Isle of Skye. My Fuji X-series review By Ben Cherry

Isle of Skye. My Fuji X-series review

By Ben Cherry

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A bit of background about me, I am a Zoology student at the University of Sheffield and have been passionate about photography for the past ten years with my main interests being travel and wildlife. Fujifilm UK currently sponsors me with X-series cameras but that doesn’t factor in my opinions here, as they want my honest views on their equipment.

I have already written a review of some of the gear that I took to Malaysian Borneo for Steve Huff here:

Please see more of my work and follow me through the following avenues:

My views from the previous trip haven’t change; in fact my affection for the X-series has been boosted by some hands-on time with the X-T1, 56mm f1.2 and 10-24mm f4 at the Photography Show in the UK earlier this week. For this trip I took the X-Pro1, X-E1, X100s, 14mm f2.8, 18-55mm, 35mm f1.4, 60mm f2.4 and the 55-200mm all in a Domke shoulder bag. I love compact systems purely for the space and weight saving possibilities! This trip is quite different to the last, though not in the baking tropical heat, it was still a very enjoyable experience in the relative wilderness that the Isle of Skye offers compared to the rest of the UK.

January is often a tough month at the best of times, but combined with university exams it is the worst month of the year by far. However there was an opportunity to get away to my godparents house on the Isle of Skye, which offered some sanctuary away from the stresses of revising and a much-needed opportunity to take some photos. The weather was on my side during the trip, the strong winds that had battered the west of Scotland for much of December had receded leaving the week calm and almost dry! Unlike the previous trip I brought along both zooms and the X-E1. These ended up being used extensively, with the X-E1 often using the 55-200mm and the X-Pro1 usually with the 18-55mm while driving around the island. This meant that as fleeting ‘special’ moments came around, where the weather was particularly beautiful, the opportunities were rarely missed. Straight out I am very impressed by the image quality of the zooms, for landscape work I would without hesitation use them over the primes I had with me at the time.

I enjoyed using the telephoto zoom; it focused as quickly as the other lenses (can’t wait to try it on a X-T1) and produced punchy, sharp images like the close up of the highland cattle and the sunlight over the bay.

The X-E1 performed very similar to the X-Pro1, which makes me want to try the XE2 as I assume Fuji’s brilliant updates will have struck again making it a more refined camera. All the camera bodies performed flawlessly in the cold weather and despite the fact I stated we had good weather, they still went through the occasional rain shower and sea spray (don’t tell Fuji!) with no negative effects.

Because I drove up to the Isle of Skye I had the luxury of space that I didn’t while travelling around Borneo, this meant I could also throw in my Pelican case that housed my Canon equipment. However, I found that I didn’t once want to use it; I find shooting with the X-series cameras so much more enjoyable and satisfying. The tactile design of the cameras makes the whole experience feel like you’re in control instead of responding to what the camera suggests. For me this is improved by the EVF’s that allow the instant preview of exposure compensation, which I find invaluable especially in situations where the light is constantly changing. This was the biggest surprise moving from SLRs, I couldn’t get enough of it and this made me stop chimping my shots. An example of this is the silhouette of the Highland cattle against the moody sky that I was able to accurately compensate for using the EVF.

Overall I am very happy with the X-series for my uses, as it produces great image quality; not least the jpeg presets which really pop. In my opinion raw files could still be developed better in lightroom but I’m sure improvements will continue to roll out. This negative point is outweighed by the better quality high ISOs as a result of the sensor design.

Fuji have struck the perfect balance between small, discrete gear and good enough image quality that make the system superb for travel as well as many other genres. It will be very interesting to see the performance of the future weather sealed lenses, opening up the wildlife and sports market for X-series.

I am off to Switzerland for the premier of a snowboarding film I worked on with the White Line Crew: and intend to get hold of the latest Fuji gear to test against some action in the cold conditions. I will let Steve know if this works out and will try to put together another user review.

You can see a larger gallery from the Isle of Skye here:

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  1. Thank you everyone for your very kind comments! Apologises for the late reply. I didn’t realise this had been posted and I am currently in Switzerland for this film premier. Thanks again! Ben

  2. Two words: superb, exceptional. Stunning beauty captured in the most lovely way and detail. Easily the best landscape work I have seen in quite a while. Congratulations!

  3. Exceptional work! It’s the photographer not the camera; still I like what you are doing with the Fuji X.

  4. Great work. I went to your site to view some of the other photographic safaris you’ve taken. You’re not only a good photographer but very lucky one to be able to travel the world.
    Regarding your Ethiothia photography, It seems a little over exposed, dark and some cases it seems you were hurrying your actions especially around the Monks and men. Did you have to steal (maybe a bad term) the shots? What camera did you use. I did like the style though.
    Regards and good luck with your studies.

    • Hi Howard, thanks for your comment. I agree, they could probably be revisited, however I was having to covering this amazing place with a broken Canon 1Div. It managed to break after an amazing few days photographing Gelada Baboons, and meant I had very dodgy exposure readings. Tried my best. Thankfully I had my trusty old 30D to cover the Omo Valley. You are right though you have to be a little wary as money is often asked for.

  5. Really great shots ! With my new X-T1, 18-55, 23/1,4 and todays bought 56/1,2, I’m as happy as you with the Fuji X system. Don’t miss my former Nikon D800E with this equipment in my hands !

  6. Beautiful landscapes, with my older cameraI have to use graduated filters but with the x-e1 the dynamic range is wider. It’s nice to have the slide colors and the negatives latitude.

  7. Yes, amazing shots really. I always envy people who are able to go off into great areas and capture such beautiful images! Congrats

  8. Superb shots! Especially the third one (B&W) and the rainbow. Good composition and post processing!

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