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Thursday, 19 September 2019


I was in a similar boat to you with portraits: love doing them, find them to be my 'home territory' for photo work. A little time in a studio with my strobes and a subject is very relaxing for me, and I frequently enjoy doing it just for my own work without concern for selling it as a service. What I ended up doing was making connections in the local community theatre and performance art scenes. In a large enough city, there's always someone in that market who is willing to work with a good photographer for nothing more than the images, and who probably couldn't ever afford a serious commercial session anyway. I've made a lot of good friends through that work, as well as growing my own portfolio and getting to know I'm helping other artists as well. I am careful to make sure I stay out of the way of any working pros (I don't shoot live productions, and I won't do formal head shots without a sitting fee), and I make it clear to people I work with that if they need specific demands they should really support someone who pays their bills with that work. But otherwise, it's been a fantastic arrangement for me to explore some lighting styles I'd never get paid to do, and to get to meet and chat with a whole range of interesting and engaging people along the way.

I have both the 56 and the 90. I get much more use out of the 90. It is a very versatile lens with a minimum focusing distance of around 2 feet.

I find it creates the smoothest images of my Fuji lenses.

I vote that you ditch the 56 and keep the 90.

One significant attribute of Fuji’s commendably extensive lens line-up is the quality of their ‟kit” zoom lenses. The low-end 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 and the mid-range 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 are both excellent throughout their focal length ranges, at least when you factor-in Fuji’s automated lens corrections, and the early reviews indicate that the forthcoming high-end 16-80mm f/4.0 will likely be a good match for the next generation of X-series cameras—as well as reportedly improving the performance of the company’s already very good lens-based optical image stabilization technology. I think anyone starting out to assemble a Fuji kit would be well-advised to begin with one of these lenses, then move beyond its range in either direction based on what its limitations appear to be in actual shooting experience.

So. You'll be using the 14/2.8, both 23/1.4 and f/2, both 35/1.4 and f/2, 50/2 and the 55-200m?

That's my favorite Fuji lenses, along with the new (kinda) 16/2.8 Fujicronish model.

You could do a lot worse.

I fell in love with the 14mm right from the start. I knew I would not be using it much but it has such a great look I don't think I could ever part with it. The little 16/2.8 is a real gem, IMO. It's really as wide as I would ever need being a 24mm equivalent. My 23/2 gets the most use but I do love the look of pictures done with the f/1.4 model although mine is not very sharp wide open. I use the 35/2 a lot compared to the 35/1.4 model. I seldom use the 35/1.4 these days but it's too good to get rid of. And the 50/2 is outstanding! I love this little lens the more I use it. As a portrait lens it might be too damn sharp so consider decreasing the Clarity slider in Lightroom for photos of us older folks. The 55-200 is a lens I don't use much either but it's handy to have a longer lens available for the occasional UFO and Big Foot sightings.

Hey, Mike, I am the last person to give you advice on your Fuji kit. I now own a pair of X-H1 bodies (thanks for the push this summer, btw), a pair of X-T2 bodies, a pair of X Pro 2 bodies, and the random X-T1 and X Pro 1 floating around. Also, I think I own all the lenses. (Not really but it feels that way.) Also, my employer provides for me a complete GFX medium format kit with both the 50S and the 100S plus six lenses. Organizing all this stuff is a challenge, but I am starting to get it. And I do actually use everything other than the first-gen bodies.

So, free advice:

Keep the 14 for now. Buy the 23/2. I'd also get the 16/2.8 if I were you, it's a wonderful tiny lens, and might actually replace the 14 for you. Keep both 35's -- I have them both and choose based on how I am feeling at that moment, or sometimes I actually need the f/1.4 for available darkness event coverage. Keep the 56. Ignore the Siren call of the APD model; I have both and honestly can't see enough difference to justify the extra cost. Get the 50/2, it's a fun lens. Makes a terrific 2-lens kit with the 23/2. The 55-200 is underrated and makes a good travel tele zoom, plus it is much easier to carry than the 100-400. (That said, I use the 100-400 a lot more, because it's useful at work.)

For me, personally, I prefer having two identical camera bodies, so I would trade the X-T1 and get another X-H1, but that's just my preference. YMMV and all that.

Been shooting Fuji full time for over six years now, after more than 25 years of shooting Canon professionally. It's been challenging at times, fun all the time, and the lighter weight has helped ameliorate the various back, neck, and shoulder problems that Photographers of a Certain Age often face.

Posting with reticence, but face it gear posts are fun.

