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Jumping In: Or How I learned to stop nitpicking and love Fuji (Guest Post by Jason Lee)


Jumping In: Or How I learned to stop nitpicking and love Fuji. Guest Post by Jason Lee.

It is not an exaggeration when I say Fuji cameras have changed my life. But I have a confession to make. I was once a loyal Canon shooter. Before you dismiss this post as yet another Canon to Fuji success story, I feel I should explain a little bit of my back story.

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Fuji X-T1 Graphite, 56mm f/1.2 at f/1.4

Numbers have always been important to me. As such, I was born in the year 1990, at 6:30 AM on August 15th. The era of 90s music, punk haircuts, and the dSLR. Good numbers right? Some numbers that didn’t sit well with me were: 3 months premature, 1.5 lbs., and 53 days in the intensive care unit. I had arrived too early and those numbers weren’t so good. Doctors diagnosed me with a condition known as cerebral palsy, essentially a form of brain damage. According to them, I would never walk and would probably show signs of mental retardation as I aged.

Let him take it easy,” they told my parents. “He’s going to have a tough life.”

Needless to say, my parents were having none of that. Around age five or six, I managed to take my first steps and it’s been a roller coaster ever since. Growing up was a struggle, as I switched to 6 different schools before the 4th grade, trying to fit in while being mercilessly teased for the way I walked.

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Fuji X-E2, 35mm f/1.4 at f/4.0

Enter photography. It changed my introverted demeanor and forced me to go outside my shell and interact with others. Despite the stigma from my gait, slowly but surely, I was able to express myself through art. I received my first dSLR at the age of 20, and from then on I was hooked. I would take pictures of everything and anything, from lawn chairs and coffee cups to random cats.

There was only one problem. I wasn’t happy with it. My Canon 7D was extremely bulky and difficult to carry around, and not only that, it was APS-C! Full Frame was where it was at!

You can’t take good pictures with APSC! I naively thought.

I pined for full frame and waited and waited for the opportunity to “upgrade.” When I eventually managed to get my hands of a 5D Mark III, I waited for the magic to happen. And waited. And waited. And waited.

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Fuji X-T1 Graphite, 35mm f/1.4 at f/2

Why aren’t I happy with this? Why do I hate going outside and shooting? Why is that random car honking at me?

My photography had hit a rut, my 5D lay on the shelf gathering dust, and I contemplated quitting the art that gave me so much opportunity just a few years back.

Fujifilm to the rescue.

I knew the moment I picked up my first Fuji camera, the x100s, that I was experiencing something groundbreaking. The controls, the handling, the portability, just the sheer fun that occurred as I took pictures was a game changer for me. Not only was the handling of the Fuji easier for me, who had to shoot with one hand and a cane, I was also able to be nondescript and not draw (more) attention to myself. Each time I had thoughts of coming back to full frame, I would pull up my Fuji files in post and smile. After a temporary lapse dabbling with the Sony RX1-R, I sold it and committed to Fuji full time (currently own an X-T1 Graphite edition and the 56mm f/1.2 and 35mm f/1.4), and have never been happier.

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Fuji X-E2, 35mm f/1.4 at f/2.2

There’s something about the Fuji system that speaks to me, over the more clinical and computerized Sony and Canon. It just has a heart that matches my shooting style. I like to shoot using primes so I can get into the midst of the action, and the Fuji’s portability, user friendliness, and non-invasive appearance really lends itself well to that. Sure, it may not have the ability for the shallowest depth of field, nor the highest megapixel count, but when it comes to delivering beautiful images, it has never let me down. Sometimes, the moment calls for putting the numbers aside and taking chances.

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Fuji X-E2, 35mm f/1.4 at f/2.0

And with that said, I’m about to embark on a journey and take a chance of my own, essentially with just Fuji X camera. At the urging of some of my photographer friends and family in the Bay Area, I’ve decided to make a photobook documenting my time in San Francisco. It is to be a testament of man’s ability to overcome the obstacles in life, even with the help of the littlest things (or camera!) I’ve recently hit my minimum goal, but would love to blow it out of the park so I can add more pages and share more of my story to the well.

You can find the Kickstarter link here. There is a video as well (filmed right when I was in between Fuji and Canon that explains more of my journey (and you can see how I walk!). I’m grateful for all your support and encouragement.

I’m 24 now, and four years after starting my photographic journey, I have to credit the Fuji system for pushing me out of my comfort zone and giving me the confidence to go out there and capture my dreams. It is not a perfect system by any means, but it’s MY system, and it’s one I have no regrets making the jump into.

Are you ready to take the plunge?

-Jason Lee

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Fuji X-E2, 56mm f/1.2 at f/2