Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Been a while. A journey and a camera review.

I've been away for a while partially due to a health crisis that ended up taking me down a different photography path.  I'll just say the treatments I got for my health issue made it impossible for me to carry all my heavy dSLR gear for any period of time.  So I began to experiment with the new 'mirrorless and micro 4/3rd cameras.'  This was a big decision for me to 'step down' from a full frame to a crop camera system again.  I have to admit I really like the full frame file size and detail.
I went through a few camera brands and found that there were several features I absolutely liked but features are just gimmicks and the real point was and is Image Quality.  I've really gotten to a point now where I'm pretty satisfied not only with the gear I have but the Image Quality I get from the camera system I'm currently using.
I am no longer a young man and there are limitations to what I can and can't do anymore.  My illness made me physically weak and carrying 20-30 pounds of gear for extended periods of time wasn't something I could do anymore.  I still had the desire to take good quality images but my camera was literally to heavy to hold to my eye.
I tried a few systems and I ended up buying a Fuji X-20 literally days before a month long trip in Europe.  I was on the fence between the Sony NEX system and the Fuji System.  I got the Fuji X-20 because it fit in my budget at the time.  I took both cameras to Europe and the Sony stayed in the motel room the whole trip.  So I walked around with the X-20 in my pocket and that was my 'kit' for the whole trip.  Well, I carried an extra battery in my pocket and I had a 64 GB card in the camera so I wasn't to worried about anything else gear wise.
Sure there were teething problems because I was unfamiliar with the camera but as I figured them out I liked the camera more and more.
I discovered Vertoramas years ago but didn't know that the technique had a name.  I had been doing several photos of buildings and landscapes and photo merging them in PS.  Then I discovered an article by Klaus Herrmann that added a new dimension to what I had been doing.  I used the Fuji hand held shooting a -1,0,+1 bracket series.  This is done in camera with the Fuji with one press of the shutter button.  I did Vertoramas that were around 100 photos and the quality was very good.
Before I had left on my adventure I had come to realize that my dSLR had been sitting in the bag for nearly two years.  Oh I missed the fact that I couldn't do certain things with the smaller Fuji camera but it could do many things that my dSLR couldn't possibly do.  That was part of the reason I thought seriously about changing camera systems.  Several photographers that I had been following also began to switch systems and that planted the seed of 'should I change systems'.
When I got the first mirrorless micro 4/3 camera I thought maybe this could be a backup for my 'real camera'.  Turns out that wasn't the case the trip to Europe solidified the answer.  I got many great photos and I used this small P&S camera.  Yes my 'kit' with computer and all the cables was a bit heavy but it was less than 20 lbs and my prior trip to Europe it was at around 50 pounds.
I've found a non camera messenger bag and some lens wraps to help protect all my gear inside the bag.  It isn't all that difficult to figure out what is what.  I have one camera wrapped in a blue wrap so I know what that one is by sight and feel.  I now have a Fuji X-E2 with two lenses and that is pretty much my new 'kit'.  The Fujinon lenses are a good quality glass and are a bit heavy but at less than 15 pounds for a kit including batteries and tripod one can't complain.  The Fuji sensor is great and it is very capable of taking photos at very high ISOs with no problem.  I have no problem with 3200 ISO from the Fuji and I like that, sometimes a lot.  I could do 6000 with my dSLR and that was also good but I still haven't used it for anything other than taking photos of the Super Moon simply because it had a longer lens.  So in two years plus I've taken four photos with my 'pro' dSLR and several thousand with my P&S style camera.  I even had someone offer to buy the pro camera but backed out and that is probably the only reason I still have that system today.  I have to say that theres is a bit of angst in thinking about letting that system go.  I'm sure I'll eventually get over it and sell the system and get a new lens for the Fuji, maybe.  I have been a fan of the all in one lens for quite sometime now and I have a Fujinon 18-135 that is good quality.  I probably would have prefered something at 200 for the long end but I'm happy where I am system wise now.  It was a hard journey but very exciting.  As with everything photography related the journey never really ends.  Sometimes it takes side routes that take us to wondrous places.
Take care be well.