A Podcast: A conversation on the Fujifilm X System with Piet Van den Eynde

Me and my X-Pro1 in Rajasthan. Photo by Mike Alexander

Me and my X-Pro1 in Rajasthan. Photo by Mike Alexander


There’s a lot of talk these days, both good and bad, about the Fujifilm X Series cameras: the X-Pro1 and the X-E1.  I’ve been using the X-Pro1 for exactly one year now. Back when I first gave my initial impressions I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this camera long term. Well, the jury is out and the verdict is I love it… a lot! So much so, I took it for a month of shooting, an assignment in Africa for The Kilgoris Project then to India for my latest Rajasthan Photo workshop. In Africa I used both my X-Pro1 and my Canon 5D MKIII. Why? Fujifilm just doesn’t have the lenses for this little guy to go on Safari. But, then even my 70-200 mm with a 2x converter didn’t really deliver on the safari either. The main reason for being in Africa was The Kilgoris Project. I shot this assignment completely with the X-Pro1 and only two lenses: the Fujinon XF35mmF1.4 R and the XF18mmF2 R.  After Africa I went to India to lead my workshop where I shot exclusively the X-Pro1. The main difference in India was I was able to borrow Piet Van den Eynde’s new XF14mmF2.8 R and this helped with any frustration I was having not being able to shoot wide enough. Remember, the X-Pro1 and the X-E1 are both cropped APS-C sensors and thus a 18 mm is a 27 mm in a 35mm equivalent.

After shooting for a four weeks, two of those weeks with Piet shooting his X-Pro1 and X-E1 and a slew of lenses, I thought it would be a great idea to record Piet and our impressions about the camera, it’s lenses and other musings. I also thought you might like to see a gallery of 40 plus images we shot with these camera over the two weeks in India.

A conversation on the Fujifilm X System with Piet Van den Eynde:


About Matt Brandon

Matt is a Malaysia based humanitarian and travel photographer. Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matt’s images have been used by business and organizations around the globe. Matt also on the design board for Think Tank Photo, a camera bag manufacturer.

In 2013 Matt founded the On Field Media Project to train the staff of non-profits to use appropriate technology to produce timely as well as quality images.

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48 thoughts on “A Podcast: A conversation on the Fujifilm X System with Piet Van den Eynde

  1. Love these, especially the three guys cleaning the gulley, that almost hand-tinted quality. Delicious.

    • Thanks Andy, that’s actually one of mine. I shot into the sun and filled in the shadows with a flash shot through a small umbrella. Postprocessing-wise, I love the work of Morfi Mercado Jimenez and the post- processing on this image (the warm, earthy tones and lowered saturation) was to some degree inspired by that.

    • Hi Goran, the 14 mm is a great lens. It’s only 4 mm wider than the 18, but as you know, in wide-angle terms 4 mm means a lot. I’ve had this lens almost glued to my camera during the Rajasthan trip. In fact, the only time it has left my camera is when I had lent it out to Matt, who in the mean time has bought one, too 🙂

  2. I’ve been shooting my street photography with the Olympus OM-D for the past 6 months or so. Shooting street photography with a smaller camera is definitely a different experience than heading out with a SLR. Not only is it less conspicuous but I also find myself bending and reaching for shots much more. I can hold this camera over my head easily or reach around a corner. I’m also shooting exclusively fast primes – which allows me to know more what I’m going to see in the frame each time I put the camera to my eye.

    I don’t think the image quality of the Oly is as good as what you guys are talking about with the Fuji’s, but the autofocus on the Oly is remarkable (as are the lenses too). After listening to you two, I’m tempted to by a Fuji as a second body 🙂

    None-the-less, the whole mirrorless camera experience is great for street shooting. Thank you two for spending so much time on this subject.

    • Thanks Nancy for sharing your experience. It’s a blast to walk the streets with such light weight and high caliber gear. I completely agree. I love the look of the OM-D but wish it was a little truer to the OM-D series to SLRs. How do you like the 5-axis stabilization?

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  4. Woow I love your photos ! I bought your lr tuts by the way, great too !

    I have an X-E1 myself, may I ask in what mode do you shoot as a photographer ? I mean do you use auto ISO, Aperture priority ou Manual mode ? Do you use the live histogram ?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Hi Laurent

      Thanks for dropping by and for your kind words. I shoot mainly in aperture priority though I will often shoot in shutter priority as well. Basically, it’s just like any other camera you choose the mode by what you want to accomplish. As for whether I use auto ISO, I will often use auto ISO up to 1600. Yes, I often use histogram. I find it an invaluable. I’ll let Piet chime in on how to use camera.

      • Thank you for your answer Matt.

        I was asking this question because I find auto ISO to be a bit tricky, so I don’t use it.

        In AP mode, it often chooses a low speed value and so I end up using a manual ISO as I can better control my minimum shutter speed.

