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Nikon D750

Nikon D750 vs. Nikon D810

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Nikon D750 vs. Nikon D810

FIGHT!!

FIGHT!!

Two paragraphs done and.... delete

Two paragraphs done and.... delete

This is the third coffee shop I’ve stopped in this week to work on this post and perhaps unsurprisingly this is the third iteration of the post. I’ve written and deleted roughly two paragraphs per cup of coffee and my current mug looks ready for a refill. There’s a similarity to be drawn between visiting different coffee shops and my choice between the Nikon D810 and the Nikon D750. Each coffee shop is offering similar goods of course and although I usually just stick with a small cup of black coffee (my cream and sugar use is indicative of how bad the coffee is) I constantly try new places to try to find the best cup of coffee. In practice I’m not sure I can actually say the quality of the coffee from cup to cup and although I have eventually decided on a favorite spot I still like to try out every place in the area. My coffee cup is already screaming for a refill.

Everything I want in a camera

Everything I want in a camera

The D750 is my favorite place to get coffee or, to drop the metaphor, it’s my favorite camera out of the handful of cameras I’ve used. For a year I’ve shot with this camera and I’d have difficulty coming up with a reasonable complaint about it. The ergonomics, its versatility, its reliability, and quality of the body and files are all within range to call it perfect. There’s never been a task I’ve put to this camera that I felt it couldn’t reasonably handle and I’ve always been happy with the files the camera puts out. So why keep looking? I’ve found my favorite cup of coffee and yet I’m literally sitting at a different shop wondering if this current cup is better than my original favorite. The problem isn’t necessarily the quality of the coffee but rather if it offers something more fitting to what I want from a coffee shop. In this case, the coffee shop offers the best chocolate chip cookies in the city. It’s not that the coffee is better than my original place, but that extra bonus of incredible cookies is enough for me to switch over.

Before this metaphor falls apart completely, the reason I've had difficulty writing this piece is because the D750 does everything so well. It was consistent, it was comfortable to use, and I'm confident in it's ability to capture what I want. It's not that I don't expect, or haven't gotten, the same things from the D810 but the perks of this camera does mean sacrificing some of the things that made the D750 so great. The D810 has an impressive amount of megapixels and the low base ISO puts out silky smooth files but it also lacks the tilt screen of the D750, it’s heavier and larger, and the ergonomics aren’t quite as good. Along with being larger it's also a bit slower in the FPS, it lacks a movable screen, and with larger files the D810 just isn’t as versatile as the D750. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the D810 to everyone especially say wedding photographers or sport shooters as the D750 would fit their needs much better. But as a portrait photographer who more often than not works in a studio, the cookies more than make up for the shortcomings of the coffee.

Wait, is the camera the coffee or the coffee shop now? 

Wait, is the camera the coffee or the coffee shop now? 

The files I’ve gotten out of the D810 so far have been spectacular. They have a crispness and quality I’ve not seen before and I’ve been blown away by the results. While working on this post the one question I kept coming back to is if the D810 is truly better than the D750. The problem isn’t that it’s a bad question but it’s been the wrong one to ask myself. It’s not a matter of it being a better camera but whether it’s the better camera for me. Versatility isn’t as important to me as the extra detail and quality of the photos I get with the D810. The D810 just seems like the perfect portrait camera to me more so than the D750 even if I still consider the D750 the perfect camera in general. My new favorite coffee shop didn’t replace my old favorite because it necessarily serves better coffee but it does offer more that I want out of a coffee shop i.e. delicious chocolate chip cookies. There’s a whole different argument to be made on if I actually need that chocolate chip cookie of course but I’m going to ignore that for now.

I think I’m going to skip on that refill.



 

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My week with a Fuji X-Pro 2

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My week with a Fuji X-Pro 2

I’m never sure if I should grab an umbrella when it’s a slight drizzle out. So I’m sitting in my car, listening to the rain out of rhythm to the Miles Davis album Kind of Blue playing through the speakers. The not so heavy rain is good though, it’s the reason I came out. I wanted to put the weather resistance of the Fuji X-Pro 2 and the 35mm F/2 to a test. The X-Pro 2 is sitting in the passenger seat, I’m thinking of replacing my Nikon D750 with it. Or rather, it’s the Fuji system as a whole I’m think of. That’s the idea at least use the X-Pro 2, sell my Nikon gear, buy equivalent glass to replace my current kit, and wait on the XT2 for work the X-Pro 2 isn't as well suited for. I definitely have my reservations about switching though. The D750 might just be one of the best all around full frame cameras on the market currently and the kit I’ve built is borderline decent.

