So you're dumping your DSLR - who cares?


So you're dumping your DSLR - who cares? Well everybody it seems. Photographers (myself included) seem only too willing to share our "Road to Damascus' moments and sites are keen to publish them. Its not new of course, the 'big is better, small is easier' debate has been going on for years. View and plate cameras, half-plate cameras, medium-format and 35mm have all at one time been the smaller alternative and eventually took their turn at looking down at something 'inferior'. I suspect it won't stop here either. We can now all sneer at mobile phones (myself included again) but it is I suspect just a matter of time before I start using one for 'serious' photography.

In a previous post and on Google+ I've been writing about the 'perception factor' with cameras when you earn your living as a photographer. With clients and customers, 'Size does matter' and unless you have a well-established reputation that is still a hurdle to overcome. But with my long-term desire to 'dump the DSLR' but tempered with my need to 'look like a pro', I'm going to see whether its possible to put together a modular type system that enables me to cater for all possibilities and have a selection of cameras and lenses that does the job AND looks the part. I've decided to do this with the Fuji X system. In terms of quality for most purposes, m4/3 already has some alternatives with the OM-D and GH3, but for me, I still have an issue with m4/3 at high ISO's which the Fuji X APS-C cameras certainly don't have. Since I may be about to get back into some kind of social photography, that is a consideration. Plus there is the fact that since I've sold all my m4/3 gear, with the current pricing, it would be expensive to go back into it.

I don't really know for sure whether it will work, but I think I can come up with something that works for me. This involves a certain amount of 'pimping it up' or acessorising. For example, adding a flashgun + L-plate grip (which several companies now make) to an X-E1 or X-Pro 1 adds some serious gravitas. Tuesday sees the release of the new Fuji firmware with focus peaking and I'm hoping that will enable me to use my superb (and large!) Nikon lenses in a much less fiddly way. And the amazing Nikon G to Fuji X Metabones Speed Booster with .7 magnification for lenses and aperture ring is now available. So a pimped up X camera with a big Nikon lens (+ hood of course) should hopefully allay any future customers fears that I'm 'gear challenged' when it comes to my equipment. The obvious advantage to all of this is that by 'de-pimping' I'm back to a small and light outfit for my bread and butter stock shooting work and the walking around all day with a camera bag on my shoulder that entails. 

Taking advantage of the current X-Pro 1 / 35mm / 18mm deal, it should actually put some more money in my bank account as well, taking into consideration that I would sell the D800E, D7100, some lenses I rarely use and my entire Nikon 1 system. The Leica X Vario is also central to my plans. I've come up with a processing workflow that means allows upsizing the files to 36MP which compare very well to the 'authentic' files from my D800E, so that means I would be finally willing to part with it, since despite my admiration for what it is and does its not doing my body much good at all. 

I've already started the ball rolling and have ordered a few bits and pieces. Tuesday is quite important, since the focus peaking on the Fuji is quite an important part of this. If as I'm hoping it allows me to focus manually, quickly and easily, then all my other ideas will probably work and I can put together an outfit that is extremely flexible, produces high-quality results, looks impressive for those who need to be impressed and stops me having all these cameras and lenses clogging up my camera shelf and draining my bank account. Of course there is no way round the Fuji battery issue. Thats just going to have be dealt with by buying more batteries. So stay tuned for yet another instalment of the ongoing  and probably never-ending saga of my attempt to put together the 'perfect' system. (You know you love it!!)