so I got a new camera

I am writing this ‘non-review’ with the knowledge that most of my readers are individuals looking to capture daily life with their cameras…not professional photographers.

A few of you noticed that I posted pictures last week taken with a Fujifilm XPro-1. Several of you have emailed or left comments asking about why I changed cameras and what I think of my new one. Well, it is hard to say what I think about it, because I’ve only used it a little bit. Let’s start with some background. My dslr is the original Canon 5D. I purchased it the month it came out and have shot with it for the last 8 years. Over the last two years it slowly begun dying on me. Little features stopped working. Big features stopped working. Color saturation got all off. The overall photo quality began diminishing. Honestly, when you consider how many photos I have taken with that camera and how much of a work horse it has been, it is surprising it lasted this long.

So, I found myself at a crossroads. I needed a new camera, but the upgrade to the Canon 5D Mark III would run me about $3,000. Ouch.

I really, really like my Canon, but I was feeling a little bit in a rut with photography. Part of the rut was a result of my camera failing on me. Part of the rut was just from doing the same thing for so long. Many, many months ago I began looking into the Fujifilm mirrorless cameras. DSLRs have a mirror inside the camera. For most DSLRs, it is the mirror that causes the camera to be so bulky. A mirrorless camera is much smaller and so very different from my Canon in set-up. Ultimately, I decided to go for something new and purchased the XPro-1 with the 35mm lens.

I love it. I hate it.

One minute I never want to pick up a DSLR again. The next minute I want to throw the XPro against a wall.

One minute I regret buying it, wishing I saved up for the Mark III.

The next minute, I am relishing the newness and challenge of my small camera.

I would not recommend the XPro-1 for someone starting out in photography or for someone needing to capture a bunch of images really fast. It feels like my film cameras – there is no rushing the shot. In my opinion, it is so much harder to use. I find it difficult to change my settings, the auto focus is slow & jumpy, it is just overall difficult to me because it is so different. I need to read through my manual and I am sure there are tons of functions that will make shooting easier.  After shooting with the same camera for 8 years, I know that camera like that back of my hand. I can predict what it will do and how it will handle situations. This new camera (or any new camera for that matter) is…well, new and different.

There is a learning curve.

So, this is not a review. I’m not at a point to really know what I think. I feel like I need a new, working DSLR to really be able to know the differences as far as photo quality. My DSLR is so old.

I won’t be saying goodbye to DSLRs. I’ll be using my XPro-1 as my primary camera because my Canon 5D is so old, but I’m still going to be in the market to upgrade my DSLR. At least I think so for now.

However, it is amazing to have a camera again that captures sharp images and actually works! I am also crazy about how small it is. It is lightweight and just so small in my hands. I like that it isn’t flashy and doesn’t scream “Hey look at me! I’m a big, cool camera!” It more whispers, “I may look small and unassuming, but you should see what I can do.” I feel like it captures images equally as great as the pro-level DSLRs for half the price and a lot smaller size. I do miss the ease of shooting with my DSLR. I’m missing more shots trying to learn this new camera, but I’m determined to get more comfortable with it.

So..there you have it, my non-review of my initial experience with my Fuji. I love it. I hate it. I don’t recommend it for everyone. And if you are in the market to give away your Canon 5D Mark II or III…I’ll take it – to use it alongside my new XPro-1.


Practicing with my XPro-1 in the snow.

ISO 100, 1/4000, f/2.8


ISO 100, 1/4000, f/2.02.14snow-4

ISO 100, 1/4000, f/2.82.14snow-5

After the cold, she decided to raid the cookie jar. ISO 100, 1/125, f/1.4 both2.14snow-6

ISO 100, 1/4000, f/2.8 ~ ISO 100, 1/4000, f/2.22.14snow-8

ISO 100, 1/4000, f/1.42.14snow-10

ISO 100, 1/4000, f/2.2 both2.14snow-11

I only have one lens for my Xpro-1, so that is a challenge too. I want to add the 60mm lens, but that will be down the road. For now, I’ll keep working at learning my new camera!

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  • Lisa | Winter Heights - I can’t get over the size difference! I bet it’ll feel wonderful to lug that little thing around compared to your big dslr. And goodness the photos look fantastic!

  • Christi Smith - Wow! The size difference is amazing!!

    Have you looked at the Canon 6D? It’s a full frame sensor and less than the Mark II/III..

  • Holly Peevyhouse - I have been curious about these as well, but not brave enough to try it on for size. I think I would almost feel lost without the size and weight of my DSLR, it is “grounding” for me!
    Thanks for the “non-review”!

