Panasonic DMC-FZ20 | 39.2mm (236mm) | 1/125 sec | f/3.7 | ISO 80 (2006, Austin, TX)

My Digital Camera Journey

September 11, 2017 | Gear

Over the years, I used film and digital cameras from different manufacturers. My digital journey started with a small Nikon camera in 2003, the one that “swivels.” I think it was a Coolpix E2500. It was in the earlier digital camera days, and it was great to have the images available right away.

The next step up was a Panasonic SuperZoom camera, the DMC-FZ20. It was a great camera at the time (2004), with a killer Leica zoom. I enjoyed this little gem tremendously for 3-4 years, even though it was far from perfect. Very small and light.

Ocean View - Long Beach, CA

Ocean View – Long Beach, CA (2004)
Nikon Coolpix E2500 | 16.8mm (111mm) | 1/640 sec | f/4.8 | ISO 100

White-headed Capuchin (Cebus capucinus) - Costa Rica

White-headed Capuchin (Cebus capucinus) – Costa Rica (2006)
Panasonic DMC-FZ20 | 72mm (432mm) | 1/80 sec | f/2.8 | ISO 150

Once I was ready to move on to a DSLR, I decided on the Olympus Four Thirds system in 2007. Size, weight, price, and quality were just about right. I owned and loved the Olympus E-510 (I still have the body), a small camera with nice image quality. Over time I also owned two pro-level zoom lenses, which replaced the kit lenses that came with the camera. It was a very nice system that I knew so well that I could use the camera “blind.”

Surfer Girl

Surfer Girl – Seal Beach, CA (2008)
Olympus E-510 | Zuiko 40-150mm f/4-5.6 | 150mm (300mm) | 1/320 sec | f/7.1 | ISO 100

Lady Bug

Lady Bug (2008)
Olympus E-510 | Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro | 105mm (210mm) | 1/320 sec | f/8 | ISO 400

I probably would have stayed with Olympus would they not have dropped the Four Thirds DSLRs just as I was ready to buy a new camera. This was mid to end of 2013. I have to admit that this really rubbed me the wrong way. At first, I contemplated buying a Micro Four Thirds camera and using it with my existing Olympus lenses via an adapter (added cost, and the lenses are not made for smaller cameras, which is not ideal). After some back and forth, I decided to bite the bullet and leave Olympus. That really opened up the field of cameras. I did have an eye on Fujifilm cameras a year earlier, and now I had a second, much longer look. I liked what I saw, did some research, contacted a couple of photographers that used Fujifilm cameras on Flickr, and finally made my choice.

I opted for the Fujifilm X-E1. The X-E2 was soon to be released, and the X-E1 was sold with the 18-55mm kit lens at a great price. The supposed slowness did not bother me as I was never used to a fast DSLR. My Olympus wasn’t really speedy. Actually, the speed of the X-E1 was just fine for me after a firmware upgrade. The rangefinder look of this camera really appealed to me. I still use this camera, now converted to infrared.

At the beginning of last year, I decided to get the X-T1. Since the X-Pro 2 was to be released a few months later, it was on sale on Amazon. Did I want the X-Pro 2? You bet I did. I pre-ordered it three times and canceled it three times. I’ll probably buy it when the next models are announced and the X-Pro 2 or X-T2 is on sale. I did not regret buying the X-T1.

Hamburg Speicherstadt

Hamburg Speicherstadt, Germany (2015)
Fujifilm X-E1 | Rokinon 12mm f2.0 NCS CS | 12mm (18mm) | 1/420 sec | f/4.8 | ISO 200

Grand Central Station, NYC

Grand Central Station, New York (2016)
Fujifilm X-T1 | Rokinon 12mm f2.0 NCS CS | 12mm (18mm) | 1.7 sec | ISO 200

Why do I like my Fujis so much?

The size of these cameras is just right for my hands, and so is their weight. They are easy to carry, which makes them tremendous everyday and travel cameras. The image quality is wonderful. I never had a camera system with such precise autofocus; that’s true for the X-E1 and the X-T1. The percentage of out-of-focus photos is very low now. This is amazing.

The lenses I own are fantastic. Such a beautiful rendering of out-of-focus areas, contrast, and colors. Zooms are often talked down on forums, but the two zooms I own, one being the kit zoom, have very nice image quality. Fujifilm also knows how to make great lenses, and there is no doubt about that. My favorite lens at the time of this writing is the 35mm f/1.4. If I could have only one lens, this would be it.

Another reason to like Fujifilm is its continuous support in terms of firmware updates, up to a point, of course. A discontinued camera like the X-E1 is not likely to see any functional updates.

As much as I loved my Olympus camera, I love my Fujifilm cameras just as much. Would I also enjoy a Micro Four Thirds camera? Yes, I probably would. They seem to be very nice cameras; however, I’m glad I tried something new.

What about the future? Another camera system? Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be in the position to justify a Leica M series camera with one or two lenses. So far, I’m very happy with the system I have. It is important for me to enjoy my camera – which is the case.

What is your favorite camera right now? The system do you really enjoy?

Last updated on April 14th, 2023