One time I think you said something like: "Own as many lenses as you like, but go out shooting with as few lenses as possible." I think you also wrote something about not selling good lenses.

I tend to side with reader Matt that going out with 2 lenses is good, sometimes 1 is even better for me though. (less decisions the better kind of deal).

Wide angle: what you wrote is sensible, although I've read the 16mm Fuji is a magnificent lens. 21mm and 24mm are really different lenses. Keep 'em both.

Normal: I agree, you should have all 4 lenses in the Normal range. This is your favorite range. I use a 58mm 1.4G with a full-frame camera, but also a 35mm 1.8G with a crop-sensor camera. I have fun with both. I'm a 50mm guy, so don't have the 35mm options. This seems like obvious set up for you. Go get that 23mm f2. (I suppose trading a wide angle lens for the 23mm would be a good trade value for you though).

Telephoto primes: My god, keep them both.

Telephoto zoom: I'd keep the 100-400 because it's in a range outside of your other lenses. And it's unique and different, it challenges you. The 55-200 has too much overlap with the other lenses, and you'd mostly be using 100-200 range and wishing you had longer.

This post value: $0.01

What would I do? Chill out and keep them all, and then have fun using them when the urge calls.

Call me old fashioned, and no offense meant, but I still have a hard time with the concept of selling gifts.

I don't really need the 56, but it still keeps calling me - it's a very pretty lens. I'm refusing to rent the 90, as I'm terrified I'll love it - I have the 50-150 and a 90mm elmarit I can use, I have no reason to get the 90 except that it's a marvelous lens. But I do agree that one of the two is a good call, and also that the 50 is just a tad too short.

On the 100-400, I'd dither, simply because there's no other option in that range. I was told once to never sell what you can't buy back, and the 100-400 is definitely one of those beasts. Fuji's lack of options past 150 is really frustrating.

In the opening to the article you mention being “practical” and selling lenses to people who will use them. Lenses don’t have expiration dates, holding on to them for a while, or forever isn’t going to hurt them or you. I’d say hang on to them for a while, interests and opportunities change with time. For example you may have a grandchild, or friend come into your life that’s willing to sit for portraits. Maybe down the road if you find there’s a lens you’re dying for and some you never use, you could trade one or some of the lenses for it. I think that honors the spirit of the gift as I interpreted it, a friend giving you something they thought would bring you joy, doing something you both love.

Lenses are of course a personal choice, and you love lenses and know a lot about them. I find it hard to sell a good lens. I think it's ok to have a fine lens that you don't use a lot. When you need it you'll be happy you have it.

Re the 56 & 90, you have said you love 85mm , well 56=85, why would you want to be without a favorite FL if you already have it?
Re the APD ,there are compromises, like losing PD AF, and the APD filter's variable effect on light transmission. And you really need to use it at wide apertures (included 3xND filter) because Fuji chose to keep the same 7 blade iris as the standard lens, which results in 7 sided circles in the Bokeh. I'd keep the regular one.
Re the 90, also a great lens, you may or may not 'like' the 135mm e, but I have a 135 f/2 and the pictures from it always have a wonderful look.
Lastly, if you really want to make portraits, you should. Go to town every Saturday morning -1 camera, 1 lens, 1 tripod, (plus a fold up reflector, and a little flash on an off camera cord) and be the roving portraitist of Penn Yan.

Never sold a gift before, got a few exotic lenses from my sponsors over the years and use them with thanks and credit, Tough one. gb.

I agree that the 14mm is special, the 23mm f2 is a tiny delight, the 35mm f1.4 is not too sharp at f1.4 but has a special character. As for all those long primes if it was me I would keep the 58mm because it is your preferred focal length for portraiture and use the 55-200 for any other focal lengths. I use my 55-200 a lot. For its price it's an amazing lens. At least as sharp as your monster 100-400mm beast and not so extreme in reach, size and weight. Admittedly it's only f3.5 to 4.8 but it's tiny compared to the 100-400.

I think you are missing one normal lens, the XF 27mm 2.8, which is very close to the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 in field of view. It’s my third and most used Fuji lens (also have the 35 1.4 and 23 2). To me, it feels just right for a normal. Makes the 35 seem somewhat telephoto.

So you'll end up with two 35mm-e lenses and two 50mm-e lenses and nothing at 85mm-e.

Most of us have two problems:

1. We are nuts
2. We don't know we're nuts.

You don't have the second of these two problems. :)

May we all have a little more Jay in our lives. What a refreshingly unselfish answer to your inquiry.

