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Saturday, 17 July 2021

Comments

Three thoughts:

(1) Collecting watches is not the same as accumulating watches. The latter just increases your possessions, the former is an activity that can increase your quality of your life.

(2) How about the X-E4? It strikes me as a happy medium between the iPhone and the X-H1.

(3) Family is the best.

Ok,you have no serious camera you really like? I have a suggestion: Pentax KP with 21mm or 35mm limited lens. I bought one when it was on closeout several months ago, and all I can say is it was worth the $600 (and then some). You won't be sorry. And, oh, the new K-3iii is awesome as well, just a bit expensive right now, and feels quite a bit larger in hand than the KP.

It’s really odd that you haven’t taken to the Fuji X100 series. Maybe it’s just the 35mm instead of 40mm that’s the problem.

I'm pretty surprised, as someone that has 5 Fujifilm cameras, how often the camera in my hand is an X-E series. I have larger, more capable (on paper) "pro-class" bodies, but the X-E models comes pretty close to how I felt when I grabbed my Leica M6 instead of my Nikon F3.

Maybe give the X-E3 a look. Same sensor and processor as your X-H1, but tiny and can still be had new.

FWIW... My current EDC is the X-E2s. Bought it to see what the hype was about with earlier generation sensors, and it just fits me. I even bought a 60 dollar thumb grip for it. Throwing it over my shoulder is now just like putting my wallet in my pocket, and I always have a camera with me.

> at least if the highlights aren't blown

In my recent experience the HDR modes in the phone do a much better job of balancing shadows and highlights in high contrast situations than "real" cameras can do without post processing. This is because the phone is actually adjusting the exposure almost on a pixel by pixel basis, whereas most traditional digital bodies still shoot the whole frame at one setting and then make you adjust the overall balance later in Lightroom or something.

But the Lightroom/Photoshop adjustments are much coarser than what the phone does and it can take a lot of work to get the same look.

Here is a good example of this effect

https://www.flickr.com/photos/79904144@N00/50503684707/in/photostream

vs

https://www.flickr.com/photos/79904144@N00/50502812018/in/photostream

To my eye the first shot is much better in the middle tones (where all the colored leaves are) and while the overall contrast and levels in the second are OK, the colors in the leaves are really flat, and juicing them up a bit would have required a lot of tedious hand masking that the phone did for me in the first shot.

Of course, the resolution and detail will probably be better in the shot with the Olympus. That's the current set of tradeoffs.

I forgot to note in my previous comment that the second shot is an HDR merge done in Lightroom of several exposures from the Olympus OMD.

Yep, pretty much my feelings about my X-H1. Without a doubt it's technically my best camera to date, but when I think grabbing a camera to go out, I usually pick the oldie X-Pro2, that one I truly love.

I was thinking about that same thing regarding other stuff I have. Like I love my iPad Pro, but find my iPhone just utilitarian. The same about my Windows PC vs Mac Mini.

Having said that, a lot of times it makes sense to have both: even if I love the X-Pro for personal work, when I need a solid camera for a job or more intense landscape photo walks I pick the X-H1 without a second-thought.

A month ago I picked up the new X-S10 to replace the X-H1, the logic was "if the X-H1 is utilitarian for me, I might as well go with the most utilitarian Fuji camera to date". It's a great camera, the only few things that bother me are the smallish EVF and lack of AF/MF switch, but it balances out by the fact that it fits my hands perfectly, has great IBIS and that I'm now able to finally trust the AF of a Fuji camera with any lens.
I know I will use it a lot more than the X-H1 because it's much smaller and lighter, even if I still don't feel myself loving this one too.

The X-H1 is now waiting for my decision to sell or not to sell. Was sure I would let it go at first, but the low second-hand prices they go for now make me wonder if it's best to just keep it.

"He who dies with the most toys just makes it harder on whoever has to clean out his house": truer words were never spoken.

But also: have you got rid of of your XT-1? That's surely enough camera for anybody! Certainly for me, and I like to think I'm the very definition of "anybody". Although it's true I like (and have kept and -- most important -- use) the first manifestations of pretty much everything Fuji have made: X-T1, X100, X-E1, even a handy little XM-1 (oh, and an X-70, which seemed to arrive out of nowhere...) All, bar one, bought second-hand, too.

Mike

Mike --

You will get a bah-jillion comments on this one; your audience is light on the fan-boys and pixel-peepers but this post will flush them out. For those of us of a certain age your comments strike home however.

