Since my physiotherapist advised that I have tendinitis on my right wrist, I’ve been looking for a way to lighten the load on my camera gears. Just in time, mirrorless market was heating up crazy fever and there were few options I could go ahead with.
Measuring pros and cons for all mirrorless setups, I decided to go with rather retro feeling Fujifilm. And yes, brand new release of X-T1 helped immensely in my decision making. Here are few main points I considered;
You shouldn’t be relying weatherproofing of the camera. Although the companies may convince you their gears can be abused in such level, it’s not 100% and not only that, it won’t be covered by their warranty.
I’ve had my Nikon D3s died on me during tracking through snowy mountain. No apparent reason why and how the moist got into the sealing even till now, just the fact that I had to pay 2,000 dollars to fix all electronics inside.
Yeah, I don’t trust their weatherproofing. But, it’s much, much better to have such protection done than not done. Especially when I had 3 wet weddings last season already. I don’t want to be hiding my gears away from the rain when bride and groom are waiting for me to take their special moment.
2. Lens Selection
Just like many other photographers, I need few lenses to cover what I want and need. Although I love the quality and limit of the prime lenses, I do prefer constant aperture zoom lenses. They are professional and very high quality in most cases. It’s getting harder and harder to convince myself to go for primes for weddings when things are changing rapidly.
To be honest, I was leaning towards Olympus m43 gears until Fuji’s lens line up updated and showed their plan on releasing constant f2.8 zoom lenses from 16 to 140mm, my usual working range. I know Fuji’s xf mount lenses and none of them has bad (or even mediocre) image quality so far. I trust their lens building philosophy.
3. Weight, Volume
The main reason I started looking into mirrorless gears is the weight. When I was carrying Nikon gears, the lightest setup was somewhere around 6kg on my shoulders. That’s for 2 cameras, 2 lenses and 2 flashes.
I thought it was getting a bit too heavy so I switched to rather advanced, but lighter fullframe gears, Sony. Still, it was somewhere around 4-5kg.
Now, with Fuji’s setup. I am taking 2 cameras, 1 flash (only got 1 yet) and 6 lenses(!) yet, it’s maybe somewhere around 3kg. I don’t even feel that tired because most of the gears are in my undfind waistshooter bag and what I’m carrying on my shoulder is less than 2kg. This is crazy.
When I used Nikon, I dreaded for secondary camera selection. It sounds stupid but I couldn’t just get a camera that has big difference in image quality.
When my main rig was D3s, I couldn’t find secondary that was as good. I couldn’t buy one more D3s because then, it’s not really secondary. I tried D300, D700, even D3 but was not satisfied. Too much difference in image quality, when I saw the photos, I could tell immediately which camera I’ve used for those shots. Call me OCD (but not really) but I just couldn’t bare it.
When I turned to Fuji, I already had X-Pro1. Not much has changed with X-T1 when it comes to image quality, just other technical improvements mostly. Same megapixels, same feel of the image. X-Pro1 is now putting itself in a great secondary shooter position. I am however, looking for an X-E2 for even lighter and faster secondary. PDAF does make quite the difference.
I think many photographers were impressed when Fujifilm pushed out new firmwares for their outdated X100 and X-Pro1. These days, no other brands do such thing. They’d rather make a new camera than update their old discontinued cameras.
One of the beauty of using Leica is that they are ageless. They last for such a long time not because they are technologically advanced like most Japanese cameras are now. They last long time because their brand is faithful.
Now, I don’t have patience to use MF in the wedding, nor do I have money to burn to buy Leica gears to fit to my needs. But Fujifilm is coming really close in supporting users and they’ve earned my faith.
They’ve shined again when they acknowledged light leak issue with their earlier X-T1 production. These kind of things shouldn’t be praised. It should be normal for these companies taking such action. But it doesn’t seem that normal these days. Users get ignored by major brands because no matter what the users are saying, their products sell. No matter how much users complain about their dust problem with Nikon’s D600, it was sold fearlessly in many countries.
I would like to believe Fujifilm won’t be such company that will ignore users’ complains even they grow up much bigger. Well, if they don’t, I’ll just moved on to something else that will.
Nikon gears are pricy. I’m not saying they are bad. They are just so expensive. Their new lenses with Nano coating were great, but the price…
Fujifilm lenses are great. And they are cheap compared to Canon and Nikon (And Sony!) lenses.
One thing to be clear, Fujifilm lenses aren’t cheap. Fuji’s don’t have broad range of budget lens options. But the good thing is, whatever lens I get from Fujifilm’s current XF mount lens line up, I’m satisfied with its build quality and optical quality. I think I was happier to get XF 35mm f1.4 lens (which is old and slow compared to current XF range) than when I got Canon, Nikon and Sony’s 50mm equivalent.
Until now, I’ve used quite a few gears from various brands. I’ve had my hands on pretty much every single Japanese camera brands there is. There was a time when I thought Canon and Nikon were the way, the truth and the life.
These days, I’m rather thankful for my tendinitis. I’ve come a long way and I think finally I’m getting rid of GAS and settling in with rather compact, but powerful system that I can be quite happy with ageless gears.
I do, however, have one dream now. Since Fujifilm’s still quite new with their lens system and they are only releasing small number of lenses per year, I may eventually be able to buy every single lens their is in Fuji XF mount. Well, I’m up to 6 now. About 5 more to go..! And 3 more by the end of the year.