My Gear Shift

In GEAR by David73 Comments

Once in a while I abandon all sense and do a gear post. This is one of them. I hope it’s helpful to you and that  you find the question of why I use the gear I do more interesting than which gear, specifically, I use. It’s the one question that seems to get left out of these discussions; everyone talking about which gear is best without first defining their needs. As so many of you are making similar switches in the way you approach your work, I thought I’d walk you through mine.

Last month Fuji announced 2 pieces of gear that pushed me over the edge. As many of you know I’ve been using Fuji cameras more and more, but still hanging on to Pelican cases full of Nikon gear. I’ve held out on switching completely (almost completely, but I’ll explain that) because the Fuji system lacked any optical options at the long end – specifically something more than a 300mm equivalent- and I need those more and more for the work I’m doing.

 

With the 100-400 lens that has now changed, giving me (a) a zoom lens instead of fixed primes that force me to fumble with teleconverters and (b) at the long end a 600/5.6 equivalent. That lens is fantastic. And it weighs less than my Nikon 70-200/2.8. And it’s got 5-stop Image Stabilization that means I can make tack sharp images, handheld, at very reasonable shutter speeds – down to 1/15. And it’s weather-sealed. So that’s the first piece. I can now carry 2 cameras, and lenses from 16mm to 600mm (35mm equivalent) in a carry on, with batteries and related things, that weighs less than 18lbs. As a traveling photographer who is less able to carry all that weight, this is great. And as carry-on allowances shrink, and small planes, like the ones I use on safari or coastal BC, have the usual tight weight restrictions, it means less worry about checking a bag, or not being able to bring it at all. The lighter kit means I can walk all day on my arthritic ankles and still have the energy to create and walk down one last alley or peer around one more corner. On top of this, the full range of Fuji lenses is optically excellent.

A 1:1 preview of one of my images shot with the Fujinon 100-400. All the sharpness I could ever ask for. After a week on safari, using this 100-400 lens daily I’m ready to unreservedly switch.

The second piece of gear Fuji announced is the X-Pro2, a 24 megapixel mirrorless camera that will, I am sure herald the coming of the 24mpx version of my much-loved X-T1. You know I’m not bent out of shape about how many pixels I have – for years my favourite camera was my Nikon D3s, a gorgeous, heavy, fast, workhorse that never failed me, but only gave me 12-pointsomething megapixels. And no one ever asked me, aren’t you worried your images will be too small?  But I crop to 16:9 and 1:1 often enough that re-gaining some of that resolution is a gift. And so I sold off my Leica M, kept some of my favourite lenses from that system, and can get the best of both worlds – 24mpx body, but full autofocus, and the option to still use, for example, Leica’s beautiful 21mm lens that I adore. The X-Pro2 also has, finally, dual card slots. And for the now the 16 point something megapixel XT-1 will continue to serve me well. I don’t need to print billboards. Most of you don’t either.

Fuji cameras are quirky. But getting less so. And nowhere near as quirky as the Leica M. They are fast. I don’t photograph sports and when I photograph wildlife it’s not usually the action stuff I’m trying to capture, but for me they are ample fast. Even with my Nikon gear it wasn’t my gear that slowed me down, it was my own reaction time. The Fuji X-T1 is weather-sealed. It has an articulating LCD so I can shoot from weird angles and interesting POVs without having to lie down in puddles. And the image quality is amazing. And with wifi image sharing I can fire a JPG to my iPhone to share work with clients or on my Instagram feed.

I get asked if I miss the full-frame advantage, but to be honest it’s not a consideration for me now. It once was. When my 24mm lens acted more like a 35mm lens and I wanted something wider to accommodate for the crop, it mattered. But to me the two advantages full-frame would give me are (a) the access to a full range of focal lengths and (b) the softer depth of field at wider apertures. The lenses are now available to cover me just fine, and increasingly I have no desire for the really wide, dreamy soft background. Even with an f/1.2 lens I’d likely only shoot it fully open if light were an issue. It rarely is. It used to be. A couple years ago I’d almost never use anything higher than ISO 800, so the /1.2 lens was great and I’d shoot at /1.2. But it wasn’t easy. And it was heavy. Now I can shoot with lighter, smaller lenses and push the ISO a little, and keep a little more in focus (and, to be fair, the Fuji 56/1.2 is plenty dreamy when used wide open).

