Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Instagram Lie - Cheaters, Fakers & Thieves

Shadow Catcher - Stallion Springs, California
I've been on Instagram since last May. I didn't mention it on the Roesch Photography Blog because it was more-or-less an experiment on whether or not I really want to be on Instagram. My profile is @utahfamilyadventures if you want to look me up.

People have been telling me for awhile now that I should be on Instagram. "You're a photographer, after all, and Instagram is all about pictures," I would hear. I didn't understand hashtags and how to use them, but I signed up and gave it a try anyway.

It's a happy feeling when you get a "heart" or comment or new follower. Everyone wants recognition and appreciation and validation, and Instagram offers that in droves. It can be addicting, like a druggy waiting for the next hit--you can get glued to your phone waiting for the next attention. Maybe they should rename it "Instacrack" instead of Instagram.

When a favorite image doesn't get the attention that you think it deserves, you have self-doubt or anger. You see tons of tremendous work by other photographers who are clearly better than you, and you wonder if you'll ever be that talented. And you can't understand how all of these talentless snapshooters have so many followers, especially compared to how few you have. Instagram is good at playing on your emotions.

Something that I have learned is that Instagram is a lie, with an abundance of cheaters, fakers and thieves. It's not at all what it seems. And it's driven by money, or, at least, the pursuit of it.
Farm Fresh Vegetables - South Weber, Utah
A photograph like this could be a paid advertisement (but in this case is not).
Instagram won't pay you no matter how many hearts or followers you get, but there are tons of businesses that will. I've heard that with as few as 1,000 followers, people have been contacted by companies to do a little careful product placement, with some compensation, of course. If you have tens of thousands of followers this can be a lucrative business, not just small kickbacks.

To put this another way, Instagram is full of subtle advertisements. You don't even realize it, and it's actually against the rules. But for companies, this is an effective use of the advertisement budget. You see these successful Instagrammers using this or wearing that or drinking refreshing stuff, and it looks so cool, and the next thing you know you are buying it.

And at first this doesn't seem like so much of a bad thing. Why shouldn't someone make some money off of their photographs? But the manner in which many people get so many darn followers is dishonest.

If you've been on Instagram, there is no doubt that you've been contacted to get thousands of likes, comments and followers for a fee. You can buy your way to fame. It's pushed on you, in fact.
Fame - Mojave, California
Something someone realized awhile ago is that if you "heart" someone's picture, there is a good chance that they will return the favor. If you comment on someone's picture, you have a good chance of getting a comment on one of yours. And if you follow someone, they'll likely follow you back. Do all three and it's almost guaranteed that the favor will be returned. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. You were nice to me and so I'll be nice to you. And we do this because it feels good to be liked and appreciated.

What people have done is automate this with software. An app will heart, comment and/or follow others on your behalf, for a nominal fee, of course. To the other person it looks like it was you who did it, but it was a computer. You rake in the followers. And if the person doesn't follow you back, in a day or two the software will unfollow that person automatically. It's all artificial, but the other person doesn't know it.

If someone comments with only an emoji, you can bet it wasn't really that person that commented. If one person sporadically "hearts" random pictures of yours, it's probably not really them. If someone follows you, and then a day or two later unfollows you, it was almost certainly a paid service that did it.

Funny story, there is a washed up "B" actor (who was once in a soap opera and hasn't acted in anything significant in nearly two decades) who is constantly following and unfollowing me. I guarantee that he has never personally seen a single photograph of mine, he's just buying followers.

Worse than that are the people who steal your pictures and claim them as their own. It happens far too much on Instagram and there is very little that you can do about it. In fact, odds are you don't even know about it. You may have already had some of your images stolen and you are completely unaware.

There is a more subtle way that people are stealing photographs on Instagram. They make a sharing page where they post other people's pictures, and give them full credit. The photographer might even appreciate it, thinking that they are getting exposure (you will in reality get very little, if anything, in return). But whoever is doing the page is reaping the benefits. Typically they are advertising something for someone--you might be completely unaware that they are advertising anything--and they are using your pictures to do it. In my opinion this is theft. They are using your pictures for their own gain.

With all of that said, and all of the negativity that goes along with an Instagram account, it is a fun way to share your photography with the world. It's pretty darn amazing that in an instant people (mostly strangers) around the country and globe are admiring your work. This wasn't possible a decade ago. It's just too bad that Instagram doesn't do more to clean it up. They really need to get their app together.