  • Amie Akers - I could not afford the upgrade to the mark III so I called cannon and talk to someone in their refurbished department and they turned me on to 6 D they say it is the only camera behind the mark III .I got it refurbished for 1600 you might look into that for upgrading. but your images are beautiful I’ve been thinking of going back to getting a film camera just for the challenge

  • Mrs Limestone - Thanks for sharing. Would you mind doing a compare of how fast the shutter closes on the Fuji compared to your SLR? I can’t imagine ever going back to the slowness of a point and shoot but it would be nice to have a small camera that I could use as a backup when I dont want to lug my big one around. The only problem I have is that a slow capture is a deal breaker.

  • Erin - You should definitely look into the canon 6d when/if you go to upgrade your DSLR – I love it. The biggest difference is the flash sync speed and the number of autofocus points, from what I read. But I’ve been extremely happy with my purchase, and I saved myself $1500 🙂

    I enjoy your blog so much, and I really love the “randomness” of it – I like the variety and I don’t get bored reading!

  • Lisa - I can completely relate!!!
    I went from Canon film then digital (the 10D, then the 40D) and stuck with it forever. And then my 40D got way too heavy and eventually lost it’s “umph”.
    I needed (wanted?) to change – couldn’t afford to truly upgrade to full frame (ah, my dream) so I went with mirror less. I was fascinated by the concept of smaller size and still “dslr quality”. I took the plunge with the Sony Nex 5N and well, “I love it. I hate it.”
    I made the switch over a year ago.
    The learning curve continues.
    I want a Canon 6D. 🙂
    (by the way, I love your site!)

  • BeckyH in MA a.k.a. beanboots - Don’t get rid of your Canon lenses yet.

    I’m kinda in the same boat and I’m also leaning towards the 6D. I looked into mirror-less, but the pictures look flat and lacking varied DOF to me. And I think I would have a hard time not using my 85mm.

    Thanks for sharing your learning curve. 🙂

  • AshleyAnn - The shutter speed can be super fast, it is the focusing and lag between shots that feels slow to me.

  • Tyler - I’d check to see if there is a firmware update available that might help with slow focus. I know Fuji has updated other cameras. Also, you might be able to buy an adapter so you can attach you Canon lenses.

  • kelli - I am not a photographer, but I think the pics you took with this are great! And of course it helps that your kids are all gorgeous subjects. 🙂 Hang in there, and don’t give up! You are so talented, you’ll figure it out fast!

  • Marcie - Switching to a different camera after eight years would be frustrating, I totally get the love it/hate it. I have to second everyone else — the reasons to pay the extra $1500 for the Mark III were just not worth it or necessary for a mom-tog. So many of the specs are exactly the same on the 6D and with the bonus of the HUGE price difference (I got mine for less than $1500 over black friday). Put on one of your l-series lenses and I would be surprised if you could tell a difference between the 6D and your original Mark 5 🙂

  • Nell-Ann - I understand about change took me forever to get use to my Canon 7d after using an xti. I have been going back and forth about this camera .I like the idea I can use my Canon lens . Just not sure I like the idea of a smaller camera . I have shoulder problems and for some strange reason I balance better with a larger heavier camera . Keep practicing and you’ll get the hang of it or maybe Canon will send you a Canon Mark III 🙂

  • Hannah - Okay, so I totally noticed that you were shooting with a new camera in that one post where you had the link. I thought, “Oh! She got a new camera!” And was curious because I’ve thought about getting the exact same Fuji. My wedding photographer friend got the same one and uses it as his personal camera. His “non-review” review to me was exactly what you’re saying. I’m not ready to commit yet. I may upgrade my DSLR before getting the Fuji.

    Ps. Your Snapshop 3 years ago planted the seed for me to be comfortable completely shooting in manual. There is no other way to shoot, in my brain! 🙂

  • Emily - Pretty sure you could get amazing shots with a disposable film camera, but I’ve been curious about these so it’s nice to see someone I trust review them. Enjoy the weather (and when you get sick of it, blow it west, please 🙂 )

  • susan - I’ve got an old school 5D and a fuji x100. Like you, still learning to operate the fuji and finding it a bit frustrating but I’m sure it will be awesome when I’m better at using it!! My husband recently bought the 6D and I would highly recommend it – so much better than the original 5D but without the pricetag of the mark III.

  • Jess - I haven’t been on your blog in months and noticed the comment on that post about the Fuji. 😉

    So interesting that you chose the X-Pro. And yes, autofocus speed it the one thing I’ve heard over and over on that one. I’d like to get my hands on the X-E2 or X100s. Someday…

    Enjoy the challenge of something new!

