My next mirrorless camera system is...

June 30, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

I know there has been a lot of speculation as to what I was going to do. It may seem like I change systems a lot, but I really don't! Here is the breakdown of my last 10 years. I started at Dury's with two Canon 5D's now called "classic", they were the original model and they served me well. But, the focusing was not good so I switched to the Nikon line and shot their full frame D700. That worked for me until this whole mirrorless camera system showed up.

As you may know, I went "all in" to Fuji and it was my only camera for about 6 years. I started when Fuji had one body, the X Pro 1 and only three lenses to offer in the entire system. But, the color was incredible and worth the aggravation of waiting for the development of additional lenses. I liked the size and portability and it just seemed to suit my shooting style. In six years I owned the X Pro 1 and 2, the X-E1 and 2. The X-T1 and 2 and a nice collection of Fuji lenses. I had 8-10 batteries and chargers everywhere I may need them: at home, at work, and in my camera bags!

Life happens and time marches on, but your eyes don't get better, they get worse. It seemed like everyone was improving their focusing but Fuji. I don't know why they didn't but they seemed more interested in launching a camera with IBIS (in body image stabilization) than they did addressing the real issue which was us older guys that couldn't see to focus.

Sony heard the complaints and knew that the struggle was real. They set out to not only fix it but fix it in a way that had never been done before! And if that wasn't enough they continue to up that game to unprecedented performance. I often say their eye detection is like science fiction, it just works really well...every single time! So I sold all my Fuji cameras, every single one of them, all the lenses and batteries and moved to Sony. But I didn't just buy a Sony A7RIII, I also bought a Panasonic G9 and then another one plus four Leica lenses and 2 Olympus Pro lenses to go with the two bodies. I shot these systems for about 1 1/2 years and I made a lot of beautiful images with them! I was pretty happy except for one thing, the color science wasn't great. Sony's color is more neutral than anything, I would describe it as "vanilla" and there's nothing wrong with that. Panasonic makes an incredible camera and I enjoyed shooting it a lot. I feel it has the second best color that I've experienced. For me, something was still missing... 

It's all about the color. My opinion is that a JPEG SOOC (straight out of camera) should be beautiful and 90+ percent of your image. Why you may ask? Because you are letting the camera manufacturer determine how to interpret the 1's and 0's that make up the binary file your camera creates when you take a photo. Adobe Lightroom is a pretty incredible product and it does an OK job of developing RAW files. But it can't come close to the manufacturer's ability to create a photo from the RAW data! In my opinion, no one does this better than Fuji! Several weeks ago I requested a few cameras and lenses from Fuji. My rep Jackie has been a friend (and a former boss) for over 20 years. She arranged to get me my wish list sent it so I could see if it met my expectations. I can tell you with zero reservation, that the Fuji X-T3 is a game changer for me and many other photographers! 

My initial concern was the focusing system. It was the reason I had to take a vacation from the Fuji system. The following image was done in a low light room, with modeling lights only and "eye detection" as my focusing selection. Spot on. Not only is it sharp, but the flesh tones and dynamic range are exceptional! My first session with a test camera and I am very optimistic. Note: I recognize he is a little magenta. It's what happens when you golf in the summer without sunscreen and your complexion already leans that way. See the difference between his white t-shirt and neck? They are totally neutral!

I may be ahead of myself so let me back up to some of the "why's" of any camera system. When people come into the store shopping for a camera I ask a lot of questions about them and what they like to take pictures of. Once I have that info, I can start to place a camera in their hand and see how it feels to them. Once comfortable with the size we look at the layout of the camera. Is it menu driven or are there actual knobs and dials that make sense? Another big win for Fuji! I started this journey into photography in 1972 with film cameras and there were no menus at all. Film cameras had three controls: a shutter speed dial, an aperture ring, and an ASA dial to set the sensitivity. Many Fuji models are set up that way today. It's like an old pair of slippers, comfortable. It also is intuitive when you are making a quick change. No need to remember how your Custom Functions are set up, just reach for the dial and take your photograph.

Lens selection and affordability: Fuji has been known for its glass for decades. Cinema folks knew about them before many still shooters did and still use them heavily in the images you and I see on TV or at movies. This glass is excellent. It is very affordable, in fact, there just aren't any other manufacturers offering compatible lenses for the X system because they can't make them better and cheaper. There isn't a market for what they offer. Sigma and Tamron make great lenses but the only "non-Fuji" lenses that make it to my X-T3 bodies are Zeiss Touit lenses and that's because they have either a unique focal length or that Zeiss look that can't be replicated. Here are a few images to illustrate what I mean. I am especially fond of the 12mm lens, it is incredible!


Beautiful color, sharpness and practically no noise at 3200 ISO!

Our past Governor Haslam and Senator Marsha Blackburn at a recent Republican fundraiser. X-T3 with 18-55 and bounce strobe

Beautiful (child) flesh tones, sharpness and handles extreme contrast well. That's great lenses and a great sensor! 

Fuji X-T3 with 80mm macro

Fuji black and white out of the camera is awesome and lends a timeless feel to this portrait

There will be more written and more images, but for now, I am so happy to have the ability to be freed up from my computer in "the black hole of post-processing." Delivering beautiful work that was created in the X-T3 is awesome and saves me hours of time that I really don't enjoy and don't have available.

Some of you may be wondering how I can live without the awesome large files that I got from the Sony A7RIII and this is my answer:

It is the Fuji GFX! 50 Megs of beautiful file with Fuji color science!


Like John Denver said, "Hey it's good to be back home again"!







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