I like the Canon G7X II, but I prefer my three Fujifilm cameras. I am selling the Olympus TG-5 since it doesn’t compete against the others except for being the smallest waterproof camera and I really have little to no need for that. I also rejected upgrading my iPhone since I don’t like the ergonomics for photography. I show an image of the iPhone 6, G7X II, TG-5, and the X100F below so you can see the differences in size. The G7X II is to replace my Olympus TG-5 and Leica D-Lux 6 (sold earlier), as well as an older TG-4 that was still in my camera drawer. I hope I will not have to use it much since it is more like an insurance camera in case I don’t have a Fuji with me or in case my hands get worse.
I plan to use the Fujifilm cameras (I have the X-T2 and the X-E3 in addition to the X100F) from a purest and quality and enjoyment perspective. So far, I am finding that the G7X II is a better camera than I expected, but I like the controls and the image quality of the Fujifilm system better. The Fuji images have more character and are more fun to process from raw files, so for now, the Canon G7X II will be in the drawer in reserve.
This has been an active holiday season here at Homewood at Plum Creek and it isn’t over yet. In the last few days I have delivered around 1200 pictures to Homewood and that was after I had edited them down from many more. I took all of the pictures as raw files using all three of my Fujifilm cameras, edited them down from several thousand images, processed them, printed a few, and delivered the final digital files to multiple people on the staff … and I didn’t even photograph all of the events that have happened so far.
I still have more things to photograph including the external lighting of the campus. I understand that they added an additional 8000 lights this year so, since I will be photographing them at night in cold weather, I expect it will take me many evenings to capture them.
The above is a picture of Bryan Herber who really had the Chapel rocking with lively seasonal music. That is one of my side benefits … getting to hear a little of the music as well as seeing many of our residents and families enjoying the events.
I have already started thinking about next year and what I might do differently in the way of simplifying and changing my processes. I could make straight out of camera jpegs if the lighting didn’t change so much but the changes in WB rule that out if I continue to roam around making documentary images that I prefer. The only way I know how to make that work would be to make ACROS monochrome images.
There are advantages in using longer focal lengths. These were all made at 200mm, but the Fujifilm XF 55-200mm lens has disadvantages with focusing, aperture, etc. in low light. I think I’ll stick mostly to using prime lenses in low light as long as I can get physically close enough. I have been spoiled.
I still have a use for a zoom lens with longer focal lengths inside in lower light. I’m thinking about the Fuji 40-150mm F2.8 for event photography but it is so large and heavy that I’ll probably stick with my use of prime lenses.
I have almost always photographed plants where and as they grow. Maybe next year I’ll cut some and arrange them with controlled lighting and photograph them inside where there is no wind.
When it comes to photography, I am bipolar in several dimensions. One dimension is focal length. I prefer effective focal lengths in the range of 28mm to 50mm with prime lenses. One reason for this is I don’t need to zoom. With my better cameras, zooming requires a second hand which usually is holding a cane. With small cameras, it takes a while for their power zoom lens to move when I use only my right-hand finger on the sliding switch. But, due to my location, lack of travel, etc., most of my compositions require a long focal length shot at the maximum range, so I keep switching back and forth. I go out with a long zoom lens, and then come back wishing I had been only carrying a lightweight, small prime lens.
Another aspect, but related to the above, is that from an engineering perspective I prefer cameras with good image qualities in a range-finder format or design with a physically short prime lens mounted on them. They work best when I’m photographing around people in low light with the subjects moving around since they are faster, thus enabling me to use a higher shutter speed. They also don’t get in the way in tight quarters and they are less likely to cause people to react negatively. The shorter, lighter lenses also tend to give me fewer problems with my hands.
The above aspects of being bipolar have caused me to go back and forth trying different cameras and lenses as I try to find one set that covers all my needs. I haven’t found that system yet so my next reaction is to give up long heavy zoom lenses and long shots and concentrate on compositions that work with wider prime lenses. So far, even though I have made the change to wider prime lenses multiple times and sold my zoom lenses, it hasn’t worked since I don’t live where I can find enough suitable compositions to sustain my photography at the rate I prefer.
