Hello, hereby the second part of “Reviewing my camera gear – should I upgrade or not ?”
First of all, I wrote this after I made my decision, but I did write it in order as it actually happend.
I can assure you that for me too, the outcome was very surprising.
First let me sketch what kind of camera gear I have now :
- Pentax K-5 Mark I
- Pentax K-3 Mark I
- Fujifilm X100 original
- Fujifilm X-A2
- Fujifilm X-A3
- Fujifilm X-E1
- Fujifilm X-T10
- Fujifilm X-T20
- Fujifilm X-T1
I’ve been shooting Pentax cameras since the analog era, I can hardly imagine myself without a Pentax.
After K-100, K-200, K-10, K-20 – came K-5 and also the K-3.
I especially use the K-3 a lot – basically for pretty much everything and in all weather conditions. The K-3 is a very reliable, water and dust proof, tough and easy to operate camera.
Fujifilm joined as a brand with the release of the first X100, apart from the fact that I thought it was (and still is) a very beautiful camera, I didn’t use it much in the first few years, not to say almost never. But strangely over the years I have become more and more attached to it, and now I use the camera regularly.
The main reason to also invest in the Fujifilm system was because I like working with vintage manual lenses. I found that very difficult on the Pentax K-3 without focus peaking in the viewfinder. For that reason I first bought a Fujifilm X-E1 second-hand, quickly followed by an X-T10 and later also an X-T20. Then I had a windfall, an X-T1 for a bargain price.
I really fell in love with the Fujifilm X-T1, a gigantic viewfinder (at least for me and compared to the other Fuji’s) it is tough, big and weather sealed, has great image quality, and as a plus it also has dedicated dials for Iso and shutter, as if I was back in the analog era – I love it !
The Pentax K-5 is hardly used anymore, so i will probably put it up for sale.
The Fujifilm X-T20 is a really great camera, yet it can’t take the place of the K-3, while the X-T1 is great but is a 16mp camera, usually good enough but…
But what ?
Let’s do the test and find out :
What do I shoot most, in random order : Birds, Landscape, Macro, Street Photography, Events (like wedding), Architecture, Industry, Airplanes, Ships, Cars and Motorcycles …
Based on what I have now, what should definitely be there, and what can be improved :
- Minimum 24mp
- Optical and/or large and high resolution EVF
- Image Stabilisation
- Tough build and Weather Sealed
- Tilting LCD or Full Articulating
- Mechanical and Electronic Shutter
- Focus Peaking and/or Split Focus
- Preferably interchangeable battery’s with my other cameras
- Budget for one or two cameras : €2000 tops
Up for Upgrade : the two cameras that I use most, the K-3 and the X-T1.
The K-3 mainly for its reliability, toughness, weather sealing, image stabilization and the 24mp.
The X-T1 for the same features although it only has a 16mp sensor and no IBIS, however, I love the image quality, the SOOC Jpegs, the Fujifilm film simulations, the electronic shutter, focus peaking and the large bright viewfinder.
It is noticeable that the Fujifilm system has advantages that I really appreciate.
The fact that I prefer to use the X-T1 over the X-T20 has mainly to do with ergonomics (I like a big camera) & viewfinder (also bigger).
In Camera Decision I first tried to find all Pentax and Fuji cameras that had weather sealing and minimum 24mp (the new Fuji X-T4 was not yet on the list)
The first Pentax that would qualify was the K-3 Mark II, costing around €600 second hand and therefore still enough budget for a second camera such as the X-T2 or X-T3.
But did I really upgrade with the K-3 Mark II ?
As Camera Decision suggested, an upgrade to the K-3 II wouldn’t do much for me,
adding an X-T2 would add a 24mp sensor over the X-T1 (and a few other things like Wifi, but I don’t use that)
The cost for this dubious upgrade would be around €1,200.
Then to the next candidate, the K-3 Mark III.
Impressive 26mp sensor, electronic shutter, focus peaking (altough only on LCD) – an improvement, but still a problem for my manual lenses, so buy a Fuji anyway ?
Problem : the cost of the K-3 Mark III is already over €2000.
