Rammy Narula is a Bangkok-based photographer with a passion for learning and exploring. He often credits photography for being his lifeline, allowing him to find meaning as well as a sense of purpose. In 2016, his photobook “Platform 10”, a project shot on a single platform at the Bangkok Central Train Station, was published by Peanut Press, a publishing house in New York City. A member of Street Photo Thailand and the international photography collective Burn My Eye, Rammy continues to challenge himself to evolve and find new ways to communicate and connect with others. He mentors several workshops each year and is also regularly invited to speak about his work inspiring people to discover more about themselves through the art of photography.
Over the last 7-8 years, I have spent a considerable amount of time with the X100, X-T, and X-Pro series. Though I settled mostly on the X100 series for my street work due to its small size and convenience, I often went to the X-T and the X-Pro when I wanted to experiment. The undeniable versatility of the more pro cameras helped jumpstarted my creative flow whenever I needed it.
Unsurprisingly, when Fujifilm wanted me to give the X-E4 a try, there was no hesitation in saying yes. A similar size and rangefinder design to the X100 series, with interchangeable lens, and an extensive self-portrait flipped screen? Pretty sure they heard my whispers about what I wanted for Christmas. I was very intrigued and quite excited.
After a few weeks of use, I can say that it’s easy to fall in love with this camera. It’s simple to operate and fun to use, like a point and shoot, yet with customizable buttons and options to go fully manual should you prefer it.
The camera is relatively light and small, practical for street photography, travelling, and anyone preferring to pack light while covering a decent range of focal lengths. Case in point, the camera with a 27mm prime lens, plus one 16-80mm zoom, barely took up any luggage space when I took them with me on a short trip out of town.
Though I am mostly a one-camera one-lens kind of photographer and rarely use zoom, it’s still nice to have one. To be covered if and when the situation ever calls for it.
The flipped screen that tilts all the way to become a self-portrait camera is well thought out and straightforward. It’s especially great for my workflow since I already make self-portraits as part of my projects using my phone’s front-facing lens. Not needing the phone to make them means more files consistency, a nice bonus.
I received the X-E4 body with the new FUJINON XF27mm F/2.8 lens, which I used throughout the trial. Making the switch from my usually preferred 35mm focal length to the 40mm equivalent of the new lens was a little awkward initially, but it was a change I welcomed. These days living with COVID-19, I imagine people on the streets wouldn’t want photographers up in their faces anyway, so being a step further out could be better for all involved.
The new lens now has an Aperture Ring built-in as well. Like me, anyone who enjoyed using the original version though wanted the ability to change F-stops quickly on the lens will appreciate this addition.
The X-E4 also has an improved and quicker focusing system over its predecessor. When combined with this lens, making pictures felt instantaneous. I rarely missed any shots in an action sequence or moments that seemed decisive.
I spent most of the two weeks shooting in Bangkok’s Chinatown, and a few days in Chumpon, a province in Southern Thailand, and used the Classic Negative film filter. The rainy season was over, and we were entering our version of winter (just a bit less hot than usual), which meant lots of sunny and blue-sky days. Morning time in Thailand during the December month can be quite magical and peaceful, and I felt right at home with this camera.
Street Photography for me is about a chance to explore and to be present. I love cameras that don’t get in the way of me doing that with cumbersome menus and features, and this Fujifilm X-E4 proved itself to be a great companion during my time with it. Did I mention the shutter sound of the camera is simply music to the ears? Makes you want to take one more picture, and in the end, that’s what matters.