I’ve been behind the camera for twelve years this year…
And all of those years have been with Canon brand cameras, until recent. Within the past month, I’ve finally made the incredible switch to Fujifilm XT3 cameras, and I’m SO beyond glad I did. The learning curve hasn’t been too steep and the reward of shooting images I absolutely LOVE on a system I adore based on all of the things below FAR outweigh the ‘industry standard’ nonsense that comes from shooting Canon or Nikon.
My new Fujifilm gear setup for a wedding day consists of:
Two Fuji xt3 bodies
23mm f2 lens
90mm f2 lens
Here’s a little dive in to what swayed me in to switching:
For those of you who know the world of DSLR’s, for basically ever Nikon & Canon have run the game. These non-mirrorless systems are iconic for their weight, size, and being workhorses for any type of photography. Prior to my switch, I was toting the 5d Mark IV around for 8-10 hour stints at weddings, plus the weight of the not-so-dainty 35mm and the lens burrito 70-200mm. Carrying 4-6 lbs on either side of me (I always shoot dual cameras at a wedding) that would constantly bang against my already bony hips caused for what us in the wedding industry call ‘the wedding hangover’ to be a weekly occurrence. The “wedding hangover” is the feeling wedding photographers get the day after a wedding, absolutely drained of emotion, exhausted and incredibly sore from lugging around all of that weight for a full day.
The weight of Fuji is a FRACTION of what it was with Canon. My fuji system is also much less invasive, and allows me to virtually be anywhere without being disruptive or intimidating because of it’s size. I also have the X100F for my personal work, which is incredibly small and I just throw it in my purse on a daily basis to take pictures of day-to-day life during outings.
On the topic of not being invasive, Fujifilm XT3 allows me to silence the shutter, and it’s typical mechanical shutter is EXTREMELY quiet. This is fantastic for moments like getting ready, or the ceremony when I really want to be semi-invisible in order to get the shot without distraction or making my couples camera-aware with the sound of button bashing. I really love the ability to shoot without anyone knowing that I am shooting. My couples don’t even know I’m clicking the button and I still can get moments without them feeling like a deer in the headlights.
Electronic View Finder
The Electronic viewfinder was a HUGE selling point for me. Often on my Canon cameras, I would have to choose my settings, take a few test shots, and then chimp in the back (chimping is basically the dropping of your camera to look at your screen mid-shoot so you can scroll through your images and make sure your settings are correct). With Fuji, my viewfinder shows me what my image will look like WITH the settings I have chosen in real time. This means I don’t have to take the camera away from my eye to test my settings, I can just pick up and go. You’d be SO surprised how much time this saves, and how much less of an idiot I feel like without the need to constantly stare at the back of my camera right before big moments.
Fun to shoot on
Guys, these cameras are FUN! I come from a film based background originally, and so most of my history with cameras is based on understanding how to be intentional about settings. While Canon was great for adjusting on the fly, Fuji is built with the film camera anatomy in mind, I find that it really slows me down and makes me think about what i’m doing before I actually do it – I am being WAY more intentional about anticipating the shot instead of just holding down my shutter and hoping for the best. Plus, it’s important to me to shoot on a system that I enjoy shooting on all the time. Picking up my XT3 is a no brainer for every day pictures of things in my life, whereas my 5D Mark IV was heavy and unenjoyable to lug around. When my husband and I honeymooned last summer in Spain for a month, I brought it along and yet barely picked it up at all as it was an eyesore for traveling in locations we had to be cautious about our belongings, and was just too heavy and bulky to justify taking on day trips around cities.
Color Profiles/Feels like film
On that note, Fuji is an expert in color mastery. Their film color profiles are virtually perfect to shoot on and anticipate exactly how to edit, while in camera. No more ugly Canon files straight out of camera, I set my camera film profile before even shooting (I shoot in Classic Chrome or Pro Neg Hi!) and it allows me to see what an image will look like before post. Then, I just jump on Lightroom and select the profiles that I was shooting on originally for BEAUTIFUL and anticipated post processing. That being said, it’s also changed my editing style A. LOT. I am finding myself leaning towards more true to color edits and styles that feel much more like film.
Another fun feature that I love is the ability to see through the viewfinder in black and white if I wish, in order to allow myself to stop worrying about color and light choices and strictly focus on composition. This has been so great for me to understand where my eye goes in any given composition, and get better and seeing a scene for it’s beauty before worrying about the color rendering or style it will be delivered with.
Mirrorless speed & customization
This goes without saying, but MIRRORLESS IS FAST. The focus time feels to be about half what it was on my DSLR. It’s done fantastically in lower light situations, and I really love everything about mirrorless technology. Also, Fuji makes their cameras HIGHLY customizable, I can set almost any dial to do anything so that I feel comfortable knowing where each setting is able to be changed.
I’ve also heard a few rebuttals to issues that others have had with the idea of switching to the Fuji system, here’s what I have to say about those:
“I won’t be taken seriously as a photographer if I don’t have a massive camera or a name brand like Canon or Nikon”
This is more your concern of an outward response from people who typically know nothing about photography. If you’re a professional, be a professional. It is not up to outside opinions how well you do your job, and I can rest assured that these cameras can absolutely handle the caliber of work that I was doing on my 5D Mark IV, and then some. Also, the tool is just that- a tool. Shooting Canon or Nikon won’t make you a ‘better’ photographer for the size and status of it. I’ve actually found huge benefit from the camera being smaller, as it allows me to virtually go anywhere without question or hesitation if i’m going to be disruptive or invasive.
“It’s crop sensor, I need to shoot full frame”
In all honesty, I barely notice the difference at all from the crop sensor. I just shoot on the equivalent lenses (x1.5 of the crop sensor lens to get the equivalent.) So, instead of a 35mm lens, I shoot on a 23mm lens. Instead of the 135, I shoot on it’s equivalent of the 90mm lens. Also, you really don’t lose that much bokeh or the ‘creamy’ look that so many photographers love. Also also – there are more aperture options than just 1.4 – using them to tell more of the story allows you to push yourself WAY more. Gone are the days of using bokeh as a crutch for a beautiful image.
“Batteries drain so much faster than a DSLR on a mirrorless system”
Okay fine, this one is definitely true. I go through about 1 battery every 90 minutes or so with Fuji. But there are a few ways to preserve your battery life that I practice with my Fuji Cameras. First off, I make sure to turn off my cameras between shooting. I did this on Canon anyway, but its a good practice to begin doing no matter your system. Second, I keep batteries in my pockets at all times, and carry a charger with me so I can keep some batteries charging after I’ve used them up. Honestly, i’m even considering getting a fanny pack for the rest of my season for both batteries and cards (hip. I know). It’s just become part of the trade off for shooting Fuji over Canon and it’s not as big of a deal as you think if you’re prepared!
If you’re a professional photographer considering the jump, I definitely recommend renting the XT3 and playing around with it. If you’re just looking for a camera for fun or blogging, you should certainly check out the Fuji x100f. If you all have any questions Fuji related, definitely don’t hesitate to ask!