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Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023

  
 
chuck77
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


I am finding it quite difficult to look for a good one-camera system recently.

I primarily shoot portraits/fashion but have transitioned more into weddings and am looking for the best solution.

The Fuji X system has served me well but I am finding some limitations with it for wedding use (AF speed, high ISO performance). Would love to stay with Fuji if possible for the good controls and image quality in normal conditions, but uncertain about the latest X series, and I don't actually know if a GFX is really suitable. Well, I love the idea of a GFX - at least on paper.

Have tried Sony A7 (the original one) for 3 years and Nikon D810/D850 very briefly, but not very familiar with the current offerings.

Happy to hear your thoughts.




Jun 14, 2023 at 10:08 PM
CharleyL
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


I would never shoot a wedding or similar important occasion with just one camera. There is too much risk involved in missing important shots. Having two cameras also lets me put different lenses on each, and with a 2 camera harness I can quickly switch cameras for nearer or farther away shots. If I should have a camera failure for some reason, at least I still have the other camera for catching those important shots so I don't miss them. I also have a third camera in the car, should I ever need it. It's a different and smaller model camera, but at 16 megapixel, it's at least something good enough to get by. This third camera has never been needed yet, and it is only 16 mp, but it's been good insurance. My goto cameras for these occasions are both the same model, so the controls are identical and switching from one to the other and back is like using a left or right glove. Once fully practiced using just that one camera model you don't have to look for a button or setting change. It's in the same place on both cameras. If you want to be paid well for these occasions, be fully prepared to do professional work.

Charley



Jun 16, 2023 at 09:08 AM
tcphoto
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


As stated, I'd never go to a shoot whether it's a portrait, small business or large production with only one camera body. I find that Murphy's Law will rear it's evil head at the worst possible moment, it could be as simple as a sync cord, tether cable, camera battery, flash head, camera, etc. If there is money changing hands, I do my best to have backup and would at least rent until you buy.


Jun 16, 2023 at 12:13 PM
CharleyL
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


My third camera out in the car is a Fuji X. The two identical cameras that I use for this type of shoot are Canon 77D, and I have a Canon 90D that I mostly use in my studio. I don't usually take the 90D out of the studio because of it's weight/size. The 77D's work best for shoots like this, and they are my back-up for the 90D when doing studio work. I do use the Fuji occasionally, but it's my lightweight knock about camera that I use if I'm somewhere and want a few shots "better than cell phone shots" of something.

Auto accidents, fires, etc. are frequent uses for the Fuji, especially when it looks like those involved or an insurance company or newspaper might want copies of them. It lives in the car and goes where I go, along with a flash, extra batteries, lens cleaner, extra memory, etc. all in a small bag that travels easily.

While taking these "incident" photos, I make certain to give out business cards to those involved, so they know who I am, in the hope that at least one of them will want copies later. "I'm there, and with camera" so a few shots might make some money later on. I don't shoot the blood and victims, just the incident. I'm not a "Chaser" or "Poparazzi", but if I come upon something worthy of taking a few shots, I will. These shots never get printed, unless someone wants them and comes to me for them. They are just stored in a computer folder named by the date plus "Fire, Accident, Storm, or other identifier", until I'm asked for prints of them, and they are never seen by the public, except maybe a shot or two for the newspaper if they ask, and then I choose what they get out of respect for those involved. The newspapers usually only want photo proof that it happened and very little beyond that, so it's easy to select what they get. Their reporters take care of the rest.

Charley



Jun 16, 2023 at 06:50 PM
chuck77
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


Sorry guys, I guess my original post was not too clear.

Basically, I am using the Fuji X system but am aware of its high ISO and autofocus limitations. I have the lenses I need only, and nothing more, so I wouldn't say that I am heavily invested into the system, especially because I am way overdue for an upgrade.

The portrait photographer in me loves the idea of a GFX, but I have a feeling that it's not that suitable for weddings. Plus, like many of you say, I would need a second camera (or at least a backup camera).

So, my choices are one of the three below:

1) I could buy a brand new Fuji X body and reuse all my X lenses. This would be the minimal investment, plus I could still use my old body as a backup.
2) Upgrade the Fuji X body, plus pick up a GFX just for portraits. However, this doesn't make a whole lot of sense because there will now be two systems to get lenses for, and neither the X nor GFX are versatile enough on their own.
3) Forget about the X/GFX system and pick up a Canon RF mirrorless system (starting from scratch again). The R6 II and R5 seem pretty great and have good enough image quality, autofocus, and high ISO performance for essentially everything I need so that I don't need multiple systems. This feels like both the most sensible but also most impulsive choice at the same time for how much the system and lenses cost. I have grown to really enjoy using Fuji and everything else feels like a chore.



