“How cold would be too cold?” I wondered when reading the manual of my new camera. It was still summer when the box of my unexpected new friend arrived, but my first concern was a line about the Fujifilm X-t4 and cold.
Winters here can get as cold as -25*C, but the average is warmer. Still, those ice-cold winter days, especially when sunny, are my favorites. I love how the snow shimmers in the winter light, how the ice freezes and cracks, how snow covers the landscape, even how on cloudy days all colors seem to disappear.
When I wrote my first blog post about this camera it was all new. Everything felt unfamiliar. It is smaller, a different brand than what I’m used to, and not even a DSLR! It was an unexpected choice and I wasn’t sure if it would be really my camera or an update for Joeri’s older Fuji camera.
It’s now a little over 6 months since I wrote down my first impressions and much has changed. I’m totally hooked! While I still adore my Nikon DSLR, my precious workhorse, it’s big and heavy, there is just no way denying that. When I still did shoots for clients, carrying a heavy backpack full of lenses was part of the job. When working in a studio setup, my D800 was the most reliable buddy (much better than the D700). At the moment, I’m mostly capturing real moments during walks or trips or creating digital content for social media or websites. Both my work and life have changed a lot in recent years.
On the photo below, it was about -16°C (3,2F°) and that was the first time that I noticed some issues.
Just like any other camera during winter, I am careful about going too fast from warm to cold or vice versa, and I also prefer prime lenses to avoid ice or other damage to zoom lenses because of frozen breath or snow. I expected that the battery would be dying as a first symptom, but it was actually the autofocus that was having some issues- as in being much slower than usual or sometimes suddenly missing the focus at all. While it wasn’t super dramatic, it made me opt for the Nikon DSLR when I felt like taking some action shots on the frozen lake.
When the lakes were all frozen and paths had been cleared over the ice, we were curious and excited about trying to cross the lake in several directions which is either a walk of a few hours on the short side or a kicksled tour of a few hours on the long side. I just didn’t feel like taking my big camera as I was already dressed in so many layers, ice pricks, backpack, snow boots, …
So the Fuji got another chance in cold weather. I think these days were around -10°C and I had zero issues, not even after a few hours outdoors. – I have to add, I do put away the camera in between shots/moments.
Last time, I had issues with the connection between my phone and the camera. Both for shooting and transferring images. Since an update a few months ago, this problem hasn’t occurred anymore so I’m very pleased. When creating some self-portraits, the initial connection to get started takes some time, sometimes two attempts, but then it works smoothly. One thing that is still not working is the connection to record a video by phone connection. It makes the whole setup crash.
So far I have used the camera in the cold up to -16°C and on chilly foggy days. I try to protect the camera and lens from snow and rain but I treat it as an object to get a shot- not as a secret treasure in my handbag. Except for a few minor issues like the slower autofocus and troubles with connecting for video by phone, this camera has been really nice company. It enabled me to capture wonderful memories and beautiful winter moments in a comfortable way.
When I wrote the first review, I didn’t like the viewfinder but liking the live view. By now, I am kinda used to both. I have noticed that with all the info on the screen of the live view (info like shutter speed, aperture, iso), my compositions are sometimes a bit off. I’m still not charmed by the viewfinder and this weird digital light but it’s tolerable. My screen appears bluer than reality so the image always looks different from what I see through the viewfinder. I think most people- the ones that are not totally old school like I am- will just be happily using the live view as it’s good, clear, useful, and you can turn it in all directions which make me able to get shot low by the ground without eating snow or dust to get the shot :-).
Last week, a new lens finally arrived. I’ve been thinking about this for months, reading reviews, talking to fellow photographers, and comparing lenses. For a while, it seemed like there was just no lens for me as some had great reviews but were very expensive (not really suitable for hikes with dogs I think), others were not weather resistant, slow, or didn’t have a wide enough aperture.
What I was waiting for was a fast, sharp, weather-sealed, prime lens of around 35 to 56mm with at least f1,8. In the end, I got the slow, not weather-sealed 35mm (the equivalent of a full-frame 50mm) with f1.4. I was a bit nervous when the order got shipped but oh man, so far I am loving this lens! From the first time I put it on my camera, I felt like I got a piece of my visual language back.
In the next few weeks, I’ll probably get more shots and experiences that I can share with you. On my Nikon, the 50mm is still my most used lens- and I use it for everything from portraits to landscapes, or action shots. With this one, I’m mostly curious about action shots as it isn’t the fastest lens of the Fuji-family.