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A guide to "Capturing Motion" in low light situations

Sensor, Shmensor!

Taken with a Fuji X100s 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1250

I often get asked about whether or not to upgrade from crop sensor to full-frame sensor. Yet, most of the time, I try to steer the conversation to the work that’s being created and not the gear used to create it.

Don’t get me wrong. I love gear and am a total gear-head. I’ve shot all different formats and while I have my personal preferences, they’re not meant for everyone. Sure, it’s cool to check the EXIF data and see what gear was used to make a photo, but that doesn’t mean you have to run out and upgrade. Sometimes, just changing your workflow or trying new techniques can affect your photography way more than replacing gear.

Once upon a time, full-frame sensor cameras had an advantage with better ISO performance, faster focusing, and availability of better lenses to name a few differences. If you were a pro, it was a no-brainer. Wedding shooters, sports shooters popped on a full-frame DSLR for the obvious reasons. And if money was no object, well, then maybe you picked up one of those nifty little cameras with the red dot on the front. 😉

My little Fuji cameras with their APS-C sensors, produce spectacular images. They handle low light really well and some of them even focus fast and shoot lots of frames per second.

Havana Cuba Nightlife Fuji X100s, f/2.0, 1/80 sec, ISO 6400

But really people, let’s put a stop all the pixel peeping! Let’s fuggetabout DXO scores. Who REALLY cares about all of those specs. The difference in sensor size from an APS-C to 35mm full-frame camera is like the difference between a Grande and Venti Starbucks. Not much difference people!

I’ve made prints from my 5DMKIII and my X100s. There’s not much difference in quality if at all. In fact, some of my favorite prints were shot with my Fuji.

Ballerina, Havana, Cuba Fuji X100s, 1/125 sec, f/2.0, ISO 800

For the vast majority of what I shoot, speed isn’t important. I tether my camera to my computer when I shoot for most of my client work. It’s an important part of my workflow and for that reason, I hang on to my Canon gear, but quite frankly, I’d much prefer to shoot Fuji. Smaller, lighter, and spectacular image quality.

So please stop pixel peeping. Stop the flame wars about camera brands and sensors. Spend more time shooting. At the end of the day, if the image is there, it doesn’t matter what gear you used to get it. Rather than sink a ton of dough into gear, think about booking a trip. Just get out there and do it and don’t waste your time thinking that buying a fancy camera will make you a better photographer.