It’s been a long time since I last posted. Lots have been going on though. I want to give you some thoughts on what has been happening over the last two years. I am shooting editorial stock images now, for my business, so this post is centered around that genre.
I switched to mirrorless to save on weight and size as I’ve gotten older. I have not missed my DSLR’s. When I switched to mirrorless I first went with a complete Fujifilm system, using the X-E2 and X-T1. I’ve since owned and shot with an X-Pro2 and X-T2. I briefly went back to Nikon DSLR’s, D750 and then D500, after some disappointment with the Fuji’s.
The X-E2 produced fabulous images but the shutter lag was quite annoying and it was not weather sealed so the sensor became dirty just about on day one. The X-T1 also produced excellent images since it had the same sensor and processor as the X-E2. However, I had purchased the X-T1 about two weeks after it’s introduction and the focusing process was terrible. Later improvements were made but by then I was fed up. The X-Pro2 was a cool camera but I hated the EVF and I never used the optical viewfinder.
So I went back to Nikon DSLR’s but trying the somewhat lighter D750 and then the D500. Long story short, when the Nikon Z 7 came out I bought one through NPS the day they were released. I needed a smaller, lighter, camera that produced excellent images that were good enough to license for advertising and editorial use. I ended up with the “kit” lens, 24-70mm f4 S Nikkor.
The Nikon Z 7 is just an awesome camera. Sure there are some things I wish Nikon had incorporated into the camera but still, the camera is a joy to use. It has a fabulous 45MP sensor which gives me tremendous leverage in taking editorial images. I frequently can’t get into the exact spot I want to get the shot I want. Being able to crop into the image to get what I am looking for is a huge benefit. Nikon has a “DX” crop mode one can switch to which in essence does the cropping for you. That comes in very handy. In essence this converts my 24-70mm f4 S lens into a 24-105mm f4 lens. The cropped images come in at 20MP which is more than enough for publication. The image below was shot at the 105mm equivalent focal length.
One other thing to say about the Nikon Z 7 is it’s low light, high ISO, ability. Okay, at 45MP it does not hold up to it’s little brother, the 24MP Z 6 at full resolution. However, if you downsize your image to 24MP I don’t think anyone can tell the difference, at high ISO, up to and including 12,800 ISO. Take a look at the following images. All shot over 1600 ISO. Sure they are down-res’d but one rarely needs more than 12MP for print or Web use, which is my primary audience.
Now, why on earth would I be talking about the Fuji X-T3 in the same breath as the Nikon Z 7? Good question. There is something about the Fuji experience that is difficult to pin down. I love the colors and the choices one has. I also love the simplicity of the cameras. On a recent trip to Destin Florida I decided to rent, (Lensrentals.com), a Fujifilm X-T3 with the awesome “kit” lens, (18-55mm f2.8-4 OIS). I go to the Destin area quite a bit for stock images and I thought I would see what I could get with the new X-T3. I owned an X-T2 briefly but sold it because I could not trust the focusing system. Maybe I had a bad unit but it missed a lot of images. I was constantly getting soft, slightly out of focus images. I had read the focusing system on the X-T3 was improved so I took it along with me.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I noticed the flip out screen was easier to use in the portrait orientation, something my Z 7 doesn’t even offer and a few other minor things that were nice to see. It seemed more customizable. It of course is even lighter and smaller than my Z 7 which is not a bad thing. I shot mostly in RAW + Jpeg in the Astia film simulation, (my favorite). The following images are mostly RAW conversions in Capture One Pro 12 unless otherwise stated. Unless otherwise stated they are Astia film simulation.
Bottom line, I’m keeping both camera systems (I bought an X-T3 with the kit lens). Weather permitting, I’m traveling to the Alabama gulf coast later in the month to photograph a few places I’ve wanted to get to for a while. I’m taking both the Fuji X-T3 and the Nikon Z 7. I will be renting the awesome 50-140mm f2.8 Fuji lens for the trip. Why not the Nikkor version? Well I want to see what the Fuji can do and it’s almost half the price of a the F-mount 70-200mm f2.8 Nikkor. It’s also half the size and weight! I’ll try to get a blog post up showing the results of my trip.
The Fuji is a joy to use as is the Nikon. But, it’s smaller and lighter and less conspicuous than the Nikon. When I need to shoot in a high ISO or very low (64) ISO I certainly will choose the Z 7. It is just a better choice. But when just walking around to see what I can see, I think the Fuji X-T3 will be my choice. And, it reminds me of my very first SLR, a Nikkormat FTn. [APS-C vs FX (full frame): For my use the only difference I can see at this point is high ISO or very low (64) ISO use. Otherwise, there is no difference.]