As much as I love my Fuji gear, I’m quite often frustrated at how big the Fuji lenses are. As my weekend walk around / travel kit the most ultimate enjoyment came from the shooting the tiny 27mm lens on the XE2. I have since sold it to fund the optically superior xf23 lens only to later then realize that lighter glass is much more enjoyable to carry & shoot. This is more of a post to explain my feelings on a smaller system and see where I end up with an opportunity for you readers to offer your experience or ideas. So feel free to drop me your thoughts at the end!
I guess you immediately appreciate the size especially if you have come directly from dslr. But the smaller size nostalgia slowly wears off over the next 2 years. Don’t get me wrong the bodies are absolutely beautiful and the body size is perfect (XT10 borderline too small for me), I love my XE2 so much that I haven’t had enough desire to splurge on the XT1 even though I’m super keen for that gorgeous view finder experience.
So currently in the Fuji lens system the I consider the smaller options are the 18mm, 27mm, 35mm lenses which are all fantastic. I love the 27 on its own for casual travel and the 18 & 35 would probably be the most suitable small combo here but a little short in reach… For many the favored two lens option is the 23 & 56mm for documentary photography and a combo that I also love. Both are large, fast, full of glass, but fairly heavy as your two lens kit and somewhat in your face especially with lens hoods attached!
Obviously if your shooting paid work your not going to compromise. These are not toys but serious lenses. I guess what I’m trying to say is enjoyment & fun for me is not so much in lugging around large heavy glass. But satisfaction does not also come from poor lens quality. Can their be some compromise? Is that the 4:3 system..
My experience so far involves shooting most weekends while out and about, 3 overseas trips & after 2 years in deep with Fuji. A friend of mine who has had a long relationship with 4:3’s has almost had me buy into the system once before (Pen EP5) and I felt it was about time to revisit this option and see if the spark could be reignited, the main reason he has never bought into the Fuji camp was the lens size. SO…
I had a play with the Olympus OMD EM1 at the local camera store. It was actually quite refreshing, especially with my common focal lengths of choice, 35, 50, 85. I literally was gob smacked at the size of them “holy sh*t these are tiny” compared to the Fuji equivalents. Lets quickly look at the Oly 17 1.8 & 45 1.8 compared to the Fuji xf23 1.4 & xf56 1.2
Don’t forget the XE2 is almost the lightest Fuji ICL body & the EM1 is almost the heaviest 4:3 however I do also use the optional grip which adds a few more grams and some bulk closer to that of the OM1 . The XT1 is another 100 grams over the XE2.
35mm equiv: 617 grams vs 650 grams
85mm equiv: 612 grams vs 745 grams
To be fair the weight difference is negligible but more importantly it is how the lens feels mounted on the body, and the large bulky feel & appearance as you carry it around let alone the occasional moaning due to the extra hefty lens your wife has to carry in her handbag.
So here is where you feel the biggest difference. The weight loss is in the lenses, 120g vs 300g for the 35mm length and 115 vs 405 for the 85mm length.
If I take the Fuji out I still find myself only wanting to carry 1 lens, with the Olympus I (the wife) would take 2-3 lenses without hesitation. The Olympus 17 & 45 for me would cover almost everything.
Sure you lose some light gathering ability & some depth of field control compared to the Fuji but from what I have seen; output, quality, color and sharpness is nothing to be scoffed at. The Olympus colors are as impressive as the Fuji. Just different.
These are a few things I can live with, but I think the biggest thing holding me back is the 4:3 output ratio. I know there is an option for the 3:2 ratio but it crops in camera which i don’t like the idea of. Why? I suppose I would prefer to use all of the tiny sensor. In portrait mode I can live with it, but shooting preferred landscape orientation it just looks so boxy, like someones cut the sides off your beautiful wide landscape shot.
I know there are a few who have seriously tossed up between EM1 or XT1 & others who have switched for whatever reasons, I’ve read a ton of your comments, blogs & thoughts from all over the internet.
I’m definitely keen to hold out for the XPRO2 and see what that brings, But that doesn’t change lens size. at this stage Im not really interested in the new xf90mm even though it looks amazing its just another large prime that I wouldn’t find myself picking up often. Again look at the tiny size of the Olympus 75. If i stick with Fuji i may swap the 23mm for the 18mm, or an X100T (another debate)
Lastly the community of the Fuji camp is pretty cool, It feels like home for me but there does seem to be a lot more activity over at the 4:3 camp.. There is a fair bit of Fuji hype which is easy to get caught up in but I love the style, the lens build & image quality with each new lens is always mind blowing for the apsc sensor yet the simple but hands on approach is something that makes you want to go and shoot. It definitely is a camera system with some soul. I also aspire and love the Fuji photographers I follow who are super enthusiastic about the gear & its nice to read their blogs and see the work output from the same gear. A couple to mention are Fred Frognier, V.Opoku, Damien Lovegrove, Zack Arias, & Big Head Taco for his sweet Youtube reviews.
Thanks for getting this far, I don’t really want to make this a debate about equivalence, but if you have any experience moving from Fuji to Olympus or visa versa then id like to hear your thoughts.
Here are a couple of my latest pics from the XE2, to hopefully make up for the long winded debacle!