On Using the Fujifilm X Series of Cameras as a Journalist

The Fujifilm X series is given a lot of credit, but nowhere as much as Sony’s also great full frame mirrorless cameras.

The Fujifilm X series of cameras make solid companions for photojournalists, but only if certain cameras are used along with certain lenses. If a photographer chooses to work with the options available, they’ll find that the Fujifilm X system can be a fantastic option for a journalist working to earn a living. Sony arguably has the best option with all of its sensors being stabilized, and a variety of cameras that can do different things and offer a variety of features for different needs. But in the case of Fujifilm, that option isn’t available. All of their cameras more or less have some iteration of the same sensor. To that end, different form factors and features are what separate one camera from the next.

Editor’s Note: No, this isn’t a sponsored blog post. 

Lenses and Integrations

For starters, any journalist working with the Fujifilm camera system currently needs the X-H1. It can be had with a grip at an amazing price point and this is the only camera that offers image stabilization at the time of writing this piece. The XT3 and XPro2 offer weather sealing and a number of other great features, but they’re not going to give you IBIS. We’ll get into that a bit later on.

Fujifilm has a number of small primes that can be stuffed into a camera bag and ready to go. Their zoom lenses are good enough, but they don’t have the pop or the beauty that the company’s prime lenses offer. There are a few third-party options (though unofficial) and the Profoto Air system works flawlessly with many of the system’s cameras. Fujifilm has a lot of small, weather sealed primes, but, at f2, they’re relatively slow. I wish their f1.4 primes were all sealed and that they offered a variety of faster aperture focal lengths. Beyond this, the system is small. I regularly stuff two cameras, four lenses and a Profoto B10 into a camera bag and head out into the field.

Reliability and Weather Sealing

Fujifilm’s cameras have a ton of weather sealing in them. That means they’re durable enough to withstand the abuses that a photojournalist or even a journalist may throw at them. From drinks flying at events, bumps, rain: the Fujifilm system can stand up to it all. To that end, we’re confident they’ll always work. If you’re saying that you don’t need weather sealing, you’re probably not a journalist working in the field. You’ll see just how useful it becomes in person with some real world experience.

Image Stabilization and Video

The X-H1 has image stabilization at the moment, and combining it with the film simulations offers great image quality for video. Arguably, you don’t need to color grade and journalists tend to just do straight cuts. It’s not a cinematic piece by any stretch of the imagination. Video is so much more important to journalists these days and an XH1 with a battery grip can let a journalist shoot for a very long time with both stills and video.

Image Quality

The X Trans sensor and all the film simulations give photographers colors that they won’t be able to get from other camera systems. The look of classic chrome is enough to back up that statement, but then consider the look of Acros and more. When you’re looking to beam an image to your phone to share to Instagram for coverage in the moment, nothing is better than sending a JPEG you’re proud of that has a unique look to it. No need for Insta filters.

Autofocus

With an APS-C sensor and good autofocus algorithms (better than some full frame options), the Fujifilm system is reliable in most situations and with a lot of the lenses offered. The tracking autofocus isn’t as great with some of the system’s lenses. But in certain situations, it’s usable enough as long as your subject isn’t a speeding bullet going down a hockey rink from one end to the other. For documentary reasons, the X series system can pretty much do everything.