ANTON BOSMAN: The Mirrorless Myth

Here we are again…

Two small objects, built to make pictures, but can these little “things” make pictures as good as those big cameras we see?

It has become rather entertaining to see the “myths” unfold on various forums and around social media channels.

At times the urban legends around cropped sensor “little mirrorless” cameras are so profound, that one starts thinking about investing in a good designer balaclava (not baklava, that’s a greek sweet) to spare oneself the embarrassment of using and owning these cameras that conjure up so many myths.

I can hear the whispers in my head “ it’s cropped, not full frame”, “pixel density”, “the laws of physics”, “poor low light performance because of the APSC sensor”.……. and the list is almost endless .

But for me it’s the real world results that matter, if I wanted to practice physics, I would buy a white coat as opposed to a warm jacket for winter shoots .

Pixel peeping, colours and pleasing printable end results is what matters to me.

Why am I saying all this?

Well quite simply, if we look at the new model from Fujifilm in their X-Series range and the new X-Mount lens, and we look at their size, that’s when the real physics comes in to play .

The kinda physics that is all brain matter, the “prejudiced” approach where the eyes tell the brain that something so compact simply will not be able to deliver end results that one could consider “pro level imaging”.

The X-T30 is not much different in size if one is to compare it to the two models it has succeeded, the X-T10 and X-T20 .

It is a compact and solidly built camera body which packs a really capable sensor, the same sensor that one finds in the flagship and award winning X-T3. It is a 26 megapixel back-illuminated sensor, making this camera a very capable and super fast auto focussing beast, It is also equipped with the new X-Processor, which is a quad core design, this all adds to those brilliant colours and advanced video functions.

The back of the camera is “clean” and features the now familiar joystick, which can be used for a multitude of functions . The X-T30 is also fully wi-fi compatible, making it a pleasure to use with the Fujifilm app. A lovely 3 inch LCD touch screen finishes off an aesthetically beautiful camera body, that doesn’t just look beautiful to carry around, but it also fits and feels magical in ones hands. Fans of black and white photography will love the addition of black and white adjustments that you can do in camera .

Moving on to the new Fujifilm 16 mm f2.8 .

Upon unboxing this lens, I was taken back at its compact size, a bit longer than the 18 mm f2 but much smaller than it’s bigger brother the 16 mm f1.4. In terms of looks, it falls comfortably into the family of weather sealed f2 lenses available on the X-Mount system. The lens is an f2.8 variant, and I can already hear many going “oh no, what about real low light”. The astro photographers might want to look elsewhere, but for street and architectural photography and for wider angle landscapes this lens is simply just perfect.

I can already hear people saying “how can you say that”?

For me it’s pretty simple. I want something strong, affordable and it must deliver world class imagery. All the above are very comfortably covered by this “almost tiny” powerhouse . It’s pretty, compact and as solid as one would want from a premium prime lens, but all of this comes at an “every man’s” budget .

I took to the streets of Pretoria and Johannesburg with this pair .

The major attraction was how compact the two units are when you have the lens attached to the body. It is the perfect combination for the type of photography that I do, for the streets it’s light and small enough to pop in to a pocket or a small bag. Being so compact I also found myself taking it with me everyday and everywhere I went, hoping to have opportunities so that I could see what the system is capable of.

As I said earlier, I want “pro level” results and don’t care much for the jargon, myths and physics. Needless to say this pair really stepped up to the plate, in terms of image quality, the X-T30 gave me the same results that I love so much from the X-T3. The images are crisp, clean, vibrant, sharp and have a certain Fujifilm magic that only a long term Fujifilm shooter will know of.

The images are “romantic” and with every click I could feel my heart beating faster because I just knew that the results would be anything but disappointing .

The 16 mm f2.8 has subsequently stolen my heart.

Now my 10-24mm f4 is amazing, and it deals with that distortion in a magical way, that lens also defies the “law of physics” around diffraction at narrow apertures. The 10-24mm has become my benchmark for wide angle lenses.

Well I can confidently say that the 16mm is right up there, the lens has very minimal distortion. The colour reproduction is pretty on point and the images are crisp, yes even up to f 22 where the “law of physics” are supposed to be in full force. I fell in love with this lens many times over in the short time I spent with it.

I loved it’s compact size, build quality and speed. "Speed " I hear some say “but it’s only f 2.8 “ I hear others say. This lens is fast, it’s super quick and it’s shorter focal length makes for a lens that one can use at slower shutter speeds such as 1/15th of a second , and still yield sharp results .

I enjoyed my time with this combination. My heart is aching, I miss that 16 mm f2.8, she really stole my heart. The X-T30 will make the perfect companion to my X-T3 as a second body. It is time to rejoice Fujifilm owners, the time has come to remove those balaclavas and believe that we can hold our own against any system available on the market today. The X-T30 and the 16 mm f2.8 are really physical proof that we are living in the modern world with great technology being manufactured to satisfy our every human need.

This pair are a feat of modern engineering and would easily satisfy even the most pessimistic pixel peepers.

I am Anton Bosman.
Fujifilm X-Photographer who loves to capture landscapes, cityscapes and architecture.