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Love and Hate: Shooting Professionally With Fuji Cameras

Love and Hate: Shooting Professionally With Fuji Cameras

I was all set to write a completely different article. I think it had to do with film, maybe. Not anymore. Now I'm frustrated, so I'm going to write about that instead. I love Fujifilm. I love them until I hate them. The problem is, I never really know what sort of day it's going to be until I'm out shooting.

Let me back up. I've been using Fuji X cameras off and on for the past few years, and I can honestly say that when they are working, the system is hands down the most fun digital system I've had the pleasure of using. In manual mode it's intuitive, responsive, the colors deliver, and the lenses are second to none. I get out on the job and I'm blown away every day by the images I'm getting back. And then the next day I want to throw the camera against a tree.

I think we can safely say that the Fuji system is mature. It has had time to work out most of the little quirks that plague any new system. So why can't I tether? Why does the dual card slot mechanism glitch out half the time I'm switching SD cards? Why are the TTL flashes garbage? Did I mention why in the name of the Camera Gods can't I tether?

The name of my camera is the X-Pro 2. It's not the X-Amateur 2. It's not the X-"It's 2004 and nobody tethers" 2. Get with it, Fuji! Just because the camera has a cute little optical viewfinder (that I think I've flicked on and off once) doesn't mean that I shouldn't expect a feature that's been on Canon and Nikon for over a decade. It's tethering. It's not like we're asking you to go full frame. Just make the feature available to those who may want it.

I throw a third-party flash on my little camera because I have to. Because Fuji's top of the line flash has a guide number of — wait for it — 42. A high school basketball score is 42, not a guide number for a professional system. TTL is great, grand, and wonderful, but if I'm shooting a wedding and my flash can barely light a small room, it's useless to me. Wouldn't it make more sense to have a product that pros can use to go along with your Pro camera?

Don't get me wrong here. Fuji has made leaps and bounds in the professional usability of their cameras. Autofocus is competitive, low ISO performance is good, great electronic viewfinders, boosted resolution, dual slots (when they work) are all great. Perhaps that's why it's so mind-bogglingly weird to me that they have crapped the bed so badly in the flash and tethering department.

If the status-quo remains, I'll just go back to Nikon and keep my X-E1 for fun. It's a great little camera with not a Pro in sight. Fuji, it's time to figure out who your cameras are for. Right now, I'm not so sure it's me.

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Hans Rosemond has been known to fall down a lot on set. Thank goodness for the wireless revolution, else Hans might have to learn to photograph in a full body cast. His subjects thank him for not falling down on them.
He is looking to document the every day person in an extraordinary way.

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I've been trying to get rid of my bulky canon gear over the years, and I couldn't find something that matches it in every aspect. Flashes are one of the problems.

I agree. Can't switch yet, as much as I would like to. Fuji should just hand Yongnuo and other indies an SDK and let them go, or conform to Nikon or Cannon standards (not sure if that's even possible) for flash. I need HSS.

Yes. Yes. Yes. A Vertical Grip for the X-Pro2, also. The flash situation, though..... its like the designers only shoot in cloudy conditions. Overpowering the sun in Colorado is not easy for mid-grade flashes. I need triple digit guide numbers, Fuji. Would love a 200 GN flash.

Yeah, im hooked up to batteries and studio strobes with ND filters until they fix the issue. If they do.

Man this sums up everything in my heart. I love my X-T1 to death, the glass really is some of the best I've ever owned. The colors? Damn. But there are just these little frustrations that pop in time and again that ruin the nirvana I'm enjoying and they seem like they should be easily fixed. Here's hoping the X-T2 solves some of these issues.

Yeah, ill hold on to my glass until the XT2 comes out, but if i look at that spec sheet and tethering is nowhere to be found, I just dont know if i can justify staying.

