TALKING IMAGES 20 – I’VE BOUGHT A NEW CAMERA! (AND IS AN X-T2 COMING SOON?)

 

 

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WHY THE EXCLAMATION MARK?

You might wonder why the first part of this post’s title ends with an exclamation mark.  Well, for quite sometime now, I have been wedded to my full-frame Nikon gear, and before that, in the years 2005-9, I also did quite a lot of Nikon film photography.  And – let’s be very sure about this – my Nikon gear still rings all my bells, I love using it, it is a real pleasure to use, and it produces the goods, even in difficult photographic conditions.

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But – and there’s always a ‘but’, isn’t there – its quite big and heavy gear, but (again!) this is only really a factor when I’m carrying it for hours around cities etc – and even then good Op/Tech neckstraps and cheap rucksacks take most of the strain.  And since I’m not a believer in carrying many lenses around with me, so as to be ready for absolutely any photographic eventuality, I usually carry just one, or at most two, “bits of glass”.

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But I’m not getting any younger so (a) weight of gear might become any issue in the future, and (b) if I’m going to try a completely new camera system, why wait? >>> why don’t I just get on with it?  I do after all have a nerdy side that delights in finding its way through complex camera menus and manuals, and this might be a challenge that even sees me starting (or should that be, trying to start???) to use Adobe Lightroom or Camera Raw!  If nothing else, it will be something of an adventure – and a core feeling of mine is that its always better to have tried something and failed, then not to have tried it at all.

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So, this Thursday, I bought a Fujifilm X-T1 camera, and a lens.
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DOES SIZE MATTER?

The pictures here show one of my full-frame Nikons, the quite large(!) D800, alongside the X-T1.  The Nikon is fitted with the lens that I am absolutely married to, the 70-300, with which I have taken vast numbers of pictures.  The X-T1 has the 55-200 lens, which is (roughly) this format’s equivalent to the 70-300 (of which more below).

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No prizes for guessing which is which.  The D800 is big, its body alone is as heavy as the X-T1 plus its lens.  Total weights, with these equivalent lenses, are 1,630gm as against 1,006gm.  And this is the largest Fuji lens I plan on getting (if I buy any more – again, see below), whereas several of my Nikon’s Nikkors are chunkier / heavier than the 70-300.
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CHANGING FORMAT – THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

During my final few years of shooting film, I was using a Nikon F6, mostly for shooting colour (and some black and white) 35mm transparencies.  And I was not at all enthusiastic about  changing to digital because nothing that I could afford looked like giving me the quality that the F6 – the last of Nikon’s great F Series professional film cameras – almost effortlessly churned out.  But all of that changed with the arrival of Nikon’s D700 – and in the blink of an eye I became a totally committed digital photographer >>> not least because all of my F6’s Nikkor lenses fitted the D700 too >>> AND because since the D700 is full-frame (35mm) frame too, they would behave in exactly the same way on the D700 as they did on the F6 – way to go, man, oh way to go!!!

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However, this is NOT the case with the X-T1, because it has a sensor smaller than full-frame, an APS-C sensor (which Nikon terms DX format), which will have two distinct effects.  First, were I contemplating using my Nikon lenses on the X-T1 (which I have no idea is even possible), the X-T1’s smaller sensor would increase all of my Nikkors’ focal lengths by 1.5 times so that, for example, the 70-300 would become a 105-450 zoom – which is fine if I want longer telephotos, but not so great if I value (and I do!) my very wide angle lenses (eg the 12-24, which would become an 18-36).

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AND, second, because the X-T1’s sensor is smaller than full-frame, it will increase all of my Nikkors’ depths of field (aka depths of focus) >>> which is great if I’m into pics with great depths of focus, but not so great if I’m after only small amounts of my images (eg portraits) in focus, with oodles of great bokeh all around.  Full-frame is really good for shallow depth of focus, and smaller sensors can only reply to it via expensive, heavy, large aperture (eg f1.2, f1.4) lenses, or longer focal lengths.  How I will get on with is an unknown, but its going to interesting trying.