What matters to me now is that my cameras get out of the way as quickly as possible. For me that’s the Fujis, as opposed to the Olympus or the Sony systems, because only Fuji has the old-school ergonomics that are so second nature to me – aperture on the lens, shutter speed on a dial at the top of the camera. And I think the quality of the images from the Fuji Trans-X sensor is exceptional in the ISO range I need, generally never over 1600. 3200 gives me the jitters. Some people need that. I don’t. When it’s that dark I go to bed.  Add to all these benefits the fact that much of the gear I now used, compared to the gear I was using, is much less expensive. The Nikon 300/2.8 costs USD$5500 new. The Fujinon 100-400 costs USD$2000. It’s not a perfect comparison, but in terms of the options I am working with right now, I can sell my Nikon gear in USD, which is killing the Canadian dollar at the moment, and use that money to completely replace my gear – with gear that works better for what I need right now – and still have enough left over to go diving with sharks in June or photograph grizzlies in May. I’d rather do those things than own a bunch of high-end gear and not be able to afford the experiences. For me the experience always trumps the gear, because the only reason I buy the gear is to photograph the experience. Lighter, cheaper gear that gets out of the way quickly wins every time.

If you need to, read that last paragraph again. I’m not suggesting Fuji cameras are better than the Nikon DSLRs that I love. I’m not saying the latest and greatest from Canon are not spectacular. They all make photographs in slightly different ways, and the technical nature of those photographs will all differ, in size, dynamic range, and really any other criteria you can list. The question isn’t “which one is better,” it’s which one best fits your needs. This is important. These incredible cameras, of any brand, will not compensate for a lack of vision or for a lack of craft. They will only make my photographs better in the sense that they let me do what I do with the fewest possible barriers. That is how you choose a camera.

So now, with the exception of 2 Nikon D800 bodies and a Sigma 15mm fisheye and a Nikon macro lens (105mm, if I recall), which I use with my Nauticam housing for scuba work, my Nikon system is getting slowly sold off. The 300/2.8 and extender will be the last to go, and I’ll be selling them when I get home (they’re already spoken for).

Remember this: there’s no perfect system, and there is no system that does it all. There are always compromises. You ask yourself which compromises you can live with, even use to your advantage, and which ones you can’t. And you separate your needs from your wants. I want a bad-ass pro-sized body that looks cool. But I need a camera that I can carry all day. I wanted to keep using the Leica M I sold, but I needed a camera that will focus quickly and in low light, which my Leica – in my hands – didn’t always do. The best camera is the one you have with you, but it’s also the one that does what you need it to. And your needs might be very different from the needs of others, so figure that out first.

As for what’s in my kit now, in terms of cameras and lenses) here’s what’s in bag these days,  though I’ve also included the X-Pro2 which is still on its way. The items with an asterisk are the ones in my bag right now on this trip which includes a 10-day safari in Kenya, diving in Zanzibar (without my full dive rig), a week in Rajasthan, and a week in Istanbul

2 x Fuji X-T1 bodies*
1 x Fuji X-Pro2 body

Fujinon 100-400/4.5-5.6 (equivalent roughly to 150-600mm)*

For this trip I’ve also got a Canon G7x for podcasting, should the mood hit, and a Sony RX100II which I’ll use with a small Nauticam housing to dive. Add twenty 64GB SD cards, 8 batteries, and an extra 1TB external hard drive for my 13” MacBook Air, and that’s my full kit. Almost all of it goes into my Think Tank Photo Airport Essentials bag to travel and I work out of a couple different satchels, none of them actual camera bags – just simple, light, satchels into which I can throw lenses wrapped in something, along with a couple batteries, a sweater or a light rain jacket.

Questions? I’m happy to do my best to answer them if you leave them in the comments. I’m not sponsored by Fuji and I hope by now you now that my love for one camera or another is measured only by how much I love the photographs it lets me make.

