All about intent: what people mocking the Fuji X-Pro3 don’t understand

Oct 24, 2019

Blair Bunting

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

All about intent: what people mocking the Fuji X-Pro3 don’t understand

Oct 24, 2019

Blair Bunting

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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The release of the Fuji X-Pro3 this morning came as a bit of a surprise to me; not what was unveiled, but the general reception to it. So many comments (yes, I know you’re not supposed to read the comments) of ridicule and annoyance were not what I was expecting. And as I read them (which I promise not to do again) I noticed an underlying theme that was a bit worrying.

There are many types of cameras available to us as photographers. I am not speaking about specific brands like Nikon, Canon, or Sony, but rather the approach and intentions companies currently have in regards to design language and intended function. Cameras like the Nikon Df, Hasselblad X1D and the Fuji X-Pro3 offer photographers a different approach to creating images.

This is not to say that there is a right and wrong way to envision and create a photograph, or even that a photographer can’t approach different images in different ways. The beauty of photography is that it is personal and expressive to the person with their finger on the shutter.

Over the past few weeks I’ve started watching Bob Ross every morning when I have my coffee. While I have no intention of ever trying to paint, what I enjoy is how calm he is and how much painting relaxes him. It allows him to reflect on things as minute as the squirrel he is raising at home. His art is a conduit to his state of mind, which is at peace. For photographers (myself included), this is not always the case. The task of creating, especially on a high-pressure set, can be mentally and physically exhausting.

An example of a shoot I have done where the stress level crept into my art (and life for that matter) would be the ad campaign I photographed for the television show River Monsters.

We had a $20,000 prop fish that ended up floating, a complex lighting scenario in the water and, I shit you not, sharks. I was stressed out and had to force myself to only think about the shot, otherwise I would have probably broken down. For the image, I used the Nikon D3X, which gave me control over every aspect of the exposure and was weather sealed from all of the water splashing on the beach. However, when I went out a few days later to take some casual pics and unwind after the shoot, it still felt like work and—idea of creating an image was almost stressful.

Fortunately, the day after I flew home to Phoenix, Nikon sent me a Df. For those who haven’t used one, the Df is a camera that resembles a 1970’s Nikon F. It has large knobs to dial shutter speed and yet more knobs for ISO and exposure compensation. It is a camera that is impossible to shoot fast, and that’s the point. It’s made to slow the photographer down and turn the art of creating an image into a more relaxing experience.

It worked wonders for me; I mounted the 1972 Nikkor 50 f/1.4 that my Dad used when he was in college, and walked the streets taking pictures of trees and fire hydrants. I was finding peace in photography again.

Another set of co-existent complimentary systems I love are the X and H chassis from Hasselblad. For my studio work, I use the H6D-100c; the beast with not one, but three AF buttons on it. It is a body that lives with me on set, but not one that I walk around with, as its size and complexity can get in the way of seeing life around me.

For this, I take the X1D-50c. With fewer buttons and even significantly less bulk, it is the camera that relaxes me. I can take the time to walk around town watching life and light, thinking about how they combine in camera.

This is one such walkabout image:

This all brings us back to the announcement of the Fuji X-Pro3.

The X-Pro is a platform that I have had multiple times over the years. When I saw the new approach to the LCD, I was excited. There was a screen that wasn’t going to tempt me to pixel peep when walking around, yet gave me the film simulation data that I need to know in a way that was a nice throwback to those of us that shot film.

I applaud it, but worry that I am the minority.

While it’s not for me to tell anyone what camera they should or shouldn’t use, please let me encourage you to see the intent of the camera. The X-Pro3 is not a run and gun, busy shot day camera, for that I use the Sony A7R or Nikon Z7. The X-Pro 3 is for that precious time in-between photoshoots where you want to walk around and think about life, watch the world, and… breathe.

About the Author

Blair Bunting is an advertising photographer from Los Angeles. He has won numerous awards and worked with the clients such as Discovery Channel, Pepsi, Disney, Adidas, Nikon, to name a few. If you would like to see more of his work, visit his website, read his blog, follow him on Instagram and Twitter and like his Facebook page.

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5 responses to “All about intent: what people mocking the Fuji X-Pro3 don’t understand”

  1. BT Hathaway Avatar
    BT Hathaway

    It finally dawned on me why the X-Pro3 “hidden” screen makes so much sense to me. Old eyes. Meaning I need glasses to read, which also means I have my diopter set for my eyes without glasses (easier on the nose), which also means between shots I can’t see the damn screen–so it may as well be hidden. In other words, when I’m shooting, I live in the EVF. X-Pro3 screen problem solved.

    And in all reality, anyone can shoot this way now. With DSLRs we didn’t have much of an option. Live view was always clunky and further back, not an option. And in the past the on mirrorless, the EVF wasn’t necessarily a clear or color accurate representation of the captured image. But at this point in the evolution of technology, why the hell not keep the camera close to the eye and work through the view finder? In my way of thinking this is a much faster working mode than pulling the camera away to check the last image. Review in the view finder, clear the screen and get back to composition instantly.

    Give it a try folks. Pretty soon you won’t want to work any other way unless you’re on a tripod and the X=Pro3 is not a tripod kind of camera.

  2. KG Avatar

    What people praising it don’t understand: WE DO GET IT, we just don’t want it, not should we be made feel this childish guilt for preference. It’s a dumb AF idea for many of us, get over it.

    1. JustChristoph Avatar

      KG – Nobody is criticising you for not wanting the X-Pro3, but there has been a lot of biggoted comments about the ‘obvious posers’ who would want to use this camera.

  3. Edgeman4 Avatar

    It’s 100% gimmick. They could have achieved the exact same thing with an articulating screen. I love my Fuji cameras and will likely never shoot anything else but all I wanted was the absolute plethora of options that a hybrid viewfinder and an articulating screen screen could bring. Now that dream is dead. Don’t tell me to get an X-T3 either because then you didn’t just read what I wrote. They could have made the ultimate camera, instead they made some shit only a few photographers who want to shoot one very specific way would buy. Good for them I guess.

    The worst part of this is they got rid of buttons and didn’t at least replace them with a touch screen. Your getting LESS functionality from a brand new camera. LESS in every way.

  4. Bill P Avatar
    Bill P

    I dabbled in photography and quit completely 12 years ago selling off my D700 full frame and D60 backup. Haven’t touched a non phone camera since. Three days ago I ordered a Fuji XT200 because I remembered what made me quit in the first place. Photography became about gear and PP and not the experience, the joy and subject. I plan on walking around with this camera and the 35mm f1.4 and shooting in jpeg with minimal global edits and just having fun. I think in general that is the mindset of those who buy these Fuji cameras. I have zero interest in sitting for hours on end in the time suck that is LR and Photoshop, I’d rather be getting more snaps somewhere out in the open air.