Switching bodies

22 Dec 2015

A little while ago I wrote about how I was trying to re-invigorate my photography life by switching from my trusted but bulky Canon 7D to a smaller mirrorless Compact System Camera, Fujifilm’s X-E2, and I thought I’d follow up with some results of the experiment. Not only have I used the X-E2 way more than I’d used my 7D for the preceding years, but I’ve probably also ended up using the 7D more than I otherwise would have as well.

A picture of A Fujifilm X-E2 camera sat next to a laptop and a coffee cup.

To start with, the X-E2, particularly when wedded with Fujifilm’s 35mm f/1.4 lens, is such a small and easy to carry camera, I just have it on me more, which instantly increases the likelihood I’ll use the thing. As technically better as the 7D is, it’s not able to demonstrate that if I just leave it at home all the time. I got a lovely small bag from Case Logic that’ll fit this camera, one or two lenses, and my iPad (and, at a push, my tiny MacBook), meaning I’m generally set up for most trips with a camera and a couple of lenses (essential if you’re a prime lens snob like myself).

The lenses for the X-E2 follow the camera in being generally smaller and lighter than the equivalents for the Canon, which makes it easier to cart a few around. I was very fortunate that my friend Quentin generously let me play with some of his lenses to get a feel for what they can do, and I’ve ended up both getting a very wide angle Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 prime lens, and a 55-200mm Fujifilm zoom. The quality of the glass in both is wonderful, and they’ve all been put to use in anger over the last half year at events like Goodwood Revival, and more recently when Laura and I did a 10 day trip around California (from which I’m still processing slowly the 1000 photos I took!). Having that flexibly to carry a few lenses without breaking your back with the weight really opens up opportunities that would otherwise be missed.

Whilst the Zeiss 12mm did exactly what I expected, and has done so exceptionally well, it’s been the zoom that’s surprised me the most, taking some outstanding shots like the one below, where before I’d have assumed I’d need a prime to get such a clear and crisp image (click through to see a larger version).

Whilst I’ve been really pleased with the X-E2, there’s a couple of instances where it isn’t suitable, which is why despite my love of the wee Fuji I still cart around the Canon on occasion. Firstly, the autofocus on the X-E2 is very slow compared to the 7D, and as such, it just isn’t good for wildlife or sports events – though to be fair, I also lack a suitable zoom lens for the Canon currently, which is why I’ve been trying to get by with X-E2 for such things, but it really does struggle in that area. The other reason is just kit – I started playing with long exposure shots recently, and I happen to have filters for the 7D, but not yet the X-E2.

Still, I can attribute my renewed photographic output (no matter what camera I have to hand) to the X-E2, and that means the experiment of swallowing my DSLR snobbery and getting a CSC camera has certainly been a resounding success.

(For those curious, the photo above was also taken with a Zeiss lens – the one in my Lumia 930 :)