As I recall you didn't like the Nikon D8xx either for similar reasons. I completely understand even though I have a D810 which -- for whatever reason but shooting Nikon Fs since 1973 might have something to do with it -- just seems "right" to me; all the controls fall to hand and the glorious optical VF seems an extension to my eyeballs as I take the photo in a trance.

That is what happens with an efficient artistic tool but it doesn't have to be so. The XH-1s and Nikons were not for you but there are plenty of choices.

From my discussion with Sony mirrorless owners (well, three of them anyway) that hasn't happened for them either. They love the capabilities, lenses and images but there is always an edge in their voices when discussing using their Sonys.

I note that Canon people do not have that attitude. It strikes me that the Fuji bodies vary a lot in layout; perhaps keep your glass and try an XT-4?

Life is too short to use the wrong tool; finding yours is important.


I totally understand where your head is at with the X-H1 because I am in a "near" identical space with my camera, a Panasonic S1R. The situation is slightly different from your lack of love for using the X-H1. I love using my S1R but often find it too heavy & bulky for the "situations" I have been and will continue to find myself in, and am looking for an occasional substitute.

The "situations" alluded too are simple - I am finely beginning a funded two year project in Redwood National Park (covid-19 delayed) of revisiting areas I photographed on film up to 55 years ago - during the "battle" to establish the park - to show what it is like now. The differences are considerable and interesting historically. The practical problem is I'm that much older and must cover maybe more than 10 miles on foot in a day to reach places! Less fun than it used to be...and these places aren't level either!

By coincidence, the camera I have my eye on could be a candidate for you too: the new Fuji X-S10, which has the IBIS you seem to highly desire. For me, it would replace my quite aging X-Pro 1. The X-S10 coupled to my only lens, the 18-55 F2.8-4, would be compact, light, and capable of excellent imagery. Add to that the new Adobe "magic" of being able to "enhance" a raw file to 4 times its original area, would allow for large prints, should the park service request any.

The Panny would, of course, continue to be used on all shorter excursions where I'm not too far into the woods - so I still love using it and boy the images it produces are wonderful.

My only other logical option would be acquiring a Panasonic S5 which could use all my existing full frame lenses, including the lovely little Sigma "i" series optics I have. But I still love the Fuji idea, since it would be a much more compact option.

Hmmm, back to finding Mike the perfect camera : ) . Not too big, not too fussy and complex, with IBIS and a decent viewfinder. I like my XT4 more than my former XH1, but I suspect that’s too close for you. Still, might want to test one. You could try something really different and get a Pentax KP, then use that 35 macro you like. I also have a decent condition EM1 (original) I’ll sell you for whatever KEH offers (not much). You could buy another used GX8 and put up with the shutter shock. I’d be tempted by something L mount, not too big, like the Panasonic S5. Then you could use that compact Sigma 45mm and call it good. Good luck!

Never understood why you never got a Fujifilm X-100 since it seemed to check all the boxes of the dream digital camera you imagined back in the day...

" The sensor's too small: the images look great on the phone itself and do okay at the 800-pixel-wide blog-post size as long as the dynamic range is adequate, but the files don't correct easily, have too many artifacts in enlargements, and those highlights I mentioned are often blown. I dislike blown highlights."

The iPhone X and later, together with the Halide app, change the equation dramatically

Sunset, highlights and deep shadows

Light, color and textures

The iPhone is still not a suitable general purpose camera for me, but ever so much better in a pinch than before.

Seems like you recently bonded with a Sony.

[True, but it's a tough buy because of the darn lenses. --Mike]

Thanks for sharing your joy and pride and pics of your wonderful ZOZI visit, Mike!

Interesting thoughts about "real" cameras. I think for many of us, if not most, no single camera can do it all because our needs or interests are too varied. Maybe we should just roll with it and instead of pursuing "the one" or the "middle", build the tool box. And that's not GAS talking; in fact, I expect this approach to result in less GAS than the pursuit of a chimerical ideal.

I don't know about anyone else, but there's a class of cameras that are built to stand up to professional use and abuse that I just don't feel comfortable with for "civilian" tasks, no matter how capable they may be. I consider that an irrational personal peccadillo, though I guess I could make a case for appropriate and inappropriate design compromises for a given situation, need, or--why not?--peccadillo.