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VIEWS ON THE X-T1 SO FAR?

Its looks good, and I seem to be able to configure it into working in the way that the Nikons do.  Amongst other things, the big electronic viewfinder, the first EVF I’ve used, is excellent.

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I’m impressed by Fujifilm’s attention to detail, both in terms of the camera and its accessories and manuals – it all reminds me of the advent of the diminutive and groundbreaking Olympus OM System, including the sensational OM-1 SLR, all those years ago, and that is praise indeed.  And its also a coincidence that the X-T1 is made by Fujifilm, because they were also the manufacturers of the truly wonderful films (eg Provia 400X and Neopan 1600) that I so loved using during my last film days.

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But the digital world hurtles on, and I would put money on the advent of an X-T2 in the near future.  Why?  Well, first, the X-T1 is bring discounted – there is £100 cashback from Fujifilm.  AND, the X-T1’s stablemate, the X-PRO1 (the design of which doesn’t get to me at all), has just been updated to the X-PRO2, with various advances that include a new sensor that enables RAW shooting up to 51,000 ISO.  I’ll be amazed if an X-T2 doesn’t appear soon – but I’m happy to buy its forerunner more cheaply.

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SO, A SEA CHANGE???

So, what of the future for my happy snapping?  Possible outcomes are (1) stay with Nikon and bin the X-T1; (2) or vice versa; (3) or continue using both of them.  Time will tell.

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CAMERA WARS

I can sense my Nikons’ unease around this smaller newcomer.  And, just now, when I used the D700 to picture the D800 beside the newcomer,  I could also picture the D800 seeing the D700 aiding and abetting my dirty work and murmuring “Et tu, Brute, then fall Caesar!”.  Ah, the benefits of a misspent classical education …

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About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

23 Responses to TALKING IMAGES 20 – I’VE BOUGHT A NEW CAMERA! (AND IS AN X-T2 COMING SOON?)

  1. datz says:

    Very interesting post. I have just sold off my old Canon 30D and assorted Canon lenses. I’ve gone for a Nikon D3300 which hit the right spot for me as regards portability and image quality. I had a LUMIX bridge for a few years and had used that a lot as the Canon was so heavy.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, datz! I can very well understand the reasons for getting the D3300, its wonderfully light, portable and competent – my neighbour has one. As of right now, I’m not sure exactly where – if at all – this X-T1 is going to fit unto my photography – although if weight of gear becomes an issue there’s no question of its worth. But I’ve yet to take the X-T1 on a real “photographic outing”, and doing that will probably firm up my thoughts. Thanks again. Adrian 🙂

      Like

  2. Helen Cherry says:

    Very interesting Adrian.. I have a couple of months to think about which mirrorless I am going to get.. all I know for sure is that I am definitely getting one 😉

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Well do have a good look round, the number of models these days is bewildering. I’m tussling with the X-T1 – the chap in London Camera Exchange says that Fujifilm cameras do some things in strange ways and I’ll drink to that. But, undeniably, mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter than DSLRs – must say I’m very impressed with the X-T1’s electronic viewfinder. A 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. LensScaper says:

    I will be very interested to hear how you get on with this new camera. I too feel the days of lugging round a chunky Nikon plus two lenses may be drawing to a close, and my faithful Canon G10 also really should be replaced with something newer. But what to buy? I find myself completely bewildered by the choice and the conflicting opinions.

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      I’m absolutely with you, Andy, I’m completely bewildered by all that’s out there too. My choice of the X-T1 derives from numerous good write-ups here and there, the fact that does NOT have one of the very small sensors that are around these days, and also that Fuji are giving £100 cashback at present. I still like my Nikon gear very, very much, and I’m just trying this smaller camera out to see how it goes. You may remember that also have a Canon G11, but I don’t seem to be doing so much with that now. The Fuji takes a little getting used to, but I’ll see how it goes. One point is that I’m keen to use its RAW files, but that my version of Elements (v11) won’t open them – I may go the whole hog and get Lightroom, although, for my Nikon pics, I’m still very happy using a combination of Capture NX2 and Nik software at present. Adrian

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      • LensScaper says:

        Are you familiar with Adobe’s DNG converter? It’s a free piece of software that converts camera specific RAW files into ‘generic’ RAW files and often in the process creates slightly smaller file sizes, but crucially it gets round the problem of software that doesn’t recognize all the potential RAW files out there. May well solve the problem. I’ve never used Lightroom, all my work is done in Photoshop which is now on a subscription basis – £8.57 per month. You also get Lightroom within the same Sub. I’d be lost without it.

