I Went Mirrorless!

So I finally pulled the trigger on a brand new Fuji XT1 paired with an 18-55mm f2.8 to 4.  I took advantage of the discounts they were offering during the holidays and added a used 56mm f1.2.  In total I saved close to $750.  I'm going to warn you now this is not a full blown review of the XT1, just my first impressions and feelings in using it for approximately one week.  The ver first thing I noticed about this camera is that everything is where I would expect it to be.  It looks and feels like a mix between my Nikon FE2 and my Fuji X100T.  It's light weight but fits perfectly in my hand.  The viewfinder is amazing.  As most have already commented, the directional buttons around the menu button are small but i've gotten used to it.  The hardest thing for me is that the lens release is on the right side, or grip side, of the body, opposite to Nikon, so muscle memory has to be overcome.  Another peeve is that the lens hood doesn't click in as easy and smoothly as my Nikon.  Not a big deal.  

When I got home today the clouds parted for a few minutes and the lighting in my backyard drew me out.  I attached the 56mm f1.2 and started wandering.  This is my favorite way to shoot.  It's like hunting and the image is my prey.  Below are some of those shots.  All of these images are jpegs edited in Snapseed.

While this is more of a portrait lens, I enjoyed this hunt.  Focusing these images was a small challenge but was solved by increasing my distance.  I can't wait to do a portrait shoot with this lens and hopefully it will be soon.  I look forward to exploring all of the capabilities of this camera and will share as I do.  Shooting is fun again and my bag is a few pounds lighter with this smaller gear. 

Hmmmm where to wonder next?  

Full Frame DSLR? Mirrorless? Hmmm.....

I want to take my photography to the next level, but which system do I want to invest in?  There are so many debates out there, some saying the DSLR is dead and that Mirrorless has taken over or Mirrorless cameras are nice for casual photographers but not for a pro.  You can Google "DSLR vs. Mirrorless" and the flood of opinions will appear before you.  What it comes down to for me are quality of the image and affordability of the gear.  I know this is a simplistic view but for me it is this basic.  I have no problem switching to a new system and deal with the learning curve for the right camera.

As a pro photographer quality images are the basic expectation.  So I started to do some visual research.  I headed to a few photo sharing sites to look at images taken with different systems.  Because I'm a Nikon shooter I stuck with the Nikon D610 and the D750 for DSLR images and for Mirrorless I chose the Fuji XT1.  The reason I chose the XT1 is that first off I love the styling.  Yes I said it, the styling.  It reminds me of my Nikon FE2.  It's what I hoped the Nikon DF was going to be.  I have rented the XT1 and love the feel of it and the small form factor.  I like the EVF (Electronic View Finder) and the other features of this camera.  I looked at about 100 images from each camera and to tell you the truth there wasn't much difference.  The one difference I did notice was that the Fuji images had a more real to life look.       In my opinion Nikon images, JPG or RAW have a distinctive look to them.  I love this loook and it's been the reason I have stayed with Nikon for as long as I have.  The XT1 allows you to apply film simulations such as their "Classic Chrome", which I believe was intended to emulate Kodak's Kodachrome as well as several other simulations.  That paired with filters also available with the XT1 and the creative possibilities are endless.  I like tech as much as the next guy but I am no expert on image sensors or lens elements so you won't get any long drawn out discussion on specs.  What I do know is what looks good and all of these cameras can create spectacular images in the right hands.  

I can't imagine anyone wants to throw away money on equipment.  It can be easy to jump in with both feet quickly after hearing positive review after positive review.  The newest shiny camera that promises to make your photos look as if pooped out by a unicorn mixed with pixy dust!  The inevitable feeling of dissapointment, regret and depression that you spent a month's worth of hard earned cash on something that just doesn't work for you.  For an entry level full frame Nikon system you are going to spend close to $3400.  The Nikon D610 is listed on B&H for $1496 and one decent lens, such as the Nikon 24-70 f2.8 will set you back close to $1900.  The Fuji XT1 sells for $1300 and the Fuji 16-55 f2.8 Weather Resistant lens(equivalent 24-82.5 full frame equivalent) will cost you $1200.  While the bodies cost close to the same amount, the fuji lenses are less expensive than the Nikon equivalents.  So going with the Mirrorless you would save close to $1000.  I know this is for just one camera and lens and most are going to be buying multiple lenses and a backup body.  The price just grows from there with a major savings by going mirrorless.  

I have shot Nikon for years.  I have a standard DX system that I have used for weddings, portraits and events.  I love Nikon gear and it has served me well from my FE2, purchased in 1983 to my D70 and then my D7000.  I do have to admit that when I see a system that is half the size and much cheaper with amazing quality images I am tempted. I'd love to hear what you think.  Are you shooting full frame or mirrorless?  Have you switched?  I'd love to hear your story.