Well, I hope I don't get banned from commenting, but I don't think any camera will compensate for such dull light as you had in these photos. You need to post-process differently. I'm not sure what you use to process with - I use lightroom and photoshop. I know you didn't ask for critique, but since it's the internet, I gave it anyway. :D

I do understand the desire for the right camera. For me, the fuji gfx 100s has been IT. I finally have a camera that will deliver the quality I want. I had the 50s but it didn't have is. It is heavy, but it is worth it.

Sharon

OOps. Looked on my iphone and the light isn't so dull there. Scratch the first of my comment. :D

[No, you're right, the light was dull all week--it's been raining and cloudy a lot lately. Today it has almost literally been coming down all day long. I'm afraid we are getting all the rest of the country's rain. And yeah, I didn't quite get that top picture right. --Mike]

I liked my X-E1, then loved my X-T1. I kept going to the store and playing with the X-H1, but like you, something about it didn't gel for me. A few months ago I got an X-T4, and it is hands down the favourite of all digital cameras I've owned (incl. Leica, Ricoh, Olympus).

Fun sidenote: I got the X-T4 in trade for a 1980s Jobo ATL-2 film processor that I paid $80 for. These young film kids are all right by me!

Forget the camera conundrum. Did you try out the electric skateboard?

[At 64 with a bad knee, I decided discretion was the better part of valor. I'm actually rather proud of myself for being what I think they call "mature." But don't think I wasn't tempted. --Mike]

Mike: your post resonated with me, although in an insert-your-brand-here sort of way. I recently looked at an online A vs B comparison of the new-ish Nikon Z7II, and my current Pentax K-1 on dpreview. To the sorrow of my gear-head crush on the Nikon, I couldn't see that much difference in the online image quality between the two. There was a bit of extra detail on the Nikon images, but not enough to switch systems.

On the practical side of things? The cameras that I have grabbed heading out the door, nine times out of ten, in past six months are the Olympus PEN and OM-D E-M1. Yeah, the Pentax is "better" but I keep choosing the Olympus. Go figure.

Mike, I am so glad that you were able to spend four days with Xander and Allysa. I am sure that it did wonders for your soul and a great time was enjoyed by all.

Regarding your thoughts on camera bonding, I know the feeling that you are talking about. As the saying goes, "close but no cigar," seems to have been experience with cameras over the last tens years or so.

Presently I seem to be getting along very well with my Fuji XE-3 and the first version of the 27mm. I haven't owned the camera very long so I sort of feel like I am just holding my breath until some small gremlin raises up to break the mood. The fault, I fear will be with me. I know the grass is not always greener but the grass can be sneaky in the way it can plant seeds.

Good luck finding "the" camera. I doubt if anyones suggestions will be much help as it is such a personal thing. My experience has been very different. I bought a Sony a6000 because, with the kit lens attached, it could slip into my jacket pocket. I never expected to like it—especially since all the sales people at the camera store were dismissive, but the a6000 just fitted my hand and my purpose. I mainly use my cameras while wandering about our National Parks.
Later I bought the Sony a6500—because wanted IBIS and a better EVF. But I kept the a6000 for when weight was important and, to be honest, I still use it at least as much as its more capable sibling. I have a number of friends who have tried to tempt me with Sony 7 series and Fuji XT cameras in particular, but they haven't convinced me as no other cameras feel so secure and comfortable in my hand as the a6x00 series. I was a more tempted by the a6600 but really I don't need its extra capabilities. I feel no urgency to update but if Sony would move the Video button to somewhere else I would consider it as It would save on buying circular band-aids to put over the said button.

Nothing wrong with wanting a new camera. Since you have a bunch of Fujifilm Lenses that you like, staying in that system makes sense. The XT4 would be very similar to the H1, many others don't have IBIS which you said you need, so that cuts the choices down.

I can't help but observe that since you have the skills to use ANY camera well, are you sure the dis-ease you feel is the camera? If there were a subject you were excited to photograph, the camera probably wouldn't matter-- you'd be too excited about making the pictures.
And if you are not excited about pictures you really want to make, a different camera won't help. -----Ask me how I know.........
Good luck with your search.
PS. I'll bet you have given that same advice .......when it is US it is harder to see.

Even before I got to the mention of the Q2 I was thinking — what about a Q?

A few years back I was stuck between two cameras - both Nikon, a D7000 and a J1. It was always a struggle to decide which to use. The J1 was so small and convenient, but the D7000 was just so much more capable.