I'm not a pro and I never used tethering, but from what I know the X-T1 already have tethering, don't know if and how it works though

As far as I know you can tether the X-T1, though tethering has not been a big deal for me. Most of my assignments are remote and working in small spaces or spaces where setting up a laptop is problematic and dangerous (manufacturing plants for example) so I've never had to worry about it. However as I'm getting more calls from ad agencies it is a concern. I did not jump to the X-Pro 2 because I just wasn't impressed enough to drop the money. I love Fuji and it will be my main camera as far as I can see but they do need to quit being "rebellious" and join the rest of the camera systems in features.

completely agree with this. well said

Sounds like, based on the way you shoot, the Fuji system isn't for you. I've never had a problem losing images when changing SD cards, have no need to tether and shoot mostly off-camera flash. For me there are very few downsides to using Fuji X cameras but the upsides over the Nikon cameras and lenses I used for 35 years is huge.

I agree and I disagree equally. The X-Pro2 is not the kind of camera that lends itself to tethering, but the option should be there because it's an important part of what constitutes pro work in 2016. To omit tethering is to skip over a whole pool of potential buyers. And I agree about OCF, although there are times when powerful, robust, and fast recycling TTL flash (on and off camera) is useful, and it's not there. Worse, Fuji's 'slightly' crazy concept of putting the camera into hibernation until the flash has recharged. I understand the reason why this happened, but combining this with a flash that takes seconds to recharge and that puts this camera system off the shopping list for any social photographer.

Don't get me wrong, I seriously like what the Fuji system does and am prepared to put up with the little weirdnesses and idiosyncrasies in order to get what the X-Pro2 and similar do so well. But I'm not so happy with having to be an apologist for Fuji, and especially not trying to dismiss flaws in a system under the blanket of 'it's not for you'... Fuji has improved its camera system significantly since 2012, and it has taken a leap forward with the X-Pro2, but those who really like what it does shouldn't be forgiving it for what it doesn't. We should be pushing Fuji to raise its game elsewhere. I'd prefer the next person to say 'it's not there yet' to be talking nonsense, or talking about two years ago, but until some of the last bumps are ironed out, Fuji isn't there yet for too many people. And thats just wrong.

Someone please give this man a tether! lol

I know your pain, I just bought my X Pro2 and found out the day after whilst reading the manual and later scowering the web that it doesn't tether. I don't shoot tethered often, but I do hope Fuji will have it sorted out soon. I mean, the XT1 does it, so I figure it's just a matter of updating the firmware.

Hear, hear! I had much the same experience after switching to Fuji from Canon. I really wanted it to work out, but the compromises the Fuji ecosystem requires ultimately didn't match up with my needs, so I'm back to a full-frame DSLR. I'd love to see Fuji work things out, but I doubt I'll be back.

lets add a true dedicated back button focus option. that really cant be that hard...

Totally. Im a back focuser, too. Fuji makes you jump through too many hoops to do something simple. They dont need to reinvent the wheel with every feature.

THIS! yes! x-pro2 has that clickable joystick thats in the perfect location to reach. It would be so easy for them to add an option in an update to make that a back button focus. Coupled with the physical af switch, it would make adjusting to different focusing situations incredibly fast. Hope fuji is listening.

so i can solve one of your problems. I use triggers that offer TTL with fuji and most Nikon flashes! they are called roboshoot from Serene Automation.

i have heard good things about these!

I think tethering will come to the xpro2. I've been tethering to lightroom with my X-T1 on portrait shoots and it's worked pretty well. Was a lot easier with canon though. I hate that I'm required to use lightroom and have to do some work arounds to get capture one to work. It's a bummer for sure.

everything else with fuji I'm totally on board with though. I'm so happy with them as professional cameras. I mostly shoot documentary style weddings, portrait shoots with strobes and street photos. I think these are the areas the fuji's excel in. Image quality is amazing and that is what the most important thing to me is. I don't use TTL flash so thats not an issue for me but I see that their line up is lacking for sure.

I don't think they are for everyone and I think Fuji has a long way to go to make these cameras perfect for every type of shooter but they work for me and my business so I love them. I would never ever go back to a DSLR. I never really felt comfortable shooting those bulky ass things! I'm a pretty small dude though.

YES! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD YES! It's SOOO annoying you can't shoot tethered into CaptureOne. I've shoot XT1 and everything mentioned in this article is 100% accurate! The only tethering available cost $27 and it's with lightroom. I definitely don't feel like LR handles fuji files to my own personal liking. Capture One handles raw images the best in my opinion. Not being able to shoot tethered alone has made me second guess my entire kit. At this point, I plan to grab Nikon gear for more serious work and keep my fuji for personal/travel work. TETHER ME PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD FUJI!

