Marcy, aka IllustratedPoetry, sketching Pentre, Wales. Canon AE-1, 35mm Kodak Portra 800.
First, let me say, my goal was to get this out around the first of the month….looks like I fudged that a bit. My point is, I would like to write an article/essay or whatever once a month and my goal is the first of the month, so stay tuned everyone.
Now that that’s out of the way, I think I will write about my Fuji X-E1 mirrorless digital camera and my experience with it traveling. The X-E1 is like the “little brother/sister” of the X-Pro 1, for those of you who may or may not be familiar with it. The Fuji X-series is a great line and many professional photographers are using them for all their shoots, including weddings. In fact, there are some amazing wedding photographers out there doing amazing things with the Fuji X-series. But, my experience is limited to the X-E1 and eventually I plan to upgrade to the X-Pro 1 down the line.
On my recent trip to Wales, I struggled with what camera to bring. I honestly wanted to bring EVERYTHING! I knew I was going to a beautiful place that has a deeply special meaning to me. I wanted to be so overly prepared, but eventually… reality sets in. You just can’t always take everything. I decided to pack up my X-E1 and my Canon AE-1 35mm film camera. Best of both worlds, right? Since my friend and I were planning on backpacking, I quickly appreciated taking my smaller cameras along for the ride.
Prior to the trip, I really didn’t have a chance to explore every feature and test it out the way I would have preferred. I have used the X-E1 for a few portraits and fun experimental shoots, but not as much as I would have preferred. I had a great experience with it photographing an acquaintance and her beautiful horse, Rebel. She was kind enough to show me around the property where we encountered a very friendly old burrow…. who I forget his name. Shit. It was cute, too. Thank goodness for pictures, right?
One of my favorite features is how the camera captures black and white as well as the many options it has for film simulation. Fuji’s colors are just amazing as well. I had a hard time deciding between black and white and color sometimes. The X-E1 also has an electronic viewfinder which is a nice bonus and fun feature to use that allows you to really see what you/the camera are capturing.
Physically, the X-E1 is slim and fairly small in size with a pretty kick ass retro design. I actually tried to buy the black/silver body option, however, those were quite hard to come by… so solid black it is! I came across the X-E1 through my photography mentor and once I held it, I was in love with it. It’s fun, challenging, and pretty damn cool. It may sound weird to non-photographers, but for me, how a camera sits in my hot little hands is so crucial to me. I have to be physically comfortable with the camera so that it doesn’t feel like it’s there at all and I’m free to roam around and focus on what I’m seeing. I mean after all, that’s what my goal is, right? I’m trying to show you how I see the world. My unique vision which can’t happen if I’m not first comfortable and in love with my camera.
Anyway, the X-E1 has just a really great feel to it. It’s solid and feels strong for such a little guy. I actually like the compact size and have really enjoyed that aspect, especially when traveling. It’s low key and easily allows me to take photos nonchalantly, but packs a punch. I think people who enjoy travel and street photography could easily fall in love with this camera.
Back to Wales…. I decided to test out as many features on the camera as I could. I even used the video record option, which I never do and works great. The panorama option works pretty easily and takes a nice shot. In fact, I have the below pic as my desktop background. I actually took quite a few panoramas and didn’t anticipate that. It is a really nice feature to have, especially while traveling.
All in all, everything worked as expected and really exceeded my expectations. One thing I didn’t care for was the shutter lag, which is a known problem. It is slow. Slow enough to make you account for it and think about it while shooting, but not impossible. This is why I view this camera as a travel/landscape camera for me. I don’t like to feel rushed with it because I can’t be. Now, I admit, there is some user error to account for, but this is a known problem with the camera and Fuji is aware of it. They even released a software update to help with it, and it kinda sorta does. I think I am also used to using the Canon 5D Mark iii which is incredibly fast all around. But that is not a fair comparison really.
What I really enjoyed about the camera goes back to its size. I could walk around a town in Wales and have it around my shoulder and not feel weighed down. I never felt as though it was in the way or becoming a burden. It was easy to keep in my lap while I had lunch in a pub or slung on my shoulder making my way around a castle or museum.
By the end of the trip, I loved the camera even more….but as I mentioned before, as a dedicated landscape/travel camera. I really love my landscape pictures and even some architecture shots. Traveling somewhere that is so green, so historically ancient, and just so damn cool to look at, I am very pleased with how it shot and am impressed with the Fuji color.
You can view more photos from the trip on my blog. Thanks for coming by!
A few weeks ago I shared a photo I took from the top of White Castle using my Fuji X-E1. I thought I would share a 35mm film image taken from the same spot using my Canon AE-1 Program. While I really love the vibrant colors and sharp detail the Fuji offers, I do love the softness is both color and detail this image expresses.
White Castle, Wales. Taken with my Canon AE-1 Program using Kodak Portra 400 35mm film. I’m on the fence about the Portra 400. I haven’t had great luck with it. I don’t know if my camera just disagrees with it or what. I have a few rolls now that have not come out nearly as well as the Portra 800. I don’t think I’ll be using Portra 400 again and if I do, I’ll use a different film camera and see how it goes. To me, this picture is off in color and I know I can edit in post, and I will later, but I usually don’t edit anything and if I do it is very minor. I’ve noticed with Kodak Portra 800, I never have to touch my images because they come out just as I expect them to. There’s just something off about the Kodak Portra 400 film and really it’s a bit disappointing after having such a great experience using Portra 800.
Taken along the Offa’s Dyke Path approaching Knighton, Wales. The Offa’s Dyke Path is on the left side of the picture, next to the long row of trees. I was facing south and looking back from where I had just come from. This country is just amazing and beautiful. I can’t say enough about it. I cannot wait to return to Wales and explore the land and culture some more. Unfortunately, this roll of film did not develop well. Either it was damaged to begin with or it was damaged while traveling, who knows. But a majority of the roll has a dark shadow that follows along the right side. This one wasn’t so bad and I think still looks decent and interesting. That’s the gamble of film though. Taken with my Canon AE-1.
Hiking along the Offa’s Dyke Path, you’re going to run into a few sheep here and there. They’re decent listeners. This is one of the few photos where I really enjoy the color, but converting it to black and white creates another stunning image I also enjoy. Decisions decisions. Taken with my Fuji X-E1.
Last May, I had wonderful little adventure that took me and my dear friend, Marcy (check out her amazing blog at Illustrated Poetry), across Wales. One of my favorite stops was at White Castle located near Monmouthshire, Wales. Here’s the view from the top. Not bad. Thanks Wales! Taken with my trusty Fuji X-E1. And yes, it is that green. This So Cal girl had a hard time coming back to Brownifornia.