I made the move to Fuji and discovered I could get both the convenience and capability in a single camera. I ended up with a X-E3 which is really an improvement on both the previous cameras. Only decision I need to make now is which lens to take with me, but there are so many great and compact lenses in the Fuji line, I can fit several in the space previously occupied by a single Nikon lens.

Well gee, Mike, go back to your own articles on the loaner Sony a6600 you recently enjoyed, and given how much you — l quote — *loved it*, you could be accused of focusing on minor negatives (we sometimes need to remember that nothing’s perfect), not to settle into one of them with a couple of the lovely Sigma primes.

The latest generations of iPhones,starting with XS, but especially 11 and 12 are arguably way better than "real" cameras at exposing highlights. This is acheived though computational photography. When the shutter is pressed the phone makes a large number of exposures that are composited on the fly to a produce well exposed image.

There are also other kinds of computational trickery for making relatively low noise night photos. And then you have the mystical "sweater mode" for medium light scenes which I understand is improving certain patterns by adding fake detail.

Runour as it that the next model will come with a LIDAR that can only improve focus and depth maps for portrait mode (more impressive fakery).

"Real" cameras are still superior if you get a workable exposure, but camera makers have fallen way behind on image processing.

I also agree with Xander about watches. With the exception certain models from three brands that you should have bought 15 years ago you can only expect to lose money on a watch collection, but then again you will lose money on most hobbies, including photography.

Its tax time here in OZ. My End of Financial year gift-to-myself was an X-S10 and an X100v. I have an XE2,XE3 and XT20. I'll be selling the XE3 and X-T20.

I generally photograph to print A3. I don't use Instagram etc. I generally like a rangefinder.

I love the X100V.

I'm still getting used to the X-S10 since its layout is a bit different to previous Fujis, but I'm very hopeful. I shoot a lot of adapted lenses so the image stablisation should help. I also do a bit of astro-photography and I like the intervalometer in the later models.

I must admit that the images I like the best are from the XE2. I think Xtrans-II looks a bit better that the subsequent X-Trans releases but that's purely subjective.

I have an rx100, and hardly ever use it. Not sure why. I just always feel sorry that any shot I take with it wasn't taken with a better sensor. I think maybe its just too small for me. I may have the yips with it. :)

For the love of Tri-X, don't worry about using the iPhone. Couple of weeks back we were visiting my son, daughter-in-law and new grandson in St Louie. We toured the great botanical gardens in town. My wife wanted a nice photo of the 2 of us in front of a nice patch of flowers. I had my Nikon D750 and my iPhone. I handed my son the iPhone because I knew the dynamic range would hold the detail in our faces, half in shadow. Beautiful photo. The iPhone pix show what I want to see, without bracketing 4 shots and stacking in Photoshop.

I suggest you try a Sigma DP2 Merrill. Very compact and light, very nice lens, very nice black and white images, excellent resolution and a very straight forward user interface:

Some links from TOP:

https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2014/04/little-camera.html
https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2014/03/the-sigma-dp2-merrill.html

Some other recent reviews:

https://50mmf2.com/writings/sigma-dp2-merrill-review (October 2020)

https://medium.com/ice-cream-geometry/x-trans-vs-foveon-a-mostly-monochrome-photowalk-1a931f8fb277
(Feb 2019)

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=fr&tl=en&u=https://galerie-photo.com/sigma-dp2-merrill.html">https://galerie-photo.com/sigma-dp2-merrill.html">https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=fr&tl=en&u=https://galerie-photo.com/sigma-dp2-merrill.html (October 2018)

https://markusjaaskelainen.com.au/sigma-dp2-merrill-review-medium-format-photo-quality-in-small-package/ (Jan 2018)

https://www.sharkandpalm.com/camera-reviews/2017/8/17/sigma-dp2-merrill-point-and-shoot-digital-camera-review (Aug 2017)

http://www.martinzimelka.com/pages/Sigma_DP2m_PG1.html (Dec 2016)

For an integrated workflow you can use the SPP plugin:

https://www.sigma-global.com/en/software/sigma-x3f-plug-in-for-photoshop/

or SPP itself:
https://www.sigma-global.com/en/software/sigma-photo-pro/

PS: alternatively, try the Sigma fp (original 24 MB version), with the 45mm lens:

https://www.sigma-sein.com/en/ohsone/45mm-f2-8-dg-dn-contemporary/

I totally get the iPhone thoughts. I am personally considering trading my XR for 12 pro max. When I photograph with the iPhone those photos are waiting for me on my iPad 11 pro via cloud. Despite having a number of editing apps I find editing in Apple photos to be easy and effective.
I think one of the obstacles to overcome is the “I am a serious photographer “ ego. Now personally I do not print anymore and view photos on either my phone or iPad so shooting with a phone is extremely efficient and despite the initial investment in the end it’s quite cost effective.

