Camera Rants because It still irritates and frustrates me…

After spending over a year seeing places, recording them with my camera and smartphone, one of the most frustrating things has been how long cameras have lasted. I don’t believe that this is the lifetime of most FujiFilm Cameras but it sure seems to speak at a lower level to their functionality. How could I have gone through three expensive FujiFilm Cameras in the space of two years? I had a FujiFilm X100F that I mistreated first. It got wet, dropped, fogged up, and had this happen repeatedly. Finally it had issues even working. Then it was a FujiFilm X-T2 camera. This is a highly rated camera and I believed I had found the camera that would last. The body and the 18-55 kit lens seemed perfect. So why did it only last a few months before the shutter button stared sticking? Sticking to the point of not working. Then it goes back to Singapore and supposedly gets fixed but two weeks later the same thing happens again. Finally a second X100F lasted me about 5k frames and it started having LCD and functionality issues.

Each of these forays cost me over $1k and in some cases over $1300. Why? Were my uses so extreme? I wanted to simply travel with the camera, walk every day, learn more on how it worked. You would figure that a camera that costs that much would have some significant quality components. The X-T2 camera was particularly frustrating in that I had to lose the camera for a month or two, have it shipped to me last November here in Siem Reap on a bus, only to find two weeks later it was doing the same thing.

I can only judge that I either have really bad luck with expensive cameras or FujiFilm Cameras have poor quality control or repair facilities, do not field check and verify their work. After the last thing with the second X100F I decided on a cheaper compact camera. I found a Lumix LX10 camera that cost me a bit over $600 in Malaysia. Half the cost of the others.

Now I just shoot with the camera on program mode and auto ISO and let it be. I have found out that someone that merely wants to capture things on the road, have images to share and archive on Google Photos or Mastodon does not need expensive kit. Learning that has kind of set me free in some ways. I’ve lost any desire to learn more about the triangle or why Aperture Priority is better at some points but Shutter Priority is better at others. Buying a cheaper compact camera with a 1 inch sensor has basically let me see the forest for the trees.

I’ve read people seriously upgrading to some Nikon with 3 lens or a Canon full frame camera or something else. My advice is consider carefully what your use is. Here is mine:

  1. I wanted something that would just take better photographs with better zoom and quality than a iPhone. At first I wanted to learn how it all worked by walking each day with the camera. That has changed. I don’t particularly care for taking photographs with an iPhone still. It just works and I want a bit more. If I want to change up to Aperture Priority or take it off auto ISO I want that flexibility. But read point 2 about the next thing.
  2. I wanted something that just took photographs with minimal effort at most times and that would fit in a bag over the shoulder. So a compact camera was perfect for my use. I also discovered that the size was a huge thing traveling. Having a truly small compact camera is just so much easier going through airports and bus terminals and train stations.
  3. I wanted something to just share the photographs with the people that want to see them now on Facebook and Mastodon. I do not need to take photographs with complex innards or RAW files or Lightroom edits. It’s too much work when my goal is something more simple. I want a representation of what I saw, when I saw it, and something I can save and share.

All of these things in the end argue against expensive mirrorless or DSLR cameras for me. I simply don’t need something that does not add anything to the equation. So a mission I had since 2017 ends because I no longer care about learning beyond whether I should shoot in Program or Aperture Priority mode and with or without auto ISO enabled. I also want to learn 4k video on the camera since it does that. But only for fun!

This is the last point in photography for me. Somewhere it stopped being fun and became challenging and frustrating. Watching the FujiFilm Cameras come and go was very irritating. I spent over $3k on all this gear to only see it last months. I have lost belief and feeling for those camera lines and why should I spend even more for another X-T2 or X-T3 or X-T30?

If the Lumix camera were to break, no big deal. I had it and used it and enjoyed it. I may buy something like the Sony RX100 Mark VI next time because it still offers the main thing I am looking for. Less irritation and frustration and actual photographs for fun and no profit besides my own.

I bring all this up so you can perhaps do your diligence considering a camera. Maybe your needs are much more. Maybe much less and a iPhone or android phone will work. Just look at your use cases and do some research. Don’t take my word. At the end of the day for me it was about enjoyment and personal fulfillment. Maybe your needs are more complex.

I’m only here to raise the issue and not offer a conclusion. Photography though for me is supposed to be fun and let me record, share and archive the images where I want. It is also not supposed to break the bank or have a high cost of entry for a simple use case.

If this sounds like a rant against FujiFilm; it is. I will never buy another from them. I’ve lost the feeling that the quality of their cameras match the money I have spent. Their repair facilities are up for question too. The main thing though is to come out the other side and see where the whole thing leads you.

Author: Michael Perry

I've been blogging for over 20 years and now am living in Southeast Asia. The blog is about my slow vagabonding wherever I want to go. My home base is in Cambodia but I'm rarely there.

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