When I first classed myself a professional photographer, I would have never had dreamed that I would be using a small, lightweight mirrorless camera for almost all of my professional work. Why would I? How can a tiny camera, without a red or gold ring around the end of the lenses, make me a professional? How could any other sensor other than a Full Frame sensor, give me the “Professional” results I was after?
When I started taking photography seriously, I started out with a Canon 60D and a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8. Not long after being in this new age of digital photography, I fell into the rut of reading every forum on gear! Every forum mentioned how great L lenses were! How one must have L lenses to be a professional. With this I practiced, and practiced, and practiced. I took the time to learn as much as possible from all aspects of photography. Once I could afford what all these forums were saying that I needed to produce what they called “Professional” photos, I decided to buy a Canon 5D mark II, with a 85mm f/1.2 L lens. Finally I could call my self professional according to photography forums. This is when G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) kicked in.
As I had been learning all areas that I was interested in, It became obvious that a short zoom and a short telephoto was’t going to cut it. After seeing the results that the L lens had produced on a Full Framed sensor, I decided that I was only going to buy L lenses and only use a Full Framed body. Throughout the next couple of years, I had spent almost all of my photography earnings on lenses, and a new body, the 5D mark III. Every time I was in a situation that I was’t 100% familiar with, I made my mind up that I needed a new L lens to cover certain areas of that genre of photography. In my mind, it was set that a “Professional” photographer should own everything, and have every lens available to cover every situation possible, and all the gear must be the branded professional glass.
Eventually I had owned almost every L lens that Canon had to offer (excluding the big £4000/$7000 boys). I found my self at a stage, realising that I was only using a few of my lenses, so I started to sell a few, to make way for other gear that I convinced myself that I needed. Now, turning up to events, jobs, weddings, etc, I had a huge back pack on, full to the max of almost everything I could possible ever need to use for that situation. Overkill was an understatement at times. My bag was mega heavy, large, and as it was full, VERY VERY expensive with all its contents. Carrying all this gear didn’t only apply to paid work, but also personal days out with the camera.
When I moved over to a Macbook Pro from a Windows laptop, I restored all my Lightroom catalogues and realised i was taking over 130,000 images a year through my expensive cameras, as I was using them both for work and pleasure. I wanted these bodies to last me, as they had cost me so much money and time acquiring my perfect set up (owning everything). With this I decided that I didn’t need that super 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II, or that 50mm f/1.2 on a 5D mark III for personal shots. Shots that were for small albums, or even more so, mainly for Facebook. So I went and treated myself to a Fuji X100S.
I thought this little X100S would do for personal shots. The quality should be ample enough, but It could’t possibly be on par with a 5D mark III. There is no way that a cropped sensor by Fuji could match up to a “Professional” Full Frame sensor by Canon. How could it? It was a £600 tiny body, with a fixed 35mm f/2.0 equivalent lens, and a cropped sensor. No one would ever take anyone seriously with such a non “Professional” camera. This little camera would only be my personal camera, as there is no way it could produce results good enough for any client! HOW WRONG COULD I HAVE BEEN!
Welcome FUJI! This X100S went everywhere with me. It was my personal camera that had fully replaced my work camera for personal use, and producing some amazing results. With this new found love with Fuji and the X100S, I wanted this smaller, lightweight, amazing system in my bag. My outlook on gear had completely changed and G.A.S. seemed to vanish over night.
Don’t get me wrong, I still had to acquire the gear to fulfil my new found love with photography again, but I didn’t feel that I NEEDED the gear. I no longer felt that I must own what society says is a professional camera, to produce the results I was after. After a couple of months looking into what was my most used focal lengths, I sold almost all of my Canon gear and brought into what I consider Fujis Holy Trinity, along with a Fuji X-E2 and a Fuji X-T1.
What I consider professional is not someone getting paid. Lots of amateurs get paid. Personally I consider a professional someone who is consistent. Someone who can deliver consistent results to the clients expectations, wether being paid or not. When using my Fujis at events, next to others using DSLRS, I still get them staring, judging, and at one point in my career I would have done the same. All because G.A.S. took over, and I felt that I must own what forums, and other professionals said I should own to produce these “Professional” results.
Fuji broke this gear addiction that I had, and made me realise that the gear doesn’t matter as much as knowledge. Knowing what I know, having the experience that I have, and being fortunate enough to have worked some great shoots, and for some great companies, I can really push the Fujis to the max. Even more so, since moving to Fuji, I have a new found love for photography again. I know it has been said 100’s of times before all over the internet, but carrying less gear, more lightweight, but still managing to produce the results I was previously used to with my “Pro” Canon gear, is amazing.
Now that my bag is light, and I have the lenses I need and want, rather that what I assumed I should have. I now shoot an entire event without the ache. People seem to feel less intimidated with these smaller cameras. Less people questioned who I was, and why I was taking photos, leaving me to do the job I was hired to do. I now feel, because of this amazing system that Fuji offers, with their constent updates and releases, that I can now fully enjoy all areas of photography again without the thought that G.A.S. may creep in.
Images in this article were taken with the X100S, X-T1 and X-E2.
Amazon Gear Links: