What are you here for?

Writing and sharing my work on this blog and interacting with you has been one of the greatest pleasures and privileges of my life. From the start, I have always tried to share everything that has been buzzing around in my mind even if I knew the subject or my photographs would not please everyone. After all, I had to make personal and artistic choices, which will always trump over my commercial goals (notice, no ads on my blog!). Many of you have stayed with us over the years and you don’t know how much we appreciate your support and feedback.

Thank you!

Recently and quite unintentionally I observed a very interesting phenomenon. In fact, I was surprised by the scale of it. Let me explain.

I got to be known on the internet as one of the first X-series shooters with a special zest for the X100-line of cameras. In fact, all the imagery on this blog has been shot with the Fujifilm X-series cameras. I will not go over why I started shooting with the original X100 many years ago and worked with all of them over the years. You will find plenty of articles about it on these pages.

Recently, Fujifilm has released a medium format camera, the GFX50S, something I have been waiting for, for many years. I believe that it was one area of the market that was waiting for a disruption (full frame is too crowded and the image quality difference between the FF and X-series is negligible!). I am glad that Fuji went for it!

For the last few months I had the opportunity to shoot with the GFX and have already shared some thoughts and imagery on this blog. I also hinted that I may consider reshuffling my gear mix so I could implement the medium format in my work. I even posted an ad with SOME of my X-series gear for sale in order to raise funds for the GFX. That is when things got really interesting!

I started receiving some highly opinionated (nothing wrong with sharing strong opinions!) emails and messages regarding my gear choices. Some people hinted to me that by doing so I am “abandoning” them and the whole X-series universe. Others blamed me for changing my tune and suffering from the G.A.S. syndrome. Hmm? It really got me thinking.

The core of this blog and my photographic activity has been and always will be visuals and seeing, creating imagery that is strong and unique. Sometimes I achieve that, sometimes I fail but that is always my ultimate goal. The only reason we use the X-series cameras and lenses comes down to this: it works for us and fits the way we approach seeing and photography. In other words, the X-series (with the X100F in particular) are the best cameras out there for me. Period! It doesn’t mean they are the best tools for everyone.

That led me to another question. What if I am a Nikon shooter? What if I switch to Olympus? Would you follow me? Would you visit this blog and see our imagery? Or would you go somewhere else since I no longer shot with the same brand as you?

That led me to yet another question. Are you following me and/or other blogs/photographers for their imagery and photographic philosophy or for the gear they are shooting with?

I asked this question to some of my photographic friends, especially those that recently switched brands. Interestingly enough they told me that they lost some followers. WOW! I thought. So maybe imagery is not so important after all?!

Terrified? You shouldn’t be. No, I am not leaving the brand. I do believe that the Fujifilm cameras are the friendliest cameras for photographers out there. I have shared my opinions on why I think so on this blog many times and Ted Forbes in his recent online video arrived at the same conclusion.

In fact, I am quite shocked that Nikon and Canon still don’t get it. Designing and marketing a simple modern camera like the X100F shouldn’t be a problem for them but somehow, they continue focusing their resources only on those monster SLRs with 300-plus page manuals. Come on, just make a simple camera with physical knobs which allow a photographer to control aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation, add a high quality electronic viewfinder and that’s all! (Okay, Olaf you are getting off topic here!)

Too bad for them because Fujifilm keeps doing the right thing. This is exactly the reason the Fujifilm X100F remains my core, every day, always-with-me camera! If I had to choose just one camera to keep – that would be it! Having said that, after trying the GFX medium format I am more and more convinced that I could implement this system in my seeing universe. In addition, new photographic projects I am starting would really benefit from the spectacular rendition that the medium format offers (yes, large, very large prints will be required!) Whether the GFX would replace my Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the lenses or not, I don’t know yet. Of course, I would love to keep them all but financially it is not possible right now. Any sponsors out there? 🙂

Here is the bottom line:

Am I selling ALL my X-series gear? No way!

Am I suffering from the G.A.S syndrome? Yes, and for very good reasons! (I even know one doctor who suffers from it)

Am I abandoning the X-series? NO!

Is the X100F going to remain my first-to-reach-for camera? YES!

Are you going to see me shooting new things in new ways? YES!

Do I hope you will stay with me for the imagery, not for the cameras I am shooting with? YES!

Is there always someone disappointed with something? YES!

Is my dog happy that I am writing such a long article, instead of taking her out? NO!

 

Here are my upcoming LIMITED EDITION prints of ONLY 10! Stay tuned for more details including pricing.

Next time I would like to share with you a story about two amazing people who are not afraid to learn and live their lives to the fullest!

 

 

2017 © Olafphoto. All rights reserved.

 

23 thoughts on “What are you here for?

  1. It is true that the gear is an element in following your blog: as many other people here I discovered your blog when I was trying to make my decision about a new camera, and that was the X100s.

