Decision One: A friend of mine bought his partner a new camera, her first ‘proper camera’. Very generous! It’s a Canon DSLR. Nice. He’s taken her for a couple of photo walks already. Good way to start off. Now he’s thinking of spending £300 on a ten lesson photography course – what do I think about that? No f*****g way! For that sort of money, you could take a three night break to a fantastic European city, including flights and meals, and throw in a Photography for Dummies book to read on the way. I’m pretty convinced that spending a few days roaming somewhere exotic shooting at everything and anything will be a more productive and enjoyable experience. I’m a big fan of on the job training. Not such a big fan of classrooms.
Decision: Not my decision to make. He seemed to think my idea was a good one. But I suspect he’ll either follow up on that photo course or, more likely, do neither.
Decision Two: The interweb is alive with rumours, speculation and scaremongering as to what GDPR means for photographers. Does it mean that street photography has been outlawed? Yes, say some. Who quote various cherry picked sections of the relevant document. Followed by pithy remarks on the anti-photo government fascists of the Fourth Reich. Is this the death of Flickr, SmugMug, Instagram et al? Or does it really mean nothing at all to the hobbyist photographer? It’s a fuss about nothing, says I. Based on the fact I took the time to read the relevant sections which clearly state that publication of photos for artistic, academic or editorial purposes are exempt.
Decision: Keep calm and carry on happy snapping.
Decision Three: My Fuji X-M1 has served me well. It still serves me well. I am pretty confident that it will continue to serve me well for some time to come. But…there is always a but. It is now a five year old model. The new Fuji X series cameras released over the last year or two would represent a real and – most importantly – noticeable upgrade. And while it is nice to be served well, I also like to be excited by my camera. It’s tough to get excited by a five year old model.
Barring an unforeseen change in my finances, I’d like a new camera at the end of the year. I have for some time had my heart set on Fuji’s mid range X-T20, which would be a very serious upgrade. The latest 24mp sensor, lots of manual buttons, dials and switches and an exceptional 18mm-55mm f2.8 kit lens. Available at Fuji’s UK refurbished store at just £799. Or new for £960 after a cashback offer has been applied. It’s a lot of money, but it is a lot of camera.
And then last week Fuji released a new entry level model, which looks very much like the X-T20 at first glance. It too has a 24mp sensor, albeit a Bayer and not an XTrans unit – I can live with that. It comes with a decent EVF. The same as on the X-T20, in fact. It has customisable dials to make manual operation easier. My X-M1 lacks all these, and these three features are the main drivers for my desire to upgrade. If I buy it, I will likely buy body only at about £500. And have it brought back from the US too, which may save me an extra £100. And the Champagne Gold model is most bewitching. This camera would be the sensible choice for me, given my budget, usage and requirements.
Decision: My heart says the X-T20. But I think my brain – and my bank balance – will win this one.