A few months ago I I said “Bye!” to Nikon (D810, D7100) and met Fujifilm (X-Pro2 and now X-T2). Now I feel that it is time for first check of gain and loss 😉
Lenses. Don’t get me wrong: Nikon lenses, the ones of the higher end, and the primes, are all very good both optically and mechanically. Byt my personal problem with Nikon is that Nikon does not offer higher-end telephoto DX lenses. I’m talking about 300mm f/2.8 and 200-500mm f/5.6. Both are great in terms of optics and build quality, but both are huge and heavy. When I use telephoto, I always use it with DX body to gain focal length multiplication. So why the hell should I use full frame lenses?! It does not make any sense! With Fuji, I have great 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6. It is of the same quality as Nikkor 200-500, but is much smaller and lighter. Using Nikkor it was always a challenge, while Fujinon I just drop to the bag and go.
No mirror. Maybe it is hard to notice this advantage on the street, but it is visible while using telephoto or doing macro. Both cases are very sensitive to any shock or vibration. And unfortunately the mirror, even dampened so well as in D810, always is a source of vibrations. Sure, we can use mirror lock-up, but how to use it with moving subject or when lightning changes fast? Theoretically it is possible to use Live View, but this way we give up stable position with camera close to us, supported additionally by face for unstable “zombie” position, which in some cases, like when using long lens, is even impossible to keep.
Lack of the mirror is also a gain when filming: I can look through the finder instead of looking at the screen – see above about stability.
Wi-Fi. Disclaimer: my opinion is based on Nikon D810 and D7100 with UT-1 and WT-5. I had no opportunity to test or use D5 or D500. But in case of D810 / D7100 + UT-1/WT-5 it is a nightmare. Wi-Fi implementation is terrible, comfort of use does not exist at all and on top of it you must buy two additional units, both of them extremely expensive and one of them huge and requiring separate battery. And as it was not enough, there is still no consistency in required software, which is different for each camera. As I said – nightmare.
In case of Fujifilm the Wi-Fi implementation is equally poor. But there is a difference: the Wi-Fi is in the body (X-Pro2, X-T2), and it uses the same software regardless of the camera model. Communication is poor, but remote control by phone works quite well and does nor require any additional hardware to be connected to the body.
One system for many uses. Sounds a bit strange, but it is simple: I like to do IR photography. In the past I converted on my own two cameras. But to avoid huge loss in case of any error, it always were cheap, used compacts. As a result, both cameras had poor, small, old sensors with low resolution, so I was never satisfied with the results. Now, with Fuji, I have factory manufactured X-T1 IR, allowing me to use any part of the spectrum, from UV to IR, just changing filters in front of the lens.
OK, so let’s talk about loses.
Flash system. It is one huge shame on Fuji. In comparison with Nikon, Fuji flash system simply… does not exist. There are just three very basic flashes, with so poor functions that they seem to be coming directly from the very beginnings if the TTL flash era. In addition there is one mythical, advanced flash, delayed several times by many months if not years – the EF-X500, which theoretically has some functions making it close to Nikon’s SB-800 / SB-900 / SB-910, but the problem is that this flash is still not available, again delayed and nobody know when (and if) it will finally hit the stores.
RAW development software. Here the situation isn’t so bad, but still it is not as well as with Nikon. Source of the problem is the X-Trans sensor with non-standard layout of color filters, using own Fujifilm layout instead of standard Bayer layout. As a result, various software shows different level of function availability in case of Fuji RAW files – from 0%, like DXO Opticx Pro 11, which is not able even to open the file, up to 100% in case of Lightroom, Silkypix or Iridient. Unfortunately, lightroom isnn’t good in developing Fuji RAWs. Silkypix is poorly written – on my quite fast PC it works terribly slow. Iridient in turn does not work at all on my PC – it is only for Mac. So finally I ended up using PhaseOne Capture One 9 – it does not support all the features in case of X-Trans sensor’s RAWs, but gives me all I need and the easiest way gives me the highest quality of pictures.
Taking it all together: would I make the same decision about changing the system when I already know what I learned last months? Definitely YES. From my perspective I gain much more important things than I lose. And it is visible in my photo catalog. While using Nikon, I was doing not so many pictures. And there were periods with no pictures at all. Very often I ended up taking shots with my phone. Now with Fuji, I do much more pictures, use the camera much more often and I more happy with what I finally see on the screen of my PC – more pictures not only stay on the hard drive, but also more are printed and shown in frames on the wall of my room.