From Canon to Fuji
by Stuart Cripps
Firstly can I congratulate you on your fantastic website. I love and appreciate your honesty and passion when telling us about the latest greatest stuff in the wonderful world of photography.
Real, honest hands on is so much more valuable than lab tests and pictures of book cases 🙂
Secondly, can I scold you for doing nothing to quell my longing for a Leica! (lol) I know I don’t ‘need’ one but I still romanticized about creating my work with one, and your site doesn’t help.
A bit about me. I’m a graphic designer by trade but my passion is photography, something that gives me a true sense of creativity and satisfaction. I started out with a Canon G9 but then made the ridiculous upgrade to a 5DmkIII about 3 years ago with the intention of improving my craft and trying to make it my career. Unfortunately 3 years later I am just getting to that point as I am held back by the most crippling of diseases… complete lack of self-confidence and belief.
I learned a lot of my 5DmkIII but along the way my recreational/hobby work seemed to lose something. It could have been the way I approached shots, too critical on nailed focus etc, maybe it was the fact the camera drew too much attention? Who knows? Either way it really felt like although my photos technically improved they lost some of their personality along the way. Which leads me to my short user review of sorts below…
Back in June I had 3 weeks before I was due to shoot my first wedding, in Paris – a real baptism of fire for me, my first paid wedding, my first time flying alone and my first time in France. It was make or break time! For peace of mind I needed a sidekick camera to accompany my Canon 5DmkIII (you never know when the gremlins may strike). I needed something that would suit my documentary/reportage style that i could easily master within my short 21 day prep window.
After much research and hair pulling I decided to avoid a second bulky DSLR or the risk (and expense) of buying into another lens system. Based on all the reviews and sample images the Fujifilm X100T seemed like the way to go. I have been following Fuji’s progress for some time and it seemed they had nailed it with this tiny bit or drool worthy retro skinned hardware.
Well what can I say, I was not disappointed. From the looks, to the handling to the image quality I think I may be falling in love with this new addition to my kit bag. This may be in part because it fills the gap I will never afford to fill (or indeed justify) with the holy grail of documentary, a Leica. Mainly though it’s because it is such a wonderful tool to work with.
As much as I love my 5DmkIII I felt my photography lost a little of what pulled me in to begin with, the size, the attention it drew when I tried to shoot covert etc. The X100T rectifies all of that, it takes me back to when I started out with my trusty Canon G9. It allows me to be covert, creative and spontaneous with little to no impact on my surroundings. In essence it has brought some of the fun and magic back into the process of capturing life around me.
Is it perfect? No, certainly not. Battery life is shocking especially next to the 5DmkIII. The focus can be hit and miss, especially in lower light and the menus take some getting used to, expect a few head scratching moments as you try to squeeze the best from this little gem. But with a little practice and effort you are soon rewarded and forgive the X100T it’s shortcomings and once more begin to fall in love with its raw retro charm.
I have only just started my journey and I am looking forward to see what images this new partnership helps me to create. The magic is back.
If you like what you see then please feel free to visit me online to see my ongoing photographic journey:
I hope this is of some use to you/your readers – and if it makes the cut I hope you enjoy my images.
I’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone for taking the time to look at my report and comment/feedback. Its been a very useful and positive experience for me, I only wish i’d done it sooner.
Steve and Brandon, a massive thanks to you guys for letting me post here, creating such a great site and nurturing such a wonderful community. Appreciated, keep up the amazing work.
For anyone interested, i did a charity trek up Mount Snowdon, Wales UK at the weekend. I decided to take my Fuji along as the Canon failed the weight test as i was putting my kit together.
The weather was very changeable so the fuji spent a lot of time in my bag (could have done with the canon’s weather proofing) but i did still manage to get a few nice shots without drowning it 🙂
I’ve not had chance to do a tighter edit and put them up on my Flickr yet but they are over in my Facebook page if anyone wants to take a look:
(if links are not allowed then apologies, please delete)
A smaller set here as i’ve had a moment to update my flickr.
Thanks Angelina, appreciated.
Stuart, lovely photos but what I really liked were the comments you made about the Fuji. Mine was an impulse buy of the X100 on a return trip to Istanbul and I feel exactly as you do that these Fuji’s draw you back to the basics and make you think about the composition and framing of the shot. Previously I had used a Nikon D300 and found myself struggling with the plethora of options. Too many cameras give you north of 7fps, 2500 ASA, dozens of focus points and even HD video recording. It seems to be all about bigger better faster. Just give me a simple to use digital camera with manual override and I am a happy man. – the X family fits that bill perfectly. I must be getting old!
Thank you Mike. I agree that the little fuji does seem to make me approach things a little differently. It has plenty of bells and whistles, some even my Canon beast does not, but the experience shooting with it feels very different and I often get a different result than i would shooting the same subject with the 5DmkIII.