Keep the K-3 Mark I and upgrade Fuji to the X-T4 ?
This camera has everything, IBIS and weather sealing, great EVF etc – but it also costs over €2000 and uses different batteries.
So again a search for a camera, but now weather sealed and IBIS.
with Pentax everything remains as it was, the only option that yields an improved upgrade remains the Pentax K-3 Mark III.
At Fuji there is besides the X-T4 (that is not mentioned in the list) also the X-H1.
A 24mp camera, weather sealed, IBIS …
Setting up a comparison between the K-3 Mark III & the X-H1
In the comparison on Camera Decision, the camera barely loses on paper to the much more expensive K-3 Mark III.
And, when you do an analysis for what the camera is good for, the X-H1 suddenly seems like a good choice for me, also the price – the cost for a used X-H1 is between €750/1000.
As I mentioned in part one,
The plan was to upgrade both the DSLR and Mirrorless camera system, or one or none.
In the end, an upgrade of the Pentax system to K-3 Mark III turned out to be an improvement, but not in proportion to its high price.
At Fujifilm, the original idea was to upgrade the X-T1, because it was the camera I liked most from all Fuji’s.
At first I thought of an X-T2 or possibly even an X-T3.
But because I already have an X-T20, an X-T2 is not really the upgrade I wanted.
Buying an X-T3 would give me more megapixels and a better viewfinder, but no IBIS and also at a fairly high upgrade cost.
Then there was the Fujifilm X-H1, which brought together the features of both systems (DSLR and Mirrorless), with IBIS and at a lower price than the newer X-T4.
So the X-H1 would be a logical upgrade.
The exercise was about comparing typical characteristics of a camera, comparing it with other cameras, and linking this back to specific needs and wishes.
And what had my research actually shown ?
- Minimum 24mp – OK
Optical and/orlarge and high res EVF – OK
- Image Stabilisation – OK
- Tough build and Weather Sealed – OK
- Tilting LCD
or Full Articulating– OK
- Mechanical and Electronic Shutter – OK
- Focus Peaking and
/orSplit Focus – OK
- Preferably interchangeable battery’s with my other cameras – OK
- Budget for one or two cameras : €2000 tops – OK
Basically what I found was a SLR/DSLR body type, lighter than the K-3 or K-3 MIII, weather sealing, IBIS, electronic shutter, big and high resolution EVF and all the other characteristics and wishes of the list. But also features that I really liked but not on the list, such as dedicated dials and a top LCD. All packed in a Mirrorless body.
Then why did I still need the K-3 ?
To my surprise and astonishment I learned that I no longer needed a DSLR.
The Fujifilm X-H1 would be the perfect DSLR replacement and larger mirrorless alternative, bringing it all together.
This surprising outcome was not long in coming, shortly after this finding I was able to find an X-H1 at a real bargain price.
My entire Pentax DSLR camera set and lenses was put up for sale on a second-hand site (with a little bit of pain in the heart).
Reading justifying someone else’s “buying addiction” might be boring 🙂
But it is actually very interesting and can save you a lot of money.
It is precisely taking your time, determining what you really want, writing it down and the research, that will ensure that you do not make a bad purchase.
So I hope it helps someone and that you like it.
Anyway, it has changed a lot for me,
not to say it changed my entire view of photography,
and changed me from “Pentax”ian to a new born “Fuji”ian !
There was someone who really liked to see a third part 🙂
But my “Should I Upgrade or Not” comes to an end here, so that third part will not come.
What is likely to come soon is a Review of the Fujifilm X-H1 ! so Mark, in a way you had your wish anyway 🙂
At the time of publishing this article, I have this fantastic camera for six days, first impression – one word : AAAAAAWSOME !!!
From Pentax to Fujifilm, and what it will mean in the future in terms of film simulation,
I can’t say that today.
Anyway, I like working with RAW and playing with effects in Rawtherapee and Luminance HDR, that won’t change anytime soon.
But I also like Fujifilm Simulations, and using Recipes becomes more interesting for me too.
I don’t have to search for the best website for that, the link is right here :