Old Photo Gear Is Just Fine
Thinking a camera upgrade? It’s okay to slow down, it really is.
I love my Fuji X-Pro2. One of my favorite cameras ever. I’ve listed the many reasons I love it so much on a few occasions. Most of which have nothing to do with frame-rates, resolution, or other direct spec kind of stuff. Guess what, I sill use my XT-1 more than you might think. Same goes for the 18–55mm kit zoom I got for practically free.
The fact is I didn’t pull out the X-Pro2 with primes at all for my four day road-trip up to RI. Why? well somehow I happened to make pictures mostly at night during my stay. That means strobe which for whatever reason the 18–55mm XF is sort of my go-to choice unless I’m doing something special with large apertures or need something wider or longer. The only time I shot during daylight hours (which were dark and gloomy and rainy) I probably would have shot with the X-Pro2 and primes except I was hosting a window light mini-workshop.
Workshop Demo Stuff
I make extremely few pictures myself when I host workshops. Usually not good ones either. I am far more focused on interacting with participants, mentioning this and that, watching what they are doing, etc than I am engaging with whoever is in front of the camera. I need to work quick and get out of the way to maximize picture making time for the people that show up.
There’s also a giant mixed bag of photographers in terms of experience and gear so I can do things like recommend exposures at ISO 400 1/250th f/1.2 or goofy things like that. Good chance there’s not a ton of them just can’t do 1.anything or even 2.anything. There’s also a good chance that any translation they did would not go well while trying to focus on important things like where light is/isn’t etc etc.
Just as an aside here’s something I talk about a bunch in window light workshops, one of the reason I like them, there’s not a ton of tech distractions so it gives people a chance to see stuff with out the stress of gear and tech etc. Below is a demo shot at 23mm f/4 shooting a little above waist level. I’m not even standing up strait given our willing victim was only about 5'4".
Next up we have a shot with me a bit closer, shooting from about N.’s knee level height and at 18mm f/4. How much closer? Count the floorboards. Not exactly accurate due to shooting a little down vs a little up but somewhere between 3 and 5 floorboards. Not a giant change in position but quite different results.
Point of view is everything and the difference between 18mm, 23mm, 35mm, and 55mm on the little kit zoom can cover almost anything in vastly different ways. Why wouldn’t I use it when having to demo stuff like this within a few seconds and get out of the way.
Next up is a picture still at 18mm but even closer and at about N.’s ankle height. Oh yea I scooted over a couple feet and shot from the shadow side.
About three dozen things just happened by moving a foot in, a foot lower, and two feet to the side. Obviously the change in N.’s proportions but just as important is how much shadow and how much highlight, maybe equal importance is now we’ve got the shadows on N. against that brighter spot on the wall which is completely different feel. Etc, etc. All the same stuff applies no matter if you’re bringing light/lights to the scene or using whatever is there. In fact looking at window light this way is a great exercise in how to use less strobes to accomplish all sorts of things. Making each one do a couple of jobs.
So What About The “Old” XT-1 & 18–55mm
I guess my point is that I’ve kept and the XT-1 even though I have a far better camera. Same goes for the 18–55mm that was free I thought I’d never use. I use both all the time even though better stuff is sitting a few feet away. In many, if not most circumstances there’s just no reason not to.
In terms of upgrading the XT-1 to either the XT-2 or XT-20 I’ve not felt compelled to at all. Sure maybe I’ll get an XT-2 sooner or later but more likely than not I’d get a second X-Pro2 which I also have not had a great reason to do that when the XT-1 has been fine for my “alt focal length camera”. Personally I also probably wouldn’t upgrade the XT-1 to the XT-20. Why? Well I like the way the XT-1 feels better than the XT-10 (and I assume 20) does. I also prefer the higher viewfinder magnification.
So I guess the biggest question in my head is what would I recommend to the people that ask what camera they should get (happens a lot). My usual response was get the XT-10 and 18–55mm. You’ll be happy. My default response now without thinking it thru would probably be the same just with the XT-20. Using My XT-1 for four days just left me thinking though. Maybe I should add a few caveats to that.
- Budget constrained? XT-10 used or some fire-sale.
- Don’t want to spend a ton? XT-20 but definitely hold an XT-1 and XT-20 and check out the viewfinder size difference. See if you really like the touch screen instead. Either one will be great.
Anyone else still use their XT-1 as much as I do while having “better tech” in the bag? For that matter the 18–55mm? One last picture and the last demo shot from that setup so far. Which way lines run even just a little bit also have a dramatic impact on how pictures “read”.
All pictures (obviously) with the XT-1 and 18–55mm XF. Processing via Lightroom CC with one of my own B/W presets applied on import with some fake grain. Just for completeness the exposure recipe suggested as a starting point for this setup on this particular gloomy day in New England was 1/125s f/4 ISO 1600. Not out of reach of any rig in recent memory.