For and against Canon EOS for my photography

Canon 1Ds3 and Fuji X-T1 basic outfit

I worked my way through the Pros and cons of the Fuji X system for my photography. I now need to do similar for my long standing Canon system to determine whether I can make a complete switch to Fuji.

For

The autofocus capability of top end Canon EOS cameras is pretty much second to none and it is why I stuck with them t when I was shooting a lot of sport. Along with news and reportage generally, sport is something I expect to do more of in 2016, it is something I understand and was good at when I was In practice. Judging from recent occasional sport shooting I have not lost my eye, I just need to polish up my technique—as with sportsmen and women I need to get back to match fitness, get back into training.

I have come to realise that my style of shooting needs good depth of field control and the ability to limit it to create differential focus, to separate the subject from its background. The full frame (135) format gives more control than smaller formats such as Fuji. That was my initial concern with switching to the Fuji but now I am using the faster lenses with larger apertures it is proving to be less of an issue than I originally imagined.

Of course a good reason for staying with Canon is that I already have a comprehensive system with a full range of lenses and accessories. That said, as I  mention later, the lenses, although top quality, are mainly of previous generation which does raise some negative issues.

I can reasonably expect Canon (and Nikon) to still be in the camera system business in 10 years' time, even if they have to revamp their offering substantially. They have built their businesses on the back of their standing as photographic system makers. Fuji on the other hand pulled out of the professional camera market some years ago, at least under their own name in Europe and America. They did continue to make lenses and the Xpan for Hasselblad and sold a similar camera under their own name in Japan. So the question arises: will Fuji pull out again of professional photo market again?

Some may consider the optical viewfinder as positive, I am not so convinced as I argue later. The Canon flash system may be better than Fuji's but I am not major flash user and there are now usable options. With familiarity an electronic viewfinder, especially one as good as on the Fuji X-T1, is certainly up to the job.  I do not find the blackout an issue but then I started out with an SLR that did not have instant return mirror and a manual film wind.

Against

A downside of an optical viewfinder means in the dark it can be impossible to see enough to compose the image! That has certainly been an issue for me in the last year or so.

Without question the weight and bulk is the Canon's professional system, based on the EOS 1Ds3, is the biggest problem for me as I get older. This aspect alone is probably sufficient to drive me into the arms of a smaller and light system. The weight has meant that I did not take my main camera with me as often as I should, the Fuji has changed that, I take it almost everywhere. I could never have carried a laptop as well as a camera system when shooting news with the Canon, I can and do with the Fuji. I have considered downsizing to a Canon APS-C camera, probably the 7D mark II which is almost a miniature 1Dx and ideal for sport.

The lenses would still be the same, large and heavy, but the system as a whole would still be weighty even though the lenses would effectively have more reach so be even better for sport. The problem is that the Canon APS-C format does not have a professional "L series" standard zoom to replace the 24-70mm f2.8, or the 24-105mm f4 that was my favourite walk around lens on the full frame camera. My lenses are mostly high end "L" lenses but they are of a previous generation and many do not have image stabilisation, unlike their modern counterparts. They are still good lenses but will they meet the needs of the higher pixel density of modern and future Canon DSLRs, like the 7D2 and the 5DS/R? They are fine with my older Canon 1Ds3 at 21Mpixels on a full size 135 frame.

The other downside of, even, the 7D2 is that the sensor appears to be noisier at high ISO than the Fuji and I am reluctant to use the full frame 1Ds3 at higher than ISO 1,000 because of image noise.

It is my contention that the DSLR is an obsolescent technology, there  is no longer any need for all that mechanical gubbins to provide a flapping mirror which creates the risk of vibration degrading the images, especially at the new higher resolutions. The other problem, as I highlighted in my Fuji pros and cons, is that the sound of a DSLR in quiet settings is much more intrusive than the Fuji.

The other challenge with Canon, especially using full frame equipment, is the cost. The professional quality lenses for Canon are significantly more expensive than for Fuji  equivalent which of course are of shorter focal length, and they are physically smaller.

Finally

Of course, the Canon initially had the advantage of familiarity as I had been using the EOS system for over twenty years. Now that advantage has effectively disappeared as I have now been using the Fuji for over two years. However, I am still  learning to  get the best out of it, especially for action where the new lenses and firmware have improved autofocus for moving subjects. The importance of that is uncertain as I have not shot much sport in last 18 months, none seriously. I am planning to shoot more news, and probably sport as well, in 2016 if I can create the opportunity and a client base for the images.

So comparing this analysis with the Pros and cons of the Fuji X system it seems it may be time to get rid of my Canon equipment while they still have some value, unlike my old EOS3 film cameras. How best to sell it is a serious challenge, eBay does not look a safe route these days for high value equipment—I will have to do more research.

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