Someone at some point in my life told me or maybe I read some where that when you give something to someone as a gift, you have no business telling that person what they can and cannot do with the gift or even being a little perplexed about what they do with your gift. If you try to control what someone does with a gift you gave them, it is not really a gift. It's a loan. Seems to me that Jay made you a very generous gift, not a loan.

Enjoy building and using your Fuji system!

What you say about portraits is interesting, My absurdly pretentious and not very successful approach is to offer to make portraits people can't make themselves: with a 4x5 camera, offering people a free print for their time.

It works OK: the trouble is carrying the thing often enough. I need a lighter tripod as I am getting too old to carry the one I have (I'd welcome suggestions for something suitable for a fairly light 4x5 camera (Chamonix)).

One thing I'm surprised by is that the 18mm (28e) on my GR runs rings around the Fuji equivalent. Understand they're making a replacement...

Uh....they were gifts. The only strings attached to a gift should be ribbons.

Sell the lot and get an iPhone 11 ha ha! But seriously I understand your critics viewpoint on selling but they are wrong, it’s not a gift if conditions are set, as Jay Burleson obviously understands.

If some sort of restriction is attached to something given to somebody, then it is not a gift.

I would reflect your advice back at you. Keep the 14, 23 and 56. Sell the rest.

They presumably came with no strings attached, so you can do what you want with the gifted gear. But since you did not pay for the lenses, unless you need the cash to eat, why not carry it forward and gift the lenses you don't want to someone else rather than selling them? (Particularly since the second-hand market is likely pretty full with little-used gear these days and you'd be selling them for a fraction of their new price. Plus, as someone else said, the idea of selling such a generous gift sounds... I don't know, cheap?)

Well, interesting Stephane and Franklin raised that particular point openly. At least to my (european) beliefs, Jay just has had to say what he said to you. But that is my oldish view, asking him would be a no-go.
Anyway, I think you have a bigger problem. I diagnosed you have a serious GAS attack, just overheard your speech to your analyst (another no-go). Only excerpts:
"... I'll keep only one ... I've already bonded with that lens ... I'm not an ultrawide kinda guy—but I really like it ... I'll indulge myself ... I'll keep both t ... There's just not a good enough reason to sell one ... I can rationalize it ... I'm keen to get an ƒ/2 ... it's such a nifty and pleasing little lens ... dilemma ... gorgeous lenses ... I'm not convinced I actually need ... golden opportunity ... lens I like in all ways except that that it's a tad short ... Then again, just keeping the 56mm seems sensible too ... Designed for the bokeh enthusiast ... I'm absolutely chuffed ... the astonishing XF 100–400mm ... increasing my experience-base ... I've always valued that in photography …"
Joking, of course, have fun. I am pretty sick too by the way - just bought a used Hassy, only because I dreamed about one for about forty years. It is waaay too good for me, but there you have it..

I wouldn't get rid of the 56mm f1.2. I'd regret it in days. You don't have to decide anything right away. Play with the gear in earnest for several months and then decide if you need to add or trim. My faves? The 14mm, the 23mm 1.4, the 35mm 1.4, the 56mm APD (but I'd be equally happy with the vanilla version) and the 60 Macro. The "crons" are nice to have and I use them in video because they track focus better. The 90mm is perfect....sometimes a bit too long for my favorite portraits. And the 8-16mm is an eye opener. Keep the 56mm. Keep the 56mm. Keep the 56mm....

The idea of getting rid of the 56 and replacing it with a 50... I just can't see any possible advantage. It's not a big lens. It's much better than the 50, both image quality and focal length wise (speaking with portraiture in mind). I just can't see how you could justify it - other than earning a couple bucks on this exchange, which is a valid reason, but you didn't mention anywhere you're doing it for money, so... why?

I'm similarly in the process of downsizing and consolidating my Fuji Kit at the moment.

Here's where I'm at right now:

16/1.4 - I don't have a lot of use for it, but keeping, as it's such a gorgeous lens

23mm - Kept the f/2, sold the F1.4. The f/2 is just such a wonderful little lens when I want a light kit.

35mm - Having a hard time choosing here. Likely going to indulge like you and keep both the f/2 and f/1.4.

Short tele - Likely going to keep the 56 f/1.2 and sell the 50 f/2. I used to love the 42.5 f/1.7 on micro 4/3rds and I had high hopes the f/2 would fill a similar spot for me on Fuji, but I just don't use it that much.

