Lou. circa 1992. Studio, Film, medium format.
I found myself mentally exhausted on Friday afternoon. I'd done a long day shoot the previous Friday, followed by a weekend of post production, and then headed straight into a three day conference assignment for WP Engine the first three days of this week, followed by more post production and capped off the week sending out insurance claim forms and death certificates and having phone calls to my attorney, and multiple financial institutions. By 2 pm I was toast. I crawled into the exquisite Subaru Forester ( I can't actually believe that a better car exists....) and headed up to Precision Camera for a bit of shopping therapy.
Backing up a few days..... I recently bought a used 56mm f1.2 APD lens for the Fuji X system and I was, quite frankly, amazed at the wonderful look that lens delivers when used at or near wide open apertures. I kept shooting it throughout my recent assignments and every time I slogged through the resulting files I'd be happily surprised by the output from that lens. So much so that I started reading, listening and researching everything I could to find out what other lenses, made for Fuji X, deliver the same superlative kinds of files. Of the lenses I did not already own two in particular kept popping up with uncanny regularity --- and the praise the two lenses garnered was consistent. Those two lenses were the 35mm f1.4 and the 23mm f1.4.
I'd been toying with the idea of getting the 35mm f1.4 for several months now, trying to rationalize my way around the fact that I already owned the 35mm f2.0 and was generally happy with that lens. I finally gave up caring about budgets and seemingly senseless duplication and ordered a brand new one from Amazon.com. I was too busy to mess with Austin traffic and nowadays the trek from my neighborhood in the Southwest quadrant of the metro to Precision Camera in the North/central part of the city, roundtrip, can take up to two hours, depending on time of day and the random stupidity of some drivers. It was nice to have the Fed Ex guy just hand me a box.
I've yet to shoot much with the 35mm f1.4 since it arrived in the middle of my second post processing frenzy, but the few shots I have taken make me disposed to overlook the noisy focusing mechanism and the tentative auto focus... (I need to check and see if there's been a firmware update...).
So, back to the shopping therapy. I kept hearing and seeing more and more good things about the 23mm f1.4 lens so I did a cursory search for used ones on Precision Camera's website. They had one in their used inventory for $499 which I decided was a practical cost. I did the stop-and-go vehicle dance all the way up the Mopac Expressway, entered the store and went straight to the used case. There was the lens. It looked good except for some smudgy filminess on the front element. Ian (my sales guy) cleaned it off very professionally and I was ready to grab my new prize and head for the door. In a moment of weakness I looked back at the Fuji cameras and lenses in the burgeoning used case and my eyes alighted on a Fuji X-Pro2 that looked to be in decent shape.
I'd tried the Fuji X-Pro1 when it came out but it didn't have a diopter for the finder and it was a kludgy camera as far as general operation was concerned. It just seemed.....un-precise.
Later on, when the X-Pro2 was first introduced, I handled that model and, while much improved, there still seemed to be a hesitancy in operation and a "unfinished" feel about it that made me avoid not just that camera but the whole Fuji line. The X-Pro2 I handled at the store yesterday felt like an entirely different camera. That camera has been the recipient of an amazing number of firmware upgrades over the course of its lifetime. Fuji has streamlined the feel of general operation, added 4K video and made many processing improvements to the camera.
Ian put the lens I was purchasing onto the camera so I could, "see how they felt together." Everything seemed to fall into place, especially since the menu in this three year old camera is almost identical to the menus in the X-H1 cameras I seem to be using nonstop these days.
We haggled for a few seconds and I bought the combination for a bit less than the marked price on each item individually. I can't help my propensity to bargain; I did spend two years living in Turkey where, at the time, pretty much everything was negotiable. In fact, negotiation was considered an honored part of the buying/selling process...
Today I'll be heading out for a nice, toasty walk and I'll be taking along the X-Pro2 and the 23mm f1.4 for a bit of a work out. I'll probably head into any building interiors I can find to look for details and potential images so I can work with the lens at its maximum aperture, or thereabouts. That is, after all, the reason to own this fast optic.
Now, at least as far as cameras and fast lenses go, I think I've got my Fuji "aspirational" system in the bag. For serious prime lens work I'm looking toward a very conservative and traditional trio of fast lenses: the 23mm, 35mm and 56mm, all with f1.4 (or faster) apertures. For those times when I want to travel far and light I've got the X-E3 camera with the trio of "Fujicrons"; the 23, 35, and 50mm f2.0 versions of the lenses.
Overkill? Naw. Just the delightful pursuit of new imaging tools at the fruitful intersection of my hobby and my business.
Shopping Therapy comes just before "Shutter Therapy"
Fun still from Xanadu included just for my own amusement.