I hadn’t realised until a few days ago that I’ve now had the Fuji X-T1 for a year, and its been just over a year that I’ve been shooting almost totally with a mirrorless system. My gear list currently is…
10-24mm f4 lens, 56mm 1.2, 55-200
Nikon D750, 50mm 1.8 and 105mm Sigma 2.8 macro
More on the D750 later..here is an image from the first shoot I did with the Fuji..in the rain.
Since that shoot I’ve completed around 50 model shoots, 5 weddings, a few football matches, family events too numerous to mention, around 10 lighting workshops and one trip to London shooting street photography and buildings. Basically, I’ve shot every week of the past year and loved almost every minute.
The most challenging environment for this camera was without doubt the weddings. I’m still not confident of my ability to capture the down the aisle shots or the dancing. That being said, I’ve managed ok, but I’m sure I could do better. I see photographers like Andrew Billington and Kevin Mullins shoot those moments all the time, but they have their workarounds and they shoot this stuff every week, I don’t. Here are some of the wedding shots from the past year.
I think the X-T1 is a great wedding camera, I just need to be a bit better with it in that environment. In the meantime, I have the D750 for those moments where I’m not totally confident of getting it right on the Fuji. For 90% of the weddings I’m shooting this year I’ll be using the X-T1 with the 56mm lens ( which is my favourite lens ) and the X100s. I generally find that continuous focus and shooting at high speed burst means you get enough keepers to get by when people are moving around ( like the running shots above).
In the studio, the Fuji has been awesome. I’ve shot alongside people using the Canon 85mm 1.2, using continuous lights for portraits, and the 56mm 1.2 has nailed every shot while the guys using the DSLRS are getting soft and mushy focus issues and just can’t seem to nail it at 1.2. I’ve lost count of the people who have seen my images from the studio and then gone and bought a Fuji. At the start of the year when I was running courses, I was the only one using a mirrorless camera ( I usually teach 6 photographers on the courses I run ). On the last course on March 1st there were 3 people using Fujis, one using Canon and one using Nikon. On the previous course to that someone showed up with an X-T1 and every single lens in the Fuji lineup ( hint: strobes don’t fire if you are using the electronic shutter ).
Here are a few examples of studio work from the past year..
Out on location shoots the Fuji shines even more. The EVF is a godsend, not only does it show you the exact image you are going to get ( a feature you cannot use in the studio when using strobes ), but when its really bright outside you can review your images in the EVF rather than squinting at the back of the screen on the camera. The 56mm 1.2 is a great portrait lens and by far my most used lens out on location ( I tend to use the 55-200 a lot more in the studio ). I still remember hiking a few miles on one location shoot alongside my brother, who had a D800 at the time. I barely noticed my gear while he was sweating buckets by the time we got to the shoot location. The next time we shot together he’d traded in his D800 for a mirrorless system. Here are a few location shots from the past year.
Finally, social events. Again, having a small, quiet camera has been a revelation. I organize socials for photographers in my area and always feel a bit silly taking a DSLR along, but now I usually take the X-T1 and one lens, or the X100s. I have taken the D750 along just to test its low light capabilities ( which are astounding ), but people REALLY notice when you point that thing at them, where as the Fuji is so much more subtle and quiet that you end up getting much better candid shots. I’ve had no problems getting focus in dark pubs with the 56mm in particular, and I really wonder what all the people moaning about AF issues in similar situations are going on about, I’m guessing its poor technique. When people are moving quickly it does struggle, but not for people just standing around and talking. Here are some shots from the socials and a few from a band I’ve shot a couple of times this year.
Family shots..Here the X100s really comes into its own. I just tend to grab it as my take anywhere camera. I’ve also shot a lot with the X-T1 as well when the kids have been moving around outside and have taken some lovely images I’m super happy with. Yes, there are a lot of misses, you will get that with small kids running around, but like the weddings there have been plenty of keepers and I really appreciate having a smaller camera in these situations. Here are some of my favourite family shots from the last year.
Last..landscape. I don’t shoot a lot of landscape as I don’t have much spare time with all the other areas of photography I’m interested in. The fuji system is great for landscapes though and I’ve taken some of my favourite images with the 10-24 and the X100s. Here are a few below…
It’s been a great year, easily my best in photography ( I’ve been doing this for 3 years now ). I’m amazed how much photography I’ve managed to fit in and the variety. I don’t regret switching to the X system at all. I know some people who have tried it and it hasn’t worked out for them, these cameras are not for everyone. I do think that because it is such a small, light system that I’ve taken it to places I wouldn’t have taken a DSLR. I’m still hanging onto the D750 for a few specific jobs ( video, 10% of the weddings, macro work ). Once the XPro 2 comes out I have no doubt I’ll be ditching the D750 and just using the Fujis, I don’t like running two systems particularly, but there are a few things I still want from this sytem..
– dual card slots
– better video
– better AF tracking..the single focus mode works fine for me, its just in motion tracking it still is not great.
That’s pretty much it, roll on the next year!