  • Kelly - I’m somewhat of a professional {as in, I am, but am mostly taking a break right now while my four munchkins are little!} and am still using my canon 7d. Since I currently don’t have an income to justify upgrading to the Mark III, I’m considering buying a used 5D, with a nice lens (50mm,1.2?). Have you been happy with your 5D for 8 years? While I’d LOVE the Mark III, I just. can’t. do. it. 🙂

  • Betsy - So interesting to read this — I took your SnapShop in 2011, but didn’t actually have a DSLR — just a Canon PowerShot SX200IS. But I got really good at using it and often shot photos in manual, and people often asked what kind of camera I had, and were surprised to find out it wasn’t a DSLR. Just a week ago, I was about to get my first DSLR and was convinced to try a mirrorless camera instead. So we got the Olympus E-PL5. Supposedly, if you’re not already used to a DSLR, it’s a great place to start. And we loved that the size was small. All that to say — the learning curve is high for me as well — would love it if you blogged about any tips and advice you have regarding using mirrorless cameras!

  • Savi - I’m a Nikon person (although I’ve used Canon and Pentax in the past) and have a D5100. It isn’t “top-of-the-line” or the best by any means, but it works wonderfully for what I need. Since I’m a hobbyist photographer, mostly shooting candids of daily life, I know I don’t need the fanciest camera. And I love my D5100, and I am definitely satisfied with the focusing speed and low light capabilities (even with my kit lens, which I use when the situation calls for more versatility than the 50mm can provide). It’s also under $1000, so I am quite happy with my little guy.

  • Eva - I have had my Nikon D700 for 3.5 years and have been very satisfied with it. I will probably be like you, using it till I bury it in the ground. lol While I wasn’t in the market to replace it when hubby bought me my x100s, I was definitely in the market for something compact/mirrorless/unassuming that could deliver quality. And that’s where Fuji stands out. I agree with you that the autofocus is a bit slow compared to that of a DSLR, especially in low light. And the menu is not as intuitive as my Nikon. But I’ve been satisfied with the images I’m able to capture on the fly. So, like you, I believe there are advantages and disadvantages. However, there have been times that I have missed out on shots because shooting with my DSLR was too dangerous, and I didn’t want to risk dropping/breaking my camera. I’ll definitely appreciate having my x100s then, and you’ll definitely appreciate having your XPro-1. 😉

  • Kimberly Oyler - this would not be the first time i’ve contemplated buying you a mark iii. (sorry if that’s weird? gift giving is my love language or whatever.) then I remember I don’t have $3000 in my bank account. but you should know in your heart that if I had $3000, it’d be all yours.

  • Kimberly Oyler - and what are you doing with all your canon lenses??

  • danielle - I really should look into those more. I pretty much shy away from anything new. The only reason any of my technology gets updated is because of my husband. He buys all my gear 🙂

  • Evie - I’m impressed that you are trying something different. I shot with a 60D for a couple years and really liked it. I’m mainly a hobbyist, but I recently purchased a Mark III. I need not go into detail. (I adore it.)

  • Kari S - I had a little fall a few weeks ago and my Canon 50 D is beyond messed up. I’ve had it since 2004. I took photographs at a wedding in Nov. and borrowed a Canon 6 D and loved it. I do not know how to use external flashes, so I was extremely pleased with how well the 6 D handles low light situations. I really want the Mark III but the 6 D will be my new replacement!

  • Kari S. - *that was 2009, not 2004!

  • Melanie - First off, hi, Ashley! I’ve been following your blog for a little while now, almost a year! I absolutely love your way of (crazy fun) life, and I love how creative you are and how you let that creativity shine through your home. I’m getting ready to make a big move from America over to Berlin, Germany. My fiance is over there now, and he just closed on our new apartment. I’ve never seen the place, only in pictures. I like detail. Color and detail. I noticed about 5 things I loved about your kitchen just from the two pictures of Fire Cracker in your beautifully blue kitchen. Do you think you could do a tour of your kitchen sometime? Considering I love to cook and bake, I know I’ll be spending most of my time there, so it would be lovely to get some insight from you on clever ways you’ve stored necessary items and decorated as well.

    I appreciate you sharing your life and your family with all of us. You’re such a sunshiny blessing 🙂

  • Becka - Best of luck with you new gear! It is exciting and challenging all at the same time. You have been so helpful with all of the info you share on your camears, but I was wondering if you would share how you store all of your photos. I love photography, but I have found myself not taking pictures because I don’t have any more room on my computer for storage. Afraid to burn them on CDs because tech is moving so fast that they will one day go the way of the Betamax! Any suggestions for storage options would be most appreciated!

  • Maegan - Ooh, I just now got to read this post. I had noticed that you named a new camera but never said anything about it. I have thought about buying another “fun” camera to keep things mixed up and creative but not to replace my dslr. You’ll have to keep us updated!