If your specialty is concert photography — 2020 and ’21 have not been your best years ever — until now that is, for one such photographer.
Flemming Bo Jensen’s passion for music, and unmatched timing have made him on of the world’s finest live music photographers. When he was asked to photograph Danish band The Minds of 99 at Parken, Denmark’s national stadium, of course he jumped at the chance. It turned out to be the largest stadium concert in Europe since the onset of COVID, and the subject of this inspired short-film.
Flemming’s been part of the Simplr product testing team since the beginning — and most of his cameras are adorned with F1’s — his camera strap of choice for working fast, in the challenging world of concert photography, while leaving nothing to chance.
Amongst our camera-herd here at Simplr, is a staff-favorite Fuji X-E2s. To give a little context — it was acquired brand new in late 2016, before the widely-held expectation that every camera should do everything — meaning, photos and cinema quality video.
Even today, as a photo-making machine, the X-E2s is a tiny monster: superb quality images from a tiny, stealthy, unassuming little camera; good viewfinder; all the knobs, dials, and buttons anyone really needs; supreme versatility thanks to compatibility with all X-mount glass; even a built-in flash!
If you can’t make great images with the X-E2s, the problem isn’t the camera. However, the shortcoming that’s tough to ignore today is video (it’s got video, but there’s practically zero control, and it’s a veritable moiré and aliasing party).
The recently released Fujifilm X-E4 possesses most of what we loved about the X-E2s (yes, we’re aware there’s an X-E3 — but we have no experience with it), but with a few easily adaptable-to changes in control layout, and notably, no flash.
Just like the X-E series have always been stealthy photo-making machines, with the X-E4 we’ve now got a 4:2:2 10-bit DCI 4K 200Mbps stealthy video-making machine (sans F-Log). Video quality is excellent, and with the built-in Eterna (including the “bleach bypass” variant) and Classic Negative profiles, you’re unlikely to see any difference, compared to its larger brethren.
There are those who’ll point out that, when combined with the XF 27mm f/2.8, the size of the X-E4 is nearly the same as the X100V. It’s worth noting that the XF 27mm and the 23mm of the X100 series are more different in their rendering and their perspective than you might expect. The wider perspective and creamier rendering of the X100 series’ built-in 23mm is readily apparent. Don’t think slapping an XF27 on your X-E series will turn it into an X100 (and let’s not forget about the X100 series’ whisper-quiet leaf shutter). Also, X-E4 no longer has the X100 series and earlier X-E’s built-in flash.
(So what are the advantages of the XF 27mm, which a lot of people plan on purchasing with their X-E4? None that we can surmise. Technically it’s fine … fast, sharp … but not wide enough to be wide, and not close enough to be intimate. Of course, opinions vary.)
If you never use the optical viewfinder of the X-Pro series, the X-E4 presents a very appealing lower-cost alternative. Especially considering that the EVF of the X-E4 sports a more comfortable eyepoint than the X-Pro’s EVF (which is how most people use their X-Pro). However, the X-E4 can’t hold a candle to the X-Pro3’s sexy solidity, weather sealing, and premium finishes.
If you’re looking for the most versatile video camera, X-E4’s lack of F-Log could be a negative, compared to the X-T series. For handheld video, X-E4’s lack of IBIS is the other big difference compared to the X-T4. Although it’s possible to gain stabilization by using IS lenses, this can be limiting, in light of the sea of vintage glass often employed for video.
Summary & The Elephant in the Room
The X-E4 can’t replace the X100V’s wider, creamier 23mm rendering, whisper-quiet shutter, or flash. Nor can it replace the X-T4’s F-Log and IBIS, which are fundamental to its video superiority.
What it can do, is almost everything the X-Pro3 can — but in a more compact, significantly less expensive package. If you don’t use the X-Pro’s optical viewfinder (as most X-Pro owners can attest, despite whatever their intentions were pre-purchase, 99% leave the EVF on 100% of the time) the X-E4 will do everything your X-Pro can — albeit without the weather sealing and premium finishes.
If you want X-Pro image quality and versatility, in a smaller body without the bling — and you don’t care about an optical viewfinder — the choice is clear: X-E4 is a stealthy and serious contender.
