Wednesday, June 07, 2017

A shift into the world of mirrorless

It’s been years since my last blog entry. Well, I feel like I have to reactivate this blog again and tell you guys about what I have been trying out lately. To most of us, photography is not about the images we make but more on the gears we take. It's an art of always wanting to buy and try new cameras, lenses and other photography related accessories. I’m a die-hard Nikon fan since 2005 or even earlier during the film heydays when I used to have a Nikon F3. I still have my D610 with me but lately, I’m selling piece by piece my Nikon-mount glasses. Just recently, I tried jumping into the mirrorless bandwagon with my Fujifilm X-T20 purchase. It came packaged with the Fujinon XF18-55mm F2.8-4R LM OIS kit lens. X-T20 is the junior sibling of X-T2 weighing just about 383 grams based on figures found on its website while the kit lens weighs about 310 grams. The X-T20’s combined weight with the kit lens is more or less 693 grams which is lesser than the body weight of my D610 at 760 grams. What a respite in weight stress indeed! This is the most compelling reason why I was attracted to venture into this mirrorless revolution. Compared to the D610, an entry level full frame offering of Nikon, the X-T20 is equipped with an X-Trans APS-C CMOS sensor but with the same 24MP resolution as that of D610. The X-T20 is a mid-level offering of Fujifilm and styled to look like a DSLR with full manual controls and customizable buttons and dials. The ISO sensitivity range of the X-T20 spans from ISO 200-12,800 and can be expanded to ISO 100-51,200. The D610, on the other hand, is designed to optimally operate on ISO 100-6,400 and expandable up to ISO 50-25,600. Being a notch higher, the X-T20 can produce cleaner images than the D610 on higher ISO setting. Another welcome feature of the X-series is their film simulation settings which can be recalled via the My Settings menu. You can customize 6 settings for this particular feature. Not to be outdone, the D610 also boasts of its Picture Controls which can be customized to 9 additional picture control settings. Lately, I found a lot of film simulation settings at and loaded them in my Picture Control settings. This is perhaps the reason why I’m still sticking with Nikon – they have been keeping up with what Fujifilm have innovated in their X-series. The only advantage the D610 has over the X-T20 is the battery life or number of shots it can make in a single charge. The X-T20 can only fire 350 shots per charge while the D610 can produce 900 shots in a single charge of its battery.
The four uploaded photos above are samples of my Velvia film simulations straight out of camera
Let’s talk about the kit lens – the XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 R LM OIS. Surprisingly, this kit lens is made in the Philippines and I should be happy about it! Regardless of where it was made, the lens is solidly built and made of metal. Coupled to an X-T20, the kit lens has a full frame equivalent focal length of 28-85mm. It has three rings, the focusing ring, zoom ring and the one nearest the focal plane is the aperture ring. There are two switches found in the lens and they are the Optical Image Stabilization and another one for Automatic or Manual aperture control. Just like the old SLRs of the past, the aperture settings can be controlled by rotating the lens rather than setting it in the camera body like in Nikon DSLRs. This kit lens is not an ordinary kit lens. It can deliver exceptionally sharp images because of its OIS feature and F/2.8-4 variable lowest aperture. The best uses of this lens would be travel, street photography or general purpose photography. Since I’m just dipping into the realm of mirrorless photography, I decided to buy the X-T20 with the bundled kit lens. I am basically a prime lens shooter so my next purchase would be to get the XF 23mm F2 which has an equivalent full frame focal length of 35mm – my favorite focal length.

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