X-Community - Jacki Bruniquel - FujiFilm XT-1

Jacki Bruniquel is an award-winning photographer and artist best known for her work in wedding photography. Her unique approach to creative portraiture and reportage photo-journalism, often attributed to her Fine Arts background, has earned her the reputation as one of the most creative wedding photographers in South Africa today. Her work has been widely published and she has documented weddings afar afield as India, The Caribbean and Europe. Jax, as she is known to her friends, is a story teller, traveller and romantic at heart, all of which informs her love of wedding photography. She recently took a Fuji XT-1 to Afrika Burn and here’s her thoughts on the camera.

FUJI XT-1

For those of you who haven’t heard about Afrika Burn, it is an annual South African festival that happens in the Tankwa Karoo National Park and is based on Burning Man in the US. Once a year a temporary city is created by like-minded individuals to celebrate life, love, self expression, art and being in the NOW. There is nothing that can be bought or sold at Afrika Burn other than ice and participants are encouraged to perform random acts of kindness or gifts to one another. Themed camps are erected, huge artworks are constructed , DJ’s are flown in from all over the world and thousands of people come together to express themselves, dance under the stars, ride around on bikes and immerse themselves in a space where the conventions of every day life are left at the door. Dressing up is encouraged at Afrika Burn and littering is abhorred. This festival is not for everyone, it is held in the barren Karoo landscape and this means that there are times where you feel as if you are in a giant hair dryer in the day and it can be freezing cold at night. There are no B&B’s around at the Burn which means camping is your only option. There is no running water, electricity or shops so you need to be totally self-sufficient. I am a person who delights in whimsy and the harsh conditions of Afrika Burn are all part of the adventure.

We were only able to attend for a weekend this year and so I wanted to take photos with a camera which was light , tough and easy to throw in a backpack and walk around with. I am a Nikon shooter and I absolutely love my Nikon DSLRS  but they are very heavy! This is where fellow wedding photographer friend Christelle Rall jumped in and asked the folk at FujiFilm South Africa if I could borrow a FujiFilm XT-1 for the weekend.

There are so many people who have asked me what I thought about the Fuji XT-1 so I thought it would benefit other photographers to write a review on my experience with the camera.

Things I loved

It is light, compact and easy to carry around.

Because it is small it is less intimidating – let’s face it a Nikon D4 screams professional photographer and can be a bit scary for those on the other side of the lens!

The electronic flip screen view finder is the absolute bomb for getting down low and shooting from interesting angles, and because there is no mirror in the camera what you are seeing through the lens is real time.

The screen is also nice and big and the time delay that happens when you use this function and hit the shutter is less than a Nikon D750.

The electronic view finder shows you what your exposure will be like so you can correct quite easily before hitting the shutter.

The weather resistant body gave a bit of piece of mind in the harsh desert conditions.

I loved the fact that the body is metal and has real aperture, speed and ISO dials. It feels kinda old school but makes complete sense.

I loved the colour that I got from the camera and I pushed the ISO to 3200 without any real problems.

Things I didn’t love

Using a camera is a bit like typing … I change dials without even looking at the body. Without having had much time or practice with the camera I felt like I had two left hands!

The battery life is so bad! I was warned about this so took 4 batteries with me and they didn’t last which is not great in a place without electricity to recharge.

I found that switching from the electronic screen to the eye view finder to be a bit of a pain and it seemed to take too long for my liking.

It is quite easy to change the shooting mode by mistake when changing the ISO. It is also easy to switch the Aperture to Auto mode by mistake.

The focusing isn’t quite as snappy as I would like. When you have been spoilt with the very fast and accurate focusing systems of Nikon it is hard to use anything else.

I didn’t have enough time with the camera to really experiment with all the in camera RAW processing, the wireless functions and off camera flash.

In conclusion this is a fantastic camera and absolutely perfect for travel. I would have to spend a lot of time with it before shooting a wedding with it but there are some incredible photographers like Du Wayne Denton and Christelle Rall who are making amazing images with this machine. 

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