What to do??
I decided it was time to explore different ways and technologies for my photography. For the last who knows how long, every time i have have taken a photo it has been with a dslr with a battery grip and a very large lens. I have been a Nikon user since the release of the D300 and i love the images i got from my D700. But shooting weddings or portraits usually means a camera bag, 2 x cameras, 4 lenses and 2 x flash!! All this without the consideration of a monopod or tripod and in some cases a pair of steps!!!
I felt i was possibly loosing my love to take photos for me, when going out i would consider the equipment i would want to take and possibly use. Instead I wanted the ability to pick up a camera put it in a lightweight bag and go out and enjoy myself. Yes I deliberated as to whether to change my style and lenses, my Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 for a 24mm prime or my 70-200m 2.8 for a 100mm prime and ditch the battery grip!! This would have made some lightening of the load, but what about when on holiday for instance? Well no not really, I still would be carting around equipment that I on another day would be shooting a wedding with but feel over equipt!! What i wanted was the holy grail, pro quality images in something the size of which could be carried everywhere and anywhere.
Whats out there??
So options???? Well to be honest i have been searching for a while for an alternative something that would fit these requirements. I think my interests got tweaked first by the Fuji X100, which opened up a new train of thought for me. I read reviews and blogs with a fair amount of pixel peeping. Yes the camera has its faults, its niggles and you have to invest time to understand how it works but most who accept these things fell in love completely with it. Its image quality was astounding and as such probably could equal my D700 (maybe not at hi iso). The major draw back was the fixed focal length, tho not a problem i felt it may restrict me (tho i do plan to aquire one soon).
Next came the announcement of the Sony nex-7 with its 24.3 megapixel sensor and interchangeable lenses. Now this on paper was very close to what i wanted, interchangeable lenses and a sensor which should be able resolve images close to what i want. I looked in to reviews and sought opinions from photographers that had tested it. Two issues concerned me tho, lenses and amount of options and buttons. Lenses because I heard several confusing opinions concerning size and quality. With that many megapixels the quality of glass has to be paramount, without which it wouldnt make any sense. Also a big issue for me was the amount of options and buttons on the camera, to me felt very consumer orientated aim to cover all bases. I have know doubt about the quality and my hands on experience proved that to be true also but is it a walkabout/professional option?? Again i had to say no.
So what next? What else is there to cover my needs? Well I next looked at 4/3 (four thirds). Several options were standing out as possible options here. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1, The Olympus OM-D E-M5 and others but no point listing here. Although very impressed with the quality of the Panasonic and the range of good lenses available the lack of view finder was an instant no no. The Olympus on the other hand was totally different, although not even out to test or try. The design on its own was enough to attract my attention, combined with a healthy existing amount of lens options already available. Build in 5 axis image stabilisation making this package very very tempting. So why not go for it? Well the Fujifilm X-Pro1!!! Having already seen the quality from the X100 i really needed to see how this camera would handle and perform. From what i could tell it was going to be the big brother to the X100 but with a new sensor and interchangeable lenses.
I got my hands on the camera for an half hour from my local camera shop (Comley Cameras, Cleethorpes, Lincs). They kindly allowed me to go on a walkabout and test the camera with a couple of lenses, allowing me to get a feel and a basic idea of what the camera was about. The day was overcast and a slight threat of rain was in the air, I had already read issues and worries concerning focusing but didnt have a problem. I also was surprised how much i liked the ease i was able to set it to how i wanted it, from the shutter speed dial to the f stop ring on the lenses, even the menu system seemed straight forward to me. Comley’s gave me a small shoulder bag and I easily fitted the camera and two lenses inside, no heavy equipment or baggage this time!!! I took some photos of the pier and tested how well i could get images of people as i walked around.
30 minutes was enough! I walked back in to the shop and went for the camera and the 3 available lenses (though i had to wait for the 60mm). Why??? Because the images i got from this camera were as good as my D700 and the high iso was good enough for my needs. The fact i can carry 3 lenses in a bag i can carry all day and not feel it makes me smile with the thought.
Is it capable of doing a professional job, a wedding maybe? Ill be exploring that question next and deciding, I know the image quality is there but can the focusing issues and handling cope? My initial feeling is yes!!
The above images are my first using the X-Pro1
p.s. Forgive this first post, got to get used to blogging about equipment.
More to come