    I think when following omeone’s creations and analysis on photography (or other activities), it is important to have some elements of trust, something we can relate to. We don’t know you personnally, only through what you shoot and write, so other elements become important. This is why the gear becomes an element of trust.

    Don’t worry about unhappy people, do what you feel right. I don’t think you started this blog to reach record-high numbers of followers, so it’s fine if a few of them disappear.

    Thank you for all the posts and advices on shooting, attitude and gear!

    1. Antoine,

      I certainly appreciate your thoughts on this matter. You made a really great point about “an element of trust” – I have never thought about this in such a way.

      Looking forward to your future feedback.

      Cheers,

      Olaf

  2. Olaf,

    I discovered your blog because I searched for a good review of the x100 series cameras in the first place. The way you describe shooting this cameras is really unique. Your reviews (first the X100s then “F”) got me to your photography. You are inspiring for me in so many ways.

    I don’t care whatever gear you use, I care about your photography; that’s why I am coming back here.

    Through your site and insights into photography, you gave me the final puzzle peaces for my way in photography.

    Buy whatever suits you best. That is your way. Keep up the good work!

    PS: ever since you wrote the article “kill ducky” I restricted myself with social media, I deleted the instagram app (I only install it to occasionally upload a picture) and got rid of my Flickr account. This took a lot of pressure off my shoulders regarding photography and inspiration. Thank you for that Olaf!

    All the best,
    Kevin

    1. Kevin,

      I really appreciate your generous comment. I have to say I admire you for your decision to reduce your social media engagement and instead focus on your photography. There are so many people addicted to INSTA and other media that they cannot “see” beyond that.

      Again, thank you so much of your kind note. Hopefully, I will hear more from you.

      Cheers,

      Olaf

  3. Hi Olaf,

    I’ve followed your blog for about a year now – originally I was looking for real-world views on the X-series of cameras but the reason I kept following was the imagery & the thought-provoking content of your posts.

    There were many other websites I checked out along the way, but so many focus solely on the gear and lack the awesome photos that make a site worth following. Does the gear you use matter? I don’t think so.

    Anyway, thought I’d drop you a line and answer the question posed by the title!

    Looking forward to the next post.

    Cheers,
    Matt

    P.S. I did join the X-series family in the end, buying a X-T1. Best decision I have made on my photographic journey so far!

  4. You keep repeating the same old argument which is untrue “. Come on, just make a simple camera with physical knobs which allow a photographer to control aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation, ” Canon and Nikon HAVE physical knobs for aperture and shutter speed. They look different, but their placement is still great. Please do not repeat a thing that is not true.

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      You know what I am talking about very well. The mechanical feel – actual physical dials – including the aperture ring on the lens!

      Let me share a quote about Nikon DF – (one Nikon camera that does it right) ” Nikon has followed the lead of companies like Fuji and has brought back physical dials to control major functions of the camera. Practically everything can be controlled just from the top dials.” Also this is exactly what Ted Forbes is talking about here

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nici9GkWIVA&t=10s

      I appreciate your visit but I would certainly enjoy our conversation more if we address each other by real name.

      Olaf

  5. That’s some ridiculous reason to follow someone just because of the gear! I think I’ve found your blog while searching for street photography, but I’m in awe with your landscapes as well, and actually it doesn’t matter what you shoot, as long as it resonates with me. To worry that someone stopped following because you switched gear/genre/whatever is a bit of overthinking, imo. The heck with them!

  6. Greetings again Olaf. I have now a question: what are the actual ,practical differences between over 40 megapixel FF gear from Canikony and mid format GFX? I mean the artistic consequences of using one over the other:

    1. Bigger and more detailed printing?
    2. Different types of photography (as a consequence of weight and gear, lenses, ISO, frame rates…)
    3. Look of the pictures? (more three – D, quality, light handling…?)
    4. Degree of happiness in you bank office director for the loans applied…?

    I have old but working Rollei 6×6 and Linhof 9×12 film gear inherited from dad; are them still useful for anything?

    Thanks in advance and best regards

    Robert

    1. Robert,

      It is always great hearing from you.

      1. Yes.
      2. I don’t know.
      3. Yes, LOOK! Please see my post – The fluidity of light
      4. Your are so right! HA! HA! HA!

      Linhof rocks!

      All the best,

      Olaf

  7. Olaf, the X-series got me to your website… that’s it.
    The imagery, opinions, comments and sharing are what kept me coming back.

  8. Olaf,
    Who cares what gear you use – just show us the results! That’s the important thing. Others can’t let go of their toys and they feel you have abandoned them. Hogwash! Time for them to grow up.
    Good for you. If I could talk my wife into ‘letting’ me get a GFX I would go for it too! But I’ll stick with my faithful X Pro2 in the meantime.
    Thanks for your comments. Remember, you don’t have to apologize to anyone for doing what you want to do.

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