Fuji - The long and short of it.

One of the things I like about the Fuji X system is that it can be used as a large 'in your face' system with lots of photographer gravitas and also as a small unobtrusive 'snapshooter' system when more discretion is required. The X-Pro 1 above with 55-200mm zoom + two Nikon primes (50mm and 85mm) and their metabones adapters, wouldn't look out of place in a studio or on a paid job. Whereas if you were using the X-E1 in the foreground + 18mm prime, few would think that you were a working photographer. 

Part of it I think is down to the classic rangefinder design. Neither camera is of course anything of the sort, but it's always struck me that its a versatile shape that adapts easily to different configurations. For example, while appreciating the cameras I've never liked the fact that Panasonic design many of their cameras to look like mini DSLR's and they do have this cheap bridge camera look about them. Even the GH3 doesn't quite look the part. Whereas with the Fuji's there is a different expectation I think. Obviously the 'lookaleica' design ethic works to a certain extent but it's interesting just how different the cameras can look with the addition of nothing more than a grip and a clip-on flash unit (used as a trigger for much larger rigs of course!!)

Sony and Olympus have taken a different route. Olympus with the Pens and to a certain extent the OM-D E-M5 have used their past designs to come up with a seriously retro look but the E-M1 is again going down the mini DSLR route. Sony have come up with something modern for the NEX system but once more the DSLR shape appears with the A7 and A7r. 

To a large extent of course this doesn't matter to most people, but to those of us who make our living taking snaps, occasionally it does. There is a new Fuji X 'digital magazine' which you can see here. In it there is an article about a photographer Alex Lambrechts who shoots fashion and ad campaigns with an X-Pro 1. I can imagine a few raised eyebrows at his camera choice in certain situations, but obviously it works for him here. 

It's not unusual for well-known photographers to use their camera of choice rather than their camera of expectation, and it strikes me that the Fuji X-System is more suited to being accepted as a 'commercial tool' more readily than other mirrorless systems. There is the story of David Bailey shooting fashion in the streets of New York with a Pentax 35mm camera and having the negatives duped up to medium format size to satisfy the preconceptions of the Vogue picture editors. Plus the British glamour photographer of the 1980's (whose name escapes me) who shot his polaroids on a Hassleblad and then did the 'real' shoot on a Nikon 35mm camera just so he could use Kodachome film.

So it really isn't anything new using cameras that don't obviously seem to fit with 'pro' assignments and its obviously much more down to the photographers talent as to whether or not this will be accepted. But it does strike me that the Fuji X systems unique look makes this more likely than some other systems. 

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