I'm a professional traveler and I don't mean for pleasure. It's the kind of travel that involves a 4:30am phone call and a request to get to Caracas, San Salvador, Port-Au-Prince or swim across the Gulf of Mexico to New Orleans kind of deal. Usually it's a breaking news story in the shape of a riot, coup, flood or earthquake but almost always in fascinating locations and most often places where, by necessity, I have to travel light.
Enter my Fuji X-Pro1, a camera that's changed me profoundly as a photographer. I bought mine just over a year ago along with the well regarded 35mm f/1.4 lens and more recently the 18-55 so called 'kit' lens. It's been a revelation; a small camera that people aren't afraid of that takes better pictures than my hulking DSLR and a camera that is, for me at least, an emotional beast.
It's hard to explain but I think the Fuji made me slow down, think about each shot carefully, compose and capture. When I'm on assignment (as a reporter not a photographer) I rarely have more than a few minutes to capture interesting places and people and that's the Fuji's biggest strength; because it's compact, it's always with me and that's half the battle. Tucked away in my Retrospective5 bag few people notice it even in the less desirable places that my job takes me to.
But I've found it to be more than just an unassuming travel companion. It's actually reignited my passion for photography in a way that no DSLR ever has and that has less to do with its size and more to do with the X-Pro1 punching well above its weight. The images this little camera produces have never ceased to amaze me and yes there have been times when I've cursed the slow autofocus but the more I use it there's less swearing and more swooning. You have to learn how to use the Fuji, think ahead and you'll get what you need and more. And if your going to get just one lens make it the 35mm, its just that good. Shooting with a prime also makes you think more. I won't offer the exact quote but someone once said if your pictures aren't good enough then your not close enough and working with the 35mm teaches you important lessons like using your legs instead of your zoom! My next purchase may be the new 55-200 zoom but I'm still holding off for now. It may be the one lens that makes my low profile kit just a little too large but we'll see. For now its passport, money, X-Pro1 every time I get those early morning calls and I don't see that changing anytime soon.