I currently shoot with a Canon Rebel T2i, a prosumer model from five years ago. Five years, my how quickly time flies.
I love my camera, it has been my constant companion through many adventures; trips to Alaska, Montana, The Great Smoky Mountains, Caribbean cruises, and local, small town, walk-about adventures.
My camera has taught me patience. It has taught me what I like to shoot and what I don't like to shoot, it has stuck with me through many different photographic directions. My camera has seen me go from shooting in full automatic mode to a deep love of Aperture Priority Mode, and the occasional venture into manual mode.
It is with great sadness that I confession I am looking at replacing my T2i, and ending our five year relationship. Since the beginning of the year, I have been looking and reading; considering deeply how I shoot, what I shoot, what my future needs might be. I have been asking fellow photographer's opinions, and everybody has a different one. But ultimately it is about me and how I will be using the camera tomorrow, next year and five years from now.
With all that in mind I paid a visit to my local camera store last month. I needed to feel these cameras in my, large for a woman hands, I needed to ask questions and seek advice from the camera professionals. My starting point was the raved about mirrorless cameras. Honestly most were too small for my large hands, and just didn't feel right. One intrigued me though, the Fuji X-T1, that fit my hands, and is well liked among photographers and well reviewed.
Being a much smarter photographer than I was five years ago, instead of just buying a camera and hoping I liked it, I decided to rent the Fuji X-T1 and take it with me on my trip to Chicago. A trip like Chicago is exactly the kind of trip I would want a light weight, but fully functioning camera for. I rented from BorrowedLenses.com. I would highly recommend them if you are thinking of renting any gear, whether it be a camera body, lenses or accessories. I rented the Fuji for 10 days, allowing for a few days on each side of my trip. I had to watch a couple of You Tube videos once it arrived to figure out how to use it, not being familiar with Fujis. The videos were extremely helpful and I felt fairly prepared to shoot with it for ten days.
The first place I gave it a trial run was Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL. Deanna and I went there for the afternoon after I arrived at her house in Naperville, and while we waited for our other friend Patti to arrive.
Let me say I am not a huge fan of using the back screen as my viewfinder, it was very hard to see what I was shooting using the LCD screen, especially in bright sunshine, which I shoot in most of the time. It does have an electronic viewfinder which worked infinitely better once I discovered the diopter to adjustment the visual so I could actually see through it. I did like the fact that I could see the histogram in the viewfinder as I took the shot, and that there was a leveling line. I am hopelessly crooked on a daily basis.
I did love the light-weighness of it, and the 18-55mm f/2.8 lens that I rented with the camera body fit my needs well, and was also fairly light weight. In another fifteen to twenty years, as I get older, I can definitely see the possible need of a light-weight camera such as this. But currently I already have a light-weight camera that I adore, my iPhone, and that fits the "easy to carry" requirement quite nicely.
One other note, I was warned by some of my photography friends to be sure and rent an extra battery as the mirrorless cameras seem to eat up battery power. I am happy to report that I used the same battery the whole time and never had to recharge, or use the spare battery. If I had used the Fuji the day we went downtown Chicago I am quite certain I would have had to change the battery, but I was pleased with the battery power, more than I expected to be.
So while a lovely camera, it is not the right camera for me at this time. The cost of the camera and new lenses doesn't justify for me the ease to carry and photos that are on the same quality level as my current Canon T2i.
When I was at the camera store in July, the salesgirl did point out one other option to me as a possibility, the Canon T6s, which holds quite a bit of promise for my self-portraiture work. I have rented that camera body and it will be arriving later this week. I will let you know how that fairs.