When my life was film, I could use about any camera a studio I worked for had. I had preferences, sure, but the big delineator was FILM. I might prefer the Carl Zeiss "look", for lenses, so liked shooting Hasselblad, but if someone handed me a Mamiya RB or RZ...whatever...

This is just another example of how digital has changed the landscape, and not for the better. I've got cameras that no matter what I do, I can't get anything out of unless I spend hours on a computer in PhotoShop (I'm talking to you Olympus Pen F), and I don't like handling at all. Others that are just "meh" and confusing. But as a 40+ year professional, I was never in a situation that I could NOT guarantee the results, no matter what film and camera, I was using, until digital!

I also vowed NEVER to buy another digital camera unless I rent it and handle it, something I never had to do with film cameras in the olden days.

I don't think I've completely gelled with my OMD EM5 iii but the small m43 lenses are so nice and the IBIS is amazing. What I really want is something like my old GF1 but with a modern sensor and IBIS. I had an X-E1 for years and loved it but in the end found most of the Fuji lenses too bulky. The Ricoh GR is my other go to, but I don't always like to shoot so wide. I wish Pentax would make a small ILC. I had fun with a Q7 years ago, but the sensor was just too noisy. It's always a compromise isn't it? I suppose we are lucky to have so many choices!

I love the viewfinder on the X-100 and the X-Pro cameras. These are delightful cameras to use.

iPhone photos are way over-sharpened, IMO. I apply a bit of blur to mine to counteract that. Especially with portraits. Also, the iPhone Lightroom app lets you take raw photos and sync them to LR on your computer. The raws are much nicer than the JPEGs or HEIFs from the iPhone camera app.

Still, you do need a real camera. Mine is a Panasonic G85 with the Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8. Very comfy.

I’ve been using a Sony RX100 V for the past couple of months and really like it. I think it’s the next step down from the iPhone in terms of portability. It’s pants pocketable with the right pants. And many steps up in terms of photographic flexibility. But just don’t expect it to be as ergonomic as many cameras having a similar amount of flexibility. Then you’ll be frustrated. I just tell myself it’s with me, it has better usability than the iPhone and the files are decent.

Are you sure it’s the camera you’re not “bonding” with? Can a different Fuji body really fix it? What about those dozen film cameras you remarked having? And what about that lumberyard-of-a-camera (Wista?) you bought recently?

Or maybe you’ve just outgrown photography.

[Well, no, I have enough experience with cameras to know what I'm talking about and I'm not lying to you. On the other hand, you might be on to something, but if I had to guess I'd say it has to do with prints. I've never gotten into inkjet printing because I get anxious about the ink costs--I just hate the thought that I'm getting "soaked" paying 100 times too much for ink and then wasting it half the time, or more than half. I can't get comfortable with it psychologically. But I really do miss having prints as the final product of the pursuit. I think that's possibly the crux of the underlying dissatisfaction.

Maybe I should just find someone to do my prints for me and see what happens. --Mike]

"......they never bought what he suggested, so, from then on, no matter who it was and no matter what they really needed, he was going to suggest a Ferrari 599. Have you taken that to heart, Kirk? :-D"

Above, from MJ.

My reply? Exactly! KT

Even though it doesn't have IBIS , you should Borrow/ Rent an X100V and or an X-Pro for a week or two. That X100 sure looks like
"The Camera I want to Buy" you described so long ago.

I can confirm, at least from my own experience, that bonding with a camera is 'a thing'. And, as you say, not quantifiable. Like love at first sight. I've fallen in love at first sight with a lot of gear, and other things, but inevitably it has ended badly.

My current long-term relationship is with a Fuji X100T. About to be replaced by a younger model, as these things go

My retired dad glanced down at his wristwatch and absent mindedly said out loud “I wonder what time it is?” My brother said “time to join the 21st century. Get rid of your wrist watch.”

I've settled on a kit consisting of the latest versions of three good cameras: Olympus E-M5 (now the iii) with a few primes and zooms covering the range of "serious" photography, Sony RX100 (now the vi) and an iPhone (now an SE2).

