I am a long-term chronic product junkie. Send me to Staples and I can lose an hour checking out pens, stylish push pins, and nifty office accessories. Now that has expanded to being a gear junkie. It's not something I am able to indulge in very often, but it doesn't stop me from building extravagant wish lists on BH Photo and Amazon. Once in a while, though, something comes to my attention that makes me mewl a little with frustration that I can't have it NOW NOW NOW.
Being a photographer that loves to travel, it is almost impossible to select gear for a trip. I like to have options, and when I'm dropping my hard earned cash on a trip, my stomach drops at the thought I might be hampered by something I elected not to bring. Even pared down, my bag weighs at least ten pounds. That's not much at first, until it's slung across your back for eight hours.
I first began exploring mirrorless camera systems with the intent of a small backup and street system for an upcoming 6 week trip. I soon discovered the Fujifilm X series, settling on the X-E1 after much reading and consideration. The image quality received raves, and I figured I survived a good 5 years with a camera lacking weather sealing, so that wasn't a deal breaker for me. The one hang-up were the complaints about sluggish autofocus resulting in missed shots. I already have some issues with that now, so anything lesser would not be acceptable.
Then lo and behold Fujifilm announced the X-E2! The promised dramatic improvement in focus speed coupled with a speedier processor and second gen X-Trans sensor made me drool more than a little. It's tough to get past the somewhat silly idea that a more petite camera setup will somehow result in my work being taken less seriously. After all, it is [or should be] about the final image, right? And cutting the weight and size of my bag dramatically is more than a little appealing. I'd love to reserve my bulky DSLR setup for studio work and ventures closer to home.
The rapid leapfrogging pace of camera technology is incredibly exciting - if those autofocus promises are demonstrably true, this may well become my travel brand. The image quality of the X series is already basking in glowing reviews. Additionally, I am of the belief that carrying around a smaller camera (and lenses) not only draws less attention for the purposes of capturing a place candidly, it may reduce risk of theft or mugging since it may be perceived as less valuable. I could be wrong on that account, but I feel like a traditional large DSLR setup is just more of an attention getter - not something I particularly want regardless of my travel destination.
My only wish list items left: How about an articulating screen? One of my first digital cameras had one and it was a terrific tool. It's being used on a number of the X-E2's competitors from Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony. To be fair, it's offered on the X-M1 but I'd be thrilled to see it across the line. It might increase size just a bit, but in a worthwhile tradeoff, especially for how useful that feature is. Throw in some weather sealing, and Fujifilm could smash the competition. I'm definitely looking forward to renting the X-E2 to see if it lives up to my hopes and expectations.