My FujiFilm X-T1 and why I ditched my Nikon D800E

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Hello, I’m American photographer Chris Bergstrom from “Bushido Photo, LLC” based in Tokyo, Japan. I’ve been a photographer since 1988 when I picked up my first Nikon 35mm film camera. I have to say, I wouldn’t be where I am today without people like my friend Zack Arias, and others llike Bobbie Lane, Sue Bryce, Scott Kelby and Anton Corbijn to name a few. I’ve been inspired by many photographers over the years even one’s who were successful before I was born like George Hurrell. If you’re like me (unknown photographer) you may see other popular photographer’s images and say to yourself, “I am as good or better than that”. I have realized, this is a journey and not a competition and we all have our own unique vision. My thoughts below are my own and not meant to start a controversy about mirrorless vs. DSLR. Both have their uses, but I am dedicated to the Fujifilm system since it just makes sense…Now, for the meat and potatoes.

Back when I used to shoot film exclusively (before digital cameras were available to normal people with normal budgets) I used to, and still do, shoot Fujifilm FILM. I was not a fan of Kodak film because of the reddish warmer colors it produced. I loved the greens and blues that Fujifilm created in my images. I bought a Fujifilm S Pro 2 and S Pro 5 back in the day as my first digital cameras. I loved having the ability to shoot digital and have the same look that I was used to with film. Astia, Reala, Velvia, Provia and Superia were all great films. Some of them are no longer available, but you can still get that same look and feel with Fujifilm digital cameras shooting JPEG. I usually shoot RAW + JPEG, but 99% of the time I can get the image I want shooting the JPEG’s. The Fuji system is that good. I like the form factor, size and weight compared to my previous Nikon addiction.
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Why did I sell a 36 megapixel Nikon camera to move to a 16 megapixel Fujifilm camera? I made the move to Fujifilm after shooting a wedding and started having really bad back pain from lugging what felt like 10 pounds of glass and camera around my neck. After that, I decided that I needed to move to a smaller system that created the same or better image quality in the photos that I was used to. I used the X-Pro 1 and D700 with a double black rapid strap for a long time and loved the combo, but the D700 was still bulkier and I loved the old school feel of the Fuji. As a strobist by trade, I decided that I wanted to go with a smaller, but capable at image quality, so I then sold my D800E and purchased my X-T1 and a few lenses. I’m a portrait photographer (I do shoot everything though) and decided to give the Fuji’s a go with strobes. I had a great experience shooting with off camera lighting using radio triggers and off camera lighting. I only have two complaints, but I can live without the solutions. I wish the X-T1 would allow you to shoot with rear curtain flash sync with off camera flash and I wish it could do high speed sync (HSS). Unfortunately both of these options are unavailable. Fujifilm listens to their users and may make a firmware update available in the future that will fix these issues, but that is yet to be seen.

So, do I have any regrets leaving the Nikon system? The straight up answer is NO! I have not looked back. I can see what my exposure will look like with the full time live view, unlike the DSLR’s from Nikon and Canon. I am not just a fan of the Fujifilm camera’s, I am a long time dedicated user of their products. The funny thing about my love for Fujifilm now is that I live in Tokyo, Japan. Photo shoots are a lot of fun in this amazing city. My wife is Japanese and we love creating beautiful images and videos, both commercially and privately in and around Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Okinawa.

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How do I setup my camera and what gear do I use? I have the extra battery grip, Really Right Stuff arca swiss L bracket made for the X-T1 with the battery grip attached. I completely moved away from Nikon speedlights (except for my old SB-80DX and SB-600’s), Alien Bees and other studio lights in favor of the Godox brand. I was an early adopter of the AD-360 flashes and am now a huge advocate of the AD-600BM (Bowens Mount) flashes. These flashes/strobes can easily overpower the sun and can handle high speed sync if you have a camera capable of doing that, like the X-100T or other DSLR’s. I shoot with the 50-140mm f/2.8, 56mm f/1.2, 23mm f/1.4 and I still use my old Nikon lenses, Lensbaby Edge 80 and other Nikon mount lenses, such as the Helios 40-2 85mm with a Metabones adapter in manual focus. The focus assist in manual focus makes manual focusing really useful and easy. I also have just recently purchased the Westcott 35″ Zeppelin and it even outperforms my Mola Setti, which I love. Now, my new favorite modifier is the Zeppelin. All of these pinup shots were shot using it without the front diffusion material (in case you were wondering).

Why do I keep this blog going with so few subscribers or viewers? It’s my own documentary of my progression and to help those in need of information and truth. I’m also always available to help those in need of good advice. I’ve been there and done that since 1988 and want to help you with your learning curve. I only wish someone would have been there for me to guide me and be selfless in learning how photography and off camera flash worked. I want to pass on the knowledge I’ve learned from my mentors, some silent, some vocal, over the years. Zack, this beer is for you! Thank you my friend.

Below are some images and videos that I have created using the Fujifilm X-T1 over the last few months in Tokyo, Japan. I hope you enjoy my work and, for those skeptical people, take Fujifilm seriously as a professional camera system! I hope to become a Fuji X photographer and want to spread the Fujifilm love. These cameras are that good and even if Fujifilm doesn’t pay attention to me, my clients sure do appreciate the deliverable images they receive. I have seen a 300% increase in sales since I moved from Nikon to Fujifilm. The switch a couple of years ago may have nothing to do with the increased sales, but I think it has something to do with it.

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Julius Umbrella

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