From Nikon to Fuji

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After a three year break, here’s a sudden blog post about becoming a user of a Fuji XT-1. My body of choice for years has been a Nikon D90 and lately a D7000, both of which have given me some great times. But, they weigh a lot, the D7000 + 24mm-70mm f2.8 is a heavy handful for anyone, and really isn’t great for carrying around for long periods whilst on holiday.

My main reservation about moving to the Fuji was the electronic view finder (EVF), which I now see as a brilliant choice rather than a setback. I find it odd that when I pick up the Fuji I have to switch it on to see the view through the EVF.

Once active the advantages of the EVF are:

  1. You get a live histogram (only luminance, not RGB) which gives you instant feedback that the highlights or lowlights are within the range of the sensor
  2. You get depth-of-field preview just by half pressing the shutter button. You can program this onto a function button too, but why bother?
  3. You get immediate exposure feedback – if the image is going to be blown out, you’ll see that in the EVF as you setup the shot
  4. Focus assist – there’s endless ways to improve focus, one is by using the ‘Focus assist’ button which has three modes to help, and the other is to set the camera to auto-zoom in the EVF when you use manual focus. Not sure how I feel about any of these four options but I think I will end up using one of them

Override autofocus

In Ken Rockwell’s review he mentions that unlike the Nikon lenses, you can’t override autofocus by turning the focus ring – well I found an equivalent approach, use the AF-L button under your thumb. Leave the camera in manual focus, and just press AF-L to activate autofocus, once you remove your thumb you’re back in manual focus. Easy.

Command dials

I like using the dials on my Nikon to set shutter speed and aperture without taking the camera away from my eye. Finding how to achieve the same with the Fuji has taken a while.

  1. Firstly, you can choose which of the two dials does Aperture and Shutter speed – swap them in the settings
  2. Second, choosing shutter speed on the top dial, then using the command dial under your thumb only allows +/- 2 stops of change – which I found odd.
  3. Third – a tip I discovered elsewhere, turn the top shutter speed dial to T (for Time) and the command dial then lets you set shutter speed to whatever you want.
  4. Fourth, I have the 16-55 f3.8 on the camera, which has an aperture ring. With this lens, the command dial won’t change the aperture, you have to turn the ring on the lens. With other lenses which have an A setting on them, this lets you use the command dial to set aperture. Sort of confusing, but hey, a manual aperture ring is nice anyway.

Exposure Compensation

I wasn’t sure what to use that top dial for, but I believe the approach is this:

  1. If you are in M (manual) mode, the exposure compensation dial does nothing – it’s up to you to get it right
  2. If you are in any other mode (S, P, A) the exposure compensation dial does add or reduce light

Lenses

  1. The 18-55 kit lens has variable aperture. It’s the equivalent of a 24-70 but the aperture narrows as you zoom – annoying, but the lens is cheap
  2. Get the 16-55 f2.8, it’s more expensive, but has a constant aperture, and I believe is the one lens you should have with this body, if you only want one lens.
  3. There are two 35mm lenses, an f1.4 and an f2. The f2 is newer, slightly lighter, the f1.4 goes wider. I chose the f.14, my wife the f2.
  4. The 55-200mm zoom is z useful range, but heavy and again variable aperture from f3.5 downwards. We may sell this item
  5. The 27mm f.28 pancake, super light, but being physically thin – no bokeh to speak of, that’s why the smallest lens I would keep is the 35mm – light enough but with great bokeh
  6. 60mm macro – it does indeed have good magnification and according to Damien Lovegrove good for portraits as you can stand back and still get a good image.

Lens charts

An approximate chart for the Fuji lenses showing how they cover aperture and focal length, helpful for choosing lenses if you aren’t super rich.

Prime lenses

Prime

  • The three in purple happen to be my choices, as mentioned above. The 56mm does in two flavours, check out Ken Rockwell to explain the APD version.
  • We’re going to sell the 27mm, whilst small, it has no bokeh

Zooms

Zoom

The zooms provide plenty of choices, but:

  • The items in purple have variable aperture, so instead of the 18-55 get the 16-55 if you can afford it

If I’ve got any of this wrong, feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll make corrections.

Sample Image

DSCF7183

ISO 200, f8, 1/1400, 35mm.

Electronic Shutter

The Fuji has a fully electronic and silent electronic shutter option. This works to insane speeds like 1/30,000 which is good to stop down light. The manual makes clear the electronic shutter will not handle moving objects well, due to the process of reading data from the sensor, so you’d need to resort to the mechanical shutter. The camera has the option of choosing mechanical up to 1/8000 and then electronic thereafter.

 

 

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