My year with Fujifilm

My year with Fuji has been fantastic.  I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it's been- this blog would seriously be a novel.  I have never loved a camera as much as I've loved this one.  It is by far the most versatile camera I've ever used, it has lightened our work load (literally), it has made photography fun again, and more importantly, we are able to quickly and ACCURATELY adjust anything we need to in order to get the shot.  While many blogs are mostly about street photography, and how cool the Fuji is as far as shooting discretely, I've yet to come across a blog that talks about wedding photographers using this wondrous tool.  Hey, I'll be the pioneer, I'm ok with that.  Once I let go of the stigma of using a smaller camera, one that is quieter, and not so bulky and easily recognizable, I really spread my wings.  

You see, there has always been a certain expectation of wedding photographers.  You are supposed to have at least 2 or 3 cameras around your neck with various big bulky lenses to show "you're the pro."  "There's the wedding photographer, that's who (insert name of bride) hired!  They really know what their doing, look at all of that equipment!"  Of course I've never heard any guest say that, but I think we sort of assume that's what they think when they're staring at us.  Well.... no more.  

This year, as you know, we completely switched to Fuji.  I let go of the worry of what people would think.  Where's the recognizable Canon or Nikon?  On occasion I can see clients look at my camera, but as usual, when they get their engagement photos or wedding photos delivered, do you honestly think they're saying, "wow...she shot that with the Fuji?!"  No.  All they care about is that their images captured their day perfectly, they are clear, sharp, colorful, and got exactly what they wanted.  That's all I care about too, but I also care that the cameras are a lot lighter for a 9 hour wedding day.  They shoot faster in low light, they work with my strobes, my triggers are compatible with any light setup, my studio work is clear, concise, sharp- under any situation I've been able to put them under this year, they can handle it.  The battery grips are awesome, and a must if you are shooting for hours on end.  You actually can leave the camera on, and change batteries out- and what we like most, is that batteries are used from left to right in the grip, so we can replace the exact battery that is dead!

If anyone is worried about the learning curve, you will adjust quickly.  I taught my husband how to shoot; he didn't go from "auto" to "manual."  I taught him right off the bat to shoot in manual and he's been doing it for 3-4 years.  For him to go from the Canon to the Fuji was very easy.  He's discovered his own set of lenses and settings that are his favorite- but for someone who hasn't shot quite as much- he picked up the change with a lot of ease.

We're smitten.

So now what?  Well.  Now we push ourselves as hard as we can.  We push our Fuji's as far as they can possibly be pushed.  We shoot them for hours, getting every shot with their line of lenses.  If anyone is having any reservations, I would seriously consider renting a body and lens for a few weeks.  Shoot with it as much as you possibly can in every situation- whether you are mostly a studio or outdoor natural light outdoor photographer- it can work in any environment. I've had no problem getting my flash to work with it, now I will admit the only piece of Canon gear I still own are my 600EX RT flashes and that is only because Fuji hasn't come out with flashes yet!  I have to use them in manual mode, but during the reception, we have the proper settings and they still work as usual.  

I will say the file sizes are absolutely tremendous.  It's no big deal for us to have a wedding that is 60GB.  We even have it set to compress; it is one big difference between Canon and Fuji-you may have to get a few extra hard drives when archiving your photos!  

This year, my weddings were exciting and beautiful.  We are down to one rolling bag because the lenses are smaller in size, lighter, and less expensive. Their lens selection is not as extensive as Canon or Nikon, but we have been able to replace all of the lenses we had with Canon with Fuji.  The 16-55 f/2.8 replaced our 24-70's.  The 50-140 replaced our 70-200, the MCEX-16 extension tube when paired with our 56mm replaced my 100 f/2.8 for macro shots.  So imagine.  An extension tube is a lot smaller than an entire lens- and a lot cheaper.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we are buying the absolute cheapest of everything and 'making it work.'  But lets be honest, if the amazing extension tube (that has produced stunning macro photos) is $90 compared to a $900 canon lens- I'm going with the extension tube!

16-55 f/2.8 with MCEX-16 extension tube

16-55 f/2.8 with MCEX-16 extension tube

XT2 16-55 f/2.8.  The tilt screen on the back of the camera is EVERYTHING!!  I sat the camera on the floor, tilted the screen up towards me and was able to get this fabulous perspective!

XT2 16-55 f/2.8.  The tilt screen on the back of the camera is EVERYTHING!!  I sat the camera on the floor, tilted the screen up towards me and was able to get this fabulous perspective!

The 50-140 f/2.8 gives me the wonderful compression I crave!

The 50-140 f/2.8 gives me the wonderful compression I crave!

The XT2 is awesome in burst mode with tracking.  When the bride and groom are racing down the aisle, my shots are sharp!

The XT2 is awesome in burst mode with tracking.  When the bride and groom are racing down the aisle, my shots are sharp!

In low light, any camera will struggle; with the glow of the sparklers I'm still able to get great focus.  This camera is a workhorse!

In low light, any camera will struggle; with the glow of the sparklers I'm still able to get great focus.  This camera is a workhorse!


Fall portrait sessions with past wedding clients went off without a hitch.  I used my 50-140 for every session, getting the clarity, intimacy, and compression I needed.  The 50-140 f/2.8 being one of my favorites, perfect for every portrait, and when paired with my Magmods, we're unbeatable. (Ask me for a 10% coupon if you want to order from them! 

It was sprinkling during this shoot, but with the XPRO2 and XT2 being weather-sealed, I can continue shooting without worrying about my equipment.

It was sprinkling during this shoot, but with the XPRO2 and XT2 being weather-sealed, I can continue shooting without worrying about my equipment.

We've had a wonderful time with all of our couples this year, and in a myriad of situations, we've tested the XT2 and XPro2 extensively.  While I do favor the XPRO2 for portrait sessions, I'm using the XT2 more and more for everything.  All of the controls are easily manipulated while still looking through the viewfinder, and the tilt screen has come in real handy and has allowed me to get interesting angles without laying all over a dirty floor.  Adjusting the ISO on the XPRO2 is not as easy- but processors are identical as well as many other features.  


As I am making preparations for next year, I have a few exciting things coming up.  I've been asked to speak at PhotoCon 2017 in March- I'm thrilled!  (I have just a few tickets to give away- so let me know if you're going and hit me up)! We have a big destination wedding coming up, and there is more- but you'll have to stay tuned!  I can't thank my small crew of cheerleaders enough. Robert Trawick, Eric at Bedford's, and my longest running fan and business partner, my husband.  Without him, my dream of becoming a photographer would never have come about.

Bring it 2017.  We're ready.   

Leia Smethurst

Leia Smethurst Photography, PO Box 18694 , Oklahoma City, OK 73154, United States