Monday, February 27, 2017

How Fujifilm Almost Died (But Didn't)

Fuji Film - South Weber, Utah
I watched a really fascinating documentary about Fujifilm. It's an episode of Channel News Asia's Inside The Storm series called Back From The Brink. If you have the time (it's about 45 minutes long) click the link and watch it.

One point that I found interesting is that Fujifilm (and I'm sure others in the industry) knew that digital photography was coming. They knew that film was going to be replaced by digital. Even though going digital was going to eat into their own film sales, they knew if they didn't do it someone else would.

So in 1988 Fujifilm made the 1.1 megapixel Fujix DS-1P, which was the world's first fully digital camera, and followed that up in 1989 with the Fujix DS-X, which was the world's first commercially produced digital camera. These cameras offered poor image quality and had really high price tags, so it is no surprise that they weren't successful.

The digital photography age didn't come when Fujifilm thought it was going to come, and film sales continued to climb and climb and climb. Fujifilm decided to pause digital camera development until film sales showed signs of decline. They figured that film would die a slow death.

The year that film peaked was 2001, with more film sales of any year before or since. Fujifilm saw big profits that year. But digital arrived swiftly, and film sales dropped dramatically--30% in both 2002 and 2003. Fujifilm was not prepared for this. They bet on digital coming a decade too soon, and then made a bad assumption that it wouldn't be an immediate takeover. Fujifilm almost died.

A new CEO saved the company. He swiftly diversified Fujifilm. He used the resources and expertise that the company already had and applied it to other fields, namely pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Photography is now a minor part of Fujifilm's business plan, despite commercial success with the X-series cameras and Instax.

Even though photography is now more-or-less a niche market for Fujifilm, they proudly proclaim that they are committed to it. Even if they made no profit from it, photography is such an important part of their history and is such an important part of society that they will keep producing photographic products no matter what. That's what they said, anyway.

If you have a some time in your day, be sure to watch the documentary. It's very fascinating and worth your time.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Where Buffalo Roam - Monochrome Photoessay of Antelope Island State Park, Utah - Part 1

Bison In The Road - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
In 1876 Dr. Brewster Higley penned the now-famous words:

Oh, give me a home where the Buffalo roam
Where the Deer and the Antelope play

The poem, My Western Home (later renamed Home on the Range when it was put to music), is considered the unofficial anthem of the American West. Dr. Higley wasn't specifically talking about Fielding Garr's ranch on Antelope Island in Utah, but it sure sounds like he could have been.

In 1845, legendary frontiersman Kit Carson became the first non-Native-American to visit Antelope Island. In fact, he gave the island it's name, after finding an abundance of Pronghorn Deer, which are also called Pronghorn Antelope.

Fielding Garr, a Mormon pioneer, began building a cattle ranch on Antelope Island in 1848. By 1870 the Mormon church had lost interest in the island, and it changed ownership a number of times over the next 15 years. Finally, in 1884, the Island Improvement Company (an upstart of investors) bought the majority of Antelope Island, and they would control most of the land until 1969 when the north half was purchased by Utah for the establishment of a state park. They sold the rest of the island to Utah in 1981
Light Streaming Over Antelope Island - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Antelope Island is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. The Great Salt Lake is the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere, and is much saltier than the ocean. The only things that live in the lake are brine shrimp and algae.

At 42 square miles, Antelope Island is quite large. From north-to-south it is 15 miles long, and at its widest point it is five miles east-to-west. The highest peak, Frary Peak, is 6,594', which is just over 2,000' higher than the lake.

While the landscape is somewhere between desert and scrubland and grassland, and seems pretty brown and dry, there are 40 natural springs on Antelope Island. There is a lot of wildlife, including Pronghorn Deer, American Bison, Bighorn Sheep, and many others, including a large variety of birds along the shoreline (over 200 different species of birds have been observed on the island).

The Great Salt Lake is relatively shallow and the water levels can significantly change from year-to-year. During drought years, Antelope Island was accessible by foot or horseback. Otherwise it was only accessible by boat. In 1969 the Utah State Park system built a road to Antelope Island via a causeway on the north tip of the island.
Frary Peak Reflected - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
At the north end there is a visitor center with a small museum and gift shop. There's also a small marina that currently has no boats because of the water level.  Along the western beaches are picnic tables, some public showers and even a seasonally-open food shack. Towards the southeast end of the island is the historic Fielding Garr Ranch, which is open daily for self-guided tours.

