Sunday, 3 March 2013

Review - Fuji STX-2 35mm SLR

My first review has to be on my first SLR camera, the Fuji STX-2. Bought for me as a Christmas present from my Mum when I was 16, I think it was 99 pounds from Boots.  This is what I learnt photography on, trying all sorts of experiments with long shutter times and depth of field.  I once even used insulation tape to mount the lens backwards for some macro work.  Amazingly it worked.

It's the most basic 35mm SLR you could imagine.  No auto features, everything has to be set manually.  Which means you have to learn the basics of photography to be able to use it.

On the plus side, it does have TTL metering which works really well.  There are three LED lights in the viewfinder labelled + o - which allow you to change the aperture and shutter speed until you get a green light.

The focussing screen is of the typical split grating type which means that a straight vertical line will be split into two until you get it into focus.  Still the easiest way to manually focus a camera.

It came with a 50mm f1.9 lens which used Fuji's own 'Fujica X-mount' (not to be confused with the 'Fujifilm X-mount' for new digital cameras).  This is a pain, because finding lenses to fit the camera can be tough.  In fact I've only ever owned the 50mm lens, although more because I couldn't afford a second lens rather than find one.

The aperture setting is on a ring behind the focussing ring and the shutter speed dial is on the top of the camera.  Because of this, the way you end up using the camera is to select a shutter speed (1/60 or above without a tripod, 1/30 if you're very brave) and then compose your shot, adjusting the aperture ring with the left hand to get the correct exposure.  Handily there is a depth of field button you can depress using your right hand to check your aperture setting is acceptable. Lots of people complain about this but I found it quite manageable.

It also has a mechanical self-timer and a lock for the shutter button.  The meter runs from two LR44 button cells which last around 12months.

My Dad - Taken in Llandudno in 1989 using a Fuji STX-2 and
Fujinon 50mm lens
So, does it take good photos?   Despite all the restrictions of no auto shutter-speed setting and just a 50mm lens, I've had excellent results from it.  For many years it was my only proper camera and I learnt to live with it, stepping back to frame my shots and taking care to set each one up correctly.  It's a very well built camera, most of the parts are metal, and it feels more solid than my Olympus OM10 which was a much more expensive camera back in 1988.

Building in Manchester - Taken yesterday using a Fuji STX-2
and Fujinon 50mm lens
Worst feature - The X-mount system is really limiting, although I'm sure there are ways around it.
Best feature - The viewfinder is the excellent.  I've yet to see a DSLR with one so large and clear.

Specifications here
Manual here

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  1. This may be a bit late, but thanks for posting a review on this model. It was one of the more interesting and insightful reviews I managed to find. Greats pictures as well.

  2. The first slr I owned,bought a few lenses and filters. You had to learn how to do things manually and being film get it right first time,a good grounding for any photographer.