking pudding, instead of meat. I'm like the kid asking to be paid in candy for mowing a lawn.

It didn't take long until an interested Fuji shooter emerged.

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But here we are, and from a financial point of view this is not a bad trade at all. If I needed the cash, selling Fuji gear piecemeal or as a package is going to be easier than selling the Q. At the same time, Fuji has been on my radar for a while. I say this is not ideal but in reality, it is.

I wanted this, as evidenced by all the pointless ramblings I've been writing (with increasing frequency). I wanted to get a modern Fuji system side-by-side to compare things. I wanted weather proofing and one-handed operability and "cheap" lenses and TTL composing and fully evaluative metering modes and wonderfully sharp EVFs, and ... now we get to see if I really meant it.

When I got the MP240 I promised myself to spend at least a year and 10k frames with it until I made any rash decisions. I guess I can come up with a similar promise with this new Fuji setup.
 

Luke

Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
214
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
that is a sea change. A completely different shooting experience. The gear is great....without doubt. Now take some time and grow accustomed to your new way of seeing and shooting.

I look forward to hearing about the transition. There will surely be some hiccups along the way. But in the end (which could be quite some time), it will be interesting see if you prefer the experience of one over the other....and if you prefer the finished photos of one over the other.....and hopefully they are not opposing systems...lol
 

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
Now take some time and grow accustomed to your new way of seeing and shooting.
The big problem here is of course my M and the growing family of M lenses. Really rocking that system, and if the Voigtländer 50/1.5 delivers even a quarter of its promise, Fuji has no chance in the lens output game.

Will I be able to balance shooting the two in a smart manner? History would say: no. But that's history. :) All my whining about wanting this and wanting that should at least warrant a real good look at the system and what it can do for me. There's an absolute plenty to be gained in this state-of-the-art MILC body and lenses.
 

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
Some immediate first impressions from inside shooting (tomorrow will be a first outing)

  • The build quality is much nicer than anticipated/remembered. The body feels a bit hollow but that shouldn't matter.
  • The buttons are so-and-so. I'm probably being too strict on the button feel but that's what it is. They probably are the second/third best buttons I've used on a MILC body (X100T still takes the cake, overall) but these don't feel perfect. Leica buttons feel better but they don't register 100% of the time. Certainly these buttons are 2-3 times better than the ones in X-T1.
  • buttons... buttons absolutely everywhere. Half of these seem to be unused after factory reset!
  • The ISO/SS/EC dials are super nice. Super nice. Kind of "hollow" but clicky and tactile. After spending 8 months dedicated to the $7k MP240 body I don't actually feel the body to being too cheap.
  • All the lenses are pretty darn well built if you ask me. Decently dampened rings, clicky aperture rings. Especially the kit lens 18-55 feels like a real quality piece. High quality, baby!
  • Haven't done direct A/B comparisons yet but was able to pull exposure down by a stop to recover some supposedly blown highlights. Weren't blown after all. This is a huge win over Leica highlights processing!
  • At least judged using Darktable default curves, the reds are Leica-nice, meaning pretty damn nice. I'd say, as nice as the MP240 reds. Which I like a tremendous amount.
  • ISO perf at 3200. Judging a sample shot I was absolutely blown away how clean it was. But I was examining a better lit portion of the image. As I panned over to a darker area I have to say it doesn't look as good as the Leica files. But that's understandable.
  • A shot at ISO 1250 is very good overall, well lit or poorly lit.
  • JPEGs are totally out of this world but I don't know if I can go back to JPEG lifestyle. I should probably make an effort to try it after a 2-year raw lifestyle.
  • Quality EVF and back screen with high refresh rates, fluid autofocus and short MFDs are among the very things I wished from this system. Outside at longer distances these don't probably matter much but it's certainly fun and triggers creative juices in me.
 
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mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
Perhaps this thread can serve as a developing "blog" of sorts, and if so, it could be moved over to Fuji forum.

Right now I feel like I have to revisit every corner of Helsinki with this guy, get the feel to it! Certainly this setup shouldn't win Leica in usability or IQ, but what if it does? Could mean big things in the future.
 

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
I could have taken this picture very easily with Leica, but I didn't. What is it when you get a new camera you experiment like this and after a couple of days you fall back to your rut and the longing for a new camera begins. I wish the playfulness remained.

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christilou

Legend
Jul 13, 2010
164
Sunny Frimley
I'm in a similar position although my weapon of choice for M back up is the Sony A7RIII. I've had the 7 series since it arrived some years ago and have some nice lenses so I feel duty bound to stick with it. That's not to say I haven't dabbled in the X Pro 2 territory having had the original X Pro 1 and XE1. The yearning for something "easy" never goes away I'm sorry to say! I kept my M240 simply because it's trade in value did not seem worth parting with it. I now have two Leicas having acquired the M10. I don't use the M all that much and it weighs a ton with the Summilux 50, just can't seem to let it go!
 

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
The 50 Summilux is a real gem to be sure.

I suppose I can force myself to wait until spring before making anything drastic.

I love the Leica look so very much; at the same time I get the feeling that a good photographer shouldn't really worry about how a lens renders. After a 30-second evaluation, this is of course a false feeling -- surely a painter gets to decide what sort of brushes to use against a canvas, what material they are and so on. In that regard, if an expensive Leica setup produces exactly what one wants, then it makes him or her no lesser an artist.