Went out and bought the x100t on the basis of the pictures 3 and 5. Love the colors and second MB 17 questions, please share the setting 😉
Thanks KSG. I hope you enjoy your journey with the x100t. Glad to have inspired you 🙂
As for the settings… trial and error is your friend. Look for images that inspire you with their ‘look’ try to emulate them and understand why they look the way the do. It’s great as a learning process. Also try starting with presets like vsco. Most importantly, experiment and have FUN 😉
thanks for the writing. You speak my mind. Your short post helps me a lot to do the same step as you did.
Favs: pic 2 and 5
Keep up the great work.
Thank you very much Timo.
You have a great eye for light and composition but I understand your trepidation to move forward with your photographic career. I’m a graphic designer as well but would rather be shooting for a living but it seems almost impossible to take that plunge. My recommendation to you is to sell the Canon Mark D iivxi3x II and get a Leica M. I don’t know how much you can get for that camera and the lenses but I bet it’s enough for a M9 and a few lenses like the 50mm Elmar M , 28mm Elmarit (non ASPH) and a 90mm Summicron (non ASPH). Maybe even a M240, those Canons look pricey. When I made the switch to Leica 6 years ago I feel like a huge door opened creatively, previous to that I also had a Canon that did nothing for me. Maybe it’s just the red dot and it’s all psychosomatic, probably..I don’t know, it doesn’t matter. Shooting with the rangefinder removes a huge wall between the subject and yoursef, similar to your Fuji. I only say this because you seem to really want to take that plunge and I’m giving you a push because we sound similar. Keep up the great work, you have a great eye and that’s the most important thing.
John, I had the same feeling after I dumped my Nikon and switched to Leica. Somehow, the pictures improved and I don’t mean just because of the Leica lenses.
Thanks for re kind words John. I hope you get chance to one day take the plunge. Although the photog world seems to get more crowded by the day.
Unfortunately, here in the UK at least my canon gear would probably afford me just one of the lenses you listed. Lol.
Not to worry for now I will carry on honing my craft with the gear I have. The durable, reliable canon and the fun, retro inspired Fuji to encourage me to shoot from the heart and let my creativity continue to grow which which help me keep learning along the way.
Thanks for ‘the’ kind words! (Doh!)
(Sausage fingers and an iPhone 4s do not good bed fellows make).
Right on Stu. Keep up the beautiful work and if you ever have any questions about getting into Leica gear on the cheap(ish) let me know, thats how I did it;).
Thanks John, appreciated 🙂
Thoroughly enjoyed your write-up…and I can completely relate. There’s something to be said about ‘less is more’.
Wonderful images, too!
Thanks Mike! Really glad you enjoyed the write up as much as the pics 🙂
The canon is great as a pro tool but when you just want to go out, unnoticed and see/capture the world around you the Fuji certainly hits the spot. It has its limitations as do all cameras.
As with any past time, not just photography, it’s all about having the right tool for the job. They all have their uses its just up to us to make the most of them and keep documenting our rapidly changing world.
The dog in the aisle shot really caught my eye. Now you make me want one of those X100T’s again. Such a nice look to so many of these, so thanks for sharing.
Thank you very much. The dog shot was just one of those lucky split second moments you see when you happen to turn your head. I defo recommend the x100t although it will be interesting to see what they do with their next round of cameras. Lots of rumours of using a 24mp (Sony) sensor next.
I enjoyed your post. I see you like to keep many of your shots moody and a bit on the dark side. So do I! Good story, good pics! Good Luck!
Thanks jbr2013. Appreciated. Re: dark and moody – I always find myself trying to create a more nostalgic, retro vibe with my PP. probably because I love the work of a lot of the old Life magazine photogs. As a result I seem to shy away from to much brightness in a quest for atmosphere instead.
Very good shots. Some of them very cinematic. What PP do you do? Or do you take advantage a lot of the much liked Fuji JPG presets? Thanks
Thank you very much MB17. I do the majority of my PP in Lightroom. Which can be quite fatiguing some times as I take lots of shots. I have just recently started toying with the JPEG capabilities of the Fuji but haven’t quite landed on something I am comfortable with yet.
You have a great eye for composition and subject matter. Keep experimenting and do what feels right to you.
Honestly, there is no reason to question your skills. You have them, so just keep shooting.
My best advice would be to start shooting small personal projects, as opposed to single photographs. Maybe you already do, I don’t know. But focus on story telling by connecting images together.
All the best!!!
Thanks Mike, appreciated. I do tend to do sets they just tend to be quite large. Something I’m working on, reducing my shots down to a more concise story.
There are many large sets on my Flickr and FB pages.
One of my favourite photographers is Jonas Peterson. He’s a wedding photog with a very moody style and great story telling. Check him out if you already haven’t.
Thanks Mike, I haven’t but I will.