The barren and wild landscape of Antelope Island is surprising because of its close proximity to the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which sits right across the water to the east. On the island it feels like a remote wilderness, yet it is right outside the city. The downtown skyscrapers are clearly visible from the ranch.

Because of the stale and salty water of the Great Salt Lake, Antelope Island has a smell (think rotten eggs), especially along the shoreline. There are tons and tons and tons (no exaggeration) of bugs in the warmer months. While the sandy beaches almost remind you of an ocean shore (without the crashing waves), because of the stink and the bugs and the distance you have to walk from your car, the locals mostly stay away. It is almost exclusively tourists that you will find here. And yes, it is true, you can float in the salt water, but the water is shallow so you have to go pretty far in for it to be deep enough.

Despite those negatives, a rugged western landscape that is full of wildlife and history is what draws me back to this place. There is a certain beauty about it that is easier to put into photographs than words. The emptiness, the reflections, the dramatic skies, the surprises around every turn--all of these things and more are what make it stunning. It's an island where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play. It is Antelope Island State Park in Utah, one of my favorite places to photograph.
Area Closed For Bison - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
One Buffalo - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Beach Beyond The Bison - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Island Buffalo - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Deer Statue - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
The Lookout - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Stotting Deer - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Empty Marina - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Church Birdhouse Reflected - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Nope, Not Abandoned - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Circle Hashtag - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Fielding Garr Ranch Fence - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Oquirrh Mountains Behind Ranch Fence
Rock Mound - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Wasatch From Antelope Island - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
View From The Visitor Center - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Wasatch Mountains From The Causeway - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Old Salty Stump In The Lake - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Ice, Lake & Mountains - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Ice On Antelope Island - Antelope Island State Park, Utah

All of these photographs were captured using a Fujifilm X-E1 on 2/18/2017 and 2/20/2017 over three hours total. I used a Helios 44-2 f/2 58mm, X-Fujinon-T f/3.5 135mm, and X-Fujinar-Z f/3.8 80-200mm lenses. Nik Silver Efex was used to give the images a high-contrast grainy film look.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Budget Lens Options For Fujifilm X Cameras - How To Add Glass Without Breaking The Bank

Fujifilm X-E1 & Fujinon f/2.8-4 18-55mm
I've been asked several times for my advice on what lenses one should buy for their Fujifilm X series camera. Fuji makes a bunch of great lenses, and it can be difficult to know where to begin. Which should you get first? Which ones are better? Should I stick with Fujinon or try other brands? How much is all of this going to cost me anyway?

Let me start with a little backstory of how I got into Fuji cameras. I was interested in the Fujifilm X-Trans sensor since it first came out, but it was out of my budget. Like most people, I have a limited amount of cash to spend on photography gear. I can't drop a few thousand dollars on new cameras every couple of years.

Last summer I found a good deal on a four-year-old gently used Fujifilm X-E1. It cost me a fraction of what the camera originally retailed for. And I quickly discovered what all the hoopla and praise was about as I just love using it!

One of the first things that I did after buying the X-E1 was look into new lenses. The camera came with the kit 18-55mm lens, but I wanted to expand my glass options. I found that it was going to cost me a lot of money, and I could easily spend a few thousand dollars on just a few lenses. There aren't very many budget options for X series cameras.

Of course glass is a long-term photographic investment. You might change camera bodies, but as long as you don't change camera brands, you keep the same lenses for a long time. It's actually easier to justify the cost of a lens than the cost of a camera body. Still, you have to be able to afford it in the first place.
Three Lenses - South Weber, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Fujinon f/1.9 50mm DM
I decided to take an unconventional approach to lenses for my Fujifilm X series camera. I found a number of excellent options that altogether cost less than one brand new lens.

You see, the X-E1, and I am sure all of the other X series models, are well designed for manual lenses. The experience of using the camera in manual or a semi-manual mode is great, and the camera gives you tools to quickly and accurately achieve focus manually.

All you need is an old lens and an adapter that allows you to attach the lens to the camera. Set the camera up to "Shoot Without Lens" and put the camera in manual focus mode, and you are good to go.