I expect that I continue to find M glass unparalleled (with Fuji glass maybe a tad clinical) but then I find some aspects of Fuji to be so wonderful that I can't really choose one over another. This is my hypothesis. Now of course, Fuji isn't limited to native Fujinon lenses so this is basically a battle that only tests my own limitations of imagination.
 

gordo

Regular
Jul 6, 2017
104
Arizona
Gordon
Personally, I find the Heliar 50/3.5 to be a good performer on the X-H1, I'd imagine it would be on the X-T3 as well.

As for jpg shooting - drop by the showcase forum, if you're not already aware there's a series of threads for the various film sims where different settings are being posted for various looks and attempts at emulating differing films. Might find one you like, or close enough you can make changes to your taste.
 

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
First outing, I went with the zoom. It's been over three years since I last operated a normal zoom. Wanted to relive those moments and see if I missed it too much.

Maybe after being accustomed to primes and Leica/acclaimed Voigtländer ones in particular, maybe going the first day with the zoom was a risky move.

In many ways the operation and the results remind me of the M4/3 days. Of course I knew that 1.5 crop factor can't always replicate the 35mm film look but this did come as a bit of a shock. I want my film look dammit :) (Let's totally forget about the fact that there are film cameras with much smaller sizes than M4/3.)

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And this brings the much more important point about my rather schizophrenic mind. Half of the time I look at my lovely rendered Leica shots well having in mind that these are of zero content, s**t substance. They render the focus transition just the way I love it, so what? It's not tickling my inner HCB. If I capture a great composition or moment with Leica, great. That's the goal isn't it. But if I captured the same moment with a Fuji, it shouldn't matter because composition's where it's at. The content, the emotion, the feel.

I like to think that if I take a shot with a poorly rendering lens and I like the picture, it means there's actual content in it. With Leica every shot can be attractive because of the unreal amount of microdetail captured.

And I shall not forget any time soon that the best landscape shots I took with the Pen-F and the Panasonic 35-100 f/4-5.6. It's certainly not about the crop factor or film-like rendering.

Fuji being cheaper ('more disposable'), lighter to carry, having all these features that expand the shooting envelope, in theory it means that in the long run Fuji will help me get more winning moments and compositions. I already utilised X-T3's flip screen to get some ground-level experiments done. Likewise, having a good screen to use as a poor man's shift capability helps with the perspective distortions. Of course that's something I can do, and do, with Leica too... only it doesn't "feel proper" when doing with a rangefinder. :)

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mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
Of course, we being guests to this Fuji subforum it would not be polite to mock the system in an excess amount. 😃

After a boring cloud coverage the evening opened up real nicely. I packed a whole trio of lenses, 18/2, 35/2 and the 50/2. This amount of gear is manageable, in weight and size.

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With Fuji gear changing lenses on the go is also a bit nice. It feels safer, there's no accidentally bumping the rangefinder level out of adjustment. The lenses don't cost $3k either, and they're featherweight. The sensor is exposed but then again Fuji and company all have automatic dusting features. (I did get new, big dust spots after I changed lenses but turns out they're all appeared on the viewfinder or something. Talk about a coincidence...)

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After the lukewarm beginning with the kit zoom, now I see piercing sharpness and detailed renders. Of course I can now start the tirades on character-vs-clinicality but I'll leave that to another day.


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^ Here Fuji/darktable removes most of my mild worries about if Fuji handles blown highlights well but at the same time "uglily". This is very much what I'd expect to get with Leica.

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^ Inspired by all the Fujifilm-shooting youtube heroes (who made me lust after the system again in the first place) I staked a sunbathed sidewalk shooting in S-AF mode any and all passersby making funny faces trying not to get blinded from the sun. These often got very much blown but to my complete surprise a -1 EV pull on this shot shows nothing was lost.

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By the way, the 35/2 has serious focus breathing issues. Serious. It's more like this lens has a focus asthma or something. Watching the viewfinder while letting the camera autofocus the lens brings me back to the MTV programmes of the 90s. Making me seasick! :D
 

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
You're kidding, right? Or is it really possible to knock the rangefinder adjustment by changing lenses on a Leica M?
With newer bodies I guess it's not a common thing. The recommendation still is to place the lenses in their closest focus so that they protrude the most and thus are in contact with the focus lever the least amount while un/mounting.

But for the most part, a false fear of mine I'm sure :)
 

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
One considerable benefit to Fuji is the advertised weather resistance, part of the appeal.

Now it's slightly drizzling outside and I don't feel like going out to shoot my new camera. You can taste the irony from there!
 

mike3996

Top Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
I did find myself an errand to run and while I did take my XT3 with me, didn't have much time to chase beautiful evening light in the rain. As I was strolling around the wet streets with my umbrella I did think to myself, this is something I couldn't do with the Leica, just as I postulated.

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The umbrella takes up one hand and Leica needs two to focus and shoot, unless there's light and I can ZF my way. But very often, not the case.

After my speedy errands the good light was gone. But this experiment I should try again. "Massive Attack - Pray for Rain"

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