Jun 17, 2023 at 07:12 PM
kenbennett
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


You could possibly rent a Fuji X-H2s and see if it meets your needs. I've been shooting Fuji since 2013 and the X-H2s is the best Fuji camera I have used for autofocus. The high ISO meets my needs for a lot of low light event work, too. (I don't shoot weddings though.) Of course it's not "as good" as a larger format system, but the Fuji X system has a lot of advantages and the image quality is plenty good enough for all sorts of uses.

I love my GFX system for landscape, architecture, and portrait work. I'm not sure it would keep up with the kind of event work that I do.



Jun 17, 2023 at 08:57 PM
mschaferstudio
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


I'm sure there will be a wide variety of answers, I switched to Nikon Z as I love the lenses, therefor, as everything is more system dependent, it just made sense. While I love the Sony tech, the quality of the lenses (2.8 70-200 literally fell apart after 3 years, $900 repair, thanks) along with their "pro" support never cut it for me, so I left (while the A9/II and A1 is a brilliant system and I hope the Vers.II lenses are as well). Canon dropped the ball by not communicating any recalls (1DX mirror box replacement, then again on 1DX II mirror Box, 30k exposures and bust, just 2 month past 2y warranty and had to pay for replacement) for their pro level cameras.
So I came back to Nikon, in combination with Profoto lighting...all good, versatile, reliable, great lenses up to 2.8...F4 a compromise thats not bad either...



Aug 04, 2023 at 08:02 PM
chuck77
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


kenbennett wrote:
You could possibly rent a Fuji X-H2s and see if it meets your needs. I've been shooting Fuji since 2013 and the X-H2s is the best Fuji camera I have used for autofocus. The high ISO meets my needs for a lot of low light event work, too. (I don't shoot weddings though.) Of course it's not "as good" as a larger format system, but the Fuji X system has a lot of advantages and the image quality is plenty good enough for all sorts of uses.

I love my GFX system for landscape, architecture, and portrait work. I'm not
...Show more

I had thought about the X-H2S as it has the most capable sensor of the X series, but I already knew that I wasn't happy with the ergonomics, weight, and the flip-out screen of the XH2. Later on, I realized that the X-H2 and X-H2S bodies were both within 10 grams of a full frame Canon R6 (10 grams!), and are similar in size too. Of course, the lenses on full frame will be bigger and heavier.

I actually did pick up a used GFX100s, but didn't bond with it. Between the selection of not very fast lenses, the slow AF, and the (IMO) flat RAW files, I knew that it wasn't an ideal wedding camera. I love the idea of it, and I still do, but I sold it and mostly miss it only for the image sharpness. For some reason, the X-Trans sensors have a more interesting and more organic look for me.

So, it's been an interesting journey so far. I bought the XH2, didn't like it and took a loss on it. Then picked up an XT5, which I love, except for the poor ISO performance even at modest ISO using a speedlite. I even asked Fuji about the noise issue, and I didn't get a very clear response. The GFX I tried and knew that it's not for me. Now I picked up a Canon R5 with the 28-70 f/2.0 and while the image output is quite clean, I find that there is a soft "veil" to the images - perhaps because it has an AA sensor. The Canon colour is great for portraits and the autofocus system is also great. The 28-70 f2.0 is also extremely heavy and makes it more difficult to explore creative angles when shooting. I'd rather continue shooting primes like I did on Fuji, but I just don't know if I want to invest heavily in this system yet.





Aug 07, 2023 at 01:13 AM
chuck77
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


mschaferstudio wrote:
I'm sure there will be a wide variety of answers, I switched to Nikon Z as I love the lenses, therefor, as everything is more system dependent, it just made sense. While I love the Sony tech, the quality of the lenses (2.8 70-200 literally fell apart after 3 years, $900 repair, thanks) along with their "pro" support never cut it for me, so I left (while the A9/II and A1 is a brilliant system and I hope the Vers.II lenses are as well). Canon dropped the ball by not communicating any recalls (1DX mirror box replacement, then again on
...Show more

The Z8 has been on my mind alot lately. Whenever I look at reviews or for sale listings, the majority of them quote that they are selling to fund a Z8/ or because they have bought a Z8.

Well, I have really been on quite the camera adventure. Here are the ones I tried:

XH2
- Too heavy while still being an APS-C, nice big handgrip but not great ergonomics. Disliked the flip-out screen. I got rid of this camera and lost money on it.

XT5
- It's everything I want in a Fuji camera except the ISO performance is lacking. The post-processing is a bit of a pain due to the noise. I think 40MP is too much for it. It just doesn't give me the confidence in using it for paid gigs, especially indoors (dance floors, churches, etc.), but love it for personal use. Still have this camera for now.

