I am on the journey from DSLR into the mirrorless world, slowly putting aside my Canon 5DmkII in favor of my new Fuji X-T1 system. Overall, I am quite impressed with the Fuji, which delivers image quality equal to, and at times better than, what I’ve seen from the majority of DSLRs. Delivering the goods while being lighter and easier to use. The Fuji lenses are incredible in their sharpness and bokeh, while the X-Trans sensor is fantastic at color rendition and extracting the maximum amount of detail possible.
Moving to a new system has been filled with many ups and downs. The joy of discovery and learning something new keeps my outlook on photography fresh. However, the learning curve of a new system has also proven to be a hit to my ego and satisfaction at times. Each manufacturer has their own “methodology” for where they put the buttons, how they control basic functions in the camera, etc. Learning this new methodology has meant a journey up the learning curve!
I had reached the point with my Canon system that using the camera was second nature, I knew all the buttons and dials and menus and didn’t have to consciously think about making equipment adjustments. I was free to focus solely on composition and creativity. Granted I had to ascend the Canon learning curve as well, but that was a long time ago and I had forgotten the struggle. Picking up the Fuji, I felt like a complete newbie again. Despite constantly having the camera in my hands when i was at home watching tv or relaxing, every time i went in to the field, I struggled with my equipment. Basic and simple tasks or creative settings, i had to think about how to change the settings, or fumble around with buttons/dials until i thought I had the right settings. Of course, I didn’t have the manual with me! 🙂 Having to think about equipment while in the field was a distracting, humbling and frustrating experience. It got so bad for me that at one point, I contemplated putting the Fuji aside and returning to the Canon. i kept on telling myself that it will get better, just push through this period, and it will get better. Lo and behold, it did get better and I am so happy I persevered and kept climbing up the learning curve.
Thankfully, the curve is flattening out now and I am able to get back to focusing on the creative side of photography, AND, I am thoroughly enjoying the Fuji camera system. The modern day cameras with Electronic Viewfinders (EVF) and tons of other cool features really seems to have made photography even more fun and enjoyable.
My favorite new feature, for now, is focus peaking. If you don’t know about this feature, found in many new mirrorless cameras, you really should. using traditional DSLRs, to achieve maximum focus exactly where you want it in the image, the usual method was to shoot in Manual Focus, zoom in to the spot in the composition that you want the max focus (hyperfocal distance), perhaps then use a loupe on the LCD to validate your manual focus, and then take the shot. With focus peaking, the camera can show you, either on the LCD or EVF, exactly where the plane of focus is in the composition. It does this by highlightng the pixels in the frame that are in focus. As you move the focus ring, the highlighted pixels move! And, as you change your aperture (depth of field) you can see more or less pixels highlighted, showing the effect of your change as you set your aperture for creative affect. For single frame images, you can accurately place your focus with no fuss in a short time. If you are using focus stacking techniques, focus peaking makes it very easy to shoot multiple images at different focus points for later stacking.
My journey along the mirrorless path is not done yet, it is potentially a long journey. I think I’ve just found my stride and am walking down the path of discovery. I have a smile on my face, can feel the wind through my (thinning) hair and I’m enjoying every step of the way!!!
(originally posted 5/20/15)