I shot manual film cameras for the first decade of my photography, and I still occasionally do, so using manual focus lenses is no big deal to me. If you've never done it yourself, you may find that it takes plenty of practice to master; however, I think that you will find it to be a rewarding and worthwhile experience. It slows you down and forces you to be more methodical. I find that I make fewer exposures yet get more keepers.

Before I get into the lenses that I found for my X series camera, let's talk about the one that you probably own. Sometimes the best gear is the gear that you already have.

Fujinon Super EBC XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS
Fujinon Super EBC XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS
Most camera manufacturers bundle a cheap zoom lens with their cameras. Fujifilm is no exception, but what is unusual is that the Fujinon Super EBC XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens is actually pretty darn good, noticeably better than the "kit" lenses that I've used from other companies.

Besides having a larger maximum aperture than other cheap zooms, the Fujinon 18-55mm lens is also sharper. Like "prime lens" sharp! Well, there are crisper glass options, but this lens is just as sharp as many prime lenses. It's actually quite remarkable that Fujifilm would package this quality lens with their cameras and not jack up the price a bunch.

You already own a Fuji X camera, and you already have this lens, so this is not news to you. There is no shame in using the kit lens as your primary option. You may not need other glass, as the 18-55mm might just be versatile enough for you. Don't underestimate this lens! If it works for you and your photography, don't let others talk you into buying other glass that you probably don't need.
Steps - Salt Lake City, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Fujinon f/2.8-4 18-55mm
I Am Nature - Ogden Canyon, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Fujinon f/2.8-4 18-55mm
Mirrored Mountain - Mirror Lake, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Fujinon f/2.8-4 18-55mm
Kodak Transparencies - South Weber, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Fujinon f/2.8-4 18-55mm
Urban Bicyclist - Salt Lake City, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Fujinon f/2.8-4 18-55mm

X-Fujinon
Chevrolet Truck - Uintah, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinon f/1.9 50mm DM
Some people might be surprised to learn that Fujinon lenses have been around since at least the 1950's. Between 1980 and 1985 Fujifilm produced the Fujica camera series, and made bayonet X mount lenses for these cameras called X-Fujinon. Much like today's Fujinon lenses, these lenses were exceptional in quality.

X-Fujinon should not be confused with Fujinon X mount. You need an adapter in order to use X-Fujinon lenses on your Fuji X series camera (confusing, right?). Thankfully, lens adapters are pretty cheap, and typically cost between $10 and $20.

Here are the X-Fujinon lenses that I use on my X-E1:

X-Fujinon f/1.9 50mm DM
X-Fujinon f/1.9 50mm DM
The X-Fujinon f/1.9 50mm DM is a great lens. It's not the best 50mm X-Fujinon lens (there are at least two that are considered better), but it is easy to find and typically costs under $30 (I paid $20 for mine).

The f/1.9 50mm DM is very sharp. It has good corner sharpness at all f-stops, but especially at f/4 and smaller apertures. The bokeh is smooth and creamy with rounded highlights. There is a little chromatic aberration when wide open, but nothing serious. There's no barrel distortion or vignetting. The focus ring is smooth. It's just a solid lens.

Because of the APS-C crop factor, the 50mm lens has an equivalent focal length of 75mm, so it's slightly telephoto. The 18-55mm kit lens covers this focal length, but with a maximum aperture of only f/4, you can achieve significantly more background blurring and subject separation with the 50mm lens.

Even though you already have a lens that covers this focal length, I highly recommend the X-Fujinon f/1.9 50mm DM. It creates beautiful images and is a joy to use, while fitting into every starving artist's budget. It's one of my go-to lenses.
Even Open On A Rainy Day - Ogden, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinon f/1.9 50mm DM
Fear This - Ogden, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinon f/1.9 50mm DM
Red Chevy Truck - Uintah, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinon f/1.9 50mm DM
Gears & Springs - Ogden, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinon f/1.9 50mm DM
Icicles - Ogden, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinon f/1.9 50mm DM

X-Fujinon-T f/3.5 135mm EBC DM
X-Fujinon-T f/3.5 135mm EBC DM
I was hesitant to buy the X-Fujinon-T f/3.5 135mm EBC DM lens because it was a little more expensive than the others that I had purchased. I found one in excellent condition (is there such a thing as "like new" on something three decades old?) for $45. That's not a lot of money, but I also didn't find a whole lot of information on this lens, whether it was any good or not, and so it was a bit of a risk to buy it. Turns out it was a great find!