All good but the truth is the iPhone seems to be my favorite. Always there, always a decent if not perfect photo, and it seems to sort of get out of the way, taking care of the technical stuff and letting me focus on the subject and composition. Plus it's unobtrusive. For me it's the friend mentioned above, always there to help with whatever I need.

Mike, I get the sense that you feel much the same but perhaps are struggling with the iPhone not being a "real" camera, a common affliction that I share, that I think leads us astray. So, maybe you should try a better iPhone, perhaps a high end version of the 13 when it comes out, likely this fall. I've found myself thinking that's all I really need or even want, especially if I have the Oly and the Sony on the shelf somewhere just in case.

Expensive? Yes, for a phone. But for a phone, computer and a great camera? In your pocket? Actually a bargain. My son's girlfriend has an iPhone 12 Pro and every time I get a photo taken by that camera I'm stunned by its quality.

It might be time to give up on the notion of a "real" camera.

Hey, Mike, I meant to comment on this yesterday, and never got a chance.

I love the X-H1. I have three of them, and use them all almost every day. For me, the X-H1 *is* a small camera, because I am comparing it to a Canon 1Dx type camera. OK, with the vertical grip it's close to that size, but I rarely use the grip unless I really need the battery life.

Pros: Great image quality, like all Fujis. I love the quiet shutter, the silky smooth shutter release, the large grip with the shutter button in the correct place (always hated the location of the shutter button on the X-T series.) It's small, quiet, light weight, and discreet. Again, compared to a full size "pro" camera. The body is reinforced for the heavy tele lenses.

Cons: autofocus for sports is not great, nor even all that good. The body could actually be smaller, given the sensor size. (Look at the Sony A7 series.) The shutter button takes some getting used it. Finally, it's Not Full Frame, which I understand is a fatal flaw among internet camera users.

Not sure what I will replace these with if Fuji doesn't release an X-H2. I don't love the X-T4. We'll wait and see, I guess. Maybe get another A9 body and buy some Sony zooms. I don't love the Sonys, nor even much like them, but I have to admit they make excellent photos. (See? I get that you can not love the X-H1, while I do love it :-)

I climbed the µ43 ladder all the way to GX8 and eM1.ii before slipping back to the eM1 Classic. I'm clearly a tip-not-flip screen guy, and the format is choosing flip as the only way to go beyond the PL fashion series. The EM1/GX7 were the pinnacles for me, I guess; above that the extra features are balanced by what I perceive as compromises I'm not willing to make. Other formats might now have a chance to sway me with compact options like the Z5. If only I could afford the lenses..

I agreed with the suggestion that a Fuji X100 (isn't that your decisive moment digital?) would suit you, until I remembered that you'd had one and sold it.

However, you might enjoy reviewing some sorta-kinda similar cameras: the Leica Q that you've mentioned, and also the Sony RX1R II. The latter has the bestest 35mm lens* in the Sony realm, but only a pop-up (but workable) viewfinder--but, then, it costs less than the Leica.

I'd be interested in your take on those almost-Velblem cameras.

(* I do enjoy the new Voitlander 35mm APO lens that you discussed some weeks ago, but I'd really like to port the compact camera's 35mm Sonnar to my camera body. I'm sure that you'd enjoy that lens, if not the total camera-plus-lens package.)

At the risk of being slightly contrarian - compared with many of the otherwise excellent and rational-seeming camera recommendations a number of other people have made to you (which I fear are, at the end of the day, much more sane and wiser than the one I'm about to make) --- I'd like to suggest an X-Pro3. Apart from all the hype and the yay-sayers and nay-sayers, there is something immensely satisfying about what is basically old-school shooting. Obviously everyone's opinions are subjective, but to me, the X-Pro3 fits in the hands - and 'handles' better than my previous favorite modern camera body, the GX8. There are two other factors to consider, as well. One is new new in-camera 'classic negative' film simulation that this camera has; it's good enough to cure me of years and years of obsessively processing RAW negatives. The final point has to do with glass: coupled with Fuji's XF 35mm f/1.4 lens, the camera suddenly vaults into the damn-this-is-what-I-remember-about-the-best pre-digital-cameras-I-used-to-shoot-with category. My former favorite 50mm lenses EVER were an f/1.4 Takumar, and later, a bayonet-mount aka K-mount f/1.7 SMC Pentax lens - which bar none (including some fine Leica and Zeiss glass) were the best standard lenses I had ever shot with. Well, guess what? The Fuji XF35 is in their class, in many subtle as well as overtly obvious ways. And, coupled with the X-Pro3 body, it does (for me at least) a number of those hard-to-define things which you have lumped under the category of either 'a camera as a friend', or, simply, of wanting to pick it up, take it with you, and shoot with it.