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Comments

  1. Sean§

    Hey David,
    I’m nearly there with my X-T10. There’s exactly one job I use the Canon for, and hopefully the EF-X500 will be the nail in that coffin. Everything else is Fuji, and I’m delighted with it. It was great shooting alongside you as a fellow Fuji shooter on the Cliffs. I totally agree that there are quirks, but some of that is just learning curve. Stuff that bothered me at the start has become muscle memory by now, so I’ve forgotten what they were.
    For me, the weight and optical quality absolves a lot of the quirks too. Enough to make the application to be an X-Photographer!

  2. Troy Feener

    Thanks David for your thoughts…they mirror my own very much. I have one question to ask- which would you prefer, the X-pro2 or the XT1 as far as travel portraiture and the odd landscape? I currently have the XE2 and am wondering if I should get the new X-Pro2 or XT2 when it comes out. I’ve never used the XT1 body and so don’t have any context to make the choice. Thanks and enjoy your time in Africa.

    1. Author
      David

      Hey Troy – I got the X-Pro 2 because for now it’s the only 24mpx body and I can use a few extra pixels. But if they had an X-T2 with the same sensor and dual card slots, I’d be all over it and I’d have left the X-Pro2 unpurchased. But this is from the guy who hasn’t used the X-Pro2 yet. But I love, LOVE, my X-T1 bodies and wish they had gone straight to X-T2.

      1. Troy Feener

        Thanks David. I really appreciate the feedback. I’ll likely get the X-Pro2 as I’ll be traveling alot this year and as you say..the extra pixels are nice to have. Now I need to start collecting lenses…

        T

  3. Chris Edley

    Thank you for the post Davud. Very good advice about purchasing. I’m looking to move up from a sometimes-functioning Nikon D5100. You list your gear but I see no mention of speedlights… do you have any with you? Do you know if the Fujis work seamlessly with Nikon Speedlights?

    Thanks! Safe travels!
    Chris

    1. MOUHAMAD

      You can use Nikon Speedlights with Fuji , they will work on manual mode only , you can also get the cheap Yongnuo 560 Mark 2 and above , they are really good for the price,
      I used couple of them (mark 3&4) in my interior shoots, with Fujifilm X-E1 and X-t1,
      they work just fine , the mark 3 has radio receiver, the mark 4 mas a radio receiver an transmitter,

      Hope that helps

    2. Author
      David

      I don’t use flash often but have a Nikon SB900 and use it on manual with some radio triggers. Works just fine. But no TTL. Fuji is coming out with a flash very soon that seems, at first glance, to be excellent. But like I said, I rarely use flash.

  4. Troy Feener

    Thanks David for your thoughts…they mirror my own very much. I have one question to ask- which would you prefer, the X-pro2 or the XT1 as far as travel portraiture and the odd landscape? I currently have the XE2 and am wondering if I should get the new X-Pro2 or XT2 when it comes out. I’ve never used the XT1 body and so don’t have any context to make the choice. Thanks and enjoy your time in Africa.

  5. David

    Great post, just did the switch myself mainly because every new canon lens comes with a much new higher price point, and I would rather use my money for traveling.

    Now only if we could get a serious underwater housing I would be 100% sold on switching.

  6. Ronny Gabriels

    David,
    I have to agree with your post completely. I have a X-T1 kit (with 10-24, 18-55 & 50-140) on loan from Fujifilm Belgium right now and everything you mention here about quality and weight I have found in my own tests as well. However, I personally found one deal breaker that will prevent me from switching. After working with the EVF for about 30 minutes I get almost migraine like headaches and my eyes hurt quite badly. I know I have sensitive eyes but I was wondering whether you (or anyone else who shoots EVF cameras) have ever noticed your eyes getting fatigued faster than they would when working with optical viewfinder cameras?

    1. Andy Farrell

      Bit of a shot in the dark here, but could it be something to do with the diopter? I only have an XE1 but if the diopter’s slightly off, I can still focus on the EVF but it’s enough of a struggle that it can give me headaches.

      1. Ronny Gabriels

        That was my first idea as well since it was a loaner (and I had this diopter problem with a camera that I shared with a co-worker once), but after setting it up so it was perfectly sharp for my eyes, the problem remained. Thanks for the input though, appreciate it!

