Earlier digital days I was craving for full frame sensors. I thought they would provide some additional value for my photography. But FF mainly provided frustration. Well, of course I have to admit that I got some nice narrow DoF and bokeh shots but many times I was struggling.
If I now go through my present camera gear, it seems that I am going towards smaller sensors. Few years ago I would never believed this to happen. Now my cameras have the following sensor sizes: 1/1.7″, 2/3″, 1″, and APS-C.
And all of my present cameras are kind of classics or even cult devices. I have Leica Digilux 2 (introduced 2003), Fuji X100 (introduced 2010), Nikon 1 V1 (introduced 2011), and Fuji X-Pro1 (introduced 2012).
Oh, almost forgot that soon there will be Ricoh GRD IV too. 🙂
As some of you may know I have switched my Fuji X-Pro1 set for Nikon D600 and two lenses, Nikkor 50mm and 85mm 1:1.8 G. I am very pleased that I did this exchange. I have been missing full frame after selling my 5D Mk II but most of all I was missing proper and fast auto focus with X-Pro1. Now, with D600, I have those both and I am happy.
I got D600 last Saturday and have been learning to use it since that. I have never had any kind of a Nikon camera before so I had to learn its buttons etc. I have to say that the learning curve have been quite low for me. No big things there.
Learning Nikon’s AF system have taken some time though. I have tested all of its AF possibilities and now I have found a system which suits me well. I use continuous-servo AF (AF-C) almost exclusively. With AF-C I utilize back-button focusing and I have assigned AF-ON to AE-L/AF-L button at the back of the camera ( I feel that the camera is most secure in this way in my hands even if I have to squeeze my thumb in because I am a left-eye shooter). This is a good system because I am able to keep camera in AF-C all the time and still get single AF by pushing AF-ON button and releasing it. After that I can recompose the shot if needed. If I keep AF-ON depressed all the time the camera will continuously track the subject. In this system I do not have to change the AF mode to get single or continuous servo AF. For AF area I mainly use 9-point dynamic area which works nicely also in dim lighting conditions. Single AF point is a good option when shooting e.g. close-ups. Because I have assigned AE-L button for activating AF I assigned AE-L to Fn button (front side of the camera) and spot metering to Preview button (also on the front side). Now I can use spot metering with exposure lock conveniently and fast if I need them.
The camera is really focusing fast even in dim indoor lighting. No more focus hunting! I really suffered about it with X-Pro1. I think that a proper AF is one of the main things in a camera. At least then if you want to shoot any moving subjects.
More of my Nikon D600 thoughts later on.
I have been lately thinking of life without a DSRL. Just crazy. But these new EVIL or what-ever-they-are-called-cameras (e.g. Olympus E-P3, Sony NEX-7) as well recent serious compact cameras (e.g. Fuji X100 and X10, Ricoh GRD IV, Canon S100 and so on) are really causing some new thinking in my modest brain. I am now constantly asking myself that for what will I need the bulk of a DSRL. Now many of these smaller cameras already have APS-C sized sensors and I believe there could soon be even a FF model.
I have Canon 5D Mark II which is a wonderful camera. But am I in the level of that camera as a photographer? Sometimes yes, mostly no. When the answer is no, I am just dragging that heavy beast around. I can drag smaller camera much more easily around. The shots I will get are on the same level from each camera. Of course full frame is nice to have. But I frequently ask myself, for what purpose? Fuji X100 somehow has opened my eyes in this matter. That camera has a phenomenal image quality and very low and pleasing noise at high ISOs. And it is so easy to take with you. The best camera is the camera you have with you.
So, I think I will go through those EVIL options. This question is really haunting me at the moment. EVIL seems to be most appropriate camera model for me. 😉
Serious compact I have already (X100) and now I may need some EVIL touch.