My own preference over the years has been towards smaller, semi-inconspicuous cameras. I have a GX9 which I really like, and one of the smallish APS-C Ricoh GRii's that I hope never to part with. The X-Pro3 with this lens is a bit bigger - closer to the Pentax KP (another stupidly nice camera to shoot with) in size and weight - but with a surprisingly compact feel nonetheless.

My suggestion is to put it on your list. When it comes down to it, the way a camera 'feels' is really what it's all about... isn't it?

I feel misled by this post. The headline promised "Why I Don't Love the X-H1", but para 4 said "Why? Not sure I know". Eh?

I accidently bought the Fujifilm X-S10 and accidently fell in love with it by using it.
It was a natural, and I didn't intend on liking it or even loving it. I had sold my X-T2 and wanted to try the Fuji IBIS system, but did not want to pay the big price for the X-T4. I wanted to try out the 16-80mm lens and the X-S10 gave me a kit with the 16-80mm, IBIS, and a nice deep grip, and an old fashion PASM dial, plus other dials that I could program as I wanted. I also wanted to play with the new Classic Negative Film Simulation and it was inside the X-S10! I have never used a modern mirrorless camera as much right away. It is small and light and the lens covers mostly every subject I care to capture. I set my ISO to auto, and use mostly Aperture control. One of the dials I can spin through all the film simulations and the other one, I use for Exposure compensation. I shoot in RAW/JPEG and end up with many different shots taken with many different Film Sims. I then can play with the RAWS and process them in-camera and come up with a nice sampling of moods, colors and tones. I really feel connected with this camera, and the lower resolution EVF does not bother me at all. The big grip is great and the IBIS works great. It is a great all-rounder camera, and I doubt if I will ever go back to the X-E or X-T Fujifilm cameras.

Mike;
I don't have a good suggestion for you really. I understand what you mean about 'loving' a camera. I feel like the last camera I really 'loved' was my original SLR, the Yashica FX-3 - it wasn't the 139 or the Contax I dreamed about, but it just worked. Eventually, the fake leather on the grip fell apart and I inherited a Canon Ftb and ended up using Canon film cameras into the 2010's.

I think I am not where Robert E said. I think now , no camera is the perfect camera I will love. I do think I need to recognize I need a kit of cameras. My photography interests are really varied: sports, wildlife and birds, landscapes and waterfalls, astrophotography, but not portraits or people so much.

As I've just turned 60 I don't like carrying as much gear, I've been trying to downsize and reduce gear, but also upgrade some of my kit. For my 'real' camera's I have an Oly EM-1mk3 and mk2 with a few lenses for several things. What I like is I can keep my wildlife/bird lens on mk2 and use the new features of mk3 for my other uses - they're way smaller than my old DSLR kit.

At the same time they're still more than I want to carry sometimes, so I've kept my 'small' kit of 1" sensor cameras: a Nikon 1v3 with 70-300mm for the longer range subjects and sony rx100 mk3 for the short range subjects.

I still have says where I think I should whittle down more, or the Oly's aren't good enough. But really I feel like I'm not going to find perfect and I just need to accept good.

If you happen to end up with (or at least try) a XPro-3, I will be quite interested. For all its interface/controls issues, I liked my XPro-1 overall. I thought I would like the X100F even more with its improved ergonomics, and not have the temptation of lens swapping, so I traded for it via KEH. Alas, the X100F was less than inspiring, albeit the files were very nice. So off it went back to KEH in trade for a Fujinon 240A to grace the Chamonix.

But now I’m missing the XPro a bit and wonder if the greatly (?) improved controls layout might hit the spot. Plus I could go back to using some Zuiko lenses with adapters.

Had a very nice time with a camera that came to me out of left field. The XE Fuji just felt very right for someone who has committed to m43 for most work. I had 2 XE-1's, then working in a shop, found myself regularly gravitating towards the XE-2 & 3 with various smaller lenses. No Fuji in the house now, but these or the new little one (?) as a walk around would for me scratch the itch.

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