Friday, July 21, 2017

Switching to Fujifilm X-T2

Out With the Old, In With the New - A difficult Decision!

As a long time nature/landscape/travel photographer, for years I have carried around a full size Canon DSLR and usually five or six L series lenses plus other accessories, weighing approximately 20 lbs., (more if I include my tripod).  But I am now at a stage in life, (I will not use the S C words), where I do not want to carry such heavy gear, nor do I want to be scaling craggy cliffs or fording raging rivers to get the perfect shot.  I am, however, in good health, go on day hikes, and travel to beautiful places where I continue to enjoy my photography addiction...I mean hobby.  If you are in a similar situation, then read on:

My goal has been to see if I could successfully wean myself from my beloved Canon equipment and replace it with a system that would:

*  Deliver the same quality as my Canon gear without breaking the bank.
*  Give me a variety of lens choices comparable to my Canon lenses.
*  Be more compact, more manageable, and weigh less, (which are the only real reasons to make this change).

Additionally, I do not need or want to carry:

*  Every possible focal length lens, like a heavy 600mm telephoto.
*  Multiple cameras, laptop, and a myriad of accessories.
*  A backpack that has every bell, whistle and compartment to carry equipment needed for extended trips.

With these criteria in mind, two years ago I began my internet search by reading web and blog posts of many professional photographers I follow, to learn about the gear they use.  I began to see posts about mirrorless cameras and learned they were smaller, lighter and delivered excellent quality images.  As the months went by, a number of these photographers began using mirrorless cameras as a second camera, and eventually, many of them totally switched to a mirrorless system.

I was fascinated with this new type of camera and wondered if it would be a passing fad, or would mirrorless cameras become real competition for the tried and true DSLR.  (Years ago I had several professional photographers tell me that the new digital cameras were only a fad!)  As months went by, I kept reading more and more great reviews and so I began investigating the leading contenders.

This will not be a technical review of the various mirrorless cameras that are currently popular.  The major brands all produce excellent images and all have their pros and cons, which will appeal to a wide diversity of photographers.  I probably should have rented my top 3 choices for a hands on experience, but in the end, I made my decision based on several photographers I admire, whose shooting style is similar to mine, and whose criteria for choosing a camera system was the same as my criteria.  They did 'test drive' my top three choices and chose Fuji, and so did I.

When my Fujifilm X-T1 arrived, I was amazed at how compact and light it felt in comparison to my Canon 5D Mark II.  I loved how it fit in my hands, and I loved having dials on top of the camera so I could see at a quick glance what my settings were, instead of having to scroll through pages on an LCD screen.  I thought surely a camera this small could not deliver the quality of images my Canon did.  But I was wrong!  I purchased this camera with the 18-55 kit lens, (which incidentally has great reviews), and forced myself to use only one lens for a year.  Fuji is known for the superior quality of the lenses they produce and I found this to be true.  My images were sharp and beautiful.  In addition, this little camera has more bells and whistles than I will ever use, in fact, everything and more than my Canon.

Although I was impressed and pleased with my Fuji, I wasn't convinced it could possibly be my primary camera.  I was sure I would eventually come across a situation that only my trusted Canon could handle, so when my husband suggested it might be time to sell all my Canon gear, I said absolutely not!!  Why that was almost like asking me to sell my children!  (I may have taken care of my camera almost as if it were one of my children!)

Fast forward another year and I have now upgraded to a Fujifilm X-T2, and have added a 10-24mm wide angle, a 55-200mm telephoto, and a Lensbaby macro lens to my collection, all producing beautiful images.  There are many more Fujifilm lenses to choose from, but for now I am satisfied that I can accommodate a wide range of shooting situations.  Oh, and I have put it all in a very small, very light weight, very reasonably priced, no frills camera backpack made by Lowepro.  To compare weight and size, which were very important considerations for me:  Canon gear with backpack, 20 lbs., 13x18 ins. approximate dimensions; Fuji gear with backpack, 9 lbs., 9x13 ins. dimensions.  What a difference!

Bottom line, I have definitely succeeded in finding a camera system that I love and meets all my criteria!  Now I don't think twice before grabbing my gear to take with me, just in case I run across a great photo op.  And before I plan a photo hike, I don't weigh the 'pros' of being out in nature doing what I love, with the 'cons' of coming home exhausted with an aching back and sore shoulders.  Learning how to use a new camera has forced me out of my comfort zone and given me renewed enthusiasm to improve my photography skills.  To paraphrase an admired photographer who also recently made a similar switch, "it has made taking pictures fun again"!

So if it is time for you to take the plunge and change to a camera system that better meets your current situation and needs, I can tell you it is possible.  You can find a system that fits your personal criteria and shooting style.  It is possible to teach a slightly older but better dog new tricks, and the challenge may result in giving you the incentive to become an even better photographer!

Oh, and by the way, my beloved Canon has not been touched in two years!  The time has finally come to say goodbye and find it a new home!
 Evolution!  I'M THERE!