Strap attachment on the X-E4 is different than the other cameras compared above. Whereas the others have lug-mount attachment, the X-E4 requires flat-mount (our flat-mount F1’s are a lightweight, versatile option):
If you were to ask us which photographer we most closely associate with Fuji’s magical XF35mmF1.4 R, it would be Charlene Winfred.
So it’s only fitting that Fujifilm themselves chose to feature her in their new promo video for this (not at all new) lens. In a world where newer is virtually always equated with better — it’s great to see talented photographers singing the praises of X-Series “O.G.” glass.
Charlene’s got a few Simplr straps, but this one happens to be an F1 (in stealthy castor gray).
Bert Stephani has been using the newly announced Fujifilm X100V for some two months now, amassing gorgeous top-secret images.
In this video from Fujifilm, part of a series introducing the X100V, It would appear Bert’s M1a Mirrorless Camera Strap (in limited-edition Coyote Brown) has also been logging some top-secret time with this formerly mum cam.
In addition to the official X100V marketing video, you can watch Bert’s review of the X100V, which is infinitely more in-depth:
This epic production spans the 18-month period leading up to the release of the Fujifilm X-Pro3.
The film focuses not only on the ideation, design, and manufacturing process (with the actual designers, pretty cool huh?) — but also the veritable “family” of Fujifilm Ambassadors — with whom the development of this camera was shaped.
Mindy Tan is an exceptionally talented documentary and street photographer, and Fujifilm Ambassador. In the the Fuji Girl series, Mindy talks about gear, technique, and what she looks for in her subjects.
Unsurprisingly, the co-stars here are Fujifilm cameras, including X-T3 and gorgeous pre-release (as of filming) Fuji X-Pro3’s — and the co-co-star (does that make it a best supporting actor?) is an F1 Camera Strap in castor gray.
After a long hiatus from YouTube, The very talented and knowledgeable Bert Stephani has released a video detailing his experience with the long-awaited Fujifilm X-Pro3. Attached to that X-Pro3 is our M1a Mirrorless Camera Strap (in rarely seen coyote brown). We’re jealous!
Fujifilm X-Photographer Charlene Winfred is currently working in Iraq, advancing Preemptive Love’s noble mission, to provide assistance to refugees and residents of war-torn countries. Although she deserves a medal, it would appear she’s settled for a coveted Fujifilm X-Pro3.
In this post, she shares her thoughts on the camera, as well as some truly breathtaking images. If you look closely (okay, maybe not that closely), you’ll see images of strap of choice for said camera, a Simplr F1.
Kevin Mullins, wedding & street photographer par excellence, reveals his thoughts on the highly anticipated Fujifilm X-Pro3, with which he’s been spending some top-secret time. We’re just happy to be along for the ride (that’s a Simplr F1 attached to it). He’s got a video and a detailed post — so be sure to check out both.
Charlene Winfred is a talented photographer and capable wordsmith. If you know her work, you’ll know much of it relies on a famously battered Fujinon 35mm f/1.4. In this article at Fujilove.com, Charlene discusses her adjustment to a much wider perspective, namely the Fujinon 18mm f/2. Look closely at that fine looking X-T3 and you’ll see our telltale orange logo (it’s a castor gray Simplr F1).
As far back as I can remember, my dad took photos. Not just casual family snaps either — he attended photography classes at our local community college, developing and printing artful imagery.
He had what I think was a GAF L-CM early on (I only know this because it appears in mirror self-portraits), and at some point he traded up to a Fujica ST701. This is the camera I remember — mostly because of my strong personal connection with it.
In the mid 1980’s, I signed up for photography classes, like my dad. Mostly, I wanted to meet girls and smoke cigarettes — but photography seemed like good excuse to do that. I appropriated the Fujica, went away for the summer, took lots of photos, learned to use a darkroom and smoke cigarettes (though not at the same time).
I didn’t think much about the camera — not like people think about their cameras now. It’s been said the best camera is the one you have with you, but at that time, the best camera was the one I had — and I didn’t want for more.
I “forgot” to give back the ST701, and it went where I went — capturing important, artful, and sometimes embarrassing moments over the years.
When the light meter failed in the early 2000’s, I replaced it with a very capable Nikon FE (maybe the subject of a future blog post) — eventually going digital and moving to a humongous Nikon D1x, and then a D200 (which seemed downright puny compared to the D1x) complemented by a handful of lenses.
