Switching from Nikon to the Fuji XT30

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kierenlon Contributing Member • Posts: 638
Switching from Nikon to the Fuji XT30

I've an hobbiest, not a pro and have been shooting with Nikon crop sensor DSLR since 2006. During the last few years, I've been watching this forum and found value in perhaps similar posts to the this one, so I thought I would list my reasons why, and initial thought of my first Fuji - the XT30 which I took on a 2 week holiday to Cyprus to get to know settings - it was just a chill out break, so never then intent for any photo keepers just to be familiar with the camera before going to Indonesia laster in the year.

XT30 with inappropriate 80-200 F2.8 on left, 1980's Nikon EM & Series E lens middle and Nikon D7000 with Tokina 11-16 on right.

^ . The XT30 is about 1/3 the weight of the D7000 and about the same size as the (film) Nikon EM (middle)

2006 my need was better photos and there was not on budget that could touch my £250, 6MP Nikon D40. I learnt with the kit lens and with a little too much GAS bought more kit that I used but perhaps did not need.

At first, most of my photography was personal, holidays, family events etc. That is still true but I also dabbled in athletics photography at the local club level and small events, like openings / launch events and finally the erm, not on job wedding photographer (as is, shoot what I want to shoot and get a guests perspective but still be a guess first most and set no expectation of any pics). In 2011 I upgraded to the Nikon D7000 which had a screw drive motor to allow autofocus on older Nikon D series lenses that I hoped I could pick up on the used market. It was bigger but with more controls I could work fast.

I live in England - many people fly with small carry on luggage to avoid waiting on the other side. For years, my Nikon kit took up about 1/4 my case for all trips. As the rest of the camera market got better and I got to know my style better, I realised the 18mm focal range (28 eqiv) would cover 90% of my needs and a fraction of the bulk so I bought the Nikon Coolpix A - this was a computer to the ricoh GR but priced to high to be a success and was discontinued . It is reputed to have the same 16MP APS-C sensor as the D7000 but the out of camera jpeg colours are much better in my opinion. It's slow to focus though and I still had bulk carrying a charger. Some touristy things I wanted to do, like selfies and panoramas were easier on the phone.

Eventually I bought a Samsung S9 phone and found myself reaching for that more and more, so eventually bought some clip on lenses. For video, I could record and edit on the phone. Photos are fine for normal size prints or online sharing - well until I compare to the either Nikon - so I wanted a small camera that would focus fast enough for my needs - Fuji looked really good.

Why Switch?
I held out waiting for Nikons mirrorless or more dedicated small crop sensor lenses - like a set on F2.8 primes. I was hoping for something smaller, with USB charging so I could pack a 1 charger for all the electronic gadgets. The Z6 filled most of my wishes but huge new lenses and lack of support for screw drive lenses put me off. Nikon is headed in a different direction to the one I want to travel so despite being very happy with the tools so far and the ergonomics, it hit me I need to change because Nikon has and it's not the change I was hoping for.

When doing events, the DLSR adds perceived legitimacy making it easier for me to instruct the public - I need you here, please move so I can get this shot etc. The is 2 edged sword though, the contrast - especially with the decline of the compact camera is people now notice a DSLR a mile off and any change of getting candid or natural shots is gone. People have a 6th sense for DSLRs - the coolpix filled that gap but sometimes I need a bit more flexibility.

My laptop, phone, power bank, torch, are all rechargeable via USB-C - only needing one charger is a huge benefit for me - both for packing and when there is scarcity of plug sockets. I was able to get a USB-C duel battery charger for the fuji

Fuji Community
I like that (endorsed or not) that fuji has a lot of photographers with social media showcasing what they can do with the camera. This is inspiring to me. Even though I know it is the photographer, not the gear the marketeers often success in persuading me I need something new.

Forums, like this one are full of fuji users who have switched or use duel systems so I tend to find the views helpful and with less fanboys for objective feedback

Good jpegs
I used to love editing raw in lightroom. Making corrections ate into my time and taught be a lot about getting it right in camera and culling the collection before import. I am infront of a computer for my day job and as I get older, I value time with friends and family more - in short, I resent being infront of the computer - with the exception of dabbling in forums, youtube etc.

Great jpg right out of camera was a a big reason I chose fuji and I can say that I am not disappointed. My workflow is typically import to the phone and make some edits in a combination of photoshop express / snapseed / vsco. I find I can do a few selects in dead time. I shoot raw plus jpg as I like the option to play wih the raw if I ever decide to or sometimes to rescue high contrast scenes.

Just a snapshot - tripod and remote camera app with touch to foucs made it quick and easy

^ colours are straight out of camera. Remote viewing on the fuji app makes taking selfies much easier and carrying the camera on a hike is not a burden. Self shots were a big deal for me - I temporarily lost my memory after a head injury (100% recovered now) and using photos really helped recovery and wellbeing - most of my own, didn't have me in them! Something I want to correct.

It's under exposed because I move the expose dial and forget to move back. I am used to under exposing and recovering in raw as the D7000 would blow highlights - I need to turn off that habit.

What I bought
I bought the XT30 with 15-45 kit lens - it is small so I sacrifice (willingly) on ergonomics. A complaint with the Q button hasn't impacted me yet but I do find some of the controls fiddly. I should point out this was a known compromise on my part because I wanted something capable but smaller than an XT2.
The kit lens is in the range I like to shoot and at 15mm, I can get the quick selfie with partner without needing to hand over the camera to someone else. In the day time I shoot a lot at F5.6 - so this little lens is perfect
If the photo might be more of a keeper, then the wifi / phone app is very useful although quite slow to set up - it will take a few minutes to set up - so use sparingly if your travel buddy is not a photographer and having to wait for you.

