Having started 2014 excited but also rather frustrated with my X-Pro1, I've really enjoyed the past 12 months of Fuji ownership. Owning just the 18-55mm zoom and 35mm f/1.4 prime lens I've always felt my options were a little limited, and as good as the zoom kit lens is, I just didn't feel mine was really that great. So in the end I almost defaulted to using the 35mm most of the time and the 18-55 as and when I wanted to go a little wider or longer.
Of course the 35mm is such a good lens, almost anything else just doesn't seem fair to match up against, I've persevered with it, but still have that nagging thought in the back of my mind to go either with the 14mm or 18mm prime lens. Possibly because I simply prefer shooting with a prime lens.
I did have the chance to try out a 55-200mm lens during the year which I really liked. Again one of Fujis under rated lenses and one I would certainly consider. I rarely shoot above 60mm, but this is a lens I would find room in my kit bag for.
Having always had a yearning for an X100, I bit the bullet and bought an almost new X100s in autumn believing this to be Utopia for me.
As it stood, I just wasn't keen on it. I found the IQ of the images very different to that of the X-Pro1 and at high ISO the alien like appearance of people's skin was not something I liked.
With a fixed 23mm lens, I also found it to be quite a bit different to the 35mm I'm used to. In the end I gave up on it pretty quickly and decided to stick with a changeable lens body. However, I still have a hankering for an original X100 but it has to be black. With a black X-Pro1 and XT1, a silver X100 just wouldn't look right somehow! The original maybe a little compromised in terms of outright performance against the S or recently released T, but I think I could forego that simply for the IQ which is more gentle on my own personal eye.
Having dumped the X100s, I was pretty quickly struck by the XT1, a camera that had caught my eye for awhile. It's fair to say this is a beast of a camera given its size.
Having owned the camera since October, I'm still getting used to it and still find myself opening the battery door to get access to the SD card (it doesn't live there). I've just learnt you can use the focus assist button to magnify images 100% and the muscle memory of shooting with my X-Pro1 still exists.
However, if I shoot with the XT1 and then move back to the X-Pro1 it feels just like that, I'm moving back. Whilst the X-Pro1 is still a fine camera, and is almost achieving cult status amongst Fujiholics the bare truth is its just not as adept as the XT1 is.
In December, Fuji released a big firmware update for many models with the XT1 being the biggest winner with a raft of new features which keeps it right at the top.
Sadly the X-Pro1 fared more poorly with just one small update offering manual focus assist to auto focus. Fuji even deemed not to add the much anticipated Classic Chrome film simulation to the X-Pro1, which in itself tells a tale I feel.
So, 2014 has cemented my Fuji use and now I have two able bodies along with the 18-55mm lens, the 35mm and the latest purchase being the much maligned 60mm f/2.4.
This is a lens that I used for a couple of weeks last Christmas and loved. Having thought briefly about the 56mm I bought the 60mm simply on budget. It was a third of the price the 56mm currently is! Focus wise, it's not the fastest, although the latest update appears to have speeded things up, however the IQ is fantastic. It maybe much maligned in some quarters but if speed is not of the essence, it's a great lens to consider.
My plans for 2015 include a wider option, maybe swapping out the improved on the XT1 for the 14mm, and possibly the 56mm as the obvious replacement for the 60mm. I would like to expand out into Wedding photography and believe that's the ideal set up as a starting point, using the X-Pro1 as a back up.
Watch this space, for sure 2015 is going to get a lot more serious than 2014 has been!
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