Ever since I saw the Fuji x100 and then the newer Fuji x100s camera, I wanted one. They just looked so cool with their retro looks. When I came to sell all my Sony DSLR equipment I nearly went for the fixed lens Fuji x100s but instead I decided to go for the Fuji X-Pro1 with a few lenses to still give me some flexibility. It was a tough decision though. The more I used the X-Pro1, I realised that I was pretty much only ever using the excellent Fuji 35mm f1.4 lens with it, so did I really need the flexibility of several lens options I thought I did. As it turns out, no, I didn’t.
It was a few months after getting the Fuji X-Pro1 that I was fortunate to be in a position to add the Fuji x100s to my camera collection. I guess I became a Fuji fan boy having gone from the x20 to the X-Pro1 and then to the x100s. I still have the X-Pro1 though, it’s still a fantastic camera.
So how has my photography changed over this last year with the switch to a mirrorless system, fixed lens and compact form factor?
Well, I have to say, it’s injected a lot more motivation and inspiration into my photography. Before, with my DSLR, I’d shoot a bit of wildlife (or zoo life):
A bit of motorsports:
And a bit of macro:
But not many people pictures for some reason.
Several very different disciplines. While the images are ok and I was pleased with them when I took them, I wouldn’t class them as great. They certainly didn’t get me a job at National Geographic or a Formula One pass to travel the world. With all these different disciplines, I never really concentrated on one area of photography, and I think that is why I don’t think they are that great. I did lots of things OK, but not one thing really well. That’s just my opinion anyway.
The Fuji x100s, and the Fuji X-Pro1, have given me that focus, they have let me concentrate on an area of photography I have been growing more and more interested in, street photography. I no longer worry about motor sports or wildlife that tend to favour long zooms or telephoto prime lenses. I still take the odd landscape with the Fujis, the wide angle lenses are still handy for that, but it’s not something I choose to do often.
The extra motivation these cameras have given me has inspired me to go on workshops, such as the Street Photography Workshop with Eric Kim towards the end of 2014, I’ve been on a Liverpool Photo Walk organised by Matt Hart in early 2015, I’ve shot several events for the company I work for including Christmas and Summer parties, promotional events for Preloved.co.uk and IWOOT and I’m planning a lot more. So I can honestly say that in the last year, since moving to Fuji cameras, I’ve done more photography that I’ve really enjoyed and learnt more about photography than I did when I was using a DSLR.
I just want to add here, that I could be saying the same thing if I’d chosen a different mirrorless brand with similar features, it just happens that I chose Fuji.
So what are these cameras like to use compared to a DSLR?
Well, the first and obvious thing is their size and weight. They are about half the size, and well under half the weight. The lens is a big contributor to the weight of any camera, but the smaller lenses I now use, or the fixed lens on the x100s have helped reduce the weight of what I have to carry around massively with no reduction in quality. In fact, the lenses I now use are better than those I had on my DSLR, and they are cheaper too. Win win.
So with reduction in size and weight comes the next big change. I’m far more inconspicuous when I’m taking photos with these cameras. I should point out that I am 6’4″ tall, so I’ll always stand out unless I’m photographing an NBA Basketball match, but now I haven’t got a big camera in front of my face with a big lens. I’ve got a compact sized camera that still lets people see my face behind it. Unfortunate for some people, but it lets me engage in conversion easier when I’m doing street portraits for instance, it’s made me enjoy taking photos of people a whole lot more than when I was using a bigger camera:
As with most camera these days, ISO performance is so much better than it was when I bought my DSLR. How does this improve things? Well it means you have to worry less about your camera settings and can concentrate more on taking the photo. What would be a bit of a noisy image at ISO 800 on my DSLR, is now perfectly usable with my Fuji cameras. ISO 3200 can still be very usable with these cameras too so I can now take photos in a lot more places and conditions than I used to.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m a big guy with big banana hands, so small cameras are often tricky to use. These Fuji cameras weren’t the easiest to get used to straight away but after some use they don’t feel small and awkward to use. I can reach all the dials and buttons I need to. While they aren’t instinctive to me yet, I’m getting there so hopefully soon changing the settings will be second nature and I can spend more time composing the shot and talking to my subjects rather than fiddling with my camera.
I don’t want to get into too many technical aspects of the cameras. The Fuji cameras that I own are both very capable cameras, they produce high quality images and have all the bells and whistles that a serious amateur or professional photographer could need. The same could be said for so many different cameras nowadays it really isn’t important to get too caught up with minor technical aspects that forums are full of, just get a camera, get a memory card and get out there and take photos! That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. The Fuji cameras always do well in reviews against other cameras. Fuji keeps them ticking over with firmware updates and they will be more than enough for me for several years to come, even when newer models come out, there would have to be a very good reason for me to upgrade. Right now, I’d rather spend my money on travel to take me to places to take photos. That’s much more fun!
So should you be using a mirrorless camera?
Well, I’m not going to tell you to sell all your DSLR and go out and buy a Fujifilm X100T Digital Camera
or another mirrorless camera system… but if you do, please use my affiliate links, thanks, it all helps keep this web site going!
If you are deciding what camera to buy, then I’d strongly suggest you consider a mirrorless system. Look at the type of photography you want to do and see if these smaller camera systems suit your needs. You certainly won’t regret the lighter load to carry around.
Am I happy I moved to Fuji cameras?
Yes! Most definitely yes! I just wish I’d done it earlier.
I’d be really interested to hear what you all think of the mirrorless camera system. Have you made the jump from a DSLR? Have you gone back to DSLR after trying a different type of camera? Let me know. Maybe we can do an article on your experiences too.