How far along are we with the mirrorless revolution? Is it upon us? Started already and fizzled (check out the CIPA report for mirrorless growth vs. SLRs last year)? It seems that not a day goes by that there isn't another blog or social media post about something related to mirrorless cameras. Dave Hobby and Zack Arias have very loudly proclaimed their love for the Fuji mirrorless systems (interchangeable and the X100 series). Yesterday, +Trey Ratcliff posted a piece on the story behind him saying goodbye to Nikon for the Sony NEX system. This is something I hear about often, though its usually well known photographers adding a mirrorless system to complement their existing setups.
Its +Brian Matiash's thoughts on Trey's posts yesterday that vaguely ties all of this to the image of the prairie summer storm I made yesterday. Brian got a Sony NEX-6 several weeks ago but ended up returning it, for the reason (as he says) of FOMO, fear of missing out. I've been familiar with mirrorless cameras since one of the very first mainstream ones the Olympus Pen EP-1 and have used ones from all the major manufacturers on and off since then. Similar to Brian, I too have FOMO and also haven't found the perfect system yet. I'd like an APS-C sensor manufactured by Sony, Olympus sensor based image stabilization and focus speed, Fuji lenses and ergonomics. I just can't seem to win.
Now I'm about half way through my road trip through western Canada with my wife and kids and because of my FOMO, in addition to a compact Fuji X kit, I also brought my medium format system and an SLR system. I'm happy to say that I've used them all so far (another one of those weird obsessions of mine where I get irritated if I've brought something along I don't use). Yesterday afternoon, as my wife were heading out for a quick bit of shopping, I saw a storm approach and in the last minute just grabbed my small Billingham bag containing my Fuji kit. We drove out about 30 kilometers from Red Deer along a rural road looking for some interesting compositions and I found a couple including the image above. I didn't use a tripod or filters or cable release, I just framed and fired off a few shots, bracketed so that if the dynamic range was too high I could try and HDR.
I'm pleased with this result, I like the composition, I like the drama of the storm clouds, the color of the grass in the foreground and using Irident Developer for RAW conversion and working carefully in Photoshop, I'm pretty sure I could get an A3 print out of this I'd be happy with. However, as I was driving down that road, I kept kicking myself, why oh why had I not grabbed that large Bataflae bag with the big boys in it. That angst eventually passed and in the end I was glad that I had at least had the Fuji kit with me; if I didn't I would have to make do with the camera on my phone.
So what is the point of all this? I like mirrorless systems, they are small and compact. I've used my Fuji XE-1 for a lot stuff so far on this trip, especially family pictures. However there is no way I'm giving up either my medium format rig or my 35mm DSLR systems (anytime soon that is). FOMO is a part of it, but so is the experience of making photographs (especially with the technical camera).