Problem was … my cameras had gotten so darn big that I’d only use them for occasions or paid gigs. Sure, I had a pocketable digital camera too, but the images were distractingly characterless. There was nothing nostalgia-worthy about them. What I missed about my film cameras, and in particular my Fujica (for the sentimental reasons), was the sheer spirit of spontaneity — a product of the reasonable size and the image quality which left nothing to be desired.
When I saw the Fujifilm X-Pro1, I immediately thought back to blissfully shooting the ST701. I bought the X-Pro1 with the XF35 f2, hoping to recapture that … the simplicity … the sense of nostalgia.
Did that happen? Kind of. I regained the ability to throw a camera in the glove box, and it reignited my will to take photos (which is ridiculous — because the will to take photos is not the same as taking photos). At the same time, I figured out how to approximate the look of the film images I missed so much (ironically, by degrading my now “superior” images).
But, as with so many things in this era, there’s a certain amount of “analysis paralysis” brought about by the endless flow of information. “Would another lens be better? … Do I need these video features? … Is my auto-focus fast enough? Blah. Blah. Blah.” I succumbed to Gear Acquisition Syndrome — contracting an X-E2s, X-Pro2, and the X-T2 pictured with the old Fujica ST701 at the top of this post (but I can forgive myself, because they’re all so danged gorgeous).
I’m pretty sure I’ll never get back the exact feeling I got from the Fujica; too many things have gotten complicated over the years. But there are things I’ve gained…
Simplr, for one (you can read a little about that here). Also, an underlying sense of camaraderie with others who felt photography had gotten too complicated. In particular, I’d like to thank the Fujifilm community — especially the pros, who graciously donated their time to help develop these camera straps — for the love of beautiful images and the desire to keep things simpler (if not simple).
We’ve made it no secret that, although our straps work well on virtually all mirrorless cameras, we’ve got a particular affinity for Fujifilm cameras. So, we were pretty excited to be reviewed by fujixpassion.com.
Here’s a snippet:
“As soon as I took out the M1a Mirrorless Camera Strap from the packaging, the first thing that stands out is the build quality. Although it’s a very simple piece (as the name implies), everything on this strap denotes a high standard of quality, from the materials chosen to the manufacturing itself. The nylon strap is thin, light and soft.”
He’s a remarkable visual storyteller, who’s work could equally evoke calm or frenzy, warmth or solitude.
Here’s a little of what Patrick thinks about his M1a & M1w:
“…Basically, these are products that don’t flash or glitter, that don’t call attention to themselves at all. Everything about them is understated and subtle. But they’re beautifully crafted and ready-made for mirrorless systems. …As much as I still love the feel of my leather straps, I can’t dismiss how much lighter and easier to work with these are. Just quickly being able to vary the length with little friction, to remove them altogether if they’re in the way…it all adds up.”
Flemming Bo Jensen is a music photographer … More specifically, he’s known for his uncanny ability to capture the concertgoer experience at live music venues. Whether small, huge, beautiful or chaotic — Flemming distills it into gorgeous still images.
This strap is long! Fully extended, it is 142cm. This is really nice, it is the longest camera strap I have used. I am a tall Scandinavian techno viking with long arms (sorry, this is like an intro to an online dating profile). Not only can I comfortably wear my camera across my body with this strap, the strap is long enough I can just pick up the camera and shoot without taking the strap off my body first. The nylon is smooth to slide easily around my body, so nothing gets entangled. No strap I have used could do this, it is an awesome way to work. Only when I have to shoot overhead, arms raised over my head (watch Dual Vision and you shall see it in action) do I still have to un-attach the strap from my body.(This may be the weirdest paragraph I have ever written, it is hard to describe this stuff!)
It is simple, non flashy, flexible and light weight. It is just a strap. Simple as that. Minimal and very light weight. Never gets in the way. Very supple too. Not pretty but heck, it’s a strap.
The quick-release connectors. I don’t shoot a lot of video, but it is still nice when I need to that I can unclick the strap in 2 seconds. The quick-release connectors used to get in my way until I attached the strap directly to the camera strap loops.
