The Big Switch – Canon full frame DSLR to Fuji Mirrorless

In Gear, The Creative Process by Chris FoleyLeave a Comment

Fuck DSLRs, man. I’ve just had it. You can go over to David Hobby’s blog or read Zach Arias and the like to find out more about why they switched. Check out my friends at MirrorLessons and see what Mathieu and Heather have to say on the matter. There are a lot of switchers out there and for good reason and many of them present some terrific scientific information for those who need it. I’m not going there.

Here’s the short story.

I bought a Fuji X-E2 in September and slowly (well maybe not so slowly) started to build up a respectable collection of lenses. I decided to not make the same mistake I made the last time I jumped Canon’s ship for the Fuji x100s. That one didn’t work out so well. So I spent the next 4 months shooting both the Fuji System and my Canon 6D side by side, and I became increasingly frustrated with the fact that I was consistently getting better overall image quality from this $800 camera and it’s 18-55mm “kit zoom” lens than I was getting out of my $2,000 full frame DSLR and a $2,300 Canon L Series lens.

I’ve bought and sold a lot of lenses for my Canon system throughout 2014 including 3 different L (the Canon Holy Grail) lenses and I hated most of them. The two lenses that I bought and loved were not even Canon products. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Series lens is just sublime. Downside, it’s huge and it’s hella heavy. I also had and enjoyed the Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro FX lens. It’s terrific. And huge. And also hella heavy.

Anyway, I digress. I had a strategy for my gear: 3 zooms for the Fuji system and 3 primes for my Canon. Let the games begin. September through November I took them all out together and shot them side by side. In almost all of my tests I chose the Fuji images over the Canon images. (I shoot RAW, btw, so we’re not talking about a sweet tooth for Fuji’s in-camera film simulation presets — though they are fantastic, for snapshots that is.)

By November I’d stopped carrying my Canon at all. It was just too damned heavy, and the only lens I could stand to shoot with it was the Sigma 35mm f/1.4, so we’re talking extra heavy shoulder action. I’d already sold the Tokina lens to cover the costs of an equivalent ultra-wide zoom on the Fuji side, the excellent Fuji XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS lens.


Fujifilm X-E2 – XF 56mm f/1.2 R 1/1000 @ f/2.5 ISO 200

Seriously people, the lenses for this system are just stupid.

Alright alright, here was my decisive moment. The Sunday before Christmas I decided to shake the dust off of my Canon 6D and take to the streets to capture some local Christmas light displays around the neighborhood. I came home, got the images up into Lightroom and sure enough, it was just as I had feared: my images were just crawling with Chromatic Aberration. The pics shot with the Canon EF USM 85mm f/1.8 were the worst. Those shot with the Canon EF USM 50mm f/1.4 were pretty bad, but less so, and even the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 has some of it, though far less so than the shitty Canon EF lenses.

That was it. That was my moment. I’d had it. Even at f/5.6 there was too much CA to easily remove in Photoshop. Even at f/5.6 the Canon EF lenses were useless with focus falling off at the edges. I mean really, if you have a fast prime lens that isn’t sharp until you’re stopped down to f/6, what’s the point of even having that “fast prime?” At that point it’s a quite slow prime.

I never get any of that crap with my Fuji XF lenses.

So. I grabbed all of my Canon gear, lenses, caps, filters, chargers and rushed down to my local camera store. Being the Sunday before Christmas they were happy to buy my stuff from me, and didn’t even mind that I showed up 15 minutes before they closed (sorry guys, I had quite lost track of time!) They took all of my gear in trade and I was able to turn it into the final 3 Fuji lenses I needed to round out my system.

I’ve got my 3 fast primes, all crazy sharp, edge to edge even wide open, and I’ve got 3 excellent (also astonishing in their sharpness) zooms to fill in those holes. The X-E2 with my heaviest lens hardly registers as being on my shoulder at all. I’m more inspired than I’ve ever been before, I’m having more fun and truly I feel that I’m now doing my best work.

I may just be in love.

Street Shadows and Holiday Lights

Fujifilm X-E2 – XF 56mm f/1.2 R 1/105 @ f/1.2 ISO 800

Check out this Fuji Lens Buying Guide over at Zach Arias’ thing and you’ll see a better outline of which Fuji lenses are the ones to watch.


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