The 135mm EBC is very sharp, with only some minor corner softness at f/3.5. Bokeh is pleasant with round highlights. The lens has a bit of chromatic aberrations when wide open, but nothing major. There's no vignetting or barrel distortion. This has become one of my favorite lenses!

The focus wheel is a bit sensitive, so it can be tricky to get focus spot on--it's very easy to miss. You get used to this quirk after using the lens awhile. If you don't have much experience manually focusing, you might find this lens frustrating at first.

The 135mm focal length is about 202mm equivalent (because of the crop factor), so it has a good telephoto reach. The 18-55mm zoom has a maximum equivalent telephoto reach of 82mm, so this lens goes well beyond that. This is another lens that I highly recommend.
Winter Peak - Mountain Green, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinon-T f/3.5 135mm EBC DM
Wasatch At Dusk - South Weber, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinon-T f/3.5 135mm EBC DM
Snow Horse - Mountain Green, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinon f/3.5 135mm EBC DM
Farm Fresh Vegetables - South Weber, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinon-T f/3.5 135mm EBC DM
Tea Time - Mountain Green, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinon-T f/3.5 135mm EBC DM

X-Fujinar-Z f/3.8 80-200mm DM
X-Fujinar-Z f/3.8 80-200mm DM
There are Fujinon lenses and there are Fujinar lenses. What's the difference? If it's a Fujinar, then the lens was not made by Fuji. Fujifilm contracted out the manufacturing of some lenses, such as the X-Fujinar-Z f/3.8 80-200mm DM, to Nitto Kogaku (a Japanese lens manufacturer that's been around since the 1950's), and labelled them Fujinar.

The Fujinar 80-200mm is a good-but-not-great lens. It's not quite as crisp as the other lenses in this article, although it is still a sharp lens. There's some softness in the corners and chromatic aberrations when the aperture is f/5.6 or larger. Bokeh is decent enough. The focus ring is sensitive and (much like the Fujinon 135mm lens) it can be difficult to get the focus correct--it takes a little practice to master. The lens is also quite large and heavy.

The 80-200mm focal length covers an equivalent (because of the crop factor) 120-300mm, which is a great telephoto range. The 135mm lens falls within the focal length covered by this lens, and I think you'll want to use that lens whenever you can, and use the 80-200mm lens whenever you need a telephoto reach other than 135mm.

I found my X-Fujinar-Z f/3.8 80-200mm zoom lens at a flea market for $30. For that price it is a great way to expand your glass. If you like to shoot telephoto focal length lenses, this is a good one to get. If not, you may want to just skip it.
Photography 12-53 - South Weber, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinar-Z f/3.8 80-200mm DM
Pile of Tires - Uintah, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinar-Z f/3.8 80-200mm DM
The Target - Riverdale, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinar-Z f/3.8 80-200mm DM
Mount Ogden - Uintah, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinar-Z f/3.8 80-200mm DM
Clouds Around The Mountain - South Weber, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & X-Fujinar-Z f/3.8 80-200mm DM

Soviet Union Glass
35mm Film - South Weber, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Helios 44-2 f/2 58mm
The former Soviet Union did not like Germany, but they loved German camera gear. Their solution? Reverse engineer Leica and Zeiss products.

It's no big secret anymore that Soviet Union camera gear is very similar to, and basically as good as, the great German stuff from the 1920's through the 1960's. But you can find the Russian knockoffs for a tiny fraction of the cost. You want affordable classic Leica cameras and Zeiss lenses? Buy stuff labelled USSR.

Here are the Soviet Union lenses that I use on my Fujifilm X-E1:

Industar 61 f/2.8 55mm
Industar 61 f/2.8 55mm
The Industar 61 f/2.8 55mm lens is a knockoff of the 1950's era Leica Elmar f/2.8 50mm. Mine came attached to a FED 5c 35mm rangefinder camera, which I bought six or seven years ago for $40. You can find the lens by itself usually for $20-$30. It requires an M39 mount adapter for it to work on a Fuji X camera, which I found for $10.

