Friday, February 28, 2020

Too Many Menus

Three Cameras, Three Menus, Three Sets of Controls
Fuji X-Pro1, X-T1, X-T20

In 2017, I changed brands of camera equipment for the first time in 24 years — from Canon to Fuji, The changeover did not happen all at once; it took place over several months as I sold my Canon cameras and lenses and then used the money to buy into the Fuji system.

Everything was bought used from internet fora, such as Fred Miranda, POTN, and the Rangefinder Forum. I don't think I've ever bought a defective item from members of those fora. (I'll write a post on the art and science of buying used equipment on the net sometime soon.)

My first Fuji acquisition was an X-Pro1, a delightfully quirky and idiosyncratic camera with which I immediately bonded. As Bobby Tingle wrote on the Cameraderie forum:

"I feel like the X-Pro is all about the shooting experience. It is not a tool meant to get out of the way of working. Instead, the X-Pro is meant to be part of the process of making the photograph. Taking more time and putting more thought into each push of the shutter button."    

Tingle was speaking more specifically about the X-Pro2, but I think his comments are even more applicable to the X-Pro1, the first camera for which I’ve felt actual affection since my Olympus OM2n of many years ago. It's the camera that hangs over my shoulder whenever I leave the house unless I know I’m going to need a different camera for some reason. And although I have used it for work, I don’t consider the X-Pro1 a “work camera.” It's my fun camera.

I picked up two more Fuji bodies in quick succession: an X-T1 and an X-T20, both in like-new condition, although the X-T20 was a little more so.

I quickly found the X-T1 to be one of the most user-friendly cameras I've handled in a long time. Kinda like my Olympus OMs in that regard. And although 16 megapixels is considered a bit outmoded these days, it's enough for most of the things I do, especially since most of the photography I'm doing these days is for books and magazines, along with an occasional business portrait gig.

My final camera buy was the X-T20. I had never actually handled one before, and when I unwrapped it, I was surprised at how small it is -- smaller than an Oly OM-D E-M5, in fact. Although I have large hands, I've always preferred small cameras. But the X-T20 was even too small for me. A snazzy little black half-case from Amazon fixed that, though, and made it handle very much like the X-T1. The Atlanta wedding photographer with whom I occasionally work as a "second shooter" complimented me on the "pretty" (her word) files from the the X-T20.

So, it looks like I'm pretty well covered. Or am I?

Actually, I've inadvertently wound up with three different cameras with three different sets of controls and menus. Not cool.

The menus and controls aren't terribly different, but different enough that they can cause a bit of confusion when I'm in a fast-working situation. (The X-Pro isn't part of the problem, because I have it set up the way I want it for general use, and since I don't normally use it for work I seldom need to make any quick changes.)

After considerable thought, I decided the best course was to sell both the X-T1 and X-T20 and buy a pair of clean, used but not abused, X-T2s, with identical controls. The X-T3 was out, because, even used, they are still too pricey. And the X-H1? I didn't know what to think about the X-H1. Even at the deeply discounted prices for which they are currently selling, I certainly couldn't afford two of them. On the other hand, the X-H1 is a very high-grade camera. I might not need two of them.

Oh, and one other thing: I wanted at least one of my bodies to be able to take a battery grip, not for the better battery life, but because it would help the camera balance better with my heavy Canon 580EX2 flash.

Following the sites listed above over several months, I found that used X-T2s in excellent condition were scarce, but when available, were selling for $625 to $750. So I would be looking at $1250 to $1500 for a pair. 

Then I found an ad on the POTN site offering a like-new X-H1 with battery grip for $850 or best offer (OBO). The seller was a young man seeking to raise funds to go to South Africa to serve as a volunteer doing educational work with an NGO. I offered $800, he accepted, and I am now the happy (so far) owner of a Fuji X-H1. I like it very much, and think I will get along just fine with the one body plus the very capable X-Pro1 as an emergency backup.

Now to sell the X-T1 and X-T20. If you're interested in either, email me at

1 comment:

  1. It's wonderful to read all these posts and feel the history! Thank you for that. I wanted to ask, do you find the XT2s to be very diffferent from the XT1? I'm planning to adapt some OM lenses with a focal reducer and I'm hoping that the the XT1 would be good for this!