A Weekend in Norfolk
This particular post is two-fold. It's a picture-postcard from a short trip to the north-Norfolk coast that we took in March but also a bit of a tech review too. We've been to the area over and over in our five years together so it felt like the perfect place to try something new - we won't be offended if you skip over the words and just enjoy the images because we know that camera talk isn't for everybody. In fact, I didn't even know that I was a camera-talk kind of girl and yet here we are.
A Little Context
We currently shoot with Canon 5D Mk III's and an array of different lenses (most of the images on this website are produced using the 24-70mm f/2.8 II or the 17-40mm f/4L but we have a small hoard of other lenses should the job require them) and basically we wanted to see what else there is out there. I (India) shoot the majority of the photos you see but we are having so much fun with video at the moment that we wanted to find something that Magnus could use that would shoot 4K video as well as provide us with images that would be comparable to shots from the Canons.
Magnus likes tech and I am a typical photographer; once I have found 'my way' it takes a lot for me to consider something else... BUT my shoulder constantly aches from carrying a heavy DSLR and lens literally everywhere we go so I'm open to relieving my muscles if it can be done. For the majority of our work we drive and I take a big bag but for the Haarkon blog we like to wander and be a bit more casual with it as essentially Haarkon is a record of our life outside of work... Also worth noting that with a 5D in my hand everyone definitely knows I'm taking a picture and sometimes it might feel nice to just be a little more discreet.
We knew that we wanted to try Fujifilm as we really like the look and feel of them. You might think that's a silly thing to base a decision on but the feel of a camera in my/your hand is absolutely key to whether you feel comfortable using it and for someone that shoots as often as we do I'd say that's a pretty big factor. We wanted something smaller than our current set-up but not as small as a point-and-shoot because I've had a G16 (a Canon gem!) in the past and whilst it was incredible on many levels I ended up choosing the 5D over it most of the time. So Fuji it was.
We originally wanted to test out the Fujifilm X-H1 because it's the newest model and why start with anything less than the best but as it was just released in February it was out of stock to hire when we contacted the dealers. So we went one step down and Fuji loaned us the X-T2 for the week with an array of different lenses to try with it, but we just stuck with the one we knew we'd most likely end up using most - the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens. Primes are great but we like to tell stories with our images and the way we like to do that is by mixing up our images so a 'cover-all-bases' lens really suits our shooting style. They're flexible and we love that.
Now we don't really shoot moving objects (aside from the occasional flock of birds that cross our path) or anything of that ilk so really we just wanted to do what we normally do and see how it stood our test rather than anyone else's. The norm for us is the outdoors, interiors and the occasional portrait/lifestyle shot along the way. That includes landscapes, details (ie leaf textures!) and low-light when we're indoors... a formidable test by our books.
I use manual mode always because a) sometimes technology thinks it knows what you want and that's not always the case and b) I'm a control freak and I'm used to it (I told you, I'm set in my ways.)
So basically, despite the fact that the X-T2 isn't the newest camera anymore, it actually blew us away. It was really easy to use, kind of 'fun' actually because the body is small and light and most amazingly the viewfinder (and/or rear screen) shows you the image that you'll get based on the settings... This is a bit of a revelation to me as with the Canon I can compose through the eyepiece but I have to take the photo before I can review it. With the Fuji that step is eliminated and thus the entire process is sped up. Genius.
We enjoyed that the X-T2 is almost a kilogram lighter than our current setup and much much smaller... It could potentially mean that we can pack things other than camera equipment in our hand luggage (what a luxury!) as well as spend a little less money on massages for my shoulder.
A successful exercise. Whilst we won't be jumping the Canon ship (well not anytime soon at least) we really enjoyed our few days with the X-T2 and of course we still want to try our hand at the X-H1 (the most recent model) but we are absolutely considering adding it to our arsenal. The end results are pleasing to us and required no changes to our workflow in terms of post-processing, in fact we performed the exact same preset and tweaks as we would normally.
I was particularly impressed at the way it dealt with the 'nothingness' of the fog as well as the heavy contrast when the sun showed its face. Plus I think my shoulder will be very happy.
*UPDATE: we now have an X-H1 and it's glorious - especially for video.*