I was a Nikon D700 user until recently, having made the switch from Canon in 2009. There were multiple reasons for this. At the time, the D700 was a much better full frame camera than the 5D. The former was basically a smaller pro body with a few features cut to lower the price, while the latter was a Canon 20D with a large sensor. Everything about the D700 was better, including the glass that I was lusting for. My main reason for making the switch was the Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8G — a zoom lens sharper than many primes. I sold (still selling the lenses) my whole kit recently and switched to my Fuji X100T, which my wife got us a few months ago.
I got a Fuji X100T
My reasons for getting rid of the D700 and my lenses are simple — I was tired of lugging ten kilograms of gear in a dedicated pack on my back during my vacations. This didn’t bother me much when I was in my twenties, but it does now. I tested and shot the X100 and X100S and liked them, but I fell for the faster X100T with a few new features and much improved buttons. This small Fuji was never meant to be my main camera, but I didn’t want to compromise on quality when I couldn’t take more gear with me. It naturally has various limitations, which is why I was looking for an alternative to my D700 and lenses. I wanted a small full frame camera with at least three lenses: something around the 14 mm mark, a bright 35 and something longer, to shoot my neighbourly squirrels with. For many months I was set on getting the Sony A7R II, despite the fact that I don’t need the 42 MP images and consider their file size to be much too large. The Sony has two issues however — they don’t have a 35 mm f/2 (the f/1.4 Zeiss is huge, heavy and expensive), nor do they offer a super wide angle lens which would be to my liking. Their hardware is not exactly that much lighter than a D700 with a lens either, especially considering that Zeiss’ are built like tanks — an A7R II with a 35 mm Zeiss f/1.4 weighs in at 1.3 kilograms, which is twice that of a Fuji X-Pro2 and 35 mm f/1.4 Fujinon.
After reading an interview with a Fuji exec a few months ago, I was pretty sure they wouldn’t come out with anything of interest to me. I wanted a newer sensor, since the X-Trans II was getting a bit long in the tooth. The exec mentioned that they had no plans to introduce anything new in the near future. He lied.
As soon as I saw that the X-Pro2 had a new X-Trans III sensor, I was interested. The camera itself has many improvements over the X-T1 (which held my interest until now) and since these have been explained already, I won’t bother going into the details. What grabbed my instant attention, apart from the sensor of course, was the size (or lack thereof) of the body. Fuji also has a great line-up of Fujinon lenses, which fit my needs almost perfectly. Should I choose the X-Pro2 (I’m still on the fence about it), I will probably get the XF 23 mm f/1.4R (35 mm equivalent in full frame terms), XF 56 mm f/1.2R APD (85 mm equivalent) and an XF 10-24 mm f/4R OIS (15-36 mm equivalent). The new XF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6R would be perfect for wildlife, even if it’s a bit dark for my tastes.
The best thing about the above set is that the body and three lenses weigh in at about 1.6 kilograms — this is over six times less than my D700 kit. It wouldn’t need as big a bag either.
Fuji also announced the X70. It’s basically an X100 with a wider and darker lens (28 mm f/2.8 instead of 35 f/2) and no viewfinder. Since 35 mm is my favourite focal length, this is not a product for me. I personally can’t accept the lack of a VF either, but it should be a great camera for people who want more than their smartphone offers, and want a small package at the same time.
There is one more aspect to hardware, which is extremely important to me — how it feels in my hands and how I feel using it. My Nikon was just a tool; the X100T is more than that. It’s an extension of my eye and my heart, helping me immortalise what I see and feel. I assume the X-Pro2 would provide me with a similar experience — it looks fantastic — while the Sony would just be another tool.
I’m still considering my options and I’ll definitely write about what I chose if and when I pull the trigger.