The lens is very sharp with some minor corner softness and chromatic aberrations at f/2.8 and (even less so) at f/4. It has a small amount of vignetting and noticeable barrel distortion. The lens is known for "soap bubble" bokeh and has a slightly radioactive coating on the glass.

It's not a perfect lens, with some good points and bad points, and not as good as the X-Fujinon f/1.9 50mm DM, which has a similar focal length. The Industar 61 only has a 1-stop aperture advantage over the 18-55mm kit lens (at 55mm). I would say that this lens isn't worth having except for one thing: the X factor (pun intended).

For some reason the lens changes the way colors are rendered. It makes colors slightly softer/muted, while also giving an overall warmer tone. It's very subtle, but I appreciate what it does to my exposures. In other words, the Industar 61 had a unique look that makes for beautiful pictures. That's the reason why I recommend what would otherwise be a redundant lens.
Rays Over The Wasatch - South Weber, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Industar 61 f/2.8 55mm
Power Line - Logan, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Industar 61 f/2.8 55mm
The Donut Trailer - Logan, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Industar 61 f/2.8 55mm
Cold Pop - Franklin, Idaho
Fujifilm X-E1 & Industar 61 f/2.8 55mm
Rainbow Lockers - Preston, Idaho
Fujifilm X-E1 & Industar 61 f/2.8 55mm

Helios 44-2 f/2 58mm
Helios 44-2 f/2 58mm 
I saved the best for last! The Helios 44-2 f/2 58mm lens is a copycat Zeiss Jena Biotar f/2 58mm from the 1920's. Mine came attached to a Zenit-E 35mm SLR, which was a gift. The lens can be found for around $40-$50. It requires an M42 mount adapter, which I found for $10.

This lens is very sharp, with some corner softness and minor chromatic aberrations when wide open. There is a small amount of barrel distortion. Bokeh looks great and, when the conditions are just right, you can achieve a swirly bokeh (yes, you read that right, swirly bokeh!). Lens flare can get crazy, but it can also look really good. The focus ring is smooth. There are two aperture rings, which doesn't make a lot of sense on a digital camera, but is ingenious on film SLR cameras, and this quirk makes using the lens somewhat tricky at first.

The 58mm focal length is equivalent (because of the APS-C crop factor) to 87mm, which is just slightly more telephoto than the kit 18-55mm lens. The f/2 aperture is a couple of stops larger than the f/4 maximum aperture on the kit zoom. You can achieve more background blur and subject separation with this lens.

What I love about this lens is how it makes the images look. It just has so much character and definitely a vintage feel. If I could only use one lens, this is the one that I would choose! It just makes beautiful images.
Tricycle In The Woods - South Weber, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Helios 44-2 f/2 58mm
F Is For Film - South Weber, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Helios 44-2 f/2 58mm
$6 Haircuts - Salt Lake City, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Helios 44-2 f/2 58mm
Cold Calling - Salt Lake City, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Helios 44-2 f/2 58mm
Stripes On Stripes - South Weber, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Helios 44-2 f/2 58mm

Conclusions
Stars Over Mirror Lake - Mirror Lake, Utah
Fujifilm X-E1 & Fujinon f/2.8-4 18-55mm
My intentions are not to talk anyone out of buying brand new Fujinon lenses for their Fujifilm X series camera. If you can afford to get nice glass, why not do it? But many people cannot afford to spend thousands on lenses, and so I wanted to point out that there are alternatives. Really great alternatives, in fact! The lenses that I listed could be found for under $150 total.

The lenses here are just examples of what I have found and what I use. You don't have to copy me. You can find what lenses work for you, what fits into your budget. There are so many choices, the ones in this article are just scratching the surface of what is out there.

I also appreciate what manual lenses do to my photographic process. It slows me down and forces me to be more deliberate, which improves my photography. This might work for you, but it might not. Do what works best for you and your photography, and don't worry what others are doing.

Also, photography gear isn't about gear, but about the images. The camera and lenses you use has only a minimal impact on the final photographs. You might be able to pick out the tiny differences between things, but those viewing your pictures will not. What's important is what you do with what you have.

If you do decide to buy some old lenses and adapters for your Fujifilm X camera, I hope this list is helpful in figuring out what to buy and what you can expect from these options. You can have exceptional image quality without breaking the bank, you just have to go about it in an unconventional way.