Fuji X-Pro 2 w/ Fuji 35mm f/2 at 1/210th f/8 ISO 200

The Fuji system, well it’s a bit like listening to this Miles Davis album. It’s great and I appreciate it for what it is but I don’t quite understand it. I like modal jazz like Kind of Blue but I’d have a bad time trying to describe what modal jazz is. The Fuji system similarly I’m having a hard time describing why and where it fits for me as a camera system. I've looked at a lot of professionals that use this system to see if it's being used in a manner similar to how I would use it. What I found is one of my biggest irks about Fuji and it's not even about their cameras. There’s a slew of professional photographers singing praise to the Fuji system yet many seem to use another system when a job comes around. I get it, I’d love Fuji too if I had a Phase One sitting in my bag but what Nikon/Canon professional is bringing out another system when there’s a big job to do?

Sure, if I had the financial means I’d invest in both Nikon and Fuji systems but that’s not my situation. The gear I have is what I use day in, day out. I can’t invest in two different systems especially not in one because its retro design is inspiring and nice to look at. At the end of the day my camera is a tool, I don’t need it to look pretty and I don’t need it to be some sort of talking point, I need it to get a job done. This is the biggest reason I'm reluctant to switch, I have a limited amount of funds for gear so I need to get the absolute most out of my money and not seeing other professionals use this system in a similar capacity to my needs is cause for hesitation.

Fuji X-Pro 2 w/ Fuji 35mm f/2 at 1/250th f/9 ISO 200

The rain is letting up some and I’ve yet to get out of the car. "All Blues" has begun and I wish I would have picked up a vinyl copy of this album the last time I was out. Went for the CD and it sounds good but it doesn’t have the grit and warmth of vinyl. The irony of liking the retroness of vinyl while criticizing that same aspect of the Fuji isn’t lost on me. Vinyl creates a sort of experience, or perhaps more accurately a nostalgia, that CDs don’t and I know this is what many see in the Fujis. But the vinyl experience is one I enjoy solely without purpose. My camera has purpose it has a task and a job. If I’m setting up in a house with the real estate agent buzzing around making small talk with the owners so I can get pictures of the rooms without interruption, I don’t need an experience. I need to get the job done.

Fuji X-Pro 2 w/ Fuji 35mm f/2 at 1/640th f/2 ISO 200

The drive home is a bit more wet than the drive out and I've no real pictures to show for my time. The best part of the night was stopping to get the raspberry chocolate chip ice cream from the local ice cream store. Good on you for staying open so late. I’ve spent a week with the Fuji X-Pro 2 and in that time I've tried it out in multiple scenarios that I would use it in. Regardless of my four paragraphs of bitching about this camera, it is a joy to use and the files are very nice. There's a reason the Fuji systems receive so much praise and it is warranted. But I don't see myself switching systems anytime soon and the boxes with return labels next to me attest to that. At the end of the day, the positives of this camera are outweighed not by it's negatives but by the positives of my current D750. It's not a question of whether or not it's a good camera but one of whether that camera will perform better or more efficiently. If I didn't have a decent kit built or I was starting anew, the Fuji system might be the route I'd go but I don't see it as a replacement for my current setup.

Fuji X-Pro 2 w/ Fuji 35mm f/2 at 1/250th f/9 ISO 200

There is still the question of the Fuji XT2 after all this camera is more akin to a DSLR like the D750 than the X-Pro 2. I can't dismiss the XT2 as it's specs, much less the body itself, hasn't been fully released yet but likewise I can't invest in a system based on hopes for a future product. Will the eventual release of the XT2 change my mind on switching systems? Currently, I'd say no. Kind of Blue starts over again and after spending so much time comparing images at 100% zoom, reading review after review of the X-Pro 2, and wondering if I should instead be toying around with a Pentax K1 my current mood matches the first track, "So What". What you create with is never as important as what you create and I'm just ready to start creating again.

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