        • Laurent, Yeah, it can be. That is why I only use it up to 1600 because I can live with the results of any photos shot at 1600. As for AP and minimum shutter speed – I find I can hand hold most things pretty well down to 1/30th. I’ve even hand held shots up to 1/8th and been happy. When I am shooting a street scene as opposed to a portrait I am less concerned about the softness of the image and much more concerned about the compositional structures of the image like depth of field and placement of the subject etc… In someways, I guess I think in DoF, so even my brain works in AP. 😉

  5. Your images are brilliant. Love the post processing too. I currently use a 5d3 with 40mm 2.8 (which i absolutely love) for street shoot but i am really tempted to try a Fuji especially after hearing a lot of good stuff about it. But i am torn as to get it now or wait for Fuji’s FF camera. Was considering the x100s tho 🙂

    • sukhdev, Welcome to the blog. The X100s is practically made for street shooting. It si an amazing camera if you don’t mind limiting your self to the one lens (Well, ok, you do have the option of a WCL-X100 Wide Angle converter lens.) But if you’re going to wait for a full frame Fuji you might be waiting a while. It is a gamble. If I were you I would live in the moment. 😉

  6. I am a happy Fuji X-Pro 1, X10, and X100s owner (former X100 owner) and love them. I have used them for sports and for my newspaper assignments instead of my GIANT Canons and have found that the image quality is so much better with the Fujis…yes, they are quirky, but you soon figure out what needs to be done and the results are fabulous. Your images, posted here, from India are nothing short of STUNNING!

    • Iau, unfortunately you can’t. This is just a java player. I do have other podcasts series on iTunes. They are called “Depth of Field” and “Craft and Vision”. Look for them there. Thanks for listening.

      • Thanks, I were listening to the two part interview with Bob Krist during a drive a couple of days ago, and were enjoying it a lot! Would have loved to catch this during a car drive too 🙂

  7. Amazing photos! The wide angle was a great choice for these pictures. I think this is the perfect setting for the Fuji cameras: street photography.

    • Andrei, thanks for stopping by. Not of these were taken with the 14 mm or the 18 mm. We took several with the larger lenses as well. But, you are right, the 14 mm is perfect for street shooting.

  8. Maybe reflex is, almost, dead?
    I think when X-FF or X-FX (full frame) Fujifilm (or Canon, Nikon) will come out with a good tele and a better AF reflex will be dead.

    • No, the DSLR will more than likely always be around, at least in some form. But the share of the market I think will start to drop as people get tiered of the bulk and cost of a SLR. Frankly one of the main things that people love about the X-system camera is their analog dials. The X-system cameras are very tactile. One of the first things a photographer comments when he sees my X-Pro1 is, “It has a aperture ring! It’s a real camera!” (Obviously my friends are older ;-)) Once Canon or Nikon figure this out and start making a camera with some analog options things might change slightly.

  9. Matt, Love the images and the podcast. I just ordered the X100s and patiently waiting for its arrival. Do you have any info about your camera settings and post processing? Is all your post done in Lightroom? Do you shoot JPEG & RAW? Which in-camera film styles do you prefer to use to get those beautiful colors?


    • Thanks for visiting and commenting. First let me remind you that only half of these images posted are mine, the other half are Piets. (His are watermarked.) However, both Piet and I shoot in RAW and do our post processing in Adobe Lightroom. The in-camera styles only effect jpgs. If I shoot a style it will show up on the camera’s monitor but once the file is loaded in Lightroom just turns back to a colored RAW file. About post processing -I would say that most folks try to use Lightroom or any post processing software to complete their vision of what they had in mind when they shot their image. So we may use a preset to start with but it would only be a starting point. Thanks again for commenting.

  10. Beautiful images. I would be interested in knowing what film simulation you are shooting along with metadata. Love the saturation, not too much but punchy!

    • Nick, I didn’t use any film simulation, I don’t think Piet did either. It is pointless when shooting RAW. As for the metadata, it is on the images above. Click an image to view it, then either click it again or click the “info” tab and you will reveal the metadata. Thanks for commenting.

      • No, I can confirm: no film simulation, at least none of the built-in Fuji ones. I prefer to work in raw (the Fuji raws are pretty malleable) and apply my own conversions. I’ll often start with one of my own custom made Lightroom presets and tweak that. I also make extensive use of dodging & burning (selectively darkening and lightening parts of an image) in Lightroom…

  11. Bravo for your really cool pictures Matt and Piet. They’re very inspiring. I’m planning to buy a X-pro1, but one thing makes me hesitate: there’s no ND filter in it. I have a X100 now, and it’s a feature I often use, as I like to shoot wide open in day/sun light. On the X-pro1, minimum iso is 100 and maximum shutter speed is 4000, so I guess I’ll have problems if I want to shoot at f1.4 or f2 in the sun? Do you have this kind of problem? Do you use an external ND filter? Thanks in advance for your answer.

    • Hi Benoit, I always have a variable neutral density filter with me: I use one from http://www.lightcraftworkshop.com (other options exist). You can get one for the biggest filter size lens you have (e.g. the 14 mm) and use a step up ring to use the same filter with the 35 mm and the 18 mm. Or, if you only plan on using it on the 35, you might as well choose the matching filter size right away. They’re an important accessory IMHO… In a pinch, you could also use a polarising filter but it won’t give you the control of a variable ND.

  12. They used to have it at Fotokonijnenberg.be. Not sure if they still do. Check out their website though, as they have two different versions: the Fader and the Digi Pro (the latter is supposed to be better but I haven’t been able to try it out yet…)

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