Easily adjustable length. From 91cm to 142cm. I now pretty much shoot with the strap going across my body all the time, but sometimes I am shooting action packed gigs where I know I will constantly swap between camera to my eye and camera over my head. Then I just shorten the strap completely and wrap it once around my right hand and the camera is securely attached now to carry all the time, and the strap is not in the way.
The very talented Kevin Mullins from f16.click just released a new video with his thoughts on the X-Pro2 firmware 4.0 update, including new video features. He also talks about some new X100F features (and we’re tickled he’s outfitted his favorite camera with an M1a).
Fujifilm Global just released this video featuring the Roaming Frame dynamic duo of Charlene Winfred and Flemming Bo Jensen — plus their dueling X-Pro2 and X-T2 cameras. It’s a fun but informative piece talking about the differences between these two cameras, and the photographers that use them. Watch closely and you’ll see they both prefer the same camera strap — our Simplr M1a Mirrorless Camera Strap.
Charlene’s approach to equipment epitomizes what we’re about here at Simplr: No muss. No fuss. Things should just work, work well, and keep working … without too much thought.
She even came up with a couple of new ideas for her M1a Mirrorless Camera Strap — including lashing extra weight to a tripod (and one more that we hope she’ll never need to make use of).
“The Simplr promise is, well, simple. Their straps are strong, functional, and aesthetically understated. All the qualities I like in equipment, in general.
Things I really like about my strap:
It’s long. I can wear my camera slung across my body, which is SUPER. Never had a strap I could do this with.
It weighs nothing. This is always a boon.
Because it’s made of nylon, it’s also extremely supple and very comfortable to use.
It’s super convenient for video because the main strap snaps off, and the connectors are so light, they make no difference hanging there on the little X-E3, whether it’s on a gimbal or tripod.
The main strap, when disconnected, is useful as a general tie down.
As advertised, this thing just works with no fuss. Like the camera, it doesn’t get in the way, and you don’t have to fiddle with it. Attach it, forget about it and go shoot. If you need a tourniquet, it’s there for you.”
In this video Palle talks about his compact video rig … including a Fujifilm XT-2, and a Simplr M1a camera strap, for stabilization and insurance against accidental drops.
“I really like it because it’s easy to snap off, and the ends are really small … The good thing about having it here, is you can actually stabilize with it … and also as a safety precaution if you drop the camera.”
“I have been looking for a new camera strap that is both functional and stylish without breaking the bank. … at 42 USD, it seemed to be too good to be true. … So far, I love this strap. It has pretty much everything I personally want in a strap.”
Strap lug inserts are hardened metal “sleeves” located inside strap lugs. They’re meant to reduce metal-on-metal wear caused when hard steel split rings rub against softer metal lugs. Some cameras have strap lug inserts and some don’t.
Fujifilm cameras are notorious for having potentially jagged strap lug inserts, and all modern Fuji cameras including later production X-Pro1 and X-E1 have them.
This is what they look like, inside the strap lugs:
Why You Should Care
If your camera has strap lug inserts (like the ones shown above), and your camera strap connects via cord loops (Peak Design, OpTech), attaching them straight to the camera (without split rings) could be a very bad idea. Jagged strap lug inserts will often “chew” right through the cords.
Installation Options for Cameras with Strap Lug Inserts
If you’ve got a Fujifilm camera, and you’d like to attach your Mini QD Loops directly to your camera, you might* be able to remove your strap lug inserts to reveal a smoother point of attachment. Please note that if you scratch a strap lug during this procedure, you could very easily make them sharper than the strap lug inserts you just removed!
*Date of manufacture, environmental and other factors all play a part. Cameras that are exposed to the elements are particularly susceptible to galvanic corrosion which can “glue” metal parts together. Use your best judgement, and know that we’re not responsible if you damage anything.
4. Use the 2.5mm hex key to push the strap lug inserts out, from back to font. This might take a medium amount of force, but shouldn’t require the use of any additional tools.
5. Repeat on the opposite lug. Keep them in a safe place, so you can re-insert them if need be.
6. Examine the strap lugs to make sure you haven’t left any scratches. Run a piece of thread through the hole, pull it tightly and drag it around the lug repeatedly to check for burrs. If you can saw through the thread, it will eventually saw through the cord loops!