Shooting Weddings With Fuji

This is the first time, that I have ever talked about gear on my website. I’m overwhelmed with excitement though. I’ve been shooting professionally, with Canon gear for almost ten years. I picked up the Fuji X100 in 2012, because I thought that it would be fun to take on trips, instead of lugging a big DSLR around. Unfortunately, I hated that camera. I mean…it looked cool, but it sucked. It was like using AOL on dial up, and I just don’t have the patience for that kind of thing. So, I sold it and kept chugging along with my Canon gear for all things personal and professional.

After hearing that much of what I hated about the X100, had been improved on, first with the X100S and then with the X100T, I finally picked the X100T in 2015. I fell in love with it immediately. I took it on at trip to Iceland, Norway and Denmark and didn’t miss my DSLR at all. Sure, I couldn’t zoom in while I was on a boat cruising through the fjords, but I felt so much smarter than all of the tourists with their Canon 5D Mark III’s and 70-200mm lenses.  When I arrived home from that trip, I started carrying the X100T with me to weddings, shooting bridal prep, and some of the couple shots. My wedding planner friend, Audra, saw me with it and said, “What is that, a toy?” I’m 6’4, so in my hands, most mirrorless cameras, look like toys. I remember, shooting a wedding at Walt Disney World, when the planner asked me if I was “actually” shooting film. I had a few guests ask the same thing, here and there. If it was all that I was shooting with, I might have felt less professional, but having a Mark IV around my neck, I still felt safe.

Fuji X-100T Iceland
Iceland with the Fuji X-100T
Olso Norway Fuji
Oslo Norway with the Fuji X-100T
Norwegian Fjords with the X-100F
Norwegian Fjords with the Fuji X-100T

In mid 2016, I picked up the X-Pro2, and shot an engagement session with it. I also took it on a trip around California. Although I really liked the pictures that I was getting out of it, I picked up a ton a sensor dust and spent lots of time editing it out of pictures, when I got home. I chalked it up to the fact that mirrorless cameras don’t have anything to protect the sensor. It certainly had nothing to do with the fact that I was changing lenses in Death Valley! I also didn’t really love the way that the XPro2 felt in my hand, and to be honest, it wasn’t as pretty as the X100F either. So I sold that camera and the couple of lenses I had acquired as well.

Xpro2 Kings Canyon
Kings Canyon with the X-Pro2 and Zeiss 12mm (Little bit of sensor dust in the left corner)
Somewhere in the Sierras with the XPro2 and Zeiss 12mm
Karate Kid Apartment with the XPro2 and Zeiss 12mm. Notice the sensor dust all over the place.

2018

Earlier this year, I picked up the X-T20 for a trip to Europe. I had specific reasoning that I needed interchangeable lenses. One of my favorite lenses to shoot with is a Helios 44M and I wanted to use it when I visited Monet’s garden at Giverny. I didn’t want to bring a Canon. I was already bringing a drone with me and I just didn’t have the room. Since the X100T has a fixed lens, I decided that I needed something else with a small form factor. First of all, the X-T20 is such an amazing piece of equipment for the price. It’s basically, the same camera as all of it’s bigger brothers, but it never grew up. It also is 24ish megapixels, which doesn’t matter for personal work but I always wished my X100T’s resolution, was closer to my Canon gear. I know…I could have gotten the X100F, but I try not to buy more gear than I actually need.

