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MemberSeptember 19, 2021 at 7:28 am
The one thing that did get me off my arse was photography. I’ve always loved it and have been shooting since long before digital cameras and smartphones were a thing. This was a hobby that took a back-seat during my pre-pandemic days, however. Having to basically worry about work from 6 am to 9 pm, there was very little time to dust off my camera. Post lockdown, I had all the time in the world for my hobbies, and boy did I make use of that time.The camera I use is a Fuji X-T30. It’s a bit of an unusual choice in a world dominated by Canons, Nikons and Sonys, but I’ve had an irrational love for Fuji cameras for almost five years now. It’s a pricey camera system to get into, but the capabilities of that X-Trans sensor tend to defy belief and can challenge even some entry-level full-frame cameras from the big three.
Since Fuji uses a custom colour filter instead of the industry standard Bayer array, moiré is not something you ever need to worry about. This means that you also don’t need an anti-aliasing filter, which means more light to the sensor, and thus less noise across the entire ISO range.
The little noise that does creep in at around ISO 3200 and above looks more like film grain than noise.
The design of the Fuji X cameras is also very analogue, with almost all essential controls available as buttons or dials. As someone who’s shot a lot of film, I love this. The lenses also tend to have dedicated aperture rings, tend to be made of metal, and are, without exception, incredibly sharp.
This may not be the best camera system, but it’s one I love using, and Fuji’s X-T30 is, for me, the perfect photographer’s camera. Battery life is poor, and I find the ergonomics a bit of a letdown when compared to the X-T10 and T20 that came before it, but these are small niggles in what is otherwise a nearly perfect camera.
In a pinch, the camera can also shoot fantastic DCI 4K 30 fps video at 200 Mb/s, which is downsampled from 6K, and uses the entire sensor. This is much higher quality than most cameras in this price range can manage, and even some cameras that are twice the price struggle with. It also offers a clean HDMI out (with 10-bit 4:2:2 support) for those who want to use external recorders and monitors. There are some serious limitations in the video department, however, and I’ll get into those later.
I have a selection of lenses, but the one I use the most is the Fuji XF 55–200 f/3.5–4.8. It’s pretty fast for a 200 mm APS-C telephoto lens, and tack sharp throughout its zoom range.
I love this lens because I love the compression you get from a telephoto. And for you smartphone folk, this is real telephoto, not the 50 mm equivalent faux telephoto you get from your ‘2x zooms’. The 50 mm equivalent you get on a smartphone is, in fact, considered a ‘normal’ focal length and not ‘tele’.
I digress. The 55–200 is a fantastic lens and easily one of the best optically stabilised lenses available on any platform, and perfect for the kinds of photos I take. All the image samples in this section were shot on this camera and lens system.
I did, towards the end of the year, upgrade to an X-T4, but that upgrade was primarily for video. The X-T30, while it does offer fantastic image quality, has a 10 min recording limit for 4K video, overheats within about 40 minutes, drains its battery in less than an hour, and it’s I/O ports are so closely spaced that you can’t use an external recorder and battery charger simultaneously.
The X-T4 is a much larger camera, but includes a battery that’s twice as large, dual SD card slots, insanely fast AF, and even more buttons and dials, as well as a flippy screen. Additionally, you get 4K 60 fps 10-bit 4:2:0 internal recording, FHD 240 fps, IBIS, digital IS, and a whole lot more. The only thing you lose is a flash.
Canons, Nikons and Sonys are fantastic systems in their own right, and perhaps technically superior on a lot of fronts, but I don’t enjoy shooting on them as much as I do on my Fujis.