Over the last few months I have come to a realisation. Nikon doesn’t want to make cameras for photographers like me.
I’ve shot with Nikon cameras for the last 20 years — the F50, Coolpix 880, D70, D200 and D700 have all graced my camera bag at one time or another but, as I mentioned in my first X100 post, the thought of having to drag nearly 2kg of gear out with me every time I wanted to go and shoot something was beginning to take the joy out of photography.
I had tried to find a solution. I bought a D5300 hoping that the lighter weight would make DSLR shooting fun again, but the experience was just frustrating. As with many ‘amateur’ level SLRs, many of the settings are tucked away in menus and for someone who’s used to having dials and buttons dedicated to every setting you can imagine, the D5300 became annoying pretty quickly. Just one example — one-button playback zoom. I take an important shot and I want to see if I nailed the focus. On a pro Nikon body, you press one button and it zooms in to 100% on the focus point you were using. It’s quick, easy and pretty damn essential for my peace of mind. Non-pro bodies don’t have this function and that, frankly, pisses me off. There’s no reason for that function not to exist other than Nikon wanting to push people towards spending £1k more on a camera.
What I started to understand was that I’m a photographer. A photographer who knows how to control a camera’s manual settings and doesn’t want to spend 20 minutes trawling through menus trying to set them.
I just happen to be a photographer who wants a smaller, lighter body to shoot with. And I’m not the only one.
I’d been thinking for a while about the idea of selling off all my Nikon gear so it didn’t have to spend the rest of its useful life languishing in a cupboard and this past weekend I got the mental kick up the backside I needed to make it happen. On Saturday the Fuji X-T1′s price dropped by £150 down to £699 on Amazon. That’s only £10 more than a grey import. I jumped on it before they changed their minds and without really considering which lenses would make up my new kit. Then on Sunday I got an email offer from eBay — 10 listings with no insertion fees and 75% off final value fees. So I listed all my Nikon kit. Did it kill me to have to start the D700′s auction price at £299? Of course, but if it’s not getting used then it needs to find a new home.
Next came the lens decisions. My favourite on the D700 was the 24-70mm f/2.8 for its versatility, but it’s a beast of a lens weighing in at 900g. The nearest equivalent on the Fuji side is the 16-55mm f/2.8 (24-82mm equivalent) but that’s 655g and, although it’s definitely sharper, for me it doesn’t offer that much of an advantage over the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 ‘kit lens’ which is only 310g and has the added bonus of being optically stabilised. Even better, my only local camera shop had a mint second hand 18-55mm in stock for around the same price as an average eBay one so I was able to run down and buy it as soon as my new camera was delivered.
If everything sells for the current eBay average I should be £500-£600 up, so enough for one or two more lenses. At some point I’d like to add a really fast prime as I’m a huge sucker for shallow depth of field, and something with a bit more reach… and a macro… but for the moment I’ll stick with the 18-55mm and an old +4 close-up filter and just enjoy the novelty of a days photography without breaking my back.