Zooms - probably a controversial pick, but I sold my 16-55 f/2.8-4 and kept the 14-55 f/2.8. My reasoning being the 14-55 will likely serve as a better all purpose lens for filling any gaps I'm missing after I clean house.

Bodies - Definitely keeping my X-T2 as my primary camera. I'm conflicted as to whether I should just sell my X-E3 outright or kind of toying with the idea of getting and IR conversion done on it.

As an X-H1 owner myself, I’d keep all the lenses you have. Your short time with them isn’t enough to discover how you might bond with them and use them in the future.

What’s more, I think you’d agree that the reality of your financial situation means that you’d be unlikely to ever get any of them back if you let them go. So be very sure before you act.

Also, if you have to choose between the 56mm and 90mm, there’s no contest. Go with the 90mm. I did and have not regretted it.

Good luck and enjoy!

Our relationship to gifts is a prime example of culture. In my northern European background I feel that gifts should be kept as special items. However, I've been exposed to other cultures that see giving a gift as a special token to improve the relationship, but the item itself has no special status after being received and can thus be given away. So I take a flexible view, do what's practical and keeps social relationships at a healthy state.

As for lenses, I have never been gifted lenses, but for bought lenses I maintain a rule that I should keep one for 12 months barring something exceptional happening so that I can properly familiarize myself with it. Other do this faster and I respect that, I just feel that getting a proper feel for the thing is important.

I can fully understand that some of us feel awkward about gifts being sold on, and it is a sign of the good community spirit at TOP that they felt able to express their reservations. We must thank them for it.

My own view is that your friendly donor gave you a gift that was not a single item but a complete "Fuji system", a camera with a set of lenses. Your donor will want you to enjoy this system. You have been using this system for a while now, and you have been writing about your resulting experiences here on TOP. Those reflections are a big bonus to the donor and to all of us here; we visit your site because we benefit from reading your reflections. As part of the process of using the system, you are also considering some modifications to it. If you were to sell some of your Fuji lenses in exchange for some other Fuji lenses, you wouldn't sell the system you were gifted, you would merely adapt it to your needs. And once again, whilst you do this you also write about it here on TOP, helping the rest of us to make sense of our own approach to building camera system. The donor could not hope for a better appreciatiation of his gift, and as we have seen he has also confirmed this to you directly.

If at some point you were to decide that the Fuji system is not for you after all, I hope you would write about this process too and we all, the donor included, would benefit from these reflections too.

It makes me proud to be part of an online community where we can reflect on so many different facets of photographic life and where we can also raise and resolve personal and ethical concerns such as these, as among friends.

"I hadn't thought that I might be considering doing something offensive, or that readers might disapprove of me for it."

FWIW, I personally evaluate issues like this on a case-by-case basis. If I gave you something I didn't want and no longer had any use for, then what you do with it after that is your business, not mine. On the other hand, if I were to give you something for your birthday that I had carefully selected, with the idea that you would cherish it, or at least enjoy owning, then it would sting to know you had sold it a few days later. There's yet a third consideration: Some readers might be a tad jealous of your being fortunate enough to receive thousands of dollars worth of top-shelf equipment for free, so the thought that you might then sell it could be interpreted either as ingratitude or a transactional mindset. All this is by way of explanation as to possible motives. Again, speaking only for myself, I feel that if the gifter and giftee don't have an issue, then why should I?

Warning!!! Fuji gear should be declared a controlled substance ... it is addictive. But such a sweet addiction. Enjoy.

Mike, Most of the time when we give gifts, especially substantial ones into which we put much thought, we want the recipient to be happy but also want the recipient to show that happiness by using, even treasuring the gift. I must confess, my first reaction was the same as your first two featured commenters.
But your situation is a little different, you discussed it with Jay and I would say it is between the two of you. Another way to look at his gift is that rather than a collection of objects, what he really gave you is the rare opportunity to own the 'best Camera you've ever owned" and the ability to use the gift to own the lens set of YOUR dreams.
So swapping one or two for choices that work better for you, seems fine. It is not as if you intend to take a gift and sell it for cash on eBay.
You can't worry too much about what others think, there will be plenty on both sides of every issue.
I would imagine that your benefactor would be most pleased if you use his gift to make the best pictures of your life.

Mike, I'm kinda with some of the folks who have a hard time with selling gifts, but if its okay with the "giftor" for the "giftee" to sell the gifts, then its cool in my book.

