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5 years of the X series

By Gianluca Colla

It’s funny how sometimes you don’t know you really need something until you have it in your hands. I’ve always been very satisfied with my DSLR camera system, until a day, at Photokina 2010, when I startled staring at the X100.

A small camera, retro styled, with a modern heart, a compact body and a fix 35mm lens (equivalent). Pretty much everything I like: in a time where megapixel count, hi-tech design, multi button and multi complicated cameras are the queens, finally a simple and immediate camera that does one thing, and does it quite well: it takes pictures.

I discovered another way to photograph, and mostly, another approach: simplicity. At least in my case, this is what started the romance with the X system. 

Photo by Gianluca Colla: X-T1 and XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
X-T1 & XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS

It’s true, a camera is just a tool, it is a black (or silver..) box between me and what I want to communicate: but that box should be something so intuitive I shouldn’t even have to worry about it. I never think what finger I’ll use when I grab something, so why should I think what button to push when I grab a picture? Cameras are constantly with us, in our hand, hanging on our neck: there is a point in every photographer’s path where the camera is not a tool anymore, it becomes part of us. So I’d rather have in my hands something I really love, something that is so part of me I do not even need to think about it. That’s what the X system is about, for me. 

Photo by Gianluca Colla: X-T1 and XF23mmF1.4 R
X-T1 & XF23mmF1.4 R

For my needs, the X system just works: it is fast, immediate, intuitive, simple and powerful. And, last but not least, it’s beautiful.

There is something special about using old style dials, and being able to change ISO, aperture and shutter speed without even taking the eye away from the viewfinder. There is something special when you can actually read the aperture value or the shutter speed on a dial, rather than on a display: it makes it somehow more real and immediate.

So, if simplicity is the very first reason that made me love Fuji, I soon realised there are other points. Weight, for example: I find myself (literally) climbing mountains or hiking miles and miles in harsh conditions to get a picture, and believe me every gram you can save counts. 

Photo by Gianluca Colla: X-Pro2 and XF14mmF2.8 R
X-Pro2 & XF14mmF2.8 R

Size is another one. Smaller cameras, smaller bags, more likely to have the camera with me at any given times that translate in more picture taken and more interesting moment “frozen”. And a less intrusive approach when shooting people, which never hurts, often translate in better and more intimate images.

And reliability: even the “non-officially-weather-proof” bodies and lenses can withstand very harsh conditions. 

Photo by Gianluca Colla: X100S
Photo by Gianluca Colla

In only 5 years the X system has come a long way, covering every millimetre from 10 to 600 with great lenses, with a bunch of impressive cameras (X-T1 and X-Pro2 above everything), each one so much better than the previous one. I am proud to say I was one of the very first to believe in this adventure, and even prouder that I got to know and to work with a group of people who believe not only in dreams, but also make them happen. I own every pro camera in the system, and I enjoy each one of them. 

Photo by Gianluca Colla: X-Pro2 and XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
X-Pro2 & XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
Photo by Gianluca Colla: X-Pro2 and XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
X-Pro2 & XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Photo by Gianluca Colla: X-Pro2 and XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
X-Pro2 & XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR

In my case, in my personal life and my professional one, all is shot with an X camera: from the most important personal moments to tough assignments ranging from extreme hot environments (casting) to crossing the Antarctic Circle.. I tried pretty much everything, and I haven’t found something I can’t successfully do with my Fujis. I abused the cameras and the lenses, as if I wanted to find the limits, but I only found my body limits so far.. :-D

Now I apologise and I hope you’ll excuse me: light outside is getting great and I have to go hunting for some pictures ... :-D
Gianluca Colla 

About the Author
Gianluca Colla

Gianluca Colla is a photographer, videographer and adventurer whose work has graced the pages of such publications as National Geographic, The Washington Post and The New York Times. His artistic journey has led him to some the most beautiful and desolate areas of the world, joining expeditions in the Amazon, the Arctic Circle, Costa Rica and Iceland to name but a few.

He works as a regular contributor to reputable magazines and journals across the globe, is a member of National Geographic Creative agency and a shoots regularly for Bloomberg News.

An international speaker and teacher, Gianluca holds a reportage class at European Institute of Design, and has spoken and taught in major international photography events, including, among others, Photokina (Germany) CP+ (Japan), Toscana Photographic Workshop (Italy).

With well over a decade dedicating his life to using images to tell meaningful stories, he is the new generation of the adventuring photographer.

When not on the field, Gianluca spend his time with family in the Swiss Alps.

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