The lust for imperfection

The human being is sometimes a very strange species – photographers perhaps even more than others. With one eye many of us constantly look for the new, the better, the more modern. This is one of the reasons why some companies publish a new model of what is basically the same camera almost every year. Many of us flock to trade fairs like Photokina and are disappointed that there haven’t been any cooler new things to see. There are more web pages of lens tests with MTF charts on the Internet than mankind would ever need. I’m not completely free of that either, even though I don’t really take it seriously – but still: If a new camera like e.g. the Fujifilm X-T3 comes out, I still ponder a bit about whether I shouldn’t also…

However, when I go through my Lightroom catalogue and look at my pictures, I can’t really get out of laughing. Most of my pictures I have given a vignette, the colours are often either under- or over-saturated, the monochrome pictures simulate an old black and white negative film, sometimes I add grain and some of my favourite pictures are simply out of focus or blurred. Why on earth should I even think about whether a new camera or a super-sharp lens is needed?

Our world and our daily lives have become so perfect that it is sometimes difficult to bear. The perfection around us has what it takes to demand perfection from ourselves – whether we like it or not. There is apparently such a great desire for the imperfect, for the somehow slower and vintaged in me, that this also applies to the processing and appearance of my pictures. And there’s also this desire for a look that’s not clinically pure. This look can be achieved by lenses that are more classically designed (e.g. these lenses lack internal focussing) and render images in this wonderful and somewhat magical way.

I know, this is argumentatively a very slippery Parkour and an excellent subject for debate which is already being done extensively, especially on the Net. Some people see this special thing, others don’t – and we’ll never know who’s really right. Because the whole thing is part of a subjective and personal perception. As far as I’m concerned: I see this little magic in the rendering of some pictures, like in the picture above. Do you see it?

Anyway, I’m gonna keep looking for the magic of the little things in life out there. And if the one or the other lens helps me to hold on to this magic better, then I’m happy about it and take this chance wherever I can grab it.

Maybe this was also the reason why I took the cake with my last act. This week I bought a lens that I neither needed nor ever wanted to buy: the Fujinon XF35F1.4. And guess what! I love it already. I was very surprised that I would love the XF18 so much in the end – so I’m a little less surprised this time.

I don’t know exactly where this road will take me yet. But one thing I have already made up my mind: Only these two oldest lenses of the Fujifilm X series will accompany me on my next trips. And hopefully remind me again and again to look at the world outside with the eyes of imperfection – and to slow down a little bit.


  • Great post, couldn’t agree more! I sold all my fujinon lenses and only kept the 35mm 1.4, and even so it’s still the one I use the less compared with the other vintage lenses I own.

  • Hi Luís, haha… then you are much further than me. Of course I have kept my other lenses… but I’m surprised enough that I like these two “old” lenses so much 😉


  • Hallo Peter! Dieses 35mm 1 : 1,4 ist das Objektiv, welches mich bei Fuji gehalten hat. Wollte eigentlich das System verkaufen (vor XPRO 2 und XT2), wenn dieses Objektiv nicht gewesen wäre. Den Bildwinkel, vergleichbar 50mm KB, fand ich immer schon gut, weil man noch ein wenig von der Umgebung sehen kann. Dein Foto von dem kleinen Jungen: absolut typisch (der Übergang zur Unschärfe). Man ist nah dran aber nicht aufdringlich… Die Blende 1,4 ist voll nutzbar und bei Nikon (meinem früheren System) gab und gibt es kein 50mm, welches die Abbildung dieses Fujinons erreicht.
    Events, Street : 60% meiner Aufnahmen mit 35mm 1 : 1,4. Den Rest teilen sich dann 16mm, 23mm und weit abgeschlagen 56mm…


  • Hallo Matthias,
    bei mir ist es eher die Kombination aus der X-Pro2 und generell den Objektiven, die mich nicht mehr zurückschauen lässt. Vor allem die drei Weitwinkel, über die ich neulich geschrieben habe, möchte ich nicht mehr missen. Aber ich bin sehr gespannt und freue mich auf das Objektiv. Wie ich geschrieben habe, werde ich es schon in den nächsten Monaten ausführlich nutzen können. Auf zwei größeren Wanderungen wollte ich nur das XF18 und das XF35 mitnehmen… mal sehen 🙂

    P.S. Der kleine Junge ist übrigens ein Mädchen und das Bild ist mit dem XF35F2 aufgenommen. Ich habe das Objektiv erst seit Donnerstag oder so. Das Beispiel habe ich nur wegen der Bearbeitung gewählt (Film-Look, Korn, etc…) 😉


  • Hallo Peter,
    das 2.0 habe ich nie gehabt. Es vermittelt allerdings einen ähnlichen Bildlook wie das 1.4, welches Dir mit Sicherheit gefallen wird. Meine Entscheidung für Fuji only habe ich Anfang 2017 getroffen aus ähnlichen Gründen, wie Du schon mehrfach beschrieben hast. Diese Kombination PRO 2 und
    Festbrennweiten hilft mir in allen Situationen, meine Vorstellungen im Foto umzusetzen….
    Übrigens: heute abend gib es Spaghetti Bolognese nach einem Rezept von einer Seite, die fein durchdacht heisst…. :-))

  • Haha, dann Guten Appetit!
    Das Rezept ist wirklich gut, zumindest wenn Du die Geduld hast, es wirklich mindestens zwei oder mehr Stunden kochen zu lassen 😉


  • I love this, both the sentiments and the photos. I just found your blog, and I can’t wait for whatever comes. Thanks! Deitch

  • Hi Trish,

    thank you so much for your kind words! And there’s actually a lot on hold… if I could just find more time.


  • I love anticipation. I ordered the 23 1.4 today on your recommendation (though I was leaning in that direction). Now I want the other wides, including that imperfect 18.

  • Have fun with the new lens. The only problem I have now is kind of a ‘first world problem’: choice. Sometimes I think it was easier to just go with the 18mm and not have a real choice. You have to force yourself to always leave most lenses at home and only take one for a certain idea or a certain feeling…

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