As for the lenses, for most part, I think your choices of what to keep and what to pass on, are, for the most part, good choices. IIRC, it was I that orginally recommended both the 14mm f/2.8 & 23mm f/1.4 lenses to you back when you first got your X-T1, and the performance of both lenses is so exemplary, I'm very glad they've worked out for you all this time. Personally, I would NEVER sell that 14mm; its just sooo tasty with its rather wonderful image characteristics. While I really liked the image quality from the 23/1.4, I found it was pretty large for my requirements in a lot of shooting situations, & once I got the X100T (and then the X100F), I used those wonderful cameras when I needed to use a fast 23mm prime. So I eventually sold my 23/1.4 (OTOH, if I was doing professional studio work where I needed a 35mm FOV, I would have definitely kept it).

Regarding the 23mm f/2, while I really liked this lens, be mindful that it has a notably "steeper" contrast profile than the 23/1.4, particularly with respect to where dark areas fall off to bright areas in an image. This gives the lens a rather cinematic quality, which for some photos, can be nice, but be mindful that the contrast profile of this lens is not like the 23/1.4, which I would classify as "neutral" or the 23mm f/2 on the X100-series, which I would classify as "soft" (not in sharpness, in its contrast profile). Personally, I prefer the 23mm on the X100F because it has the softest contrast profile, and thus provides more editing headroom than the 23mm f/2 does. You should also know that the 23mm f/1.4 is sharper both on-center and at the edges at all apertures than the 23mm f/2.

Regarding the 55-200: If I were you, I would pass on this lens. I used two units of this lens, one a rental for two weeks and one I owned for over 4 years. I was never particularly impressed with it; I found it not particularly sharp and it produced rather flat-looking photos. I finally flipped mine; I think I used it less than half a dozen times in 4 years. This and the 18mm f/2 were the only two Fujinon X-mount lenses I have not been impressed with. So, my advice before you purchase this lens is to rent it for a time and see if you like it before plunking down your money to buy it. If you need a telephoto zoom, the 50-140mm f/2.8 is a significantly better lens, IMO, and if you only need such a lens occasionally...rent it.

The other lens I would recommend you give serious consideration to is the forthcoming 16-80/4. From what I've seen to date with pre-production units, this lens appears to be really superb, and this is the standard zoom I've personally been waiting since first buying into the Fujifilm X-system back in 2012. Personally, I really like f/4 lenses, and I fully expect this lens will become my "go-to" standard zoom.

Just a personal side note: since starting to do professional real estate and architectural photography at the beginning of this year, the lens I use the most these days is the newish Fujinon 8-16mm f/2.8, which is perfectly rectilinear. The image quality from this lens, along with the big monster 200mm f/2.0 is, in a word...INSANE. Especially on an X-H1.

Hope this info helps and cheers.

Hi Mike, hope you enjoy the Fuji gear love-in. Re gift etiquette - I appreciate the sentiment put forward by Stephane. However, to my highly subjective and completely unresearched view, this probably reflects attitudes that date from prior to the rise of middle class society and materialism (no reflection on Stephane). When most people had a (comparative) dearth of things, they made them last, and shared them around / handed them down etc.
I'd suggest a more nuanced approach in the modern era of abundance of things. I think one's attitude and approach to re-gifting or selling gifts matters. I have no qualms with your selling on of gifts, given your obvious appreciation for said gifts, both in the receiving/having, and of the things themselves, and in having used them too. Also, you have demonstrated some tact in how you've approached the topic. Further, in the context of lenses, selling lenses to acquire other lenses is a very common act for photographers, and well understood by all who willingly suffer :~)
To take the sentiment to it's logical conclusion, if we keep everything we are gifted, at what point do these blessings become a curse? I imagine that there are very few scenarios in which that would be the intent of the giver. YMMV.

Gifts: It's not really a gift unless it's given unconditionally, no strings attached. Jay said it best: "do what makes you happy with the lenses." That means you get to decide. Please don't have any guilt or anxiety on this, that is not what Jay would hope for with his gift. If that means trading some lenses for other lenses you love more, then do it, I'm certain Jay would approve.

(That said...keep the 100-400...it stretches you....umm....no pun intended)

Just to reiterate Ken's point, don't bother with the 56mm APD, the difference is marginal at best, especially relative to the price increase - you're much better off saving that money or putting it towards something else. The standard 56mm is a fantastic lens already, I'd be hesitant to get rid of it if you ever see yourself shooting a portrait again!!

I tend to agree with Bosman. Since they were gifted to you, perhaps you could find someone else to give them to?

