Why I sold my DSLR and switch to Fuji

Back when I was preparing for my trip to Nepal, I realised that I was not looking forward to lugging my DSLR around with me. Back then my workhorse was my Nikon D7000. This is a brilliant camera that I had owned for over a year but which I was using less and less. For any of you out there with DSLRs you have to admit that lugging them around with a decent lens on them is a bit of a pain. It is also not the best for street photography as people see you coming from a mile away.

I had my eye set on a Leica M9 back then but they were/are prohibitively expensive. A second hand Leica plus a decent 50mm lens would set you back at least 5000€. I was doing all sorts of mental justification to try to convince myself I could afford one when I stumbled across Zack Arias’s post on the Fuji X-Pro1 (see here). While I will admit that he is not the most unbiased of reviewers, he did manage to pique my curiosity. At that time a new X-Pro1 with a 35mm lens and a free 18mm lens were going for 1500€. This was more in my price range though still a lot of money to spend on  a camera!

I started reading up on the Fuji X cameras and the more I read the more I was convinced it was the camera for me. Not only was the image quality one of the best out there in low light (when I do a lot of my day to day shooting) but Fuji was continuously upgrading the firmware of the cameras and adding new features that the customers wanted. When I saw someone selling one on-line for 900€ I pounced and bought it.

One of my first pictures with my new camera

One of my first pictures with my new camera

 

What I love

The thing that first impressed me about the X-Pro1 is its size and shape. It fits perfectly in my hand and all the controls are within easy reach. I own the 35mm f1.4  and 18mm f2 lenses and the whole pack fits easily into a very small bag. For my entire trip to Nepal I could carry all my electronics gear in an over the shoulder carrier bag. This would have been impossible with my DSLR. 

I also love the control set-up. All the functionality I need is easily adjustable without having to delve into any menus. This makes me forget about settings and just focus on taking pictures. Add to that the highly innovative combination of optical and electronic viewfinder and I’m almost back to shooting film but with infinite (almost) film!

The combination of size and almost silent operation volume means it is great for street photography, theatre photography and anywhere else where you don’t wish to be seen taking pictures. As I can easily shoot with extremely high ISO with almost no loss of quality I do not need to use a flash and can capture great candid shots without ever being seen.

The thing I love the most and which still blows me away every day is the quality of the images I get from this camera. I don’t know what kind of witchcraft the people at Fuji did but this camera produces the best images I have seen. The colour and dynamic range in these files is hard to understand. Add to that the outstanding quality of the Fuji X lenses and it’s hard to get a bad picture!

Look at those colours!

Look at those colours!

 

What could be better

Don’t get me wrong, not everything is perfect with this camera! The focusing is sometimes hit and miss, you do need to pre-focus or be patient but it is getting better with every firmware upgrade. You will also sometimes end up focusing on the wrong thing, especially when focusing close and using the Optical Viewfinder. I would never recommend this camera for a sports photographer.

The battery life is also pretty bad, especially when used to a DSLR. I carry around 3 spare batteries and have to switch them out every 150 shots or so which is not great.

Most of these quirks are easy to work around and not much of an issue for street photography. They have also mostly been addressed in the X100S which I also now own (more on that in a future post).

While still a nice picture, I would have loved to have the focus on the eye where I pointed at!

Still a nice picture but I would have loved to have the focus on the eye where I wanted it!

 

Conclusion

As I gave away in my title, I have finally taken the step and sold my Nikon DSLR. It wasn’t an easy decision but I realised I had not used it a single day since I bought my Fuji. I am currently in the process of selling most of my old lenses as well as my big, cumbersome carry bags. I am keeping my sigma 105 macro lens as I have an adapter to use it on my Fuji and it works like a charm.

I am now a convinced user of the Fuji X system of cameras and am saving up to get my hands on the 56mm f1.2 lens sometime in the future. If you have any questions on this camera please feel free to let me know below.

Did I mention it's discreet and quiet?

Did I mention it’s discreet and quiet?

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8 responses to “Why I sold my DSLR and switch to Fuji

  1. Changing brand, or in this case changing system, is often a hard and costly move. I was at the same boat as you when I feel that even a D90 and small prime like 24mm 2.8 is too big and heavy to carry around all day. I also found Fujifilm X series interesting, but couldn’t justify myself changing to another system if I haven’t sold the Nikons. I don’t want to end up with two systems haha…

    I bought a used Ricoh GRD III and never used the Nikons ever since. 1.5 years later, upgrade to Ricoh GR. I still can’t sell the Nikons without dropping the prices and feel bad about it. So, in the end, I still end up with two “systems”. I think the damage (in cost) is still less than if I get the Fujis, which is good for me 🙂 .

    Hope you enjoy your decision. If I have the money, I probably would do the same thing.

    • I agree that changing system is a big step and can feel traumatic. I was lucky enough to have the money to move into the fujis and am very happy.

      My thought process around selling my nikon gear was that the longer I waited, the less money I would get. I took a good hard look at the use I was getting out of my nikon gear and realised there was not a single photo outing I had done in the last year that I couldn’t have done with the fuji.

      Thanks for the comment and I hope I don’t have to regret this decision in the future!

    • Glad you liked it. 🙂

      As I said it has its quirks so it might require a bit of adjustment but once you get the hang of it you will be very happy! I would highly recommend getting the 35mm lens, the quality is on the level with the best from any other manufacturer.

      Let me know if you do get it!

  2. A really interesting read, thank you. 🙂 I too have fallen for the beauty, ease of use and quality of the Fuji X series (X100S). I would love to make the full switch but sadly need my 5D mkii and lenses for video work. If Fuji added full manual video controls to their cameras, I would love to change over to them. At the moment though it’s Canon for work, Fuij for travel/personal work. Would still love an interchangeable Fuji though.. one day!

    • Thanks for the comment Jak. It’s true that the vide functionality is lagging in these cameras.. Truth be told I have never once used the video recording functionality on any of my serious cameras so it’s not something I miss.

      I think Fuji make a great product for photographers and they add the video functionality in there as a kind of afterthought, even the placing in the menus makes me think that.

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