“Every shot has to count”: switching from analog photography to the X-PRO1 (Jockum Klenell)


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Sven Oskar Jockum Klenell

by Sven Oskar Jockum Klenell

Being a die hard analog fan and slow process photography it would seem highly unlikely to work with a camera such as the Fuji x-pro1. When I travel I always bring, rolleiflex 66, Hasselblad CM500 66, Pentax 67, Nikonos (if I want to go in the water), Canon Ftb and a horrible but fun little Leica C3. For work I use a Canon 5d M2 and a Canon 1Ds M2. These two I very rarely use for my own work.
It seems to be a moment for every camera and every film and every format. Among the things I appreciate greatly with analog photography is the fact that on one roll of film you have 36 shots, 12 or 10. Meaning, unless you bring a shopping bag of film with you, every shot has to count. So for my 5 days together with the Fuji x-pro1 I was able to go to Calais in the north of France for some location scouting for a client of mine. I went there for a day and I brought one memory card of 2 G and no possibility of charging the digital negatives to my computer. This left me with only 72 shots in RAW. Same thing for the other short surf-trip to Zeeland in the Netherlands, one memory card, 72 shots. This way every shot has to count.

These here are the shots I like the most from those 2 days at the coast. I used the x-pro 1 like I use my analog cameras but this time I had all of them in one. The x-pro 1 combines all the the great things of modern digital specs with a robust classic feel. The digital images are very good and for some strange reason they invite me to experiment with different effects in photoshop. This is something which I very rarely do with my Canon 5d M2. Perhaps this is because the x-pro1 is a far more playful camera to work with. When slow is needed, its slow. When snappy, its snappy.

On a last note, I love the small ‘imperfections’ of analog photography and even more the idea of being at some remote place with a pocket full of undeveloped rolls of film. The excitement of going to the shop to get your dia-films and searching for that one gem of a photo is to be compared to the excitement of a child by the christmas tree. The x-pro1 is like most other digital cameras but its robust like body, its weight and rangefinder tricks one in a lovely way into believing that your shooting on film. It makes you look a little longer, search a little more to snap the shot that you want.

Fuji X-PRO1: Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay

Check out my work on www.jockumklenell.com

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  • I’m not buying the whole “better because I can’t take as many photos” mantra. To me that is equivalent to saying, “this car is better because it only goes 25 mph.”

    It gets even sillier when the primary point about the goodness of the camera (and, make no mistake, I agree that it is a fine camera) is that “if I put in the smallest memory card I can find, I can’t make as many photographs.” That has utterly nothing to do with the camera at all, for God’s sake! Does the camera become less admirable if you use a larger memory card?

    I’m a big fan of my X-E1 and the fine Fujinon lenses that accompany it, and in some situations it is the best choice for certain types of photography. But let’s get real here…

    • Vlad

      I believe it is a psychological issue. People used to shooting film, with its limits, find themselves free of those and their whole workflow is put into question. So, rather than adapting, they chose to put back the same constraints. But here’s the thing – I am not confident adapting is better, as it is simply another workflow, based around current technology, not some universal truth.

      • I think the same, not always adapting is better. I also think that eveyone has diferent opinion in cameras, as they do in everything in life, i am reading a lot latley about how smaller is better, how mirrorless are better, etc….
        I dont doubt that Fujis cameras are great, so other brands, but In my case for example, i have very shaky hands (family issue) and i really cant use mirrorless or compact cameras because with the low weight they have i shoot most of the photos bad. So i have to say i love my Canon 5D and my Canon 1n, they are like tanks, and for me thats a very great plus.

        • MJr

          When anyone says ‘better’ you should read ‘better suited for… imho’.

  • MJr

    Driving 25mph is not ‘equivalent’ in the slightest, unless you are being driven in a bentley, brought two gorgeous photo models, champagne and some whiskey for yourself.

    • To complete your Bentley metaphor, you have to put swim fins on. Oh, and you’re driving.

