From FULL FRAME to Fujifilm APS-C: Six Years Later As a Full Time Landscape Photographer
Back in 2015 Andy Mumford, a full time landscape photographer, switched from using a full frame system to the Fuji X system and in this video he talks about what effect it’s had on his photography, both professionally and personally.
The video would be worth to watch also just for the stunning images he shares (including some from around my home in the Dolomites). So go check it out.
I feel he nicely brings to the point what it means to shoot with Fujifilm cameras. And I also agree that if you don’t print enormous images, then 16 or 26 megapixel are more than enough.
I do love to print my images, too, and so far the largest I have hanging at my home is a 90x60cm (35×23 inches) image taken with the 24MP Fujifilm X-E3, which looks absolutely perfect, even when watched in “photographers mode” (meaning not watching from the normal distance as every non-photographer would do, but by going very close to it and basically pixel peeping with the eyes ;))
Also Andy, who rarely prints beyond 1 meter (39 inches) is totally fine with the current resolution Fujifilm cameras offer.
As far as his thoughts go, here is is summary:
- he started actually as a wedding photographer
- Nikon D3 and Nikon D800 with lots of fast zoom and prime lenses
- he loved landscape photography, and shot landscape whenever he could
- he did not like to bring his great big gear with him when shooting landscapes
- he bought the Fujifilm X-T10 and really loved using it
- intuitive to use
- a camera should be an extension of your hand, eye and mind.
- Intuitiveness is important, camera needs to go out of your way.
- If you need to dive into menu and fiddle around, all this gets you away from the joy of photography and your vision
- controls of Fuji make the camera “invisible” in your hands. He felt that right away as he used the X-T10 and bought the X-T1
- Fuji reignited his joy for photography
- he made his first trip with Fuji gear only and he realized there was not a single time he missed his full frame gear
- when he camera back from the trip he was extremely happy with the images
- instead of bringing only 1 big D800 with him, now he could travel with two small Fuji cameras. Less need to switch lenses
- the lighter system was liberating
- APS-C lenses are smaller, so he saved weight also with the lenses
- he could now travel also with a lighter tripod
- huge weight saving
- X-T1 to X-T4 are very rubost and well built. Never had any failure and he shot at extreme conditions, freezing temperatures and waterfalls and more
- also the lenses always performed great and are durable
- Now also Sony, Canon and Co offer mirrorless full frame systems
- the bodies of full frame mirrorless don’t really weight much more than a Fujifilm X-T4
- however, the lenses for APS-C are smaller and leighter. Once you carry 2 or 3 lenses around, you notice the weight difference
- he does not consider switching back to full frame
- the lighter weight was an important part of switching to Fujifilm, but not the only part
- if it was only about weight, you could get the Olypus 4/3 system
- it also comes back to that feel of the camera as a creative tool, the joy of using those cameras
- feel and weight are important, but they don’t matter if image quality isn’t there to get the job done
- pretty much every camera today offers excellent image quality
- Full frame has a slight advantage in dynamic range and medium format even more
- a camera having more dynamic range or more resolution, doesn’t make the other camera that is not quite as strong in that area anything else than an excellent camera. It is still capable of taking excellent photographs
- if we all just cared about getting the best image quality we can, then we would all just use medium format digital or large format film, but we are not, because when we chose a camera, we make a balance of all different factors
- image quality is important in this balance, but not the most defining aspect, because every camera has an excellent image quality
- also weight, lens range, autofocus, how good it feels to use matters
- he needs image quality good enough to sale his prints
- a 16MP image can be as good as a medium format image if it is able to capture the scene in the way he intended to capture it
- sometimes he gets a medium format GFX 50R on a loan and he loves using it. It takes amazing images
- however, he finds that a few weeks later, when all the images sit on his hard drive and a client contacts him for a print, he does not differentiate between APS-C and Medium Format images.
- All that matters is how successful that image is in terms of capturing the scene
- he never prints more than 1 meter wide (39 inches) and as long as resolution is sufficient for that, than the camera is good enough
- no client ever complaint about not having enough resolution
- when clients chose an image to print, they do it because they like the scene and its mood, and this has nothing to do with the resolution of the camera
- he processes all images with Lightroom, although he has Capture One and thinks it renders Fujifilm images better straight out of the camera. But he can achieve the same results with Lightroom with a couple more minutes of playing around
- he prefers the usability of Lightrooom
- Shortcomings? Shortage of options if you want to shoot really fast and really wide angle shots
- there is the XF8-16mmF2.8, a fantastic lens, but bigger and heavier. And the XF10-24 is only F4
- there are some third party options of faster wide primes (like the Samyang 12mmF2 or the Laowa 9mmF2.8), but he’d love Fujifilm to make something like that
- battery life is not perfect. Not a massive issue if you shoot only images. But if you shoot 4K video it burns to battery quickly. Big improvement came with new battery on the Fujifilm X-T4 but 4K shooting still drains battery quite fast
- autofocus is not very important for landscape photography. He loves focus peaking
- shooting Fujifilm was professionally and personally very liberating for him
- smaller and lighter system has allowed him to focus more on the creative aspect of photography
- after 6 years, the Fujifilm X system satisfies him on every level: creatively, technically and professionally
Adam runs workshops, also here around my home, in the Dolomites. If you want feel free to check out more details on his website.