    2. Author
      David

      I’ve never found this, Ronny, but I can see how it might happen. It’s a good case for trying out the hybrid finder in the X-Pro2, rather than the purely EVF of the X-T1.

  7. Eric (Japan)

    Hi David. Lucky you to have the XF 100-400 already, the Japanese tancho cranes will have to wait end of the month in my case.

    I 100% agree with you that vision is better, but we do appreciate the gear posts once in a while for it helps us to put things in perspective.

    In your kit I’m surprised you don’t have more fixed lenses. I noticed the 23mm wouldn’t fit your vision but I would expect the 35mm to be really useful for wandering in India or Venice streets. Also : I took the 16-55mm but am a bit disappointed and want to go back to the 18-55mm for the quality isn’t so lower but the weight/bulk, especially for candid portraits, is a bit troublesome for me.

    1. Author
      David

      Hi Eric – I do have some fixed lenses, the 14 and the 18, for example. But I have almost no use for the 35mm – it’s just not a focal length I like. Some love it. I prefer wider. But I like the versatility of the zooms as well. When you do get the 100-400 I suspect you’ll love it. I’ve been VERY impressed with it.

  8. Santosh Verma

    Hi David,
    What are your dates in Rajasthan?
    Which are the places/locations you will be traveling to in Rajasthan.

    Perhaps we can catch up.

    Cheers,
    Santosh

  9. Pingback: I’m ready to (almost) completely switch from my Nikons to a smaller system | David du Chemin

  10. Gavin Hall

    Great article, thanks David. However, a note of caution from someone whose living is not photography, to other non pros.

    Sometimes we can become a little carried away with the novelty value of new technologies. This certainly happened to me with mirrorless. I’m very happy that David is happy with his Fuji gear – perhaps that is what I should have gone with. However despite the hype, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 has been a big disappointment for me. In terms of AF performance for action, and the ultimate image quality at base ISO, it is objectively worse than my old Nikon D90. I am now in the process of selling to move to…undecided…

    So I would advise people to really stop and assess what they shoot before jumping to a different system. Switching is an expensive business. David can obviously make a business case for his choices – his gear is a money making tool. However, (and I expect he’d agree with me here) don’t mistake his enthusiasm for a setup that is working well for HIM, for cast iron proof that what you need to do is sell all your stuff and switch. Trust me – I’ve been there – in fact I am there now – and it’s costing me thousands.

    1. Author
      David

      You hit the nail on the head, Gavin. You’re absolutely right. The purpose of the article wasn’t to convince others to switch but to let people know that the technology has matured and if others are wondering if it is sufficient for the needs of some working pros (our needs are so different, there’s no one-system-fits-all) – it is. At least for me. I made – or am making – a wholesale switch because I just can’t carry all the gear around and it makes financial sense for me. I do know this – just switching systems won’t make your photographs any better. :-) Thanks so much for adding your voice of sanity to the conversation.

  11. Paul

    Great article, David. As an XT-1 user can I ask you and other owners what battery life you are getting from your XT-1 cameras? I use Fuji batteries, shoot RAW only, single shot focus, sensor controlled EVF and never use the back screen for chimping. During my recent photographic trip I was getting between 60 something to 90 max shots per battery. And I was not in the Antarctic! I suspect that you and others are getting significantly better than this.

    1. Ronny Gabriels

      Hey Paul, to give you an idea I’m testing the X-T1 and I’m getting around 200 shots with mostly the same settings as you but with chimping.

      1. Mike Croshaw

        Wow..I get around 500-600 from one battery in general. I’d check your batteries/charger. I shoot in raw, high performance mode, single spot focussing and I chimp a reasonable amount ( I’m mostly shooting fashion/people ). I’m using AF-S, not conintous.

        1. Ronny Gabriels

          That is a huge difference. I’m definitely going to talk to the Fuji rep about this. Maybe he knows what can cause these big differences. I doubt this is just due to a setting in camera, but if it is, it’s good to know what setting eats up battery life this radically.

