Switching Camera Systems or Tale of the Ancient Photographer


This is not meant to degrade or disparage Canon or DSL cameras or elevate mirrorless cameras. This is also not a camera review or recommendation of systems. This is about my personal experience with both and how the relationship changed as I grew older. It's more about what I needed, not what I wanted. 

Over the years from my film days to the digital revolution, mirrored camera systems served me well. In my "plus years" however, the equipment just became too cumbersome to continue dragging across Europe. By the end of the day knees, back and shoulders were in need of heat, ice and bed rest.

The change over to mirrorless started this past January when I returned to the United States after a two-year trip. I first looked at Fuji cameras in Krakow, Poland when I was purchasing a Canon 40mm 2.8 lens, to lighten my walking around load. After returning to the states and after allot of thought combined with extensive research, I decided a switch to the FujiFilm XT-20 would be the right choice.

I admit, it was quite a learning curve for me but that was offset by both the cost, size and weight of my new purchases.

I was using a Canon system based around two Canon 5ds bodies. 29.81 oz for just the Canon body or 3 3/4 lbs for the two. Add the trilogy of lenses (18-35 2.8, 1.4 lbs, 24-70 2.8 lbs and the 70-200 2.8, 3.28 lbs) and the bag weighed in at 10.22 lbs, without battery or memory cards. The three Canon lenses weighed in at six and one-half pounds. compared to the XT-20's body weight of 13.51 oz ( batteries and memory cards not included). Since I normally travel with two Canon bodies I discovered that with Fuji, I could carry three cameras bodies, with the equivalent (focal length) lenses for a total weight of 2.86 lbs. 10.22 lbs minus 2.86 lbs equal savings to my back of over seven pounds. 

I was one of the people who said, "I'll never switchgear, I have too much invested". But since I was trading in every piece of equipment, I hoped this would lessen a little of the pain of the cost. My Canon lenses and bodies were in excellent condition and I knew they would bring a good price at trade-in. Hint: I never say "I'm trading" until I get a quote on worth. Then I can say, "If I were getting just a little more, I would consider buying something." Bingo!

The Canon camera bodies were expensive when purchased new. As usual for me, Canon dropped the price practically as soon as I logged off the B&H website. After getting the trade quote I wanted, I kinda lost control and threw in the extras. A 35mm f2, 27mm 2.8 (loved it so much on the  Canon had to get Fuji version) and an 18mm f2. One XT20 body came with the 18-55 f2.8-f4 lens. I also ordered two more XT20 bodies. This may at first sound excessive but I sometimes find myself amidst a driving wind on some hillside, with the desire to change a lens. This is why I prefer to change bodies and not lenses. 

Eventually, I added strobes, remote triggers and grips and a thing to stop my thumb from pushing buttons on the camera back and the change over was complete. Initially, with the trade, the total cost was not bad almost like paying for just one Fuji body.

The hard part (I must repeat) of the change over was the learning curve. I read the entire manual (a first), watched YouTube videos and joined a couple of FaceBook groups.

Before long I was back in Europe carrying more stuff and less weight. This made me very happy going through customs and security.

In the interest of full disclosure (I love that phrase), I did hang on to a Canon body and one lens. Who knows, I might need to do another trade.


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