Fuji X-T1 and the 'mirrorless inferiority complex'


Yet again there are more recent posts about how people sold everything, bought a mirrorless camera and achieved photographic and personal nirvana, how the DSLR is dying, dead or really rather poorly and a heavily touted current Camera Store video that comes up with the staggering discovery that us idiots who don't work as assistants in camera shops couldn't possibly have discovered for ourselves, that mirrorless cameras have really quite fast AF. To me all this smacks of a 'mirrorless inferiority complex'. That really people know that they are challenged in the camera size region, that size does matter and that they can't shake that feeling that they want to hide their pathetic little mirrorless novelty away when they are confronted with 'real photographers' with 'real cameras', i.e. those who use whopping great Canon and Nikon DSLR's. 

And it's actually all rather pathetic. Yesterday I went out with my Fuji X-T1 plus battery grip, 10-24mm and 55-200mm lenses. Now I certainly had no self-image problems because this is a seriously large outfit. As I attached my 55-200mm and zoomed it out, the person I was with said 'That's a big one!' to which I smiled and replied 'Yes the lens isn't small either!' Sorry, that's a really cheap (and old) joke but to me this sums up the whole 'I've got a mirrorless camera but I know all those DSLR users think I'm a wimp. I know my place!!' attitude that users of cameras that don't have that reassuring mirror slapping going on seem to fight so hard to banish from their minds. In addition to posting the usual 'I've just bought a mirrorless camera. so I need to rubbish DSLR's' type comments on every forum they can. Despite the fact that if they are using a Sony A7, Panasonic GH3, Olympus E-M1 or Fuji X-T1 complete with battery grip and large zoom, most of the uneducated non photographic enthusiast public wouldn't have a clue that this wasn't a DSLR. (Assuming that they knew what that was or in fact cared)

I've long been a convert to EVF's, constant live view and shooting HD video by just pressing the large (well quite small actually) red button. Plus my concern is not how fast the AF is but how reliable and accurate it is. I don't currently own a DSLR, but have by no means ruled out the possibility of owning one in the future. Plus I have no desire to become a member of the 'I've converted to Mirrorless and realise that it is the one true path' quasi religion that seems to have sprung up in the last couple of years. I use camera's on merit and on the basis of how they fulfill my needs and desires at any particular time.

Having written all that the X-T1 plus the two zooms is a 'monster' outfit. But then a m4/3 camera plus 7-14mm and 35-100mm f/2.8 lenses would be a similarly option expanding outfit in a smaller form. Since I was walking around an English town on a Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon, I did think when I was there I'd made the wrong choice, since I became aware that the gear I was using was far from unobtrusive. And while I don't do a lot of 'skulking around' with my cameras and prefer to make it obvious what I'm doing, I do prefer a certain degree of anonymity when I'm in situations like that. 

So to me the DSLR / Mirrorless or CSC distinction is one that is unimportant to me and I have no need to 'talk up' what I'm using. My next photographic excursion could well involve my GM1 plus a lens that's actually smaller than most of my lens hoods. But then it could also involve my A7 + battery grip, Carryspeed video loupe and microphone since I need to shoot some video if I ever get a sunny day again. Both are mirrorless outfits and the differences between them are far greater than many DSLR / Mirrorless comparisons. Ultimately at the ISO settings I use there are marginal differences in image quality between the two, which for me says it all. 

In the Camera Store video (sorry no link, they get far too many hits without me helping them to get more) the mirrorless comparison is with a Nikon D4s. A professional camera certainly. (If you're a professional dentist or doctor that is!) but one that I'll go a long way to avoid, since these days I'm more concerned about retaining my ability to continue walking around and photographing without the use of pain killers, rather than demonstrating my bona fides as a 'photographer' by toting around the biggest piece of 'chest bling' I can get my hands on. But then I could buy a DSLR that is smaller and lighter than the Fuji outfit I was using, so ultimately this choice is about more than that moving mirror, about which far too much is written and far too much importance ascribed to it when in the scheme of things it's actually not that important. 










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