          1. Frederik

            Same situation for me, btw. At first I thought it was due to the hot climate in which I was shooting, but even with ‘normal’ temperatures I get around 120 shots per charge. My observations so far:

            – there was a (French) article some time ago which measured the actual charges of different battery brands. Some of mine (ChiliPower) were among the worst, with only 60% of the charge being advertised. So that may be one reason.
            – when not switching on and off between shots I also get around 300-400 or more shots per charge. Seems like starting up the camera is a huge power drain.
            – the chargers could also be a contributing factor. Only a suspicion, though…

            Mind you, I’m nevertheless quite fond of my camera, but that’s the part I’m least enthusiastic about.

            1. Frederik

              Here’s the article about the batteries, for those who are interested. The table at the beginning is the interesting part:
              – In red the advertised max. charge
              – In green what was actually achieved
              – On the right the capacity you get per Euro

            2. Ronny Gabriels

              Hey Frederik,

              Thanks for the article, that is quite interesting and for me personally a confirmation of my choice to stick with the brands own batteries.
              And you could be on to something with the turning off and on thing. I did another test without turning the camera off and I did get a bit more shots out of it.
              The Fuji rep that I talked to couldn’t really account for the differences, but he did tell me that switching the batteries from one camera to another (since the batteries are the same for several of the Fuji cameras) without recharging in between could lead to a bit of a drop off in performance, but nothing like the differences that were mentioned here earlier. He did also confirm that between 300 and 400 shots is the normal performance for the battery.

    2. Author
      David

      As others have so willingly chimed in (thank you, all!), my feedback is similar – the EVF drains things and these batteries are so small. I can say I get about 400 shots on average per battery. Less in extreme heat or cold. So I carry a dozen batteries. The name brand ones hold up markedly better than the 3rd party. (Take that 400 shots number with a grain of salt, it’s an impression, not a tested metric :-) )

  12. Mark

    David, you continue to complicate my life! But in a good way:) Thank you for this article and your photography advice, it’s been invaluable to me.

    I’ve had my eye on the XT1 for awhile now but kind of stayed away from fuji because they didn’t have a longer lens…guess that’s changing now.

    I like to shoot airshows, some wildlife, landscapes, but quite a few birds in flight…mainly larger birds like eagles during the winter here in Iowa. How do you think the 100-400 and XT1 or XPro2 might do on birds in flight? I currently have the sony 70-400 and while it’s good, it won’t autofocus with a 1.4 extender, and my version could be a little faster to focus.

    Safe and happy travels to you!

    1. Author
      David

      This is really hard to answer, Mark. The lens is great. But can the bodies track a bird in flight? Depends how good the photographer is, to some degree, I imagine. I couldn’t. But I had a hell of time with it using my fastest Nikons, too. Depends on so many things. Best I can reply is a hesitant “maybe” and suggest you get your hands on the gear and see if it does what you need. I almost never shoot very fast subjects – if I did I suspect i’d be more reluctant to give up my 300/2.8 and D3s bodies. Sorry I can’t be more helpful. I’d hate to be enthusiastic about something I can’t myself tell you I have good experience with. My suspicion is that the mirrorless revolution may be a year or two away from the kind of speed DSLRs are known for.

      1. Mark

        David, I appreciate your reply. And I kind of put you on the spot probably…I don’t know that there is anything quite as demanding as birds in flight for systems, and for people. I think if we see a XT2 come along with more mp’s I might rent it and give the combo a try. Rentals are a great thing:) I’ll let you know how it goes!

  13. Jay

    The bad kid (Fuji) on the block has grown up! I bought into the alternative (Sony) 3 years ago with an RX1 and I’ve never looked back. When you stop messing with the gear, you start focusing on the photography.

  14. Edward Peck

    I was considering writing almost an identical article but you have said it all, thanks David. Yes, I am shooting more and more with my X-T1 and less and less with my D800e. The X-T1 without exaggeration is the best camera I have ever owned analogue or digital. It does melt into the background as I shoot, as a camera should and it is so much more intuitive to use.

    The lenses are often of higher quality than some of my full frame Nikon glass and much faster without loosing the edge to edge quality, something that occurs with a lot of good Nikon glass at low f stops.

