Fujifilm Wedding Photography: Switching from Canon
Fujifilm Wedding Photography (And Why I’m Switching from Canon)
I’ve been a wedding photographer for almost a decade – my first shoot ever was on a Canon because that’s what was handed to me moments before I went to Haiti on a humanitarian aid trip. Since then, I’ve owned dozens of cameras (analogue and digital alike) but a Canon DSLR of various generations has always been my work-horse for paid work.
I have a lot of love for Canon, and I’m not ready to get rid of my 6D or glass just yet, but it was time for a change and my love for film cameras really drew me towards the XT line. There’s something satisfying about changing aperture, shutter speed and ISO with analogue dials, and the smaller profile was going to do wonders for my street photography.
Choosing the XT-1
I went with the XT-1 as a starter camera for a couple reasons. First, it was reputed to have excellent image quality and even at 16MP would have plenty of resolution for large prints (I should know, I worked for a commercial printer). Second, it was a lot cheaper than the XT-2, which I plan to pick up in a month or two once the Fujifilm XT-3 starts to really take hold of the market and bring the price down on its predecessor.
Coming from an arsenal of Canon L zooms and prime lenses, I felt extremely apprehensive going in to a wedding with only the Fujifilm kit lens, but its performance during testing was impressive enough that I knew that I would come away with some solid shots. I couldn’t have been more pleased by my choices.
Once in lightroom, I found that nearly every single photo was tack sharp, even in low lighting and at higher ISOs while handheld. My 6D has performed admirably over the years, but I’ve always come away with at least a 7-12% dud rate when it comes to focus across the gamut of lenses I’ve owned. Withe the Fujifilm XT-1, that’s down to 2-4%. Now granted I’m shooting weddings and portraiture, which typically require less speedy autofocus than, say, sport photography but regardless – I’m impressed. Impressed enough that I may rent the XT-3 once it’s available to see whether the autofocus improvements over the XT-2 are worth the extra cost. I read a comment on a photography forum whilst researching the Fuji system where one user said that sometimes he found his shots to be “breathtakingly sharp”, and I think that’s a pretty apt statement.
As my girlfriend and I looked over our pictures after the wedding, there’s something we both noticed when looking at our photos. Compared to the shots from our 6Ds, the Fujifilm seems to have better dynamic range and contrast making the 6D shots look almost flat in comparison. Further proof of this is that both blown-out highlights and inky shadows are more easily rescued and in greater detail than from our Canon full frame cameras. The photo below is a prime example of an under-exposed frame that – while still a bit moody – is sharp and full of detail.
Fujifilm Kit Lens for Weddings?
Yes. I have no hesitation in saying that. Perhaps it shouldn’t be the ONLY lens in your bag, but the kit lens really did a stand-up job throughout the day. I find its range to be versatile and the bokeh to be generally up to the job of wedding photography if you get your angle/focal range right. I can’t wait to see what some of the primes are like based upon my experiences with this wedding, particularly for creative portraiture. But in terms of autofocus, sharpness, contrast and colour the kit lens does just fine for wedding photography (with some caveats mentioned at the end of my post).
Now, of course one of the first things I did when I picked up the Fuji was to buy an EOS-FX adapter. Not one of the super expensive AF/Aperture-changing ones, but a simple manual focus one that was under $20. We have a decent amount of Canon glass and I had heard good things about the Fuji’s focus peaking. I come from a manual focus film background, but I didn’t want to chance any crucial moments on my first go with MF. I did pop the 24-70 2.8L on for a quick shot of my girlfriend while our couple was getting ready:
You can tell right away – or at least I think I can – that this has more of a Canon “look” to it, but regardless I’m really looking forward to playing around with mixing the Fuji body and Canon glass. Focus peaking is amazing, and even better in my girlfriend’s XT-2 (the auto-zoom function is indispensable). Macro is going to be a lot of fun.
Speaking of Canon lenses, while I won’t be giving up my 100mm f/2.8 Macro any time soon, the kit lens did a pretty decent job with close focus and – no surprises here – more of them were sharp than with my Canon set-up. This was cropped down slightly but not by much.
I have more thoughts to share and will continue to share them as I spend more time with the Fuji, but so far my review is glowing. This camera has helped me rediscover the joy of photography.