Mike, I just sold two fuji primes the f 2.8 16 and the f2 50. I sold them to fund the purchase of the 16-80 f4, to be released soon. I also own the f 2.8 16-55 which is a beautiful lens. I have found that the Fuji zooms are as good as the primes at least for my work. I am a nature and travel photographer and the 16-80 f 4 is a perfect focal length. I would suggest before you sell the primes rent one of the great fuji zooms, the 16-55 or when it is released the 16-80 f 4. I have read some great things about the 16-80 and it is a perfect focal length.
When you are out in the field, it is very cumbersome to change lenses and carry all the lenses with you. Fuji is a great system, and the lenses are one of the things I really like about the system. Today zoom lenses are equal to primes in image quality at least from my experience. I would strongly encourage you to try some of the Fuji Zooms, I think you would be pleasant surprised. All the best Eric

I have always felt once you give a gift, it belongs to the person gifted and they can do what they want with it. Hopefully they will like it and find it useful. But if not, then selling it, giving it away, etc. may be more useful or rewarding to them than keeping it "just because it is a gift."

On the other hand, if this bothers the gifter then they are under no obligation to give future gifts if they don't want to.

Your post struck a nerve. A couple of them actually. First, because rather than sell a couple of Nikon lenses that I no longer needed, I gave them to my son. And he sold them. Which he was perfectly entitled to do - I gave them without conditions. But some years later I'm still not sure how I feel about that. I guess I wouldn't want the gift to have been a fatherly-imposed constraint on his photographic direction. So it's good that Jay gave you a free hand. And ... the issue of selling gifts was mentioned at the end of step 23 in your justly famous 2010 Letter to George.

The second nerve it struck was because I have way too many XF lenses that is remotely sensible, and yet I'd like a few more. I know the 14mm f/2.8 is highly regarded, but it's too wide a lot of the time and I'd rather one of the 16mm lenses, probably the chron. I'd also like the about-to-be released 16-80mm f/4.0. Yes, zooms if used in an undisciplined way can lead to poor composition, but there are times when changing lenses is not good for sensor cleanliness. So what to do? Buy yet more without selling any, or sell some?

Has an an incubus has invaded our bodies and taken over our souls? (From step 23.)

Your choice if lenses is on target, but I would spend some time with the 56 and the 90. Wide open, the 56 has a shallow depth of field that, in a way, replicates the shallow depth of field that you see in the old, large format portraits. And the 90 is killer sharp for those “character” portraits. Living in a somewhat low population area like you, I don’t get to shoot as many portraits as I would like. But, when you get the chance, those are two great portrait lenses.

I think it would take hundreds of images with each lens before I could determine whether I wanted to part with it or not.

As for gifts, my philosophy on giving is that something I give is no longer mine in any way. That's the risk one takes in being generous.

Keep them all and challenge yourself to use each one on a regular basis.
The return just isn't worth giving them up.

You never have too many lenses. Sometimes you want a smaller and slower one. Sometimes you need the speed. Over time you might drop one. Don't sell a lens unless you are so short of money that essential medical treatment is not possible without selling a lens or two.

A persons opinion on the actions of another person defines them, not the other person.

Besides, once a gift is given, it's like releasing a bird into the wild.

But if it's given on condition, then it's not a gift in the first place. Surely that's common sense.

But sadly, hoarders and those narrow of mind see things with a focus on loss, instead of giving.

With your expertise in all thngs bokeh I'd be surprised if you liked the 56/1.2 R. I replaced mine with the APD version and never looked back.

Perhaps you will end up with the X-PRO camera? After all, the small Fujicrons were mada for it. Just saying...

From the description of the way you've received your gift it looks like Jay just doesn't care about selling the lenses himself, this work will just not give him any meaningful return.

So what you can do is:
1) Just sell it and buy other Fuji gear you need
(just imagine he gave you a different set of gear)

2) Sell it and give back 80%-90% of the money to Jay

3) Sell it and donate 80%-90% of the money to charity

4) Give away these lenses via some sort of lottery, possibly to some of the print buyers who own Fuji system.

Firstly, I don't think that because I wouldn't would it others should not do it if they want.

Now, I do think it is a bit hasty. Hobbies and passions are funny things. People go through cycles. I had a 35mm phase. Now I'm more on a 50mm phase (FF-e).

At other times my 56mm will see a lot of use. Or a zoom. Or I have periods when I sue everything. Really.

I have the experience of selling good gear I tohught I did not need. Never again. By the time you wish you had it you cannot afford it and when you can afford it again it is too late.

