Making a gear switch for any photographer can be a daunting task. I’ll admit, I was reluctant to jump ship fully on my Nikon gear for quite some time. In the end, though, it was well worth the change, and was much easier than I had anticipated. In this article, I’m going to share with you HOW I decided to switch, WHY I switched, and WHAT I switched to/from.
My hope is that any wedding photographer who is thinking of changing from Nikon to Fuji gear will get a better understanding of the process, and will have a seamless transition to the latest and greatest in mirrorless gear!
How I switched from Nikon to Fuji for wedding photography
My interest in Fujifilm gear started when I picked up a used Fuji x100t on eBay for my personal photos. With two kids, I found that I just didn’t want to pack a Nikon D750 in my camera bag to take photos of them on the go! I wanted something more lightweight, but that was professional, decent quality and fun to use.
The x100t was a great start into the Fuji realm, as it allowed me to feel the gear in my hands and come to appreciate how Fuji lets me ‘play’ a little more with the way that I shoot. Not having a huge camera in a child’s face is a much better way to connect with them, and the fixed 35mm equivalent lens let me move around and photograph them really well. I loved it!
About a year later, I decided that I wanted something with even better autofocus capabilities, and upgraded my personal camera to the X-T2. This was a big upgrade, and I was able to sell my x100t pretty easily.
How to photograph weddings with Fuji gear
One day the thought crossed my mind….. the X-T2 was so wonderful for my personal work – could I use it for my professional wedding photography? SURE – why not!?
Rent Gear First
I started with RENTING some of the gear that I would likely use a lot (a 50-140mm and a 16-55mm) I loved that these lenses were much lighter than my Nikon 24-70 and Nikon 70-200. They could easily replace these two lenses at a fraction of the weight! The lenses were sharp, fast, and professional.
I rented my gear to test from LensProToGo.
After I rented, I knew that I liked it, but I still took a while to make the switch. One day I was out with some of my colleagues, when one of them said “Well, why don’t you just switch already?!”. And at that, I decided to make the leap.
As a wedding photographer, I knew there were parts of a wedding day where I could have a little less pressure and a little more freedom to learn. Using the Fujifilm gear, I knew that the best way to learn how to use it was ON-THE-JOB. Sure, I could test out my gear all I wanted on my kids, but the fact is – that’s not a wedding. I needed to be learning about how I loved to use each camera and lens when I was actually photographing a wedding.
If I had second shooting gigs, I would have definitely used them to work with my gear more, but I didn’t, so I chose to start with the slowest parts of a wedding day – DETAILS, GETTING READY, and RECEPTION DANCING. For me, these were the sections where I could play more and make mistakes in learning, and it would be OK.
Make the Leap
After about 3 weddings of ‘playing’ with the Fuji gear, I decided it was time to make the leap into a full Fuji kit. I filled out my kit with all of the lenses I needed and flash gear (I’ll detail this all later in the article). I filled my bag, but still kept all of my Nikon gear.
For a few weddings, I traveled with two sets of gear. This was tremendously helpful to have as a last-resort backup. There was one instance where I just didn’t realize that Electronic Shutter + Flash don’t work together, and so in a pinch right before the ceremony I was able to bust out my Nikon gear, and photograph that part of the day with no snags.
Having the backup system for a bit was a good crutch, but I tried not to use it for long.
Sell all of your Nikon gear
Selling all of my gear was both difficult and easy at the same time. The good thing about switching from Nikon to Fuji, is that the Fuji price point is lower than that of Nikon gear, so even my used lenses + cameras were able to make up for the cost of the new system.
Now, I did have some old gear (especially my flashes and PocketWizards) that I was hard on, so I didn’t get much money for them, but in the end I was able to sell almost all of it, and it significantly lightened my load!
Now, I don’t have any Nikon gear, and I am so happy to have everything new! (Yes, I bought most all of my gear new. I like it fresh! 🙂
Why I switched from Nikon to Fuji gear
What’s the reason to switch? After all, I was taking making beautiful photos on my Nikon gear and nothing was broken. Well….there was something broken.
Carrying Heavy Camera Weight
First, my body. I was coming home ACHING from a wedding. I am 34, and have been photographing weddings for 10 years now. I have not had a single wedding season where my back didn’t hurt by the end of the wedding day. I tried using a Spider Holster and a Holdfast Moneymaker, and while both are excellent systems, the simple fact that my two cameras + lenses + flashes weighed so much… there was nothing that would take that weight off of my body.
