The Dracula effect: Going mirrorless.


A Picture of a Roller Derby game

Something I photographed

I break every rule I espouse to others when helping them to write a blog. Keep it consistent, regular, make sure you have a topic that’s relevant to your audience… etc, blah de blah de blah.

Well, it’s my blog and I’m not here to build an audience, and in turn sell some product you have absolutely no need of either. You only need a decent set of walking boots and a hat, and you’re good to go. So why not break the rules? I’m too boring to keep things consistent. More chaotic, random, in a boring sort of way. You can find more boring things here:

A picture of Photographing Boring Places zine

Who said, I wasn’t trying to sell you things! Actually, they are free, and I really need to get the next edition out. And now, I find I’m rambling.

I’m sure this post will have absolutely no interest to most, but I thought I’d share my thoughts on going mirrorless.

I had been toying with treating myself. After all, I’ve been good this year, so far. No more little fire accidents to report. I had a load of old lenses lying around I no longer used, so it was time to trade them in. Do I go for the cash (sensible move), or treat myself? I was erring on the former… but the little devil on my shoulder convinced me otherwise. Well, I suggested it, and the devil just parroted it back to me.

I’ve been moving over to a Fuji system for some time. Just because it’s lighter, and my back won’t last forever. I had made myself a promise to only buy second-hand. A promise I failed, much like dry January (I did most of it, which I consider good enough). I broke and treated myself to a Fuji XT5. There are several reasons I opted for it. Mainly because my old XT3 lacks IBIS and the 40mp sensor would allow me to create huge prints, and the 160mp pixel shift function, even bigger ones! Why I need this is anyone’s guess. I’ve got decent A1 prints out of an old Canon 5D sporting a 12mp sensor. I guess I fell for all the marketing hype. The real reason was the video capability, being able to shoot fLog2 was a bonus and as I’m doing more video work for clients, it seemed like a good move.

So, just to see what it could do, I decided to shoot some Derby with it. Would it keep up with my old trusty Canons? Or would it surpass them? Time to trade in the rest of the Canon gear and embrace mirrorless altogether?

My first concern were the file sizes. A 40mp sensor is outputting 100mb files. My computer wasn’t happy with me. They were going to need a lot of processing power. So, to avoid the suspense, my computer is happy with me. I won’t be using the XT5 for Derby anytime soon. I didn’t get it to shoot sports, so I’m not unhappy with my decision, and some of my expectations were met, when doing so. A 40mp APSC sensor, no matter how modern, was going to be as clean as full-frame sensor. Even cropped down, files didn’t touch my 11-year-old 1DX, which were much cleaner and also had, in my opinion, better colour. Technology hasn’t come as far as we’ve been led to believe. The blackout when using the mechanical shutter on the Fuji XT5 was off putting when shooting at a high frame rate, and the buffer filled quickly with those massive files. On the plus side, it nailed the focus in most shots. Well, that’s my short review. I can’t be bothered to write any more. Anyway, below are two unscientific examples to demonstrate what I think. They are cropped and downsized, so are of no bloody use for you to make a comparison. But I felt I should add some examples in. 

The trusty Canon 1DX with 85mm f1.8 lens. 1/500th, f2 at ISO 3200.

The new toy. Fuji XT5 with 90mm f2 lens. 1/500th, f2 at ISO 3200.

Just because things are shiny and new doesn’t mean they will be better than the old and battered. The trusty Canon’s have earned their reprieve for a few more years. I won’t be going mirrorless just yet.

I’ll keep staring into the mirror, like the f*****g boring narcissist I have become.


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