This month, FUJIFILM is celebrating their 10-year anniversary of the X Series. Having bought my first X Series camera in late 2011, I’ve been on board for most of this decade-long ride, so I begin a memorable look back on my own journey with the X Series cameras as well.
What an amazing and rewarding adventure of creative exploration it’s been so far, with a renewed passion for photography, endless fun and a wonderful sense of community with my extended FUJIFILM family, and also with you guys, my fellow Fujifilm brothers and sisters around the world.
This post will be the initial article in a retrospective series about my 10-year history with the FUJIFILM X Series camera, and the impact that this journey has had on my photography during the past decade.
Chapter 1: It All Started with the X10
In October of 2011, while attending the PhotoPlus Trade show, I wandered by the FUJIFILM booth. At the time, I was a Nikon shooter, but I had begun to grow frustrated with my heavy cameras.
In fact, earlier that year, I had begun to strain the muscles in my right forearm, which I attributed to a heavy dose of one-handed shooting, which is one of my often-used camera techniques. This ailment required quite a few weeks of trigger point massage therapy to work out the excessive muscle tightness and alleviate the pain.
So, even though I didn’t really have any conscious ideas about switching to a new camera system, the seeds had been planted, which is why my visit the Fuji booth that day was such a serendipitous event.
It was a rather quick visit, because it was near the end of the show on Saturday afternoon. I was actually headed towards the door to leave the Javits Center and rush over to Penn Station to begin my long journey back to Alaska.
During the previous couple days at the show, I’d read about this exciting new X100 that Fujifilm had launched earlier that year. A rangefinder wasn’t really in my wheelhouse at the time, but I was at least curious to see what it was all about.
Anyway, when I stopped by the booth, my eye caught sight of a little black camera that was sitting on the table. It had a darling, very classic retro-style look, with an all metal body and pair of dials on the top of the body.
I was immediately entranced, and when I put this svelte little camera in my hands, it was love at first sight. It didn’t look like any point and shoot I’d ever seen, because it wasn’t a point and shoot. It was a fully operable cameras, just a small one.
It just felt so fun, so intrinsic, so… liberating to hold this cool little machine, but that wasn’t even the best part. When Brandon Remler, who was, and still is FUJIFILM’s awesome NYC area sales rep, showed me a very specific feature on the X10, I was immediately entranced. The deal was sealed.
The Film Simulations – Legacy Color Palettes Brought Into the Future
What Brandon showed me was the Film Simulation feature, which is one of the most fundamental, bedrock aspects the X Series, even to this day. When my eyes caught the Film Sim menu, and the official logos for classic films like Velvia, ASTIA and PROVIA, which were films that I had cut my teeth on during my early development as an photographer.
These were the very color profiles that were integral to my early creative development as a visual artist. I had shot so much Velvia during my film years; it was my favorite go-to stock for almost all of my action and landscape imagery. You could almost say that during those early years, my eyes and creative mind had become calibrated to the amazing colors that Velvia produced.
To have those very film profiles at my disposal once again… well, that was all it took. As soon as I got home, I called B&H photo and ordered an X10. It arrived a few days later, and that was the beginning of it all. It was my gateway drug to the X Series.
The X10: By Itself, And as a Second Camera
During the next few months, I spent a lot of time getting to know the X10, experimenting with the film simulations and the other fun creative tools it has onboard, and falling in love once again with those amazing Fuji colors.
I carried the X10 with me, even during times when I wasn’t taking the “big cameras” along with me, and in that way it became so liberating, because I started shooting way more photos for fun, you know, just to be creative. Taking picture simply for the sake of taking pictures. Isn’t that how it was supposed to be.
I begin to feel so comfortable with the X10, I even started to use it for shooting “serious photos,” if there is such a thing.
By the spring of 2012, I started using the X10 as a second camera alongside my Nikon during various hiking and biking adventures, or else using it as a “behind the scenes” camera to document specific scenes and camera/gear setups. A particular method that worked well was shooting long lens telephoto with the Nikon and using the X10 for middle to wide angle shots.
Sometimes I even took ONLY the X10, and left the Nikon at home, as I did during a week-long bike tour up the California coast in November of 2012. Being the first time I’d ever left town with out my Nikon, that was a HUGE DEAL.
Discovering the Amazing Fuji JPEGs
One of the things that I loved about the X10 was that I could shoot JPEG and still get these amazing images with brilliant colors and exposures.
Entranced with the creative simplicity this little Fuji offered, I shot my first X Series aerial with the X10 in April of 2012. Having shot a few Nikon aerials in the past, I was blown away by the unbelievably rich, dynamic tones I was getting straight out of the camera on the X10. This opened up a whole new world for me.
Later that summer, I even sold a landscape photo I’d shot with the X10 to a local client. The image ended up being used as a 4′ x 6′ Duratrans display print in a hospital lobby. Despite the fact that the image was basically a straight JPEG that came from a sensor the size of my pinky nail, the upsized reproduction looked simply amazing.
This showed me that image from a compact camera like the X10 were indeed good enough to be use for professional use. And even though I wasn’t really to give up my DSLR yet, I could feel the earth moving under my feet.
That first year with the X10 represented the beginning of a momentous shift in my entire photography life and paradigm. Enjoy this collection of some of my favorite X10 image, and stay tuned for more posts about my 10 year history with the FUJIFILM X Series cameras.
Also, feel free to leave a comment and let me know what your gateway camera was into the Fuji system!