Haha... its bewildering that they didnt just bake in tethering for the X-Pro 2. I use C1 as well and tethering makes shooting product and commercial portraiture so much more fluid. As of now, i cant use fuji for anything with a creative director on set. Unfortunate.

If you want to shoot with capture one you can work get around it by enabling the hot folder option in C1 and set the folder to whatever one you are shooting to with lightroom. it's a pain in the ass and sometimes unreliable but it works. not ideal at all though

I dont think as of now the xpro2 tethers at all. Can anyone confirm? I know the xt1 worked with lightroom...

As of now it doesn't. I just tried.

Not even with an Eye-Fi card?

That would work. Depends on your client I guess. I've used the wifi on the fuji to tether to an iPad for a client with the xpro2. I think just having every option would be nice but yeh there are definitely work around to the issue

Uuuuh.... you CAN tether on the Fuji. I do it all the time. Head over to Adobe Exchange and buy the plugin, and off you go:


Sure, you shouldn't have to pay 30 bucks to have to tether, I agree 100%. But you can tether.

The XT1 tethers in Lightroom. The X-Pro 2 does not as far as Ive seen.

Amen Brother! Fuji needs to make improvements are it's camera will go away like their DSLR and Dye-Sub Photo Printers soon. It's a fun camera to play with but not a pro camera yet.

They are certainly pro cameras. They just aren't for every type of shooter. I use mine professionally every day and they peform beautifully. if you are shooting sports or high end commercial work they probably arent the tool but to write them off as not professional is a little short sighted imo.

I came from a 5d mark 2 and I can easily say my x-t1 and xpro2 peform way better for what i shoot. Its all about the shooter and what they prefer. Look at guys like zack arias and kevin mullins. Both at high levels in their fields shooting mostly on fuji(all fuji for mullins) .

The tethering thing sucks ass though haha

Whenever some high profile guy is shooting with camera XYZ check to see if they are a spokes person for that brand. There are a couple Canon and Sony people who used to be impartial but now every recommendation is a link to B&H for their master's product.

Zack and Kevin never link to any sort of website that sells products. they are both Fuji X photographers but they never talk like they are the perfect camera. Zack especially does not hold back on things he finds annoying with any piece of gear he owns. i took a workshop with Zack, he's as honest as they come.

I get what you are saying but it still doesn't hide the fact that they are shooting professional jobs with these cameras. paid shill or not they are doing jobs for high end clients with Fuji cameras. Zack shoots jobs with MF as well but Kevin's entire business is based around shooting with these small cameras. You dont risk your clients wedding day by shooting with a crappy camera just to get some sponsor money. His work speaks for itself and I think speaks highly of Fuji cameras.

and I'm not getting anything for free but I will fully say I love my fuji cameras and will continue to use them in my business which is my full time career. they aren't perfect but shit what camera is.

Oh man, totally agree - tethering and flashes... I'm using their X100s for three years now and just love it - leaf shutter is amazing thing when flashing light. But no TTL? No flash triggering in burst mode? And tethering... I tried to fake it with EyeFi cards, but configuration and 22s per file to push it to PC... Argh, just bought another Fuji camera... :-P

Fully agree ! For now I am forced by Fuji to KEEP my NIKON because of the missing tether (USB) link. Hellooooo Fuji. For that reason I started a petition some weeks ago , maybe I marketed it wrong so here I try again:


Please Fuji , assist me in getting rid of my bulky Nikon instead of making me keep it... !

I don't think the Fuji system was ever meant as a pro system, it was a consumer system so good that some pros started using it. This is the first generation fuji have truly acknowledged that (with dual card slots etc), so give it a few more years, and I think they'll be closer to offering a full complement of dslr-rivaling features.

This is from the press release for the ORIGINAL X-Pro 1: " This camera is aimed at a professional audience and advanced amateurs and incorporates advanced technologies such as Trans-X’s unique sensor CMOSTM megapixel APS-C 16, a new X port for mounting the lens, a viewfinder and three hybrid optical the base." So for over 4 years, they've made plain that they are serving professionals.

