Fuji X-E2

Going mirror less – Switching to Fuji X

posted in Fuji X

Going mirror less – Switching to Fuji X

Switching to Fuji X

Wow. Big news. Still can’t believe that I actually did it. A few weeks ago I sold my entire Nikon DSLR equipment and have switched to the Fuji X system. After 20 years of being a loyal Nikon customer I finally decided to take a step into the future. Over the years, I had amassed a collection of lenses, flashes and small tools such as remotes, batteries etc.. Nikon had never let me down. As a matter of fact, I simply loved my Nikon D800. It is an amazing camera with probably the best possible image quality out there in the market. But it was time to move on and I am actually very happy that I switched to the Fuji x system. In this post I want to share a few thoughts about making such a drastic change.

San Francisco-1

Fuji X-E1

Mirrorless Cameras

The Fuji X system belongs to the category of the mirrorless cameras. They are significantly smaller and lighter than modern DSLRs. These cameras used to suck in the past because they either didn’t have a viewfinder or it didn’t really work. Also, autofocus performance used to be poor. And…let’s not talk about image quality. But things have changed. Companies like Fuji, Sony and Panasonic have made significant technological progress. Mirrorless cameras are now at a point where many people don’t really need a DSLR anymore. And that’s what I realized. I now own a Fuji X-T1 and the Fuji X-E2 along with a bunch of lenses.

Why switch to Fuji x?

So why would I give up one of the best cameras in the world? Why would I switch to the Fuji X system? Here are my personal reasons:

  • Weight: dSLRs are pretty heavy. The Nikon D800 weighs around 970g and most decent lenses add an additional 500-900g to the package. My usual travel kit consisting of 2-3 lenses, a flash and some filters weighed more than 7kg. The Fuji x cameras are super light. The bodies weigh less than 500g and most lenses are in the range of 100-300g. I cannot describe in words how nice it is to walk around town with the new kit. My new bag weighs less than 2kg.

The brown Crumpler bag with one body and several lenses & filters weights less than 2k. Contrast that to the 7+kg clunker below.

  • Size: The Fuji x cameras are not only light but they are also pretty small. Walking around with them is super comfortable. In the past, I would often leave my dSLR at home in the evenings and walk around with a small pocket camera. Not with the Fuji x cameras. They are so small, there is no reason not to bring one.
  • Sound: dSLRs are quite loud. Even the quiet mode on the Nikon did not work all that well. People know that you are taking a photo. Mirrorless cameras such as the Fuji X system are extremely quiet. I am not sure why but I really like that. This is great for shooting weddings and doing stealth street photography.
  • Manual controls: Fuji decided to turn the clocks back. Where most modern cameras rely on wheels, buttons and menus, Fuji cameras feature a traditional aperture ring on the lenses. The bodies have manual dials for common settings such shutter speed, exposure compensation and ISO. This makes it easy to change settings and you can actually setup your camera without having to turn it on. Let me tell you – I love having the aperture ring back!
Fuji X-T1

Extremely functional design: Manual controls

  • WIFI support: At first I thought this was going to be a toy. The new Fuji X-T1 can be controlled with your iPhone and/ or iPad. It serves as a remote and you can also transfer images with it. This is extremely convenient for taking photos while the camera is on a tripod. It’s also great for taking selfies. I actually use this app quite a lot and I could dedicate an entire post to it.
  • Image quality: The Fuji x system currently features an APS-C sensor. This is the same size as what you can currently find in cameras such as the Nikon D300s or the Canon 7D. The Fuji X-Trans sensor is apparently unique in its architecture but it creates amazing images. The colours are extremely close to those of the D800. The dynamic range is also superb. In other words: I cannot complain about the image quality. It’s simply awesome.


    Fuji X-T1, ISO 3200

  • The looks: The Fuji x cameras all have a cool retro look. This is especially true for the Fuji X-E1. Many people have asked me whether it is a film camera. The entire Fuji x system looks extremely sexy.
Fuji X-E2

Excuse me – is that a real film camera?

Fears of going mirrorless

Switching from a DSLR to a mirror less system such as the Fuji x system is a bit scary. Nikon cameras simply work and I had relied on some of the unique features such as the Nikon Creative Lighting System. Here are some of the fears and how I view them now.

  • An electronic viewfinder (EVF): One of the key advantages of any dSLR is the large viewfinder. Composing photos in a viewfinder is much easier than doing this on a screen. EVFs used to suck. They just didn’t work very well. However, the new generation is surprisingly good. The Fuji X-T1 features on of the best viewfinders around. It is actually right on par with that of the Nikon D800.
  • Lack of professional flash support: The Nikon Creative Lighting System is extremely comfortable for using off camera flash. Fuji does not have something similar. As a matter of fact, they do not even have a decent TTL flash for the system. But I ended up buying a set of Godox V850 strobes along with their proprietary remote system. This works like a charm and it is actually more comfortable to change individual settings than with my Nikon.
Godox V850

Fuji X-T1 with a Godox V850 and a Lastolite softbox

  • Not looking professional: I know, I know….this is silly. Walking around with a big camera is kind of cool. Especially when you shoot weddings. I had a bit of a mental barrier but have gotten over that….I think…
  • Slow autofocus: Modern dSLRs like the Nikon D800 have amazing autofocus systems. They are especially good for shooting action & sports stuff. I have found that the Fuji x system cameras actually have a decent enough AF system. It works well for portraits and landscapes. Shooting fast moving objects is a bit tough, though. I would not want to take those cameras out to a sports event, yet.

Fuji X-E1, 18-55mm


Switching to the Fuji X system has been easier than I thought. The cameras rock and I am happy with my decision. Do I miss Nikon and the D800? Absolutely. Especially the full-frame sensor. But it was time to move on. My type of photography is currently better suited for the Fuji X system. Are there downsides as well? I have not seen many but will probably experience some sooner than later. To get a better overview of my current equipment, please check out the according page on this blog.

If you are interested in learning more about the Fuji X system I highly recommend two websites:

Embarcadero Center

ISO 1250, f5, 1/30s, 18-55mm

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