TAKE TEN: Stefan Els

In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of the Fujifilm X Mount system, we’re talking to Fujifilm users across South Africa. Photographer/videographer Stefan Els is the Multimedia Content Producer of the Corporate Communication and Marketing Department at Stellenbosch University. He shares how he managed to switch to Fujifilm.  

Why do you love photography/videography?

As a kid we used to have a 110 film camera and I would get to use it on vacations. I loved capturing life around me and the excitement of getting the film developed can’t be beaten. After school I got into video and did an Honours degree in Documentary filmmaking at the NWU. I’ve been working in video at Higher Education institutions since 2007, being responsible for learning material and later corporate video.

What made you switch to Fujifilm and when did this happen?

In 2015 I saw the need for specialist photography at our university and started to explore photography. Because I upskilled and started doing both video and photos for the university, I needed a single system solution. We first bought into a different system and it worked great for two years.

It was then that I attended the 2017 Photo and Film Expo and met guys like Fujifilm X-Photographer Leon Oosthuizen and Ett Venter. I saw the quality of photos they produced on Fujifilm cameras and was amazed. I kept contact with Leon in Cape Town and in mid-2018 the varsity bought our first Fujifilm camera, the Fujifilm X-H1. If we upgraded or moved to a different manufacturer, the costs for the kit would have been almost R60 000 more just for lenses. So having a Fujifilm camera that is cheaper yet gives me better results was the obvious way to go.

Which Fujifilm camera do you use?

The first Fujifilm camera I borrowed was the X100F. I fell in love with the Fujifilm colour, and it was an easy choice to purchase the X-H1 for the university (I’ve included the barber photo as this was one of the first pics I took with a Fujifilm camera). We started doing multi-cam productions during lockdown and we purchased an X-T4.

I still had a longing for the X100 series as it’s just a different beast and at the end of last year, we purchased a X100V that everybody can use within our division. Thanks to X-Photographer, Nathalie Boucry for teaching me to ‘Tame my Fujifilm’ now anybody in our department can go out and get great photos. Oh, and I own a Fujifilm X-T20 myself.

What do you love most about the cameras?

I love the Fujifilm system because it allows me to use both mediums. Many times, there isn’t a photographer/videographer with me and I have to capture both. For more than two years I only had the X-H1 with me to do both and it was great. It is easier now as I can use the X-H1 and X-T4 together (one for photos and one for video).

Tell us a bit more about your photography/videography and what you would like to achieve through this.

My photography involves anything Varsity related. Be it portraits, experiments, sport, student life, etc. But I also love street photography and of course, taking photos of my children.

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