The Big Switch Part 2

To anyone else who knows me, it was always going to happen. To me, right up until the turn of the year, it wasn’t going to happen, but happened it has, the deed has been done.

Just shy of 2 years after dumping Nikon to go and shoot Fuji X Series I’m on the way back again. I truly believed I was being a bit of a pioneer here, switching from bulky DSLR gear to mirrorless, embracing the new technology, the time was right to make the switch, the quality had seriously gone up, the mirrorless tech was a match for the DSLR finally.

It took me 2 years to realise it wasn’t. OK, so the first seeds were maybe planted back in August when I compared 2 shots, almost identical taken on my Fuji X-T2 with Fuji 100-400m with a shot taken with a Nikon D5 with Nikon 300mm and 2x tele. The Nikon shot was fantastic, it was vibrant contrasty, it just seemed so much better than the X-T2 shot which was dull and flat in comparison. Processing the raw helped but that was a real life side by side comparison and it was slightly worrying.

The real wobble came just before Christmas when out in moderately windy conditions nearly every shot taken with the X-T2 and Fuji 50-140mm was slightly blurred. OK, so I was in Edinburgh Castle trying long exposure shots of the Christmas rides but this really took me aback. Was the kit so light shake was inevitable? Was shooting at f18 to slow the shutter the problem? I never recalled this happening with the Nikon gear ever.

The final wobble came after a wee walk about Edinburgh with another photographer using a Nikon D500. While the X-T2 and D500 are reasonably comparable, for the first time I really felt I was getting frustrated with the X-T2. I don’t like the top dial controls that much, it’s fiddly trying to get where you are on the shutter speed dial. The mode dial seems to move when you change ISO and I’ve long since stopped using the exposure compensation dial and just use the C setting. Comparing side by side, the D500 shots just seemed so much more punchy or alive while again the X-T2 looked dull and flat.

At that point I took a look back through some archives, made much easier these days as my whole archive sits nicely on my Drobo 52N backup drive rather than split over 4 USB3 drives. This is really one of the big advantages of the Drobo, everything in one place, takes away the “am I even looking through the right backup drive” scenario! Anyway, to me there was a clear drop in quality of pics when I made the move, it was horrifying. It almost felt if I had been deluding myself for nearly 2 years that the Fuji kit was better. It’s not down to the Fuji kit though, it’s down to me and how I’ve used it and from what I’ve seen, it’s not the right fit for how I like to work.

That was the clincher, no more thinking about it and the switch back has now been done. I’m back with a Nikon D4 and Nikon pro lenses and couldn’t be happier. Yes, my back and shoulders probably won’t thank me for it but for me as a photographer, the feeling of compromise is gone. I’m still thinking of picking up a Fuji X100F though as there is just something about Fuji kit and I’d still like to keep a toe dipped in Fuji waters. I’m not saying I’ll never switch again but it’ll be a good few years before I go down that route again.

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