I started to love photography when I got my first point & shoot film camera at 12 years old. In high school and university I took photography classes, working in dark rooms to develop my own film. Ten years ago I bought my first DSLR camera. I dove into that hobby and learned everything I could soak up about photography and began doing photo sessions for families, babies, couples, and events like weddings, and other parties. I loved it!
|A contact print I developed in one of my photography classes|
Then one day in 2009, I woke up with stiff fingers that I could not bend. I struggled through months of finger pain that, at times, prevented me from properly lifting my baby, putting a ponytail in my own hair, or even holding a spoon without pain. I have been to several specialists (from rheumatologists to naturopaths) and 8 years later, there's still no conclusion or diagnosis for what I'm dealing with.
Over the years I have learned to manage by avoiding certain tasks and activities that I know will bring the pain back. Sadly, one of those is using my DSLR camera. I have, out of necessity, completely stopped using my full frame DSLR because I cannot handle the weight of it for more than a few shots. Three years ago, I got a newer DSLR that was lighter which allows me to enjoy photography more often, but not for long periods of time. I was taking pictures at an event (for fun) earlier this summer and after a while, my fingers started to hurt but I wanted to keep shooting, so I kept shooting through the pain. It's not a fun way to do it, but it was my only option. I left with the photos I wanted but my hands were paying the price.
So, that brings me to my new camera. Have you ever heard of mirrorless cameras? These cameras don't have the optical mirror that a DSLR camera has which means they're smaller and lighter! Like a DSLR though, you can use interchangeable lenses with them and do almost everything a DSLR can do!
|From Left to Right: my mirrorless camera, my smaller DSLR, and my Full Frame DSLR|
As I began to learn about mirrorless cameras, I became so excited about the possibility of being able to get out and photograph for longer periods of time again, without the pain caused by holding a heavier DSLR!
I took my new mirrorless Fujifilm X-A3 camera along on our trip across Eastern Canada in the summer and used it a lot, so now I can tell you all of the features I love about this camera that are great for anyone looking to up their photography game without going out and getting a big DSLR.
My 5 Favourite Features of the Fujifilm Mirrorless X-A3 Camera
180-Degree Tiltable LCD Screen
We have loved the 180-degree tiltable LCD screen! We used it a lot while we were on our trip across Eastern Canada, to take "Family Selfies".
|Family Selfie in front of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec|
Ken is the designated selfie-taker because his arm is the longest. We all know the routine now- gather in for the photo and make sure you can see yourself in the frame through the screen facing us!
|Family Selfie in front of the Algonquin Resort in New Brunswick|
Thanks to this feature, we were able to get lots of photos with our whole family in them, even when there was no one around to take the photo for us.
|Family Selfie in front of the Fountaine de Tourny in Quebec City|
This also means that I am in more photos with the family, rather than disappearing behind the camera and rarely showing up in photos of our family adventures!
|Family Selfie on a Lobster Boat in Prince Edward Island|
Wi-Fi Transfer Photos to Phone
The Fuji X-A3 has built-in Wi-Fi that allows you to transfer photos to your smartphone or tablet. I love this feature! I use Instagram a lot and sometimes I want to post a photo there that was taken with my camera. I used to have to plug my camera or memory card into my desktop computer, save the photo to my hard drive, then email it to myself. I would open the email on my phone or tablet and save the file to that device and then, finally, I could post it to Instagram!
Now, I can just open the app on my phone, push the wifi button on my camera, and send the photo straight to my phone! I also used this feature during our trip to text photos (taken on my camera) to my mom, to show her what we were up to.
You can choose Panorama in the camera's Advanced mode, to get awesome panoramic photos. I used this feature on our trip several times as well. If I couldn't get an entire scene into one shot, I'd switch to this mode. Normally, I'd have to give up on getting the whole Algonquin Resort into one shot and I wouldn't have been able to give you the full idea of how large it is, or what your view is as you drive up to it!
I had the same experience at Avonlea Village in Prince Edward Island. I wanted to capture the feeling of the village, but couldn't get multiple buildings or much of the street into one regular shot. I love having the panoramic photo because it really helps you to put yourself right there.
With this sunset, I was able to get some beautiful, regular-sized photos, but the panoramic shot really takes me back to that moment and what it was like to stand on the pier and take it all in, being surrounded by that beauty!
Full HD Video Recording
We also took video while we were on our trip and a lot of it was taken with the Fuji X-A3. I've mentioned that we had another underwater camera with us (which we used for under water video and the video from our dashboard while driving). Most of our other shots were taken with the X-A3. It was so convenient to have video built right into the camera, and to be able to flip over to video with the press of a button!
Advanced AUTO Setting
One of the things I love about mirrorless cameras is that you can use them like SLR cameras. I know not everyone wants to be able to use the manual settings on their camera, and I certainly don't always want to have to think about them! This camera has a bunch of settings that let you decide how much you want to have to control. Like a lot of "point & shoot" cameras, it has different scene modes like portrait, landscape, night, etc. It also has "Advanced SR AUTO" mode which automatically optimizes shutter speed, aperture and other settings. It also instantly recognizes 14 scene types and then selects the most appropriate settings. All you do is frame, press the shutter and enjoy! Here's one that I took on Advanced SR AUTO (it sensed what I needed and chose the macro setting for me).
One More Pro and A Con
The exciting thing about a smaller, mirrorless camera is that it can be used much like a DSLR camera. You can use a collection of interchangeable lenses and other accessories for this camera, just like you can with a DSLR, so your photography equipment can grow right along with your skills.
The only downside I can find to this camera is that it doesn't have a viewfinder. I suppose most people who don't use a DSLR will be used to looking at the screen on the back of the camera when taking a picture, rather than holding the camera's viewfinder to their eye. This feels so foreign to me! While I am getting used to it, the drawback that remains is that it's difficult to see what you're getting when you're taking photos out in bright sun. There's just too much reflection on the screen to be confident that you're getting what you want when you take a shot in those conditions.
I knew that I wanted to test out the Fuji X-A3 camera on our tirp, but I wasn't sure what I would think of it, so I brought along my DSLR. I carried my DSLR & my new mirrorless camera just about everywhere we went and in the end, I took around 20 photos on my DSLR and hundreds with the X-A3. I think it's safe to say that the X-A3 is going to work for me in almost all situations! I'm happy to say that since getting the Fuji X-A3, not only is my love of photography going strong (without hand pain), but I've been able to share that love with my daughter as well. I have a post coming up soon with more about that!
Disclosure: Fujifilm Canada provided product to facilitate this post. All opinions and experiences shared are, as always, my own.