X-Pro3 Stories #4 Love of Photography

Previous Fujifilm X-Pro3 Stories:
Fujifilm X-Pro3 Stories #1: The New Sub LCD
Fujifilm X-Pro3 Stories #2: Learning from Film
Fujifilm X-Pro3 Stories #3: Aged or Damaged

Fujifilm has long been aware of the fact that some are just going to hate the Fujifilm X-Pro3, while others will take advantage of its unique functionality. I think many former Leica photographers love the choice, while photographers coming from the world of DSLR’s might be more resistant to additional change.

It’s a question debated since the X-Pro3 was first announced: why is there no display on the back?

Most negative responses have been on the grounds that there is no reason for the display to be hidden. Wouldn’t it be safer to have a monitor available? It’s not a cheap camera by any means, and I can understand the impulse to leave all options open.

The X-Photographers we polled on this question during development were certainly skeptical. According to them, this was because they had grown used to framing shots in a display on the back of the camera, and doubted whether they would have the “stoicism” to return to framing shots in a viewfinder.

This struck me as strange. Was what we were asking of them really so painful? But these were professional photographers, and their opinions indicated that we might have to prepare for a certain level of resistance.

Some might feel they need a rear screen to ensure that they got the shot, but in the world of Leica there is a heavy emphasis to not chimp. Once you get used to not reviewing shots your enjoyment level goes through the roof and it is something I still try to do because when I get the opportunity to shoot for myself or others I want to enjoy the experience

While comments like these certainly made an impression, I was even more impressed by the joy in their voices. The sentiments they expressed arose not from mere philosophical questions concerning the orthodoxy or correctness of framing photographs in the viewfinder, but a were rooted in the joy they felt in taking photographs.

What I took from this debate was a keen sense that combining a hybrid viewfinder with a hidden monitor might in its way be a test of faith and that what was being tested was one’s passion for photography. This is not something that can be calculated in terms of efficiency, practicality, or convenience, nor does it make sense when considered intellectually. But these considerations are rejected by the heart. I believe that there are those who, while they may value a good success rate or good returns, do not feel these to be goals in and of themselves. Such people may be a minority, but I think it is they who love photographs and photography the most. And having these people feel a thrill when taking photographs is no trivial matter.

It’s interesting that Fujifilm compared the experience of “Pure Photography” to driving a car, because there are many purists in the world of cars that will only drive a stick shift because of how the experience feels independent of if a paddle shifter or sequential manual gearbox might make them faster around a track.

The tagline for the X-Pro3 is “Pure Photography”, copy chosen with the auto industry’s “pure sports” tagline in mind. I find it interesting that cars do not qualify for the “pure sports” label on speed alone, even if they offer performance that puts them in the category of “supercars”. Handling and performance are not enough—if the car does not give a driver joy, its appeal and luxury status are called into question.

Cameras can serve as recording devices or as a way of giving our impulses free rein—it doesn’t matter which. “Pure sports” cars are not the only cars in the world. What I can promise you beyond any doubt is that taking pictures with the X-Pro3 is both fun and cool.

Many pay big money for a unique experience relating to a hobby or vocation they love and the X-Pro3 reflects that reality with its price premium over the X-T3. I hope the X-Pro3 does well so we see more innovation from Fujifilm and their competitors in the area of user experience instead of focusing on specs, which is what drew many to Fujifilm to begin with when they launched the X100 and X-Pro1 with three lense combo for the street. Yes, the X-T1 which came after had significantly higher demand, but would it have been enough to be around all these years later now without the X-Pro1 and the photos it helped create?

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