A little while back I started the new ‘What it Means to Me’ blog. I’ve really enjoyed sharing my thoughts on individual wedding pictures and will continue to do so. In the mean-time I’ve also started adding the occasional ‘For the Camera Buffs…’ sections to my main wedding blog posts, sharing just a little info about some of the kit being used at the time of the wedding. This has prompted me to start this new section dedicated solely to my musings on my latest kit, any gear that I’ve been using and have thoughts on, and general camera-nerd info. I wouldn’t profess to being in any way an authority on the topic of photography tech, but maybe some of you out there will find it interesting to read about our ‘tools of the trade’.
If you’re looking for this blog category in the future you’ll need to go directly to the ‘Gearing-Up’ link underneath the word ‘Blog’ in the menu at the top of the page. I’ve intentionally excluded it from the main blog listings (‘All Posts’) as I’m aware that 9/10 of those of you looking for wedding photography aren’t going to be too interested in our kit!
Today, I want to start by talking about an internal struggle that I’m currently facing in the world of cameras. Most photographers, if asked to liken an ongoing battle of Good-vs.-Evil / Jedi-vs.-Sith / any-other-form-of-binary-opposition-that-floats-your-boat to camera kit, would probably say Canon-vs.-Nikon. The big two sharing the same space in the market.
Not for me.
For me, I’m facing less a battle-of-the-brands and more a love of two different styles of camera. A bit of background first…
My first DSLR was a Sony Alpha 200, which was great as a beginning photographer. Having not been fully inducted into the money-pit that is digital photography at this point, the one lens I really remember from this era was my Tamron 90mm f/2.8. I shot my first wedding with this lens and a bog-standard kit zoom. Not knowing a great deal about which focal length suits portraits, which suits reportage, I pretty much lumped with the Tamron for most of the day if memory serves correctly…despite spending a lot of time sniping I couldn’t turn down the feeling of professionalism that came with the comparatively shallow depth of field.
Then I moved on to the world of Canon. Now I’m not for a minute suggesting that Canon is superior to Nikon, as I’ve never honestly had any experience with Nikon, but I was given a 7D that no longer had a use and I loved it. At this point I was shooting with a 1D MkII as my back-up. It wasn’t long after this that I made the upgrade to a 5d Mark III, relegating the 7D to the position of back-up. On the horizon, however, a storm was coming to shake-up this perfect relationship (yes, I do have a habit of over-romanticising inanimate objects, and it will only get worse I’m afraid).
That storm’s name was hurricane Fuji.
I had heard a little about the mirrorless cameras being something that as a wedding photographer I should at least have a look at, but I really didn’t get the appeal. It was on our yearly trip to the Photography Show at the NEC last year that I first looked through the viewfinder of one…and surprisingly, I still wasn’t totally excited by it. But as we spent longer at the show, I saw more and more photographers whose work I greatly admire raving about the Fuji X-T1, X100T, X-Pro 1 – what was this new strange language?! Fujifilm planted their roots in my brain and from there an itch to learn more about them grew and grew. I became increasingly interested in street photography and the impact it can have on wedding photography, and before too long I was completely baffled to find myself yearning for an X-T1. Where had this come from? Incredibly effective marketing and branding? Probably. Repeated endorsements from respected photographers? Almost certainly. Regardless, I made the plunge with an X-T1 and things started to get interesting.
I started out with just the 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 ‘kit’ lens and really liked it. The feel of the X-T1 was very different to a 5D MkIII and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little attracted to the retro dials…so tactile! But then I added the 56mm f/1.2 to my line-up, and I didn’t like it. I absolutely loved it. Bearing in mind that primes are not something that I’d developed a huge interest in with my Canon cameras, largely because the zooms are so useful for wedding photography but also with the 24-105mm f/4.0 and great ISO capabilities I felt quite comfortable. The 56mm opened my eyes to the wonders of a fast prime though, and this led to the 23mm f/1.4 being added to my kit bag a few weeks ago. I now shoot with the 5D about 50% of the time, and the X-T1 about 50% of the time.
So, here ends the first ‘Gearing-Up’ blog post. I’ve set the stage for what is going to be a very interesting few months. I don’t need to choose either Canon or Fuji. But who knows, maybe one day I will. All I can say for certain is that I can’t wait to let the two cameras continue to battle for my affection…