Thursday, 28 August 2014

Fuji's Full Frame VS "Full Size" APS-C

"It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument." -Eve Arnold

The internet lit up (well, almost) the other day when eagle-eyed Fuji aficionados and others read the Fuji Press Release for Photokina 2014 to read this:

"We will be unveiling our latest lineup of X-series digital cameras along with interchangeable lenses and peripheral accessories at this year's Photokina. At the Touch and Try Corner of the Fujifilm booth, visitors will be able to experience the outstandingly high image quality with a full size sensor and high resolution images taken with the new lineup of cameras that feature FUJINON XF interchangeable lenses."

Reading the words "a full size sensor" led many to believe that Fuji would be announcing a new full frame sensor in a couple of weeks. Not reading it carefully left me, having just acquired the new X-T1 and the 18-135mm lens, with the taste of sawdust in my mouth, and using the English equivalent of "merde!", I started calculating the costs (if any) of returning the X-T1 and the lens to the retailer I bought it from...cursing the day I decided to buy it in the first place...less than week or so.

On my Facebook page, I expressed my view that I didn't think the difference between a full frame and a cropped one was of such critical importance with technological advances in the APS-C sensors. There's certainly differences, but as many other photographers attested to, these differences have to balanced against the many positives of using an excellent mirrorless system such as Fuji X-Series.

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved (XT-1/Fujinon 18mm)

I also expressed my surprise that Fuji would go full frame (or full size) as it had no lens line-up that would work with a full frame camera. It actually referred to its existing XF interchangeable lens system. 

So somewhat relieved...I concluded -after reading the paragraph in question- that it had to be a copy writer error, and that I didn't have to return my X-T1 after all. This was confirmed a day or two later when Fuji re-issued its Press Release and corrected it to say "the emphasis will be on the high resolution of the APS-C sensor, which rivals that of a full frame sensor.”

My initial knee-jerk reaction was a silly one. The X-T1 is an exceptionally good tool, and while I've discovered over the past few days that it has some quirks (and I will probably find more), it's certainly a worthy replacement for my aging (and super heavy) Canon 5DII and the 7D...along with their back-breaking glass.

I'm not a tech-head and I'm not saying (or even thinking) that APS-C is as good as a full frame. Bigger is better in this case...but the difference is smaller than what many photographer think...but sometimes, we are wedded to notions that are past their prime, and with the technological advancements in sensor manufacturing, this is no longer the case.

My view is simply this: I am delighted to be able to rely on a smaller and lighter system than what I used for the past 14 years. I'm not yet ready to get rid of my DSLRs just yet, but I'll have to decide really soon. In the meantime, Vietnam beckons and leaving my DSLRs behind will be the real test.

Fuji X-T1/Zeiss Touit 12mm/Grip

Speaking of Vietnam, the X-Pro1 served me extremely well during my Photo Expedition-Workshop of 2012. I used it for street/candid photography and although it's auto-focus capabilities weren't ideal, it allowed me to photograph discreetly in situations where my Canon 5D Mark II would've been too intimidating, and the quality of its images were up to my expectations. The new Fuji X-T1 will hopefully surpass my expectations that it will generally outperform (or perform as well as) my DSLRs.