In one of the "Fuji X-T1: Size" posts last week, friend, frequent commenter, and occasional TOP contributing author Ken Tanaka wrote:
The simple fact is that one's choice of camera among this ever-widening belt of high-end "mirrorless" models from Fujifilm, Sony, and Olympus will have little impact of one's photographic results. We're in a hailstorm of outstanding products. Any of these cameras will be more than adequate for the vast majority of photographs that the vast majority of people will ever take with them.
I have to heartily second that hailstorm idea. In fact I was just about to write a post about it.
The task in camera choice is no longer finding something that is adequate—we passed that point in the early 2000s. The choice is no longer even between good-better-best, as it was at the end of the 2000s. The choice is now really a matter of "this flavor of best vs. that flavor of best."
It's still interesting to compare cameras, and people are still curious to read opinions from people who own and use various models. It's still fun to shop. But really, approximately since the E-M5 and X100 in the mirrorless sector, anything you're comfortable choosing will potentially give you great results*.
This is also the first time in my own personal history that the cameras have been so great that I've wanted to own more than one at a time. Not counting film cameras and my DP2M which I bought purely so I could learn about it, I currently own two mirrorless cameras, the Sony NEX-6 (which I love) and the Olympus E-M1 (which I love). And having just gotten the Fuji X-T1 in for review, I find that I really love that camera too.
This creates a different sort of dilemma. For most people it used to be, "Should I replace X with Y?" Now, for many, it's "Should I buy Z when I already own an X and a Y?"
Or—let's be honest—for some people it's "How in the world can I justify getting a Z when I already have a perfectly good X and Y?"
(Thanks to Ken)
*As with any generalization, caveats do exist. Some photographers have specific tasks to do that require specific features or capabilities that not all cameras have. Jeffrey Goggin recently mentioned that he needs a camera that can do exposures longer than 30 seconds, for his night photography. That's not a functionality that would even occur to me. Jack MacDonough needed a medium format digital camera because he routinely makes and sells prints that are six feet wide. So saying that most cameras will give most people perfectly good results naturally doesn't take all people or all cameras into account.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Fred B.: "It's funny. As I began to pare down the number of cameras I used to a single one, I eventually decided on the E-M1. The only reason for choosing that camera over the X-T1 was the availability of a quality underwater housing. No other reason. It amazes me that we are at a point now where I was equally happy to purchase either camera (though I secretly wanted the Fujifilm), and my choice was narrowed to a single factor, and I did not feel like I was having to compromise."
stephen palmer: "It's not about the cameras any more, it's about what it's pretty much always been about...the lenses. The camera manufacturers keep pumping out slow zoom after slow zoom and the market seems to accept it. There are some good fast to moderately fast lenses available but compared to the number of top quality cameras, quality lens systems are thin on the ground."
Stephen: "Well, Ken is right from a technical perspective; these cameras can all do what needs to be done outside of specialist requirements. I sense though that his view is incomplete. There is more to the camera than specifications. You noted loving a camera (or two...). For me this is important. My current camera is in most respects no better than its peers on paper. For me, though, it is an entirely different beast than its peers. It flows in my hands. It is seamless for the way my tiny brain operates. I have tried the peers. Some of them I liked. None were loved.
"I like, and need, to feel good about the tools I use in an activity which is at the intersection of art and science. The others just don't cut it for me, and this shows in the results. I'm producing better stuff with this camera."
ShadZee: "The rule of thumb in choosing between X or Y cameras: always choose X (X-T1, GX7, X-E2, X-M1, X2, X Vario, or even Moto X)."