Selling photo gear is now reserved for desperate times.

I wouldn't give somebody something with the expectation that they must keep it - that's just placing a burden on them. I've learned to get rid of gifts that I don't want - why clutter up my house with things that collect dust and lose value out of a misplaced sense of obligation ?

I would imagine the perfect Mike Johnston system is 16mm f2.8, 23mm f1.4, 60mm f2.4 and 55-200mm. Then, spice it up with the 27mm f2.8 and 50mm f2.

The caveat would be the focus speed of the 23mm and 60mm.

Mike, Before you make a move on the 56 APD version, you should read this comparison: https://www.fujivsfuji.com/56mm-f1pt2-vs-apd

I had a severe hankering for the APD, until I read this.


Enough already, best thing to do is keep the lot and be done with it. I have a collection of fuji lenses and bodies but for some strange reason I end up using the XE3 with the 35 1.4 90% of the time. Go figure.

Just because you have a particular lens does not mean you have to feel obligated to use it. My recommendation is that you take the 14mm and the 100-400mm and put them back into their cases. Take the cases, put them in a "right-sized" box. Take the box and place it in the bottom drawer of your desk (make sure the box is labeled).

Granted, you should spend a little time with both of these lenses (perhaps just taking one or the other with you on a "shooting expedition") to re-verify that these are not your preferred shooting tools. But once determined, get them out of sight and out of mind.

Never carry any lenses around "just in case I might need it". You only pull these lenses out when you KNOW that you will need them. When you do need them, you have them.

I don't sell lenses, as a rule. I sell camera bodies. I break the rule every now and then, but pretty rarely. On the other hand, the only focal lengths I don't really use are the long tele's. I max out at about 180mm in 35mm land.

As to selling "gifts" it is one of those things that you have to make your own rules for. It is not uncommon, for instance, for a parent to help a child with a down payment for a house. But no one thinks that this imparts "no-sell cooties" to the house. No, it is an investment and intended to help the kid on his or her way.

Similarly, can you imagine a time limit on this thing? You get a camera for your 18th birthday, and then you can't sell it when you are 35 and moving to a new system? That'd be weird.

I think that the question is: have you honored the intent of the person who gave you the gift. You got to that when you reached out to your Fuji-donor.

Hi Mike,
I know that sinking feeling, when you get the message from some people - not all - that you've transgressed a major social boundary.

For what it's worth, I think you are doing just fine. In the social and cultural setting I grew up with, the purpose of a gift is to convey the feelings of the giver. Receiving the gift is the obligation. Understanding the feelings of the giver is the obligation. And, thanking the giver for their feelings in a substantive way (e.g. a letter, a card, a picture, a story, a handshake, a conversation) is the obligation. But you are never obliged to keep the gift! It has served it's purpose and can be let go.

That obligation to keep things others give to you - if we follow that - leads to keeping an enormous hoard of things! No kind gift giver wants that. That wouldn't be good for you. Wanting people to keep gifts beyond their usefulness is wanting to harm the receiver. Expressing opinions that people should keep gifts they don't want is meddling in someone else's life, which transgresses important boundaries, and is a bit crazy to boot.

I'm a different person than you, which is to be expected, so I would keep different lenses, for a different amount of time, for different reasons. I'm sure that's what you wanted to talk about when you originally posted this.

But in my book, you did the right thing, are doing the right thing, and now, by having a conversation about your feelings and motivations, are continuing to do the right thing. Keep it up!

I think, based on your history, that whichever course you follow, it should include your portrait lens. It does not matter which beckon, but YOUR kit should have one of them.

If an uncle gave you his active stamp collection, would anyone object if you started carefully buying, selling, trading and otherwise carrying on the work of curating that collection? The value of such a gift, one would hope, is the joy of the activity, not its exact contents or the curse of possessing and hoarding.

Or if he gave you one of his fine suits, would it be wrong to have it tailored to fit you?

Sure, these are imperfect analogies to a kit of photographic tools, but comparable where it counts. Continually fine-tuning and personalizing one's kit as one's work and circumstances evolve is what dedicated photographers do. I mean, jeez, it's not like you're thinking about trading in the whole caboodle for a Rebel and a zoom and a spa day!

So my advice is to enjoy your gift in the spirit it was given, from one friend and fellow enthusiast to another, with, I'm sure, the full knowledge that a kit is a very personal and ever-changing thing.

Besides, what's the alternative? Hoard? Arbitrarily stifle an important aspect of the hobby that both of you love? Lock away a fine tool that might otherwise be put to good use? That would be criminal. Please, don't do that.

