My Gear

As you'll hear many photographers say, this isn't the most important aspect of photography. But as a fellow photo gear-nut, I know you probably want to know anyway. :)

I've used several cameras over the years, beginning my journey shooting with a classic Canon PowerShot SX10. From there my research into gear began, and we entered the DSLR world with a Canon Rebel XS/1000D. Interchangeable lenses, wow! Cue the countless (I don't want to know how many!) hours pouring into reviews and comparisons from many pixel-peeping photo sites. I've been around that block for too many years.

As a result of this mad lust for gear, unfortunately I realized I couldn't go buy the best stuff. So I gradually upgraded from humble beginnings. My first personal camera was the Canon 20D, at the time the 40D was top dog (for that range). I had the Canon 17-85mm do-it-all lens and the classic nifty-fifty Canon 50mm f/1.8. To this day some of my best photos were taken with that 20D, with all of its 8 megapixels!

My next upgrade was the 40D, after my 20D strangely quit working after a hassle at the Canadian border crossing (coincidence? I think not.) That 40D was my workhorse for a long time, about 4 years or so. My lenses had evolved to include the Canon 24-105 f/4L and 70-200 f/4L, both gifts.

After getting some wedding photography jobs, I upgraded to the Canon 6D. First full-frame; wow! I felt so empowered with my L lenses, 24mm is so wide on full-frame! I was able to use that 24-105 for basically EVERYTHING. Set for life, right?

I sold it all. And bought into the Fuji mirrorless system. Yep, traded all my Canon faithfulness to "downgrade" to a crop-sensor system again. Who would get rid of such a beautiful full-frame system? Me. Why?

My lifestyle involves a lot of traveling, and will involve a lot of flying in small aircraft. As a full-time missionary with Kingdom Air Corps in the bush of Alaska, I couldn't justify all that size and weight anymore. Nor did I want to tout a big DSLR system around a small village when my priority is ministry.

In reality, I think in many ways it was an upgrade from my Canon full-frame. No, the images aren't quite as impossibly gorgeous or clean while viewing at 100% no matter what ISO setting I used with the 6D. But they're pretty close, and in no way do I feel hindered with my Fuji. I even often enjoy the results from the Fuji more than ever. I almost never need to shoot in RAW anymore, I like my JPG outcomes so much.

Maybe the camera gear isn't the factor as much as we think. Maybe I enjoy my photography more with the Fuji because it simply enables me to shoot more often. I can take it more places with less reservations. Who knows? I'm just saying I love my new mirrorless system, and hope you love the photos captured with it too.

All that said, finally here's my gear list:

Camera Body:

  • Fujifilm X-T1 (Buy on Amazon)

Lenses:

  • Rokinon 12mm f/2 (Buy on Amazon)
  • Fujifilm 23mm f/2 (Buy on Amazon)
  • Fujifilm 50mm f/2 (Buy on Amazon)
  • Helios 85mm f/1.5 "cyclops" (no aperture blades) (Buy on eBay)
  • Jupiter 135mm f/4 (Buy on eBay)

All primes! So happy to go this route - always dreamed of owning a bunch of primes. I don't feel hindered by this either. Most often, I have the Fuji 50mm on the camera. That's 77mm equivalent on 35mm full-frame! Not the usual focal length to walk around with, but I love it. I shoot people, nature, landscapes, anything with that lens. The 23mm is a beauty too, when you need a bit wider. My Rokinon 12mm is a joy for those super-wide landscapes and night sky shots. And my two manual-focus Russian Leica-copies are super fun and capture great portraits and compressed landscapes.

I shot an entire wedding with just my X-T1 w/ 50mm and a Fuji X70 (18.5mm). All in JPG. Talk about being bold. Never had an issue, and the images came out spectacular! I finished sorting and processing my keepers in one day - AMAZING! That process is usually incredibly long and painful, as many of you know. Fuji saved me a ton of time on that one.

If any of you have questions about my switch, my gear, or anything else - please comment below!

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