    I also am waiting for my X-Pro 2 to arrive and suspect at this point my Nikon Gear will likely make its way to the US for sale. I have looked at the test samples on the internet and I can see from them that the noise handling on the Pro 2 is actually better than my full frame Nikon! Also the resolution, is surprisingly close to the D800e. So if the Pro 2 field tests as well as what I see in the test samples, I think my Nikon days are over.

    I almost abandoned the mirrorless world a while back when I bought a 4/3 camera, which I sold 6 months later. I am so glad a friend of mine encouraged me to try again with the Fuji.

  15. Dave Ashworth

    Great post David, thank you! I’ve been sold on switching to the Fuji system for some time and I keep hesitating because I’m not sure where to sell my Nikon gear and actually get a good price for it. I feel like all the options want to pay me a garage sale price for pristine lenses and camera. Do you have any recommendations on routes to go here where I’m not meeting some shady buyer in some parking lot like a drug dealer? :)

    1. Author
      David

      Sorry, no. You could always try KEH – they are reputable and I’ve bought used gear from them. I prefer letting people know I’ve got kit for sale and selling to people who know me, but it’s never easy. eBay is OK, but there are risks. I say play the drug dealer card and see what happens! :-)

      1. David

        Thanks for your reply, David. So far, one success as a drug dealer in a coffee shop, and one through the facebook cameragear group! Loving the XT-1 and 16-55mm kit lens so far–love the simplicity (and the lightness!). Next… the 35mm f/1.4 or the 55-200mm? Decisions… I really want the 100-400mm, but need to sell a bit more first. Soon.

  16. Alistair

    What cards do you recomend , David? The card I got with the XT-1 has a real lag to it, especially if you bracket shots and I wasn’t sure whether was due to the card or the camera.

    1. Author
      David

      Big and fast, Alistair. I use 64GB cards from Lexar mostly, though I’ve got a few SanDisc, and I always buy the cards that are the fastest at the time. Most of my cards now, without looking at them, are 600x cards and seem to be just great. I don’t bracket so I can’t speak to the speed of that functionality.

  17. Brandon

    Hello David,

    I have been interested in moving to fuji for sometime. I tried sony mirrorless and was quickly turned away as it felt like it was always in the way.

    My questions are these:
    1. You talk about what matters and mention fuji lenses having aperture on the lens. I see this on some of the lenses but not all? How does this apply to lenses like the 10-24 and 100-400? From the images I do not see there being an aperture ring on these lenses.
    2. Starting fresh would you recommend an XT-1 or X-pro2 body or hold out for XT-2?

    Thanks so Much for all you do.
    Your brother with similar axe stories from Idaho,
    Brandon

    1. Andy F

      They do have aperture rings, it’s just that because they’re variable aperture lenses* they’re not numbered and have no hard stops, sort of like the manual focus rings.

      The only Fuji lenses with no aperture ring are the cheap plastic consumer ones (16–50 and 55–230), and the 27mm pancake.

      * the 10–24 is an exception, no idea why it doesn’t have a numbered aperture ring since it’s fixed f/4.

    2. Author
      David

      Hey Brandon – 1. Andy replied to this as capably as I could. 2. Others have asked the same thing and without hesitation I would say for the kind of photography I do I would vastly have prefered an X-T2 to come out first, in which case I’d have skipped the X-Pro2. I can’t wait to use it, and it seems like a beautiful camera, but I’m getting it only until a 24mpx X-T1 (2) comes out.

      Careful with that axe! :-)

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  19. Tim L

    I appreciate posts like this that lend a little more nuance to the “gear doesn’t matter” cliche.

    I’m curious, David, if you would have bought the X-Pro2 if a similarly spec’d X-T2 would have been available at the same time. Do the rangefinder design and HVF offer any benefit to your shooting style? I would guess you’ll miss the articulating LCD.

