My evolution in photography has led me to DSLRs, zoom lenses, prime lenses, buying and selling, and always learning along the way. Much like any other creative business its easy to get suck into the buying and upgrading trend. There is always something new being released and cameras and lenses get replaced all the time.
I must admit that all aspects of photography intrigued me including the gear. Finding out why one lens and another similar one were separated by over $300 made me want to know more.
I read articles and spoke to other photographers who claimed to know the "must have lenses". They talked about using Full Frame cameras like the only way to go and if you didn't use Full Frame you were just a newbie and weren't taking things seriously.
They talked about the 70-200mm 2.8 lens and its companion the 24-70mm lens as the only two lenses real photographers used for events and weddings. But, you soon find out both of these are over $1200 each. So you work hard, try to save up to buy such equipment. So, you can't quite afford it and start looking at alternative. There are plenty of very comparable pieces of equipment that will almost get you there for hundreds less.
So you use that gear, but knowing that one day you'll buy that gear they say is the best and you're photos will just be stunning.
But, on the other hand you also need to save up for a full frame camera. They start around $2,000+. In the meantime you are learning as much as you can with your gear and trying to improve.
Sounds silly, but I know a lot of us photographers go through this. And the more budget we have the more we can feed the Gear Acquisition Syndrome. It seems to affect even the best of us.
So I got to a point where I knew I'd benefit from better lenses, but wasn't ready to buy the super expensive zoom lenses. Also, I found that I kept zooming all the time.
During non wedding gigs I found myself using my prime lenses more and more. They worked so well for portraits, although for other things I really needed to pay attention on how/when to use them.
So I made the transition to all prime lenses. I saw the benefits of better lenses which were lighter, and worked well in low light. I practiced and practiced. I had sold off all my zoom lenses and was actually quite happy with my choice. I no longer craved those expensive zoom lenses and found the strengths of using prime lenses.
Then, one day..... By accident almost, I was looking at the Ken Rockwell site where i like to go for quick gear reviews, I clicked on Fuji as I had never clicked on it before. And I was amazed at what I found. Smaller cameras, with great lenses, within my budget and with electronic view finders and best of all with autofocus.
The reason I had never clicked on it before was because the photo posted looked like a film camera and I assumed it was either a film camera or a newer digital camera with no autofocus. I was wrong. These new cameras had autofocus, lcd screens on the back and a knobs! When's the last time you turned a knob on a camera?
I read and read and read about Fujifilm. I wanted to know what people were saying, where they excelled and any drawbacks to them. I read countless blogs from famous photographers to every day photographers. I joined forums and even wrote to some of these photographers to hear about their first hand experience. And what's crazy is that a lot of people were selling off their large DSLR gear and replacing them with Fujifilm gear. I was shocked.
By the third week of my research I was sold.
I slowly started selling off my Nikon gear (once I'd bought and used the Fuji X-E1 which I later replaced for the X-E2). The XE-1 was really neat, but its wasn't as responsive as I'd liked. So within the return period I returned it and picked up the XE-2. This camera was much more responsive and just handled great. Of course I still had to get used to using the knobs, button and menu layout, but I was prepared to learn.
Now I have most of my new kit and have left Nikon behind.
Fujifilm is doing some really big things in the industry with their mirrorless cameras and are quickly becoming popular.
They are relatively young in this market, but they have been in the photo/video industry for decades.
MY FUJI GEAR
Fujifilm X-E2 with the 18-55mm lens
My second Fujifilm X-E2, shown with the 35mm 1.4
I tend to use two cameras in tandem for events and weddings instead of switching lenses all the time. Also, its always good to have a backup. So I got one of each color to make it easier to see which camera/lens I'm taking from my bag.
This is the Fujifilm 35mm 1.4. Very nice lens. All of the Fuji lenses are metal, and with metal mounts.
This is the so-called kit lens 18-55mm 2.8-4. But, given its price, build quality and fantastic optics it does not handle like a kit lens at all. Superb all purpose lens.
The one thing you'll notice is that each has a large focusing ring and also the apertures labeled right on the lens. This means that to change the aperture you have to do it manually by rotating the ring. Just like back in the day. Pretty neat right?
In the future I will most likely add one or two more lenses, but that's about it. I'm really looking forward to the release of the 56mm 1.2 lens. Will probably be a stunning portrait lens. But, all these lenses are very sharp, very well built and each are very hard to top. Fujifilm has always been regarded as one of the top lens manufacturers in the world and it really shows.
Its exciting to try out new equipment and learn how to use them quickly and effectively, but its also great to have top of the line gear. I feel like I've finally found the right gear for my style of photography, my wallet, and optical quality demands.
Update: I have the 27mm 2.8 pancake lens on order. Stay tuned for a post on the new lens when it comes in.