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        • Adrian Lewis says:

          Andy, this is very good to know, its just the sort of info I need re this new camera – thank you! I have heard of the DNG (= digital negative?) converter but had thought no more about it – it may well be a way forward here. The Adobe subscription sounds reasonable – presumably you download the packages over the net, and continue to have the ability to do so should your computer give up the ghost – and are updates to the software made automatically across the net too? I have a feeling that Lightroom is for me. Thank you for your help. Adrian

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          • LensScaper says:

            Speaking as a Mac user, I get a prompt on screen to say updates to Photoshop CC are available to download and then I do them manually. The sub also allows me to hold two copies – one for the Macbook and one for an iMac. I’ve no idea what happens if your computer ‘dies’ and you have to replace it. And you are right with your interpretation of DNG.

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  4. bluebrightly says:

    You should go all the way and get a nice little wide angle lens, reducing your size even more…I love my 20mm Lumix f1.7 – it lets loads of light in and is very sharp. I know Nikon is pure quality, but I bet you’ll be happy with smaller gear, once you get used to the new system – sounds like you are already loving figuring it all out! You can look into whether getting an adapter makes sense – maybe those fav Nikon lenses can be used with one. There are so many routes to go these days, eh?

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yeah there are many routes, its quite bewildering really. I’m going to see how I get on with this new camera and one lens, and if things go well, get at least a couple more lenses, one of which will be a wide angle 15mm-36mm (35mm equivalent) zoom. I wouldn’t want to use the Nikon lenses, they’re too big for this camera, the whole set up would lack balance. I have a feeling I will like this smaller camera, it wouldn’t surprise me. 🙂

      Like

  5. My mum has a Pentax and she changes formats for pictures she wants

    Like

  6. You are hysterical! Your cameras are like models on Project Runway! Your knowledge of this picturesque equipment floors me. Have fun, no matter which size you go with. ❤️ A jealous admirer. ❤️📸📷📸

    Like

  7. Sallyann says:

    Sigh…
    Because sighs do matter. 😊

    Enjoy your new toy. 😀

    Like

  8. paula graham says:

    Interesting indeed, I shall keep my eyes focussed on your posts shot with the Fuji…and how it works for you in low light, mist and murk.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Well I’ve been playing around with it in low light, and its AF response seems very good, which us what the write-ups say. And – my first experience of an electronic viewfinder – I had the novel experience of pointing it into the corner of a darkened room, where my eyes could see nothing, and then seeing detail of the corner though the viewfinder – which I have to say was quite a thing! A

      Like

  9. JustOneDay says:

    Only a month ago I exchanged my Canon 400D for the Fuji XT1. Before buying it I was thinking of buying a Nikon, but ended buying the smaller Fuji XT1. I went to a trip to Japan with one lens only, the small pancake lens and this is probably what made the decision for me. With that pancake lens I was able to take most of the shots I wanted (sometimes I did miss the zoom, but not too often), and it was very easy to carry it around with me all the time. I am still learning to use it, still discovering some features, but I am happy with my decision as for what I need it this is the perfect camera now. It is growing on me with every shot 🙂

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thanks for this, its very interesting to hear. I can very well imagine that the XT1 plus a pancake lens would be a very light and compact, go-anywhere camera – a camera to take everywhere. As to the XT1 being “perfect”, well that’s something I can imagine too – I’m looking forward to finding out! Thanks very much for your thoughts. Adrian 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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