    1. Author
      David

      In a word, Tim, no. I’d have jumped all over the X-T2 and bought two of them. I’m only buying the X-Pro 2 because for now it’s all they have in a 24mpx body. But I’m waiting for the X-T2 with baited breath. The loss of the articulating LCD might in fact drive me to drink (more). :-)

  20. Burcu Basar

    So happy you wrote this post. I am also considering moving to Fuji system – not completely ditching my Canon 5D Mark II gear but as a side option. The optical viewfinder in X-Pro 2 is a game changer for me as I had issues with the EVF on other Fuji mirrorless models. My question is – for the sake of combining the full frame and mirrorless experience – have you ever considered the Sony gear? I know it is more expensive but I am torn between switching to X-Pro 2 and the new Sony full frame model. Burcu (www.burcubasar.com)

    1. Author
      David

      I did consider Sony, Burcu, but ultimately it’s the feel of the cameras in my hand that made the decision for me. I have friends that love the Sonys and friends that love the Fujis. I prefer the more analog experience of the Fuji. Get them in your hands, and know what your needs are – most people don’t need so many megapixels, but if you do, you do.

  21. Brandon P.

    I have just in the last day finally decided to leave Canon and buy myself an X-E2. It’s been a huge research product, but I am in search of gear that fits my lifestyle and style more. It’s not easy making a brand jump, but I’m looking forward to the adventure.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    1. Burcu Basar

      Which Canon model are you using and how fond are you of the optical viewfinder? I have couple years ago attempted to switch to X-E1 (I am a Canon 5D Mark II user) but could never get used to the electronic viewfinder. I am therefore looking fwd to get an X-Pro 2 which has a hybrid viewfinder. Burcu

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  23. Chris K

    I just made a similar transition. I was shooting with a Canon 5D III and a lot of big, heavy lenses. I bought an X100T and fell in love—hardly used my 5D III for a few months. Then the X-T1 + 35/1.4 and 56/1.2.

    After 6 months of this, I had hardly touched my 5D III, so I sold it all. With the money I had I was able to buy every lens in the Fuji system that I was interested in: 16, 23, 35/2, 56, 90 primes and the 16-55 and 50-140 zooms, and still have enough left over to buy the XPro2, which I’m eagerly awaiting.

    I just have so much fun with the Fuji X cameras. It’s as simple as that.

  24. Johannes

    Good article.

    I would like an article on your different satchels and how you carry your gear day to day.

    Carrying a large lens like the 100-400 would require a different setup than what I am used to.

  25. Hubert Steve

    I realize that top of the line professional print firms can do magic even with 6mp camera files but would one expect to get a 40×60 quality prints (not canvas) from the Fuji cameras/lens you are using or at least 20×30?

  26. Jp

    Thanks David. one question though around batteries – do you use 8 batteries a day?? I bought a little X20 last year as my snapshot camera and first move away from my Canon, but I have bitterly disappointing battery life with it. I know it’s not in the same class as the XT1 but am curious to see if it is a feature of these smaller mirrorless cameras, before I make the (expensive) switch., because frankly I find it quite frustrating and often miss the shot(s) because of it.

    1. Andy F

      I can’t speak to the X20 specifically, but the majority of compacts and mirrorless cameras should get about 200–300 shots per charge, depending on how often you chimp, how much you use the flash, etc.

    2. Author
      David

      Yes, I use quite a few batteries. It’s just the nature of the beast. A battery grip might help if you’re missing opportunities. The batteries are light (but not cheap, I’ll give you that) – so I carry a dozen or more.

  27. Karen

    I am a new Fuji XT1 owner (of a week) and now struggling with lenses….(Previously a Canon shooter). I don’t want lots of lenses but trying to figure out that perfect match. It seems like the 16-55/ 2.8 is a doubling up if one also has the 56/1.2 (except for the light)….Would you say one is better than another? Also, would you prefer the WR (weather lenses) to the non WR lens for the lay person not traveling to various parts of the country? I have the 18-135, so are these other lenses “better” quality? I would be overlapping there as well. Think I will be ordering the 100-400 soon. Input welcome. Thanks so much for your inspiration!!

    1. Edward Peck

      I would say Karen don’t rush into the zoom lens, I have only the kits zoom lens that came with the camera, which is surprisingly good. The lenses that are truly amazing are the 56mm 1.2 and the 23mm 1.4, I also have the 14mm 2.8 for those wide angle shots 9 (and a few others). I have not shot with the new 23mm nor the new 100-400 which both seem to be very impressive. I think you will quickly find the quality of the Fuji primes are beyond what either Canon or Nikon can produce, as a former Nikon shooter I can not believe the edge to edge quality of the Fuji lens at low f stops. My local pro photography supplier says the same think about Canon lenses, that they do not really having the same quality as the Fuji glass.

