My Journey to X: Intro

November 2, 2019

So I thought it would be a good opportunity while I refreshed my main site, to take some time and update my articles I wrote in 2018 on my move in camera systems from Canon after 12 or so years, completely over to Fujifilm.

So this particular post is really just a bit of a background post and an quick index to all the articles. I’ll update this list below with the direct links, but of course you can find them all here on my blog anyway.

The Journey in Stages:

  1. The beginning: The X-E3
  2. First lens: XF 23mm f2 R WR
  3. The decision maker: XF 56mm f1.2 WR
  4. Head first, no going back: The XH-1
  5. The classic: XF 35mm f1.4 R
  6. Not just for small things: XF 80mm f2.8 LM OIS WR Macro
  7. Wide, so wide: XF 10-24mm f4 R OIS

Why did I jump?

This is a bit of a difficult one to answer. Could it be partly a case of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)? I mean come on… I’m a photographer and a gadget geek, it’s bound to have some kind of influence.

But, of course there are a great many reasons. Firstly, I’d started to feel my particular Canon setup was starting to get very dated and show it’s age. In particular, I was still using a number of lenses that whilst they were absolutely stellar, workhorse lenses – were just outstripped by their newer counterparts – especially when you factor in things like Image Stabilisation. My trusty old non-IS 70-200mm and 100mm macro, which I used for much of my portrait work didn’t cut the mustard when I needed a little bit of a helping hand in lower light. I was getting increasingly frustrated by the drop in what I call my ‘ keeper rate’ with shots that a little bit of IS would potentially have saved. I was less than happy with the higher ISO results I was getting, and just generally dejected with a lot of shots.

That’s far from the only reason though – a much bigger reason in all honesty was size and weight. I travel a lot for my day job (no, full-time photography isn’t my day job, though it is definitely related…) – and that travel always means carrying, or rather dragging around a flight case full of (video) camera kit. To carry around my Canon kit was to have to increase that weight and drag on my soul significantly. Which basically meant, it was either left at home – therefore missing opportunities to shoot – or worse, I carried it around with me but was so knackered after working, I had no energy to lug more cameras around.

Ultimately, I started to fall away from photography for a while – and that was hugely frustrating. I wanted to shoot. I needed to shoot something. But I think I’d just come to the end of my tether – I was getting increasingly frustrated when shooting the images I *wanted* to shoot – I was really looking at needing to upgrade several of my lenses. And to step up the camera from my trusty 5Dmk3 to something newer was going to cost even more.

So I started to look for something to help me get inspired. And that wasn’t Fujifilm. Nope, it was Sony.

Little Things: the A6300

So my solution for not having to carry around lots of big cameras but rather find something that could fit in my bag and that I’d be able to take with me wherever I went.

The specs were great – alongside the opportunity to play with some 4K video, and little things like image transfer to mobile – this was all stuff that meant it might potentially get loads more use because it was never left at home. Nor was it too big and heavy to put me off using it – no matter how tiring the day had been.

So I gave it a shot. And for a while, I liked it. The images are great, clean and crisp. The video was fantastic, sharp and detailed. But there was something still holding me back. It went with me to work, travelling and pretty much most places I went, but apart from a small handful of shots – it too, didn’t get used and I couldn’t place why for quite a while.

In the end, I realised why when I went to change a setting somewhere, and couldn’t find it. What seemed like ages of searching back and forward through the menus – finally I found it (I don’t even remember what it was now, that’s lost to the mists of time and old age), but the penny dropped.

I wasn’t using it as much as I should be because it was a fight. That was far from the first long search through endless menus I had. Sony makes great, fantastically powerful cameras (and I use Sony cameras for my video work in my day job – I’m not a Sony hater). But I’m not sure they make cameras that are built for photographers like me. I know many who swear by them, but I need a camera that is intuitive and clearly laid out – I sort of need it to feel like an extension of me – not a puzzle that needs solving every time I want to change something. Overly complex menus just put me off. And it’s as simple as that. It’s a usability thing. In the heat of the moment, or when the timing needs to be right, I just found myself fighting to do what I wanted.

Like I’ve already said – many, many photographers use Sony cameras to great effect and result. But many drivers will prefer a Ford to a Nissan, or a Mercedes to a BMW – because they don’t feel right for them. And that’s it. Sony doesn’t feel right for me.

So, bye bye Sony.

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