Love/hate nails it. Pro? Within its own realm? Maaaaybe. Images? Doooope. I've had TERRIBLE luck with Fuji this go 'round. THIRD body, which is currently at Fuji in NJ because the stupid shutter button popped out during a client shoot. Freakin' embarrassing. Anyway, the XT2 sounds fun, but as I pick up more and more paid shoots, I need results that I can duplicate and gear that I can rely on. Shooting with my good friend's D750 and killed it. Weirdly awesome. Sooooo, a Nikon or comparable Canon or Sony offering may be on the list. And my X cam? X-Pro-Fun 2.

Maybe it's not the right kind of "Pro" camera for you. If yo watched the presentation of the camera you may remember it was featured by David Alan Harvey; not precisely a TTL flash kind of photographer... and if you have only flicked the OVF switch once this is obviously not the camera for you. What's the point of owning a camera built around a viewfinder type you don't use?

David Alan Harvey doesn't use flash much at all. Should the hot shoe be removed? Sync Port?
Not all of any camera's features will be used all of the time. That goes for any camera system. One can own a D4s and never shoot at 11 FPS. The viewfinder is a hybrid. So I use one of the functions, not both. Just like some use the optical and not the electronic. Trust me, had the XT2 been released first, I'd have bitten there. However, the other features of the camera (24 MP, better AF, Better high ISO, etc) drew me in.

That said, I did go into this camera knowing there would be compromises. I guess I just keep hoping against hope that the system matures as, on the whole, it's such a joy to shoot.

Do you really need to xfer RAWs in real time? If all you need is a quick focus & exposure check, just wifi tether to an iPad and send over small JPEGs. That's what I do, anyway.

Frequently if you're dealing with an art director or creative staff, you're going to need to color correct, crop, or superimpose logos and other artwork with images as they're coming in. Yes, I could have basic, basic images come through on an ipad. But why compromise when it isn't needed? They should just work with Phase One and Adobe to enable tethering.

Yes, well, that makes perfect sense. In that case, you really do need a wired tether. I'd be happy if Adobe and Panasonic could work it out, too, though I'd probably stick with wifi for my modest needs.

Tethering is possible. Use an Eye-Fi card. Set your camera to shoot RAW + JPG, and use the Eye-Fi to transmit the jpgs to your computer. It's not super fast, but it's fast enough.

That's not tethering. That's reviewing your files wirelessly. True tethering is taking control of the camera remotely.

Hmm. If it's control you're after, Panasonic's wifi app let's you control almost every aspect of camera operation from your phone. It won't transmit RAWs from the camera to another device, though.

Fair enough. The FUJIFILM Camera Remote App supports the X-Pro 2 and file transfers, and gives you control of the camera, though you'd have to tether with an Android tablet, which is less than ideal, though you could emulate one on a PC. Also less than ideal.

Sorry but I can't take him seriously - he wants to be a pro and lamented about the TTL flashes of FUJI? Is he kidding us? As a pro he should be able to shoot in full manuell mode, TTL is for beginners or sluggards..
What I see is the typical situation: the problem stands behind the camera. It's not the Fuji. He is no pro - he is a crybaby.

Jen I think you are being a bit harsh!... He was just merely pointing out the lack of professional flashes on Fuji's end. Canon and Nikon both have professional flashes with TTL. Now Im a published working photographer and I use the all manual Godox V850 Flashes and they work great with the Fuji's. But everyone is different, it all depends on what you are shooting and I know several published pros that shoot with Canon and Nikon TTL flashes and I know they dont all shoot in manual with them.

I, too, use v850s for manual off-camera flash. I'd really like to be able to combine them with TTL flash and a radio trigger on-camera, though. Cmon, Godox, bring the X1 transmitter to MFT! Or better yet, an MFT-size TTL flash with transceiver built-in. What I do now is put a trigger on the camera, pop the v850s, and let that trigger an autothyristor flash, via optical slave, in my left hand. Gets the "on-camera" flash off-axis, too.

:) cute. Thanks for reading!

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