What I have
I need to sell my Nikon kit to cover the expense and have decided to keep some of Nikons 1980's budget Series-E lenses: 28mm F2.8, 50mm F1.8, 100mm F2.8 & my mint 80-200 F2.8
The Series-E lack coatings, have chroma but are small, light, and give me access to focal ranges beyond the kit lens. Zooming in to the jpegs, I can see the imperfections more than I could on the Nikon - maybe the sensor change and increased MP. Despite that I like the lens.

The 50mm is a pancake but such is the size of the Nikon-Fuji lens adapter, even that is quite large.
I'll probably keep my D7000 and 80-200 F2.8 (1.3kg) in case I do more sport shooting. I actually want to try it out - just for fun - on the XT30. At 100mm, let alone 200, I have a hard time keeping it steady but should be shooting at a fast enough shutter speed to negate wobble.

What is on the shopping List?
I like shooting with a flash, so I will be buying the godox TT350F. I will probably add 2 more once my bank account recovers a bit.
A prime. I had thought I wanted the 27mm based on it being closest to what I shoot most on the Nikon but using the XT30 has changed the way I shoot, so I am not s sure about what focal length I want in a prime. I have decided to stick to carrying the kit 15-45, 50mm and 100mm NIkons and set up some smart folders to see which of my selects and closest to what range once I have taken some more photos - early next year perhaps.

What I Like / Don't Like / Wish For
I like everything a lot. I am 100% satisfied. The minor points are very minor niggles that don't detract for me.

Buttons: Some controls are a bit fiddly - the was known and my choice but I would have liked perhaps a slightly raised AE-L button as I'll be using that as back button focus
1 or 2 programable buttons near the lens would be great - I think they would be easer for me to touch than some others, like the Fn button - again, not a big deal.

WIFI file transfer is a new and welcome feature for me. It's a great option to have in a pinch but a bit slow, so I end up taking out the SD card and plugging that into a USB-C card reader to sync to phone / cloud backup. I am a bit disappointed I still need the card reader as connecting camera directly to my phone (or laptop) with USB-C to C cable does not allow photo import. This might be user error - if not, I hope making the camera visible as a mass storage device is something fuji can add in firmware.

I love how light it is. I went on walking hike that starts hot, gets cold when the sun goes down so I needed to carry water, a jumper, phone & battery power bank (in case we got lost) and the camera. I am not super strong but I am not weak either - I cycle over 200 miles a week and can squat and deadlift over 120kg, yet logging around a 1-2kg camera bag all day can quickly become uncomfortable. The fuji is light enough for no pain with a neck strap and it means I can squeeze all kit in a small messenger bag which avoids sweaty back.

I wish it was weather sealed. I didn't think I needed this or wanted it - in truth, I can work around it with umbrella or plastic sandwich bag but on the holiday I stuck in some light rain than started to pool around the controls so I put the camera away. It's such a take anywhere camera, some sealing would be great. I know the more pro X-T2/3 have this and choose the right tool for the job but if sealing doesn't add too much to the cost, it would be very welcome for me.

I love having on camera flash. I use off camera flash but I sometimes like the stark look of on camera flash. It's also a good safety net for shooting backlit subjects. I also like that it has HSS and hot-shoe.

I don't like that the battery door is blocked when I tripod mount is fitted. That is not really something that impacts me and I have ordered a Meike grip with gets rid of that and adds a acra swiss mount. Typically I am more run and gun, and not a tripod user

Q Menu - I struggled to get my head around that, along with new dynamic range settings. The manual could have been better here but thankfully the Fuji community helped and I found some blogs that explained it well.

Auto - Dial Auto is really really good. Even with dynamic range off, the fuji adjusted for scenes well. The perhaps BEST and unexpected feature for me is the switch that will put the camera in super auto mode(?). This is perfect for those times you need to hand your camera over to someone else to take a photo - the XT30 will do all the hard work and your guest shooter just has to concentrate on chopping off the top of your head, as they no doubt will.

USB charging - I carry spare batteries but love that if needed, I can charge off of power bank also on the go. [As a side note, in the first few days the battery life was terrible, I think this was less due to camera use than the batteries calibrating themselves (Lion batteries have chipset inside to prevent total discharge, so 0% on camera might actually me 5% actual in battery. They need typically need a few full / empty cycles to calibrate. After that, it's best not to go to either extreme]
Eye Focus - wow! This was not on the wishlist at all. I have been very happy getting the shot on Nikon never having it. However, after using it, I don't think I can live without it. It allows my to quickly point the camera in the general direction and get a shot fast. When shooting wide, I don't even need to look.
When I am taking my time for a more planned shot, I can trust the camera to do the hard work and that allows me to be interact more with my subject and not be stuck behind the lens. It's like the camera becomes less of an obstruction (that I didn't know it was). For me, it completely changes how I shoot up close, which is why I am not unsure about what focal length prime to get. A decision I look forward to figuring out.

100% satisfied. This camera is great. I just need to balance the bank account now and get out and try the huge 80-200 on it. If anyone has any questions about the Nikon lenses, or my experience let me know and I will try to answer

 kierenlon's gear list:kierenlon's gear list
Nikon Coolpix A Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM Nikon AF-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED +4 more
Fujifilm X-T30 Nikon Coolpix S9 Nikon D40 Nikon D7000 Nikon Z6
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