Giverny with Fuji X-T20 and Helios 44M
Giverny with Fuji X-T20 and Helios 44M
Deauville with Fuji X-T20 and Samyang 12mm
Deauville with Fuji X-T20 and Samyang 12mm
Deauville with Fuji X-T20 and Samyang 12mm
Deauville with Fuji X-T20 and Samyang 12mm
Washington DC Engagement Session with Fuji X-T20 and Samyang 12mm Lens
Washington DC Engagement Session with Fuji X-T20 and Samyang 12mm Lens

I kept shooting with the X-T20 and X-100T alongside my Canon 5D Mark IV, up until a few months ago, when my X-100T was stolen at a wedding. That’s another story entirely, but luckily I didn’t shoot any images on that camera, that day. I received about 1k from insurance, and decided to sell a Canon 5D Mark III, so that I could buy a Fuji X-H1. At this point, I decided to bring 2 Canon 5D Mark IV’s, and the X-H1 to my next wedding. I was careful, maybe even overly careful, to shoot as much with the Canon as I did with the Fuji, just in case I didn’t like something when I got back into Lightroom.

That was the last wedding that I shot with Canon. I still own an old beat up 5D Mark III, but only because it’s so beat up that no one would pay me much for it. I’ll likely use it for BTS video once in a while on non wedding work.

There are a couple of things that I love about the Fuji cameras that made me want to switch. None of this is scientific. It just is what it is…for me.

Wedding with Fuji X-T20 and FX90mm F2
Wedding with Fuji X-T20 and FX90mm F2
Wedding with Fuji X-T20 and FX90mm F2
Wedding with Fuji X-T20 and FX90mm F2
Chicago Wedding with Fuji X-H1 and XF50mm F2 Lens
Chicago Wedding with Fuji X-H1 and XF50mm F2 Lens
Chicago Wedding with Fuji X-H1 and XF50mm F2 Lens
Chicago Wedding with Fuji X-H1 and XF50mm F2 Lens
Dance Floor with X-T20 and Samyang 12mm

What I love about Fuji:

• Size. A lot of people complain that the X-H1 is too big for a mirrorless camera and you might as well shoot a DSLR. I have big hands. I love the way that the X-H1 fits in them with and without a grip.

• Weight. It’s about a half a pound lighter and depending on what lens is on either camera, it’s a shit ton lighter.

• I love the EVF. I never thought that I would…but I do. I heart it.

• I love to shoot with vintage manual lenses, and the EVF, along with Focus Peaking, make every shot come out in focus, every time.

• The tilty screen thing. I realize that some DSLR’s have them. Mine did not though.

• I love the way the colors are rendered. I’ve had to change the way I edit a bit, but it is certainly for the better.

• Goodbye stupid old CF cards.

• Manual dials work for my brain.

Fuji X-T20 with Helios 44M
Fuji X-T20 with Helios 44M
Fuji X-T20 with Helios 44M (2 Image Stitch)
Fuji X-T20 with Helios 44M (2 Image Stitch)

What I don’t love about Fuji:

• The loose eyepiece thing is annoying but it can be fixed.

• Battery life is not great, especially when shooting video, but it’s certainly not the end of the world. Hopefully that is improved in the future but it’s never going to be a  deal breaker with me.

• The menus system is not designed well. You really have to sit down with the camera when you get it and learn where everything is.

What other people complain about but I don’t care:

• They say that the X-H1 makes noise because of the IBIS. I can’t hear it, but it’s possibly because I went to a lot of Metal shows in my youth.

• You need the grip for the X-H1 to record more than 15 minutes of video. I don’t care. I don’t often record long interviews and that’s about the only thing that I record that’s more than a minute long.

• You can’t get the same bokeh with the Fuji sensor. I think bokeh is in the eye of the beholder and I personally, don’t care to shoot everything at 1.2 anyway.

There’s Really No Big Conclusion

I think I could have easily shot on Canon for another year or two but it was just growing really old for me. The lack of innovation started to get to me and I really wanted to try either Sony or Fuji. Fuji just happened to be the one I tried first. The sensor dust issue that I had with the XPro2 hasn’t happened with my X-T20 or my X-H1 but if it does I’m just going to have to start cleaning my sensors more often  Lastly, I think the change is good for me emotionally. I’m more excited to shoot now than I have been in a very long time. It’s nice to learn new things and change up my routine a little bit. I’m not sure if I’ll ever update this…unless shit hits the fan and I go back to Canon 🙂

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