System Switch - Have you done it?

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
dotjon
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Re: System Switch - Have you done it?
In reply to BellaBull8, 9 months ago

I've been doing some ultra-heavy internet scourging for every possible camera and lens review and peeked pixels more than I care to confess in order to find out whether it's possible to switch from Canon FF to a smaller, modern camera system. I'm most drawn to XT-1 from all the alternatives. I guess I can share my findings, consider this a summary of all interwebs if you will, a damn essay this turned out but writing also helps to arrange my own thoughts for myself

Fuji X-Trans 16mp sensor competes with the current FF sensors in terms of objective IQ, leaving m43 and other APS-C sensors in dust. It handily beats my old FF in noise performance. Noise is surprisingly well controlled, and it resolves detail wonderfully, only losing out in detail to the megapixel monsters a7r and D800(e). Colours are simply nice. The Fuji sensor array handles reds better than conventional Bayer arrays (still clean when Bayers exhibit blotches in saturated reds), but struggles with greens. To my eyes this works better than others for urban and people photography, resulting in very pleasant tones. But if I'd shoot primarily forest landscapes, I'd choose a7r/D800 both for resolution and green reproduction. There's something strangely mushy in the way Fuji renders foliage, and I'm not sure if it's a sensor feature or raw decoder issue. I suspect this comes down to the difference in arrangement and amount of green and red sensels between X-trans and Bayer families.

Fuji has excellent dynamic range, there are more shades in the dark end than in Canon sensors, and on par with Nikon and Sony, ie class leading performance in this regard. I find dynamic range crucially important, as you can't lift shadows which aren't even recorded in the first place. As a Canon shooter, I find this depressing but a fact is a fact and this is easily visible in photos. 5Dm3 is better than the other Eoses, but still behind current competitors, including Fuji.

X-series lenses in general seem to be really, really good. The selection is still small, but adequate unlike Sony's current offering. 14/2.8, 23/1.4 and 56/1.2 are easily optically equal or better than L-series primes, which is a major selling point for me. Neglible or downright non-existent distortion, sharpness across the frame and wonderful bokeh describe these lenses, real shame they aren't weatherproof. However, I'm used to rubberbands and plastic bags. Aperture ring on the lens is the logical place for me. The lenses are also quite light and apparently well built, however they are certainly not budget priced either- still cheaper than comparable L-glass, though.

I've always shot raw, but the Fuji OOC jpgs just look really good, and I could see myself opting to shoot raw+jpg with the X-T1. As a curious side note, the in-camera filter effects (film emulations) actually look usable. The possibility to shoot b&w jpg+raw is like having your cake and eating it too

Some things I've noted when browsing photos online- there's absolutely zero correlation with a good photograph and camera or lens make. This is nothing new and quite obvious indeed, photographer is the one who takes a photo, not the gear, but perhaps more surprising is that there is actually very little correlation with camera or lens make and technical image quality. Even entry-level DSLRs with wallet-friendly optics can produce bitingly sharp, clean and contrasty images with wonderful colours when shot and exposed correctly, and scaled down to web size. I don't see this changing until 4K penetrates all end-user devices, which is at least 4-5 years away, if it even happens at all. This is just to say that if your photos are mostly consumed on current generation of digital displays via the web (<2mpx end products), sensor or lens resolution probably shouldn't be primary concerns when selecting a camera.

As a personal note, I enjoyed many photos by Fuji shooters. Looks like the cameras attract creative, content-oriented photographers.

XT-1 body and current firmware has it's quirks for sure, but this is something shared by every camera ever made and these tend to become non-issues after use. I also think that the design has way more merits than issues, but this goes deep into subjective territory and I haven't even held the camera in my hand.

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