    2. Author
      David

      Better is all dependent on your needs. Karen. The quality of all the Fuji lenses is excellent. The questions I ask myself have more to do with how fast I need the lens to be (is f/2.8 ok, or do I need f/4?), how light I want it to be, and how much lens changing I want to do, or want to avoid. As for the WR, yes, it’s nice, but I’ve got a mix of WR and non-WR lenses and to be honest I couldn’t tell you which were which so it’s clearly not much of a consideration for me. Only you can know which lenses you prefer and which will serve your needs. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  28. Dan Hawk

    David, this a refreshing and insightful take on gear. It seems most folks have a hard time remembering to let the gear serve the photography and not get it backwards.

    The consistency and signature in your work, regardless of the gear used is a real statement.

  29. Aaron

    Great post David. Quick question—can you see the XT1 electronic viewfinder while wearing sunglasses? I live in Florida and shoot a lot in bright sunlight, so good polarized sunglasses are pretty much a necessity.

    1. Author
      David

      It’s not easy, but truthfully I find any viewfinder hard with sunglasses, and polarized glasses are the worst, even with a DSLR.

  30. Shari

    Thanks for this David. I knew you has switched and found this. I am a 74 yo inspired photographer if 8 yrs from Vancouver. Have most your books. Have been using Nikon D7100 with primes, 50 1.4 being fav. I am now finding my camera too heavy and bulky to carry all the time. I like taking toddlers and street. Do you think the Fuji Xt1 would be suitable. Also looking at Sony a6300 but you say Fuji easier in hand. I value your opinion and have followed for years. Since Within the Frame!

  31. Sean

    Great read. I haven’t gone so far as putting my Canon gear on sale, but since I picked up the XT-1 in December it is the only camera I have used. A primary concern I had prior to buying based on my research, and still am a little concerned with after using for a few months, is processing the .RAF files in Lightroom. I have liked some of the camera created .jpgs, but I still like to work through RAW files, especially when their is a large tonal difference.

    There was a lot of chatter that .RAF files tended to be a little muddy and Lightroom had trouble sharpening the RAW images. My personal experience has been mixed. For some scenarios, like bright days without a lot of detail, I don’t really notice it. But recently I started working through some very detailed photos in shadowy conditions and was not all that happy with the results. I started playing around with the latest version of Capture One and could notice a measurable difference.

    I’d be intersted to read if you anyone else has had similar experience and what steps they have taken…maybe it’s just learning a different way to work with files in Lightroom.

    1. Author
      David

      Sean – Honestly, I’ve yet to see what all the fuss is about. I do know some have preferred to use Capture One, but I’ve used nothing but Lightroom and while I do bump the sharpening a little more than usual sometimes, I’ve had no other issues. My friend Piet Van Den Eynde is both a Lightroom expert and a Fuji X Photographer and also seems to have no issues. You might try finding his blog or getting him on FB and asking him.

  32. Jack Kelley

    Thoughtful and helpful as always, David. As a hobbyist, I am selling off my Canon gear and shooting Olympus for the weight and travel convenience. But I’m nervous ’bout the service. Living in SoCal, I can drive to either of two Canon service centers and typically count on a one-week or less turnaround for routine maintenance. With Oly, I’m reading online reports of six-week-plus wait times for simple repairs. Have you yet had any experience with Fuji service that you can share or draw conclusions from?

  33. Jackson James

    Oh good, another drooling fanboy. Just what this pathetic world needs.

  34. Author
    David

    Jackson – You seem like a fun person. I’ll take more fanboys, drooling or otherwise, any day over another creepy internet troll.

  35. David

    This is a great post. Thank you. How do you find the AF speed with Fuji? I’ve heard it is slow.

    1. Author
      David

      David, for me the focus speed isn’t an issue. I don’t photograph fast moving subjects much, but I’m pretty good at predicting or anticipating things. I will say the focus speed is much better on the new XPro-2 and XT-2.

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