I’ve mentioned this ‘problem’ that I have as a camera gear reviewer. I’m always asked the same question: “What’s the best Fujifilm camera body and lens to buy?” I know I shouldn’t be surprised. If I was a wine taste tester, I would expect people to ask me what’s the ‘best’ wine. However, a better question to ask would be: “What’s your ‘favourite’ wine and why?” So here are my favourite Fujifilm camera kits and the reasons why I like them. These kits will not be in any particular order, although I will reveal which is my desert island scenario. Do you think you can guess which body and lens it is?
Compact Performance Kit: Fujifilm X-E3 with the XF23mmF2 R WR
Since the release of the Fujifilm X-E3, I’ve shot with it extensively. At the time of release the X-E3 had the quickest and most accurate AF in the entire lineup. When matched with the quick-focusing XF23mmF2 R WR, this kit focused as quick as top DSLRs from other manufacturers. It’s slightly larger than the X100F but has the performance of the X-T2. It’s great for vlogging too, since I can trust the AF without having to look at the screen (although I’m not a fan of the 2.5mm microphone input). The missing D-Pad was less of an issue for me than I thought since the joystick + touch screen combination makes up any loss of function or control. In fact I prefer the joystick/touchscreen combination on the X-E3 versus the D-PAD/touchscreen of the X-T20. This camera is small enough to be ignored, perfect when you want to shoot like a pro but don’t want to attract unwanted attention.
Professional Compact Kit: X-T2 with XF23mmF2 R WR or XF35mmF2 R WR
The X-T2 is a workhorse. I’ve had my review copy since it was brand new and I have taken this thing everywhere. Not only does it do a great job with video, but the large EVF is great for shooting in all types of weather or lighting conditions. Having all the professional I/O peripherals (dual card slot, USB 3.0, battery grip, etc.) I know I can get the job done. Coupled with one of the WR Fujicron lenses the entire kit is rugged and weather-proofed against the elements. Although the XF23mmF1.4 or XF35mmF1.4 lenses are optically stunning, the first generation design (no WR, noisy, slow and inaccurate AF) keeps them off of my top list. In the snow, in the rain, in extreme humidity and heat, the X-T2 and one of the Fujicron lenses is my top choice for a professional body with a compact lens.
Professional Zoom Kit: X-T2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS
For certain types of photography, switching lenses while shooting is not an option. This is especially true for travel photography when you encounter extreme weather conditions. Last year I was in Bangkok and it was hitting 40 Celsius (104 F) and super humid. I wasn’t going to risk getting any humidity or moisture in the sensor chamber. Although the XF 10-24mm lens is not WR (although it should be) it seems to handle extreme weather well. Having all the major focal lengths for street photography (other than the XF35mm), architectural-landscape and for video/vlogging, this lens is perfect for me. I know for others the XF16-55mmF2.8 R WR is the better zoom option, especially coupled with the new X-H1 (full 5+ stops of stabilization). For me it’s too big and the lens just isn’t wide enough. Hopefully a larger image circle but compact XF10-18mmF4 R OIS WR can be made in the future. For now, the XF10-24mm lens matched with the X-T2 is my choice as a professional zoom lens kit for travel, video, street and landscape.
Top Image Quality Studio/Landscape/Travel: GFX 50S with the GF45mm, GF63mm, GF120mm
If you’re all about achieving top image quality, look no further than the GFX 50S. This digital medium format camera delivers and then some. Using the same (but modified) X Processor Pro found in the latest X Series cameras, the camera shoots just like an X-T2 or X-H1, except bigger. It’s as big as the top full frame DSLRs on the market, although slightly lighter. Every single lens in the GF lineup is as good or better than the competition, and I’m not surprised. Before the digital era, Fujifilm was one of the most prolific and creative medium format manufacturers, and they even made lenses for other brands such as Hasselblad. I have tested every lens available (except the recently announced GF250mmD4), and my overall favourites are the GF45mm (XF23mm equiv), GF63mm (XF 35mm equiv) and GF120mm (95mm full-frame equiv or similar to XF60mm macro). If you can only afford a single lens, I would recommend the GF63mmF2.8 R WR (the entire system is WR). It is optically stunning, and it’s the smallest and lightest GF lens. The slightly bigger and heavier GF45mm is a great walk-around lens, if you wish to use the GFX 50S as a walk-around camera.
Although many might think the GF110mmF2 R LM WR is the better portrait lens, hear me out about the more versatile GF120mmF4 R LM OIS WR Macro. Wide open, it’s hard to focus with the GF110mmF2 because the depth of field is so shallow. You have to go into manual focus mode and still punch in, making sure you’re focusing correctly. I also find the transition between focus and out of focus less smooth on this lens versus the GF120mmF4. Shooting the GF120mmF4 wide open is similar to shooting an XF series lens at around f/2, so the out of focus look is still very shallow. The transition between focus and out of focus is also beautiful. Finally, this lens is OIS and has macro capabilities, making this lens very versatile.
Honourable Mentions/ Final Thoughts
Although the Fujifilm X100F is technically not a ‘kit’ camera, you can add the telephoto and wide angle converters, but I don’t recommend it. It’s not that the adapters don’t work, but the whole reason to buy the X100 series is to be small and light. By the time you add the converter lenses (especially the telephoto) you’re bigger and heavier than the X-E3 and equivalent prime. I adore the X100F, and it’s the one camera in the Fujifilm lineup that loyal Sony, Canon, Nikon and Pentax shooters can be found using as their daily carry or vacation camera. Another great option is the X70 as an even more compact camera. It’s truly a pocketable camera (jacket or loose pants pocket) and I am confident Fujifilm will build another version of it in the near future (fingers crossed).
In conclusion, these are my top picks as my favourite Fujifilm cameras and lenses to shoot with. If I was forced to choose just a single kit for work and for play (which includes video, stills, travel, street) I would have to pick the X-T2 with the XF 23mmF2 R WR. Yes, I did review the X-H1 but I feel the firmware needs a bit more refinement and IBIS is not very high on my list of priorities. As for the lens, I also really love the XF10-24mmF4 lens but I don’t always want to carry such a large lens around. The XF23mmF2 has served me well and is the most-used lens in the X Series lineup (followed by the XF10-24mmF4).
Because you don’t see your favourite camera or lens in this article, it doesn’t mean I don’t like them. These are just my personal choices for the type of photography I enjoy shooting, as well as the type of equipment I need when travelling and working. If you’re happy with your X-Pro1, X-T1, X-E2S, X-T20, then keep using it until it no longer suits your photographic needs. If you do decide to reach out and ask me about Fujifilm gear, remember to tell me more about you and your shooting style and requirements. The more I know about you, the better I can help you decide which is the best camera for you. Remember, there’s no perfect camera and lens combination that applies to every single photographer. Let me know in the comments section below what your current Fujifilm kit is, or what your dream kit would be and why. Let your imagination run wild guys and gals! Thanks for reading and happy shooting
- My Top 4 Favourite Fujifilm Camera Kits - 1.June.2018
- Fujifilm X-T100: First Look and Impressions - 24.May.2018
- The Fujifilm X-H1: Does IBIS Improve Your Photography? - 2.May.2018
- Non-Videographers: Why Buy The New Fujifilm X-H1? - 2.April.2018
- Ultimate Street Battle: X-E3 vs GFX 50S - 1.March.2018