All images and words by Matt Germond for the My Favorite Camera series on his Fujifilm XT3. Used with permission.
My interest in photography goes back to my MBA program on a Global Study Program trip to Shanghai in May 2010. A classmate had a Canon Rebel t2i with a Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens. I was both jealous of the red ring on the lens and fascinated with the pics he was producing to document our class. When my fiancé heard of my fascination with the Canon, she secretly bought me one as a wedding gift. And I brought my brand new Canon Rebel t2i and kit 17-55mm lens on our honeymoon to Kauai that August. Using the camera in full auto mode, I was instantly hooked and brought the camera with me everywhere. I was also lucky enough to have my parents gift me an 18-200mm Canon zoom lens. After about a year, I went to Adorama to trade in my Rebel and two lenses and upgraded to a Canon 6D and 24-105mm F4 L.
My wife and I were blessed with our first children in December 2012, fraternal twin daughters. The pictures the Canon 6D produced in the full Auto mode of my daughters were simply stunning. But as I continued to use the camera, I was curious about why some pictures of groups of people would have some people’s faces in focus, and some faces out of focus. I was also curious why I could not take a good picture of the moon without it looking like a big bright white circular blob. I then found Tony Northrup’s YouTube video on how to take a picture of the moon. I also then found a Jared Polin YouTube video about the exposure triangle. Since then, I have had a relentless obsession with photography. I then collected several more Canon lenses, 16-35mm L, 70-200mm L, 100-400mm L, 35mm f2, and 50mm f1.8 which I used to photograph New York City on my commute from Brooklyn to my full-time Banking job in Manhattan. I also picked up a Canon M50 and a couple EF-M lenses to use as a tripod video camera to document my daughters’ dance recitals.
Fast forward to December 2019 and I found myself having to part with all of my Canon gear due to some unforeseen financial issues. By February this year, I scraped enough money together to pick up a new Fujifilm xt3 and 16-80mm f4. Before deciding on the Fuji, I rented the Canon EOS RP and RF 24-105mm and was blown away with the quality of the images. But the RF lenses are just too expensive and big. I researched the Fujifilm system extensively and really liked the tactile dials for a fun shooting experience, the smaller size of both the bodies and the lenses for a relatively cheaper price.
I also picked up the x-e3 for documenting video of my daughters’ ballet and Irish dance, which of course is all now virtual at home. I also picked up an x100v for ease of use when chasing my daughters around on their bicycles with its perfect focal length and form factor for being on the go in any kind of weather. I added the Fujinon 55-200mm, 35mm f2, 50mm f2, 60mm f2.4, and 16mm f1.4, which has become my favorite walk-around lens.
I confess to having mild to moderate levels of Gear Acquisition Syndrome and feel I have more than enough gear to learn how to use for a long time. My wife noted to me today that my dresser, where I keep my lenses, looks like a camera store! A week before the Coronavirus lockdown hit, I also picked up some simple lighting gear, a single Flashpoint speed light, a wireless transmitter, a 25” octabox, background, and reflector. I was planning to start a side hustle of at home/on-site portraits with my portable one light setup. I find shooting portraits fascinating as a dance of interaction between photographer and subject.
I am inspired by YouTubers Thomas Heaton, Sean Tucker, Ted Forbes, Jamie Windsor, and Pablo Strong. Thomas Heaton’s videos are a perfect form of escapism through the fulfillment of a passion of getting out there with your camera and enjoying the process. There is something therapeutic that releases anxiety when I pick up a camera. I also enjoy Stockezy, Gajan Balan, and Big Head Taco for their YouTube Fuji gear coverage and content. Photographers I admire and emulate are Onne van der Wal, Jimmy Chin, Jonas Rask, Dorothea Lange, Robert Capa, Laura Wilson, Annie Leibovitz, Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Bill Cunningham, Peter Lik, Garry Winogrand, David Hume Kennerly, Pete Souza, and Roger Deakins.
At the end of the day, the Fuji xt3 is my favorite camera as it is fun to use, relatively small, and has beautiful glass without breaking the bank. I wish it had better battery life and I wish the autofocus in video was a little more reliable. If I ever turn professional, I may turn to the Canon R/R5/R6 and RF lenses as they are just magnificent to use. I am not a fan of Sony as they may have superior technical specs, but the shooting experience just seems like using another piece of consumer electronics, like a laptop. Dream cameras include a Leica M6, M10-P, Hasselblad 500C, Hasselblad XPan, and a Fujifilm GFX50R.
Thanks for reading my note. I read Phoblographer content daily on Instagram and I rely on it for inspiration and ideas. Please keep it up!
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