That said, if you can find the right venue, you might get better bang for buck trading rather than selling (and your conscience might irrationally feel better about it than selling and buying).

I agree with those who are saying “haste makes waste” and with your own classic counsel never to sell a good lense. Couldn’t it be that there's something akin to survivors guilt going on here? At least part of your motivation to pare down and sell right away could be due to a feeling that you as an individual don't deserve such a gift. I understand that, but what about the rest of us? What if you were to consider your readers as at least partial co-recipients — not of the things themselves, but of the use and value of those things!

Would you feel guilty, for example, if you had an employer give you all that wonderful Fuji stuff along with an assignment to take a year, use it to the best of your ability and write it all up as you go along?That, I submit, could be a way to transform this beautiful gift to you, personally, into a beautiful gift through you to us all.

You could make it a riff on your one camera, one lens, one year exercise, making it something like “One Year One System One (Trusted) POV.”

So keep it all and use it in creative peace for a full year — we’ll thank you for it!

I've sold a few things before that friends and family have gifted me and I won't do it again. Even though I had their complete blessing to do so, I had a morose feeling come over me after the fact.

Part of it was that I ended up feeling like I had cheapened our relationship for a quick payout. In each case, while the gift that was given was some old camera that they no longer used, they knew that I appreciated such items. So to turn around and just sell it felt like a betrayal of their trust in me to take care of these items.

The other part of it is that I genuinely miss some of the gear I sold. I've been extremely lucky to have some wonderful gear gifted to me over the years. The chief among these was my uncle's Pentax LX. Once I switched from Pentax to Nikon, I sold off most of my Pentax gear to fund new Nikon stuff. Unfortunately, the LX was part of that effort. In retrospect, I really, really wish that I had kept the LX and the 50mm f1.7 that was with it. That camera was a jewel and I miss it quite bit for that fact alone. Couple in the regrets that I mentioned in the previous paragraph, and it's one of those seemingly small things in life that ends up being one of my big regrets.

Just my take on this, of course. I wish you the best figuring out what is best for you and the Fuji gear.

A little late with this comment but I've been traveling. Whatever you do with the other lenses, I'd keep the 56. You say that you kind of think of yourself as a portraitist (? Is that a word?) and that's the perfect lens for it. What I think is hanging you up is that you're considering the lens in a commercial sense. Don't do that. Think of it as an artistic tool. Think of yourself as documenting people of the Finger Lakes region, for the early third millennium. Maybe a thousand years from now, people will be curious about that they looked like, and there's Mike Johnston's answer.

I think you should consult with Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza on this matter. I’m sure they’d have an opinion. Maybe several.

As I said in my earlier comment, in my view there is nothing wrong in principle with you contemplating exchanging one or two of these lenses for others. You can do so and still remain respectful and appreciative of the gift you were given. But should you do it? On further reflection I want to add that I agree with those comments that suggest you should give each of those lenses a fair chance, before making plans for replacing them.

May be, may be,..., may be the photographic gods have decided that 2019 is the year where Mike Johnston needs to work with some lenses that he would not have chosen himself. Perhaps this is the challenge that you needed to be given and that you could not give to yourself!

"The idea of getting rid of the 56 and replacing it with a 50... I just can't see any possible advantage."

I like the 50 f2. It's very sharp and focuses very fast and accurate.

Works for me:


56 is bigger, slower, 2.5x more expensive. I dont see much advantage over 50.

Mike, what I've done on the few occasions that I acquired a free lens (gift/in a $2 box of junk at a garage sale/etc.) with a focal length outside my (use/comfort/learning/?) zone was to stick it on a body and shoot with nothing else until I begin to get the feel of it and created some images I was happy with. I then decided whether to keep it or pass it on. One of the joys of digital photography is that the exercise was free (excluding sunk costs and my time, of course), with the added advantages that I enjoyed the challenged and learned quite a bit about my own inadequacies. Sort of a mini OLOY type exercise. I recommend you try it before you decide.

Seven lenses is perfectly fine. When I was a Canon user I had seven lenses and now that I'm a Fuji user I have seven lenses - although I might dispose of the 18mm and 35mm in due course.

Are you going to review the fuji 16-80mm f4 ois? It is being released today.

Usually I'm not keen on medium zooms but this lens does create a lot of buzz. Might be a good fit with the 23-50mm f2 fujicrons, adding some reach in both directions and offering flexibility when a larger aperture isn't required (landscapes for instance).

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