GFX100S
- The sharpest images that I have ever seen. Prefer the look of the images from the XT5 overall. Lenses are not fast enough and AF is not fast enough. Bought it used and no longer have it.

R5
- Bought it with the 28-70 f/2.0 zoom lens. Very snappy AF, decent image quality but other than more bokeh, I felt that the Fuji XT5 produced better images (when there is enough light hitting the sensor). I picked up the R5 mainly because of the versatility of the 28-70 f2.0 lens for weddings and the great Canon colors, but now I realized that this combo is extremely heavy and limiting because of the weight. That is the only lens I have for the R5. Would love to still shoot primes if possible. I don't totally love this camera/combo and to be honest, and I still color grade (or apply presets) to my images out of the Canon, so maybe the advantages are fewer than I had hoped.

There more I read about the Z8 and see the images, the more it intrigues me. To my eyes at least, it is noticeably sharper than the R5. I am attributing this to the lack of an AA sensor, but maybe the Z lenses are quite superb too. Not that I necessarily need f/1.2, but I can also see that Nikon has f/1.2 lenses to directly compete with Canon these days. I also like that Nikon tend to produce balanced feature sets for their cameras and won't intentionally cripple their them like Canon does. The only thing about the Z8 for me is that it's not light at 900 grams, but I wouldn't call it a deal breaker necessarily.

I guess what I'm really looking for is a more capable Fuji XT5 that I can use with confidence in low light situations. The problem with the Fuji X system is also because the lenses and bodies are starting to become quite expensive compared to full frame.




Aug 07, 2023 at 01:44 AM
story_teller
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


If noise and low light are factors, you might look at the Nikon Z6II. It's one of Nikon's best low light cameras, lighter than the Z8 and takes advantage of the Z lenses. With the Z8, you'll have the same noise problem as the XT-5 due to the higher sensor resolution and smaller sensels. Personally, I have no problem with the Z8's noise. It's easily dealt with in post processing and the other benefits of the camera are well worth the effort.


Aug 07, 2023 at 06:41 AM
 


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MRomine
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


To get the latest on hot cameras for wedding post this in the wedding forum.

If I was still shooting weddings today I would be shooting with a two camera Z8 connected to a harness system. 20mm f1.8, 24mm f1.8, 35mm f1.8, 50mm f1.8, 85mm f1.8 and the 70-200 f2.8. Other than the 70-200 these lens are lite, mobile, sharpe and fantastic AF. Then I would also add an arsenal of Godox flashes and I would be set for literally anything.



Aug 19, 2023 at 07:39 PM
jlafferty
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


Z8 or R5 are the current best cameras in their class IMO. Sony develops great tech, pushes into some interesting territory, but you’re always stuck with their hamfisted handling of proprietary hot shoe and software inconsistencies. Nikon and Canon work right out of the gate and have the best accessory ecosystem.


Aug 21, 2023 at 12:16 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


The best thing to do is rent some equipment and see how particular gear works for you.
With very few exceptions if you cannot obtain fine images with any of Nikon/Canon/Sony FF/FX systems then it is YOU.

EBH



Aug 21, 2023 at 08:18 PM
CanadaMark
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


Agreed with the above - rent them all if you can. What we like might not be what you like, and things like ergonomics are highly subjective.

I don't know what your budget is but a Nikon Z8 is the best value proposition on the market right now by a pretty big margin. It's a full $2,500 USD cheaper than it's direct competition (Sony A1) and is already very popular with the wedding crowd. The R5, while still a decent camera, is quite a step down with regards to features and specification, despite the similar price. The Z8 makes everything else look overpriced.

Perhaps most importantly, make sure whatever system you are considering has the lenses you want. Most of the systems are pretty robust already but if there's anything specific that is critical for you work, make sure it's available or adaptable.




Sep 06, 2023 at 11:49 AM
chuck77
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


CanadaMark wrote:
Agreed with the above - rent them all if you can. What we like might not be what you like, and things like ergonomics are highly subjective.

I don't know what your budget is but a Nikon Z8 is the best value proposition on the market right now by a pretty big margin. It's a full $2,500 USD cheaper than it's direct competition (Sony A1) and is already very popular with the wedding crowd. The R5, while still a decent camera, is quite a step down with regards to features and specification, despite the similar price. The Z8 makes everything else
...Show more

I sold my R5 recently and lost the equivalent of 2 weekends of rental on it, which I didn't mind for all the time that I got to use it. At least I knew that it wasn't for me. Initially, I wanted to like it and thought that I could get away with editing the files less to get them to my liking, but really there is no such thing IMO.

