My personal mirrorless revolution or reinvention rather…

Photokina was a watershed moment for photography gear heads. Mirrorless cameras are on the rise like never before. The big players Canon and Nikon have now entered the market with their R and Z systems.

Fujifilm knocked it out of the park by presenting us with a medium format rangefinder.

Panasonic surprised everybody with not one but two full frame mirrorless cameras

Zeiss announced their fixed lens full frame camera with a large back screen and Lightroom built in.

There were several implications for me and my personal photography journey here which I am going to explain in the following paragraphs. It is a bit of a long journey of thought so bare with me.

Over the past year or so, I have hardly used my Canon 5D Mark IV. I thought and still think it is a fantastic camera. I helped transform the way I make my photos.

But.

I noticed myself picking up my Fuji X-Pro2 much more. My bag with the camera and one extra lens just felt so much lighter as opposed to carrying a big DSLR with 2 f/2.8 zoom lenses in the bag.

The Fuji is a joy to shoot with and so the Canon stayed at home most of the time. I used it for a few landscapes and a wedding. However, during the wedding party I realised that this is a very unwieldy set up, especially with a pretty big flash on the camera. I felt uncomfortable.

Then Fuji came along and released the X-T3. Just for fun I put in a quote for my X-Pro at a camera shop and with Fuji offering a £200 cashback, I could get the X-T3 almost for free. I pounced on that offer just to have the latest tech. The X-T3 will arrive soon and I will of course report on it.

So what about my Canon? The more I looked at it and my situation and the more I looked at the mirrorless cameras that being released, I thought: Hmm, maybe the end of the DSLR is here. The revolution has begun.

And by that I don’t only mean the the amount of cameras including their features… well… features… The X-T3 provides an incredible feature set for a very attractive price.  So I started thinking. What if I looked more into Fuji as a system? After all there are enough pro photographers out there using the system successfully and producing great imagery.

I also started to think about how much I had invested into my Canon gear and what I would get for it now. This led me to shop around for my 5D Mark IV and I was shocked to find that grey importers are selling my camera I spent £3000 on for a dumping price of £1600 to £1800, depending on where you look.

The implications for me are big.

I know that lenses are the pieces of equipment that hold a lot of their value over time. Especially if it is high end Canon L series glass which I predominantly use. However, a pro grade camera body like a 5D tends to hold its value too. Unfortunately, I found out that this is not the case.

Here is the point: How can I possibly sell my 5D for more than £1800 (I would have wanted at least £2200 for it as it is in top condition as I take care of my gear) when you can buy it brand new for that price? No one would buy it.

I then felt I need to get rid of it as soon as I can so as not to lose out on even more money. After all, Canon has released the new R mirrorless system which can be easily adapted to accept my lenses. However, the point here is that you should never really an early adopter into a new system. Besides, the Canon R is £2300 and the lenses for it… don’t even get me started.

I looked at the features of the Canon R and thought that it is isn’t really better than my 5D but actually worse. It has the same or similar sensor compared to the 5D, only one card slot and a limited amount of lenses available. Anecdotally, the battery life is supposed to be poor too.

So this was not an option. The Canon mirrorless system will surely be good but not now and not in 2-3 years.

And in 3 years, when mirrorless has taken hold of even more market share, it will be very difficult for me to get a decent price for my 5D at all in my opinion and therefore I felt I needed to act.

My first idea was to go full on Fuji. I put in another trade in quote, this time for my entire Canon kit. The quote I got back was good enough so I could get all the Fuji lenses I need as well as a second body be it the X-T3 or the X-H1 (didn’t go for the X-H1 as it now has older tech than the X-T3).

I could have done a straight swap.

Then, I did more research.

And more research.

Conversations were had.

Ideas were bounced back and forth.

Frustration established itself.

A feeling of being let down by Canon (and Nikon too) emerged in the back of my mind and manifested itself.

In fact, I am so disappointed with Canon and their ridiculous pricing policy and, compared to Fuji and Sony, poorer features that I am now ready to leave the system.

You will notice that I mentioned Sony.

I never considered Sony before.

Now… I do. Better technology (massive sensor, magic eye AF in a small package) and with my trade in value, I can still do a straight swap. Not with as many lenses than Fuji but that’s fine as this is is a good opportunity to tone it down more and really only get the lenses I really need instead of having lenses that just collect dust (hello 16-35 and 70-200!)

It was a long and quite painful thought process to get there but this is the plan:

Main camera with lenses I can buy through trade in as a straight swap

Sony A7r III

FE 24-70mm 2.8 G Master

FE 55 1.8 lens (or 50mm 1.8 i.e. Sony’s nifty fifty)

FE 85 1.8 lens

Secondary camera with lenses I already own

Fuji X-T3

XF 23mm f/2 lens

XF 27mm f/2.8 lens

XF 35mm f/1.4 lens

XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens

Potentially adding another Sony body should this go well and also adding a Fuji X100 series camera as part of the swap.

Phew, this is much deeper than I wanted to delve into my thoughts about gear as I don’t think it is all too appropriate to talk about this in public but this was a trying time and I needed to get this out there and off my chest. I know for most of you this will be boring as hell but for the gear nerds out there… I hope you like it.

In summary:

Good bye Canon.

Hello Sony (and Fuji).

I am reinventing myself as a mirrorless photographer.

More to come soon.

 

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