  • I’ve got it! For those who resist digital cameras because you aren’t limited to 1, 10, 20, or 36 exposures before you have to change film…

    … just lose the 64GB memory card and use inexpensive 512MB cards. One of those should hold roughly 20 raw exposures. As with film (and, trust me, I know all about shooting with film) you can carry dozens of them with you and get almost the same warm feeling you got from carrying dozens of canisters of film. Even better, haul out a bunch of the old 35mm film canisters – the wonderful metal ones if you have a few lying about – and stick each 512MB card into its own film canister once you take it out of the camera!

    Or just stick a 64GB card in there and continue to shoot the same way you did with film. It works. Trust me. ;-)


    • MJr

      At least with your previous post you said “To me that is…”, and then continued to explain exactly how silly your inability to understand anyone but yourself is. But now you claim others should do this and that because you’ve shot some film too ? NO !

    • Vlad

      Dan, I just went to your website (great photos, by the way, really) and I would like to ask you why you shoot black and white? We have colors today. But, same as what I described above, it is a different set of constraints to spur creativity.

  • wolftar

    Lighten up, everyone. I think the original point of the article is actually a good one—take the time to get the shot right. Not to say that bracketing isn’t a great idea, but I’m always amused at reading how someone went out and took 1200 exposures on such and such a day to get a feel for a piece of equipment. I mean, who could take the time to even look at all of those! Or how their 3 month old body already has 20k activations—this is just silly.

    Maybe because my second good camera was a 5×7 Deardorff, where a whole day might mean 6 or 8 plates, I totally agree with the notion of “make every shot count”—now I understand if you’re covering a sports event, things are different. But for landscape, travel or street photography, thinking like you have the limits of film (as in quantity of shots available) is not a bad exercise. In a lot of ways, it’s similar to the “prime lens v zoom lens” discussion.

    • MJr

      Thumbs up!

  • Wow, great stuff. Even better comments. I shot film for years and loved it. Did my own b/w processing before spending many hours in a wet darkroom making prints. But I love my XP1 and the flexibility it affords me. When I’m shooting street (90% of the time) I can take the time to find the right spot with the right light and wait for that special character to enter the frame. BUT in the ten seconds that elapse as he/she moves through the frame there could be three or four facial expressions/hand gestures with each one telling a different story. Nothing wrong with firing off rapid exposures to capture as many possibilities as I can.

    If everyone worked and thought the same way we’d all be shooting like HCB or Gary Winogrand, or (heaven forfend) Scott Kelby.

  • Constraints will boost one’s creativity, as they force you to think out of the box to overcome the limited options that are available. They also make things easier by taking away options, as this allows you to focus on what’s available. Instead of thinking broadly (“anything goes”), you’ll think more deeply.

    Basically, it’s a good training method. Constraints can come in many forms. It doesn’t have to be gear. It can also be something like “today, I am only going to shoot with aperture 1.4” or “today, I am only going to shoot water” or “today, I am only going to shoot from ground-level” or “today, I will only shoot long exposures of several seconds”. By taking away the other option, your mind is free to focus and think harder about the task at hand.

    This works for many people, as long as they can come up with the discipline to follow through. I am pretty sure it doesn’t work for everybody, so in the end, do what you feel comfortable with. Don’t forget that it’s a hobby that’s supposed to be fun and satisfying. It’s not about self-torture. Don’t obsess.

  • By the way, there’s a popular photo blog that may be interesting in this context: http://alesserphotographer.com

    • Hi Rico,

      thanks for the tip. There are some very interesting thoughts and opinions on that website.
      Plus, your comment is spot on, just as many of the other comments above, thanks for elaborating.


  • pinkopunko

    buy a bigger memcard.

  • Clint

    Not sure why anyone would purposely limit themselves to one tiny memory card…especially if it’s a paid assignment. I came from the days of film and I get the sentiment..to be honest I almost never ‘spray and pray’….rather I think about each and every shot…it’s called ‘restraint’.

    How would that one memory card work out for ya if it failed?? Bad idea.

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