Switching Gears

Last fall I came to a career crossroads (technically speaking), and had to make a serious decision as to what direction to take with the camera system I choose to work with. When I took my first steps towards digital photography, I chose Canon. Why? I have no idea. What I do know is that back then I had absolutely zero technical knowledge of the medium to be able to make a long term decision. I went with my guts and it worked. Canon served my creative and professional needs for over 7 years and helped me turn a passion into a full time career. I have created many wonderful memories for my clients as well as for myself and my family using Canon cameras, and for that I'm grateful. 

I started with an entry level DSLR and quickly moved into a full frame system. First the 5D, then the 5D Mark II, and Lastly the 5D Mark III. Initially I was a zoom shooter but with time turned into shooting exclusively primes. 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm. That said, outside of Canon’s super zooms, I owned pretty much every lens they have in their line up. The richness of colour, low light capabilities, and outstanding build quality are all things Canon knows how to do very well. Then in August of this year, Canon released the 5D Mark IV. A much anticipated camera many Canon photographers waited four years to come along. As soon as it was released I started looking into it and examining the specifications of what could potentially be my new primary work tool.

I had fun with my Canon DSLRs and they had fun with me. I think. 

I had fun with my Canon DSLRs and they had fun with me. I think. 

However, this was not the case. Looking at what the new camera offered I felt no desire to upgrade. More than that, I was very disappointed. While I am not so much of a gear head when it comes to photographic equipment, I do enjoy working with tools that make my creative process easier and allow me to achieve my shots in the smoothest, most efficient way possible. The 5D Mark IV did not offer anything I needed and couldn’t do with my 3-year-old 5D Mark III. Personally, I always felt that the biggest thing Canon lacks (and this is nothing new to any Canon photographer) is that it does not listen to its photographers. Generally, photographers love flooding the internet with complaints/ requests about gear that they purchase, and rightfully so. The investment is enormous and we use and rely on this gear on a daily basis.

Long story short, it was a good run but it was time to move on. What to, though? Another DSLR system by a different manufacture? Well, the reality is that DSLR has become a bit of a burden for me physically. Shooting 40-50 weddings a year with two cameras bodies on, my back could use a break. I often found myself exhausted by reception time and could not let that affect my creative drive. So I looked into Fuji. I’ve actually been using Fuji for a few years now for personal work with my first camera being the X100S. Tiny little thing but offers everything a photographer like me needs and wants in a camera. More than that, the shooting experience is one that always makes you want to pick up the camera and go at it! I also owned an XT1 and currently have the X100T for everyday shooting. Thinking about it now, the first digital camera I owned and developed an initial understanding of the craft was also a Fuji! It was The Finepix s6500fd. A DSLR-like camera with a non changeable zoom lens. I’ll never forget my dad taking me to a camera store and buying this camera for me (but I’ll leave this to another post).

Fuji Finepix s6500fd

Fuji Finepix s6500fd

So I went for it. The new Fuji XT2 just came out and had great reviews. It is light in weight and light years ahead of Canon in terms of shooting experience. This is by no means a review of any camera brand/ system so I will not be getting into technical details but coming from one brand to another for professional work, Fuji feels like a much needed breath of fresh air. Having some experience with their cameras even before making the switch I know how much the people at Fuji do their best to listen to their photographers and make adjustments professionals request with each new model. It’s actually mind blowing as the steps they take make the big name brands feel like they are years and years behind. I sold all of my Canon equipment and dove right in. Got a full Fuji system with two XT2 bodies and four lenses. Same kit – different brands. This would also be a great opportunity to clarify that Fuji did not pay/ sponsor me to write this post.

Fuji XT2 + Fujinon XF 23mm f2 WR 

Fuji XT2 + Fujinon XF 23mm f2 WR 

After 9 weddings shot with the new system I am happy to say that the Fujis are here to stay. More than that, these cameras changed the way I shoot in the most positive way possible. I am much more mobile and much less obtrusive. This alone was worth making the switch as my work revolves around documenting moments rather than staging shots. Small camera – less attention. Sure, I get people wonder what kind of professional doesn’t shoot with a DSLR. I send those people to my website and let my portfolio do the rest of the work. After all, the camera does not determine what kind of photographer you are or what your photographs are going to look like. For the record, though, the image quality of the Fuji files is outstanding. Just as good as my old Canon DSLR if not better.

The files that come out of the Fuji XT2 are just different. Good different. There's a certain quality to them that reminds me of the images that inspired me to become a photographer. 

The files that come out of the Fuji XT2 are just different. Good different. There's a certain quality to them that reminds me of the images that inspired me to become a photographer. 

The EVF makes all the difference in situations like the on above. Moments do not wait for you and seeing the exposure in real time is a game changer for me coming from an optical viewfinder.  

The EVF makes all the difference in situations like the on above. Moments do not wait for you and seeing the exposure in real time is a game changer for me coming from an optical viewfinder.  

The colours that come out of this sensor are outstanding. I actually spend less time in post working with the Fuji XT2 files. 

The colours that come out of this sensor are outstanding. I actually spend less time in post working with the Fuji XT2 files. 

Tracking moving subjects is easy and quick to set up, as well as super reliable. More hits than misses on the dance floor! 

Tracking moving subjects is easy and quick to set up, as well as super reliable. More hits than misses on the dance floor! 

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Most important than everything, the overall shooting experience re-inspired me creatively and that alone is worth the switch! 

Most important than everything, the overall shooting experience re-inspired me creatively and that alone is worth the switch! 

I am so excited to see what the future holds for me and Fuji. This relationship is already off to a wonderful start! If you have any questions about my experience or even technical questions about the gear please feel free to email me at shlomi@shlomiamiga.com. I am always happy to help!

Shlomi Amiga