Currently, I am using three cameras as I try to decide whether to again attempt a shift in my photography. I have been using my best, but heavier, X-Pro2 camera with prime and zoom lenses, my X-E2s with multiple lenses, and my HX80 pocket camera. I’m leaning towards primarily using a Fuji camera with a prime lens and/or the 18-55mm zoom lens. I am even considering, if such a system works, to get the Fuji X100F when it starts shipping, but it would have to replace some of my current gear. Since the weight is a major factor I have checked the differences. The X-Pro2 with the 23mm lens weighs 685g; the X100F with its 23mm lens weighs 469g; the X-E2s with the pancake 27mm lens weighs 435g; and the X-Pro2 with the 27mm lens weighs 570g. From the perspective of form-factor, I prefer the 27mm pancake lens but it isn’t as nice a lens as the 23mm lens.
There is another bipolar factor that I’m wrestling with and that is my blogging. I have been considering not writing as much and just mainly posting pictures. I assume a few read what I write, but several of my viewers have told me they don’t read what I write. They are only interested in seeing my pictures. One aspect of this decision is that I like to write when I have something to say.
Another bipolar aspect to my photography is type of pictures. I like to make pictures every day, but don’t go anywhere new and thus don’t see anything new to photograph. This drives my personal photography in the direction of more abstract images or images of small details which usually require long focal lengths to make. This complicates my camera-lens decision. My photography for Homewood events, etc. often require low-light, faster shutter speeds, and 80mm or less effective focal lengths with zoom capability and cropping.
The easiest solution to the bipolar aspects of my photography and blogging is to just continue and not make any changes, but I would prefer to not be a multidimensional bipolar photographer. I would rather simplify and concentrate on one type of photography. When frustrated, I often just photograph the sky even though it no longer interests me. I used the X-E2s with the 27mm pancake lens to make the above image this morning.
Look at the camera and lens I used to get the images in my previous post (lower right in slideshow mode). I have decided to use micro 4/3 sensor cameras due to a combination of size, ergonomics, image quality, and cost. In order to keep the cost down and quality up, I purchased a used Olympus Pen E-P5 since it has the same sensor and uses the same battery as my Olympus OM-D E-M5 II. I plan to use a few prime lenses with the E-P5 and use the E-M5 II for my longer focal length work, primarily at 300 mm focal length. This will enable me to stop frequently changing lenses and grab and go quickly.
The E-P5 doesn’t have a EVF but I don’t need one for inside or low light work. The lack of the EVF hump also makes it easier to carry in a vest or jacket pocket. It is a little on the heavy side but is built like a tank and should withstand being thrown into various small bags, etc. I need the EVF on the E-M5 II for use with long focal length lenses since it makes it easier to hold the camera-lens steady to compose in bright sunlight. A big plus for both of the cameras is the 5-axis image stabilization system. It is quite good, but I still need to hold the camera steady with long focal lengths to focus on the area I want.
I decided to sell all of my Fujifilm gear and go with Olympus due to the size and cost of the lenses. I used my Fujifilm X-T1 and 35 mm lens for the last time to make the above picture. Using the Olympus smaller sensor cameras keeps the weight and cost of the long lenses lower. I decided that I couldn’t afford or carry the long focal length Fujifilm lenses. Using the E-P5 with prime lenses rather than the X-T1 enables me to have and use one system.
There are three earlier posts which discuss differences in image quality as well as some of the reasons for ending up with these cameras: Round 1, Round 2, and Changes. Click on each to read each of them if you haven’t already read them. When I earlier decided to go with the Fujifilm system, I planned to only use shorter focal length prime lenses and give up images of wildlife and distant compressed landscape details, but I found that limited my photography and therefore I went back to some longer focal length photography.
Here is an eye test for you. Which is better, this
You can leave a comment if you would like to express your preference, but there will always be times when one or the other is clearly warranted.
I really do like the image quality of the Fuji X cameras and lenses. I had a real hard time giving up my X100 a while back since I loved the images and the controls but occasionally found the single effective 35mm focal range limiting. I only sold it with the hope to eventually get another Fuji X camera like my X-E1. But, I miss the need to work with my software to process the images. I also really like taking the time to process the images in different styles and now I have a dilemma. Process or not?