Although I am trying to be more flexible with my budget, the one thing that I realized about the R5 is that it may be too many megapixels (and hence more expensive than necessary) for weddings. While owning the R5, I realized that it would have been much more economical to buy two R6 II bodies vs. a R5 + a second RF body. Similarly, I like the idea of the Z8 but still want to be sure that I am not spending more on features and specs that I don't need. And the Z lenses do seem quite wonderful. I guess the great thing is that there are solid lens options are various price tiers in the Nikon Z system, not like Canon with their crippled f/1.8 RF primes and their super expensive f/1.2 primes.



Sep 06, 2023 at 10:14 PM
CanadaMark
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


chuck77 wrote:
I sold my R5 recently and lost the equivalent of 2 weekends of rental on it, which I didn't mind for all the time that I got to use it. At least I knew that it wasn't for me. Initially, I wanted to like it and thought that I could get away with editing the files less to get them to my liking, but really there is no such thing IMO.

Although I am trying to be more flexible with my budget, the one thing that I realized about the R5 is that it may be too many megapixels (and
...Show more

If you are worried about file size, the Z8 actually has a solution there too. It has high efficiency RAW modes that dramatically reduce file size at no noticeable cost to quality, but even better they retain 14bit depth and full resolution, so you get the best of all worlds. As a bonus these modes also make your buffer unlimited even at 20fps if you are using the right memory card. Aside from file size (which the HE RAW takes care of), there are no disadvantages to shooting at high resolution, only advantages.

The main reason why the Z8 is such a good value is you get the stacked sensor and a truly blackout free EVF, at the price of the non-stacked competition. The blackout-free EVF for something like weddings is really nice for making sure you don't miss anything. I mostly shoot wildlife but Nikon has the only truly blackout-free EVF on the market (no stuttering or repeated frames which I am extremely sensitive to) and I find it really helpful for timing my shots. With the non-stacked bodies, you are watching a slideshow of images you previously took in the EVF which I personally dislike so much that I'd rather be using a DSLR.

The Z system has a full lineup of really excellent F1.8 primes as well if that's what you're after.

Anyways, rent one if you can



Sep 07, 2023 at 10:34 AM
VailJohnson
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


chuck77 wrote:
I am finding it quite difficult to look for a good one-camera system recently.

I primarily shoot portraits/fashion but have transitioned more into weddings and am looking for the best solution.

The Fuji X system has served me well but I am finding some limitations with it for wedding use (AF speed, high ISO performance). Would love to stay with Fuji if possible for the good controls and image quality in normal conditions, but uncertain about the latest X series, and I don't actually know if a GFX is really suitable. Well, I love the idea of a GFX - at
...Show more

Go back to Sony. Whatever the latest thing is and get a 24-70 and a 70-200 and the 50f1.2 prime and you’re done.

If someone put a gun to my head and said I had to pick a system I would go Nikon.

If you’re not familiar just check here on their website

Body lineup

https://imaging.nikon.com/imaging/lineup/mirrorless/

Lenses lineup

https://imaging.nikon.com/imaging/lineup/lens/z-mount/



Sep 15, 2023 at 08:06 AM
raminolta
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


I would go for one of the newer Sony bodies: A7r v, A7 iv, A7c R or A7c ii. They have greatly improved and there are a plethora of lenses to choose from either from Sony or third party manufacturers. The new GM and G lenses are amazing so are some of the third party lenses. You can also have some very good performing compact and light lenses if you wish so.


Sep 19, 2023 at 10:28 PM
gunmetal
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


What are you using to post process your images? Reason I ask is because I shoot both Sony and Fuji X. When I process the images in Lightroom the high ISO penalty on Fuji is pretty obvious. When I process the images through DXO photolab, the difference is almost nothing. So I've got no issues shooting my XH2s at ISO 3200.


Sep 21, 2023 at 09:23 PM
chuck77
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Looking for a good one-camera system in 2023


gunmetal wrote:
What are you using to post process your images? Reason I ask is because I shoot both Sony and Fuji X. When I process the images in Lightroom the high ISO penalty on Fuji is pretty obvious. When I process the images through DXO photolab, the difference is almost nothing. So I've got no issues shooting my XH2s at ISO 3200.


At first I was in Lightroom as well, but I have transitioned over to Capture One now.

Capture One is better indeed, and I think the smeary/noisy look in the shadows has improved even in Lightroom after a recent firmware.

The biggest issue I have is the XT5 overheating on me shooting stills. This was mainly in the summer in 30 deg C weather, or indoors on a hot day.

What do you shoot on the Sony and what do you shoot on the XH2s?



Sep 21, 2023 at 09:46 PM
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