The Fuji lenses and cameras are much smaller and lighter than their Nikon equivalents. I didn’t need PocketWizards with my flashes anymore (although I probably didn’t with my Nikon gear either.. I know, I know…)
The reduction in camera + lens weight that I carry on my body at a wedding now leaves me going home feeling good. There are even wedding days where I think “Oh, it’s over already!” when I leave, because surely I shouldn’t be leaving unless I am in pain! Ha!
Mirrorless is the Future
I always like to be ahead of the curve on change, and the more I learned about mirrorless cameras, the more I learned to embrace them as the next future in wedding photography.
I can choose so many more focus points, and they are all accurate. The ISO capabilities are incredible. The cameras are small and unobtrusive, allowing me to get in more with the guests and capture true candids on the wedding day. There are numerous reasons to use mirrorless gear as a wedding photographer!
Creativity with Fujifilm Gear
Changing to new photography gear has created a new challenge for me. After 10 years, I vow to never get stale, and switching to Fuji invokes a little more fun and creativity in my work.
Right now I am still in a bit of a learning curve on it, but no matter what, holding that smaller camera and feeling more flexible in my movement and load allows me to get into situations I might not usually. Also, the EVF (electronic viewfinder) lets me have more creativity in my work at a quick pace.
Fujifilm Continuous Improvement
I come from an Industrial Engineering background, and my husband is a Lean Six Sigma Master Blackbelt. If there is one person that appreciates a company with a focus on continuous improvement, it’s me! Fuji is always working on Firmware updates (which are easy to do!), and listening to their users. That’s something that I love in a company that I work with.
What Fujifilm Gear does a Wedding Photographer need?
When I switched from Nikon to Fuji, I decided to lighten my bag not only by having smaller gear, but by really narrowing down my gear to the items I truly needed on a wedding day. Here is the gear that I decided on:
Fujifilm camera bodies
All three area excellent. For a while I was using the X-T2 and X-Pro2 at my weddings, but then I really had the itch for the new X-T3, and picked up one from my local camera shop, YM Camera. Now, the X-Pro2 is my personal camera and sits on my counter with a 23mm for work with my kids around the house.
Fujifilm X-Series Lenses
Fujinon XF16-55mm f/2.8 (replaces my Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8)
Fujinon XF50-140mm f/2.8 (replaces my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8)
Fujinon XF23mm f/2 (replaces my Nikon 35mm)
Fujinon XF35mm f/2 (replaces my Nikon 50mm)
Fujinon XF56mm f/1.2 (replaces my Nikon 85mm)
Fujinon XF60mm macro (replaces my Nikon 105mm macro)
Next on my list, I’d really like to try out a Fujifilm 14mm of 16mm. Fuji has got me excited about wide angle lenses lately, and I think one of those could be really fun on the dance floor!
What about flash with Fuji gear?
This was a tricky part for me, because I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do here. Flash is a HUGE part of my work, so I needed to make sure the Fuji system would have a flash series that was easy and compatible.
For that, I decided to go with Adorama’s Flash System, and now use Flashpoint R2 TTL Flashes, Flashpoint R2 Pro Transmitters, and Flashpoint Zoom-Mini TTL Flashes. All of these work WONDERFULLY together, and are all compatible with my Fuji gear. Easy!
Anything else I’ll need?
Yep! Make sure you have lots of battery backups. I now go through about 2 batteries/camera on a wedding day, and you’ll want to have backup flash power packs as well.
Is there anything hard about switching from Nikon to Fuji?
Sure, as with anything there is a learning curve. I find that learning the focus system is hard for me sometimes, only because it’s very different. In time, I know that everything will become more familiar.
Fuji Autofocus Options
The Fuji cameras have a lot more autofocus options, and I am learning when each of them make sense to use on a wedding day. Face detection, eye detection, zone focus, etc… it’s a lot more than my simple Nikon focal points offered.
The feel of the new gear
I’m also getting used to just holding the gear and getting my fingers used to changing the settings. That sounds crazy, right? But any photographer who has been with the same gear for a long time will tell you that it becomes second-nature for every single setting and button. I’m not afraid to admit that right now it’s not totally ingrained in my mind yet, but I would think that isn’t to be expected in just a matter of months!
After this whole switch, I am very glad to have made the big change in my photography and business. I know that my relationship with Fuji will be a long one, and I am excited to share about how I made the change from Nikon to Fujifilm gear for my wedding photography business.