Adam Bonn. A Brit living in Portugal. Fuji user. Mad Fuji user – 80,000 words proves it
50-odd blog entries about a camera. That makes you a serious fanbooi, nut job, or worse, a worrying fetishist. Which is it and should I be sitting further away?
Ha! Yeah I wouldn’t get too close; I’m wearing Fujifilm aftershave for one thing…
Yeah, it was a joke. Seriously, I’ve been hugely impressed by the depth of your knowledge and insight. Could this be a thesis in the making?
Thank you. Well it’s actually about 80,000 words so already long enough to be a doctorate thesis… I can’t imagine any educational facility being very interested though. However, it must be the longest camera review in the world by now!
So, the weather’s great, the light is fantastic, you’re ready to go. X-Pro, tick. Lens choice?
XF35F1.4 – as an all-rounder lens Fujifilm never beat that recipe in my opinion, it’s fast (1.4), the IQ is sublime; it has no (or virtually zero) native barrel distortion and is physically very small.
If I recall correctly, you used to be a Canon shooter. All that gear gone now? Do you miss it?
It was Nikon, all gone and no – not in the slightest to be honest. Most people here wheel out the ‘mirrorless is so much lighter than my old Canikon’ rhetoric, but for me the Fuji is just so much nicer to use and feels better made. I feel that when we enjoy our cameras then we use them more and in a better way. For example I used to own a car and a motorcycle. The car I drove when I had to go somewhere and needed to take a car, the bike I rode for pleasure. I had a relationship with my Nikon like I had with my car.
Looking at your Flickr Photostream, your seem to be essentially a street photographer with a strong interest in the everyday life that surrounds you in your home town of Porto. Does that satisfy your photographic itch, or do you hanker for more?
I’m quite a compulsive shooter. Move me into a featureless white room, and my Flickr is going to be full of featureless white pictures! I’d love to travel more, and especially revisit places I’ve been to in the past. When I was 15, my Dad thrust his Pentax K1000 into my hands, gave me 3 rolls of film and sent me on a trip abroad. Ever since then I’ve always enjoyed shooting everyday life from different countries.
Living where you do and your oft mentioned liking for SilkyPix as a post-production option could easily paint you as something of a photographic outlier – is that fair, or do you feel closer to the mainstream?
I’m not sure if I’m a photographic outlier (my street/documentary style is hardly avant garde) But I’m definitely a real life one! I live in a place where I don’t speak the language, will never be a “native” and the whole place looks and feels very different to the country I grew up in (the UK). I feel this does very good things for one’s photography… When your travel location becomes your home location you start to see things and feel the place in a way that you’d struggle too on a vacation.
Re SilkyPix… Well I got it cheap!! Seriously though, everyone seems to use Adobe and I’d rather try and find my own path with something a bit different, and besides – I like quirkiness, hence the whole X-Pro thing!
What would you change photographically if you could?
That’s a bit open! You mean like ban selfie sticks?!! Or you mean about me? About myself; I’d have to say broaden my photographical horizons a bit, more variation, also I’d like to have a more humanistic component to my work; I don’t come close to measuring up against my own photographical ideals…. But I think this is a normal feeling.
I think that’s the thing with photography, to bastardise Oscar Wilde; “Taking a photograph is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?”
Last question; you’re already a Fuji Ambassador(?). There’s a new camera in the planning stages and the marketing/tech teams send you a blank canvas. Rangefinder mirrorless? SLR? What would it look like? APS-C? FF? What functionality might it have that is missing in today’s cameras? How would you specify the photographer’s Fuji?
I’m not a full on ambassador – I’m what Fujifilm Portugal call “a known friend and collaborator of Fujifilm” As I don’t speak Portuguese they’re unable to make me a full ambassador…at first this was a bit disappointing… but I suspect I’ve got the best deal: most of the perks – but I don’t actually have to do any work for them in return!
I’d only feel comfortable talking about an X-Pro3 type design… and yeah I’ve a few ideas!
The build quality on the X-Pro2 is, in my opinion, very good – but I think it could have a more premium build; basically a luxury product feel, as I think people tend to buy and keep the X-Pro range for longer and have more of a pride of ownership relationship with it
I’d love to see further innovation with the hybrid viewfinder, perhaps it’s possible to combine focus peaking and the optical view finder, so that you’re looking at real life (not EVF life) but the things in focus can have a red line around them
I’d like “my” X-Pro3 to have less fat and bloat features – save all the video and multiple AF tracking modes for the X-T line, but instead in-between stops on the SS dial, a locking EV wheel and less menu items, and ISO – why not 50-3200 rather than 200-12800?
I’d like it to be FF (because I’d rather shoot a 28 than an 18, not any concerns about APSC per se), but I suspect that won’t ever come to pass, I’d also like Fuji to make a small range of manual focus only lenses, and these lenses should be quite old spec, not full of ASPH glass and coatings so that they render with more character.
Now I’m sure everyone who read that, just thought “Adam, you’ve just described a Leica M”
But that’s my point… Leica user often have an M and an additional camera (perhaps a Leica SL or a A7) and I think that Fujifilm should be able to make a camera that truly offers the best of legacy photography (the MF glass and a great OVF) and the best of their modern cameras (auto focus XF glass and an EVF) in the same body.
I feel that’s a dream that ends when the alarm clock goes off to be honest – if anything Fujifilm seems to be moving the incumbent X-Pro2 closer to the X-T2, not further away!
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