When The Ergonomics Are Full Of Erg

DSCF0100I tried an experiment today with a new camera and lens. I tried to use it. I’m not sure if this exceeded the maker’s expectations but it failed to come up to mine…

The camera is one from my favourite manufacturer – Fujifilm. I purchased a new X-T10 when a package deal became available that promised considerable cash back as a promotion. I jumped upon three items that I had long looked at – a lightweight camera body, a small traveller’s lens, and a wide-ranging zoom lens. Together they form pretty much all you might want for general photography.

A previous weekend shoot with the body and the small lens was a delight -it seemed to do all that I expected and was very convenient when used hand-held away from the eye. I decided to try the wide-range zoom in a similar situation today – with a view to taking it on vacation as the one and only lens needed for a number of car and tour-related shoots.

Well I found out that the lens performs flawlessly – once you couple it up with the camera’s autofocus system and specify how you want it to focus, it does so reliably. And as long as you are not overborne by strong sunlight or stygian gloom you are going to get very usable jpeg images straight from the camera. This is an distinct selling point with the Fujifilm cameras and one of the reasons that you can avoid RAW files with them.

But the lens and camera combination is not a good dancing partnership when it comes to in-hand ergonomics. The size and weight of the lens overbalances the size of the body and when your hand tries to re-stablize things it tends to push buttons and alter settings on the camera unbidden. There are a number of small control buttons that cluster down at the right-hand side of the X-T10 that get mashed by the palm or side of your hand and all sorts of weird settings start to appear on the camera. You can correct them, but it takes you away from what you were trying to do.

The problem will not arise for me with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 or X-E2 bodies – they have bigger hand areas and I have put a cradle grip around them – the 18-135mm lens will go into the bag attached to one of them and will go to car shows and dance nights. The X-T10 will go out with the 14mm, 18mm, and 27mm lens as the occasion demands and they will not weigh it down. It is a tourist camera supreme with these.

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