Anyone that has followed my blog previously, read my twitter ramblings or indeed seen me working over the last couple of years, will know that I’ve spent quite a bit of time using a type of digital camera known variously as mirrorless or compact system cameras. Most of this usage has been to date with Fujifilm cameras using their pioneering X-Trans sensors, firstly the X-Pro1 in 2012, and then last year moving on to the Fuji X100S. They have other models available as well of course, but these are the two I chose to use representing the top end of their range.
Moving from using heavy but capable DSLRs such as the Canon 5D Mark3 (which I still use), there is a level of adjustment to using these smaller cameras. They’re not quite as quick to use and in particular don’t have quite the same performance in low light, whether that’s autofocus or image quality. I should temper these statements by emphasising the ‘not quite’, and the fact that the 5D Mark3 is an exceptional performer to compare against in all of these regards. Although the X100S is a real step forward in the focussing performance, it’s not best in class in the mirrorless world. Of course everything has a flip side, pros and cons, and if speed and low light performance are weaker areas of the mirrorless cameras, then their size, weight and quietness, are huge, tangible advantages.
It’s a camera that people love to talk about with distinct looks and actually pretty awesome image quality. I’ve been asked more about the Fuji by guests at weddings than any other camera or kit I’ve used. Which brings me to the reason for this post. In compiling my End of Year Review, I also had a separate look at all of the images I’d created in 2013 with the X100S. As I’ve been asked many times by photographers about using the Fuji for weddings, I thought I’d share some specifically, many for the first time. It’s almost an End of Year Part 2 – The Fuji Special Edition.
I’ve chosen images across a range of wedding scenarios – candid, church, portrait, details, etc – and I think these demonstrate just how capable it is for this style of documentary work. All of these were delivered to clients, with many ending up in albums. It suits some scenarios better than others, but even so a lot of these are created in low light or other tricky situations. In good light, images are nice and clean; at the higher ISOs they develop a very pleasing grittiness and grain. Most of these images are using the WCL-100 wide convertor which for me transforms the camera again into a much more usable beast (I like wide).
Observant twitter followers will know that I’ve also been using another mirrorless camera recently from Olympus. I’ll save that in detail for another post, but whilst I feel that may be the direction I’m moving in with my kit, I’m undecided about whether I move on completely from the X100S. There is definitely something special about it and the images it creates, despite it’s quirks in use.
Finally I will say that all of these differences now are becoming less pronounced with each new release of camera, and we really are at a fantastic point with imaging technology. I am confident that mirrorless is the direction the majority of camera technology will go over the next few years and certainly even with the current crop of models, the cameras are not the limiting factor to producing outstanding images.