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A Circuitous & Sentimental Fuji Journey

Fujica ST701 and Fujifilm X-T2

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. 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).

JP

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Flemming Bo Jensen Reviews his M1a Mirrorless Camera Straps

Flemming Bo Jensen's Bag and Fuji X-T2 with Simplr Mirrorless Camera Strap

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.

Flemming reviews his dueling M1a camera straps:

What I like about the Simplr M1a strap…

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.

Flemming is an official Fujifilm ambassador, an official Red Bull Photographer, 1/2 of worldwide media makers Roaming Frame, member of Gonzales Photo agency and author of the ebook Get In The Loop.

Read the full review at flemmingbojensen.com.

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Fujifilm Presents “Dual Vision” (but just one camera strap)

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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.

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Palle Schultz’s Video Rig … with a Simplr M1a Mirrorless Camera Strap

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Palle Schultz is a photographer and videographer based in Denmark, and an official Fujifilm X-photographer.

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.”

Check out his YouTube channel.

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Strap Lug Inserts: What are they and why should I care?

Fujifilm strap lug insert

What They Are

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:

This is what a Fujifilm strap lug insert looks like in the lug.

Why You Should Care

If your camera has jagged strap lug inserts (like the ones shown above), and you attach the camera strap cord loops straight to the camera (without split rings), they can prematurely wear the cord loops.

Installation Options for Cameras with Strap Lug Inserts

  1. Use split-rings. Attach the cord loops to the split-rings like so: How to Attach Mini QD Loops to Cameras with Split Rings
  2. Try to carefully remove the inserts as discussed here: Removing Strap Lug Inserts from Some Fujifilm Cameras.
  3. Purchase extra Mini QD Loops, and check them for wear often.
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Removing Strap Lug Inserts from Fujifilm Cameras (Optional)

What you'll need to remove the strap lug inserts from your Fuji camera.

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.

Although we use Optech USA Mini QD Loops, this procedure is applicable to other cord loop connectors, like Peak Design.

What You’ll Need

  • your camera
  • camera body cap
  • bath towel
  • 2.5mm hex key
  • thread

How to Do It

  1. Remove the lens from your camera.
  2. Put on the body cap.
    Install the Fujifilm body cap.
  3. Lay the camera face down on the bath towel.
    Getting ready to remove the strap lug inserts from your Fuji camera.
  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.
    Pushing out the Fuji strap lug inserts to install string disconnect like Optech or Peak Design
  5. Repeat on the opposite lug. Keep them in a safe place, so you can re-insert them if need be.
    Strap lug inserts popped out of Fuji lug
  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!

Next…

If everything checks out nice and smooth, you can install your connector loops straight to your camera as shown here: How to Attach Mini QD Loops to Cameras without Split Rings