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20 Years With Fujifilm Medium Format

Fuji GX 680 bellows and finder hood | Fujifilm X-pro2, XF 35mm 2.0, extension tube, Acros |photo:

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guest post by Gerhard Witteveen –

Last January marked my 20th year as a self-employed photographer. A lot has changed in those years. But there was, however, one constant. From the start on I made most of my images with Fujifilm. Of course, back in 1996 the Astia, Provia and FP100C was ordered in bulk. Those films where loaded in the one camera I used from the very start, and I still use, on a daily basis, today.

Fuji GX680

My true workhorse. Even though it regularly feels like the workhorse is me… Nope. It’s the Fuji GX680. (Not the Fujifilm. The Fuji. Ironic; the cameras that used film did not have the “film” added in the name, the digital camera’s are FujiFILM cameras…) It was one of the biggest investments I made when I started.

A brand-new Fuji GX680, with 65mm, 100mm and 210 mm lenses. and some accessories: An extra long bellows for close-ups, rail extender for the same purpose an a wide-angle bellows. It was actually a little to expensive for a starting business, but I wanted it! The other big investment was lighting equipment. Since I am a fan of quality gear I chose Broncolor lights. I still use many of those lights today. So choosing quality gear paid off for me.

A camera system still in use after 2 decades is remarkable. Sure, some lenses where repaired or replaced, because of broken internal flash-contacts. But the reliability after so many years exceeds my expectations.

Now, in 2016 the camera and lenses can not be repaired anymore. But there is a reasonable amount of second-hand gear out there. I even bought brand-new lenses for it on Ebay. Bought a spare camera just to be sure. Had the battery-packs adapted and the cells renewed. But it is still there. In daily use. Not with the film-back, but with the Leaf Aptus 65. A 28 megapixel back, top of the line in 2006. Still the old Fujinon lenses are superb. The focusing is great. The tilt-shift the GX680 offers is awesome.

Tilt-Shift | Fujifilm X-pro2, XF35mm 2.0, Extension tube, Acros
Tilt-Shift | Fujifilm X-pro2, XF35mm 2.0, Extension tube, Acros |photo:

Fujifilm X-pro

Fast forward: X-pro. To answer the question that pops up in Fujifilm users heads; Both. First the X-pro1, with the XF18mm and XF27mm. Later a XF56mm was added. The X-pro1 taught me to shoot in a different way. Very different from the DSLR’s I worked with earlier. More intuitive. Less menu’s. Superb feel.

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Pick up a, lets say, XF1.2 56mm. Feel the aluminum focusing ring. Click through the range of F-stops. That is something that’s convincing. Far more convincing than a specs-list can ever be.

Last March the X-pro2 was added to my camera collection. Along with my new favorite lens: the XF90mm. Also two Samyang’s the 8 mm fisheye and the 12 mm wide-angle joined the Fuji-gear in the camera bag. The whole kit still fits in a shoulder bag. Quite different from the DSLR kit in a roller bag, weighing more than 15 kgs.

EBC fujinon 100 mm | Fujifilm X-pro2, XF 35mm 2.0, extension tube, Acros |photo:

Fujifilm XL medium format

I don’t remember who came up with the XL-name. Read it somewhere. I believe the suggested name was X-XL. I kind of like the name XL. or X-L or… Well, the name isn’t even important.

I’m looking forward to picking up the standard 100 mm lens. Feel the machined aluminium of the focusing ring. Clicking through the F-stoprange. 2.8, 4, 5.6… Even up to F 32.

Now that’s something your XF lenses can’t do! Turning the shutter-dial. Hearing the really calm, reassuring click the shutter makes. A quiet click, but one that has the same decisive sound the X-pro2 shutter makes.

And then, taking the first results to the big 27″ 5K Apple screen. Checking the incredible resolution of the 60Mpx X-trans II sensor, and the and unequalled sharpness the Fujinon 2,8 XL-F 100mm brings to the system. I can envision myself thinking…

What is the next assignment where I can use this camera. Shooting kids-fashion in the studio? Doing product shots of bikes? The culinary shoot for that cookbook? No, wait, the Artists-oilpaint packaging-shot is due for next week. But wait… The GX680 was no fun to use outside the studio, but the Fujifilm XL is different! It can do that too! Whoah….

So… Fujifilm, if you are looking for a XL-photographer to try out the new camera, to give feedback, and to help building my camera for the next, lets say …decade? Then please, feel free to check my website,, and contact me!

Shutter dial Fuji GX 680 | Fujifilm X-pro2, XF 35mm 2.0, extension tube, Acros |photo: