I tend not to talk about photographic equipment in my blog posts. I’ve had a couple of enquiries about my last post, and which camera and lenses I use.
Initially I used a Micro four thirds camera for 18 months, the Panasonic GF1 with a 15-45mm zoom and 14mm pancake lens. I sold these to buy a Nikon DSLR because I missed not having a viewfinder, and for more control. After 4 years as a Nikon DSLR user I have sold the last of my Nikon kit. A D610 DSLR and a Voigtlander 40mm F2 manual focus lens. The reasons are many, but boil down to two main ones. The performance of Fujifilm sensors and the quality of their lenses. In my previous post I detailed my all to familiar journey through Gear acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.). I’ve been using the Fujifilm X system now for 10 months.
I had two Nikon cameras a DX (APS-C) and FX (Full-Frame) one. The best one I used was the D7100 enthusiast DX model. The major problem I had with it, was the lack of DX specific prime lenses, hence the need to purchase 3rd party lenses. Nikon tend to make lots of 18mm- XXmm zooms, but hardly any small pocketable primes. You can use FX lenses on DX cameras but you then get into the size and weight of Full Frame. I got to the stage where the I just wasn’t using the gear because it was too big and conspicuous for urban / documentary use. I’ve had a couple of compact cameras in that time and tended to use them more often. For me it wasn’t a case of revolution but evolution. The beauty of Fujifilm X is that it’s been designed as a system. In a few years of it being released the lens choices I need are available. I bought the X-T10 camera because I wanted a small body, I liked the XE2 but need a flip screen (Bad knees). The lenses I use are all Fujinon, the 18mm F2, 35mm F2 and 60mm F2.4 are my main prime trio. I also own the 27mm F2.8 pancake and 18-55mm. I sold some Nikkor lenses that I hardly used and a compact camera to fund the purchase of the Fujifilm system and ran it parallel to my Nikon one. It soon became apparent that I was using the Fujifilm 90% and Nikon 10% of the time. So little by little I sold off more Nikkor lenses and ended up with one camera body and one lens.
The 18mm and 35mm (Image above) are great lenses for general use in the street or for loose portrait. They are my general carry if I’m using a bag. I Find the 60mm to be an excellent dedicated portrait lens and can be used as a short tele (Featured image), for me the macro is an added bonus. But the main attributre of this lens is portability it’s 90mm equivalent and pocketable! If I don’t want to take my bag and a couple of lenses, the 27mm allows me to put the camera in my coat pocket. The 27mm gets some criticism due to build quality and lack of an aperture ring. It’s a 40mm F2.8 equivalent, thats pretty fast and it’s tiny, practically a body cap. If you like carrying a few lenses in a backpack then just leave this on the camera body and you’ve got a ‘normal’ lens with hardly any weight or size. The zoom is great in the studio and as a back up, remember it’s well built and F2.8-4, no ordinary “kit” lens. If you don’t want to get a load of primes this is a great option.The camera itself has the things I want to control easily accessible and vitally, visible at a glance. I can look down and see the Shutter Speed, and the aperture on the lens. I can also place the point of Focus anywhere on the screen quickly. I control ISO with the front dial, having the push button functionality makes this a quick, easy option in absence of a dedicated ISO
I’m not a pixel peeper and have been using photoshop, and now Lightroom for years. I used to process an image using multiple layers and plug ins. I don’t want to go into workflow here, that will be another post. Using the Fuji system has allowed me to really cut down the time I spend processing. I shoot RAW, import to Lightroom and apply a Silver Efex preset. The X-Trans sensor requires no sharpening and is excellent for Black and White. The fact it’s an APS-C sensor has never been an issue, I’ve used Full Frame, but for people/ street use the X-Trans sensor is the best I’ve seen.
Regarding Nikon, they are great cameras, but were too large for me and not system focused unless you want to invest in Full Frame. I don’t shoot Sports or Wildlife and have arthritis, my finger joints and wrists. I therefore value quality in a relatively small package.