New Street Photography London Member: Sam Burton "Why I chose to go Mirrorless"

I have been into photography since I was about 12. I did what most people seem to do by getting an entry-level DSLR. I then slowly added a couple of lenses. I soon decided that I needed a bigger better body. After saving for a few months I finally took the plunge and got a Canon 5d mk2. This really is an amazing camera. I had the 24-105 mm lens along with a 50mm 1.4 prime. It felt like I had the kit I had always wanted and wouldn't need anything else. 

This was until last year when my girlfriend and I took a 3-week trip to Vietnam. I packed my camera bag with body, lenses, batteries and other accessories. We got to Vietnam and it was over 40 degrees. This was really not ideal to be carrying around a heavy backpack. Because of the heat and the size and weight of my gear it stopped me taking as many pictures as I wanted too. 


Around the time we took this trip I was really starting to get into street photography so was keen to put my skills to test on the streets of Vietnam. The problem is as soon as you point a big DSLR and zoom lens at someone they don't look too pleased at the prospect of having their picture taken. 


I got back and began editing down my shots. I was pleased with what I had, but definitely had the feeling that if I had gone with a smaller camera I may have got some shots I wasn’t able to with my big setup. This led me to take the plunge and sell all my canon gear. I had been reading a lot of rave reviews about the Fuji X series cameras. In particular the X100 and X-Pro1. I liked the idea of really simplifying my photography with a smaller camera and just one prime lens. Not to mention the retro styling of these cameras really appealed to me. In the end I went for the X-pro1, as I wanted the option to try other lenses in time. I got the body along with the brilliant XF 35mm 1.4 (50mm full frame equivalent) lens.

I haven't looked back since. This camera has really changed the way I shoot.  Because of its smaller size I end up carrying it with me most days, which has enabled me to capture so much more than I would if I had stuck with my bulky canon gear. It also gives me confidence when shooting people on the street. Most people won’t notice it as its so discreet and very quiet compared to the loud click of the mirror in my 5d. 


The image quality is superb and I can safely say for me there is nothing I miss about my Canon. Having the optical viewfinder is a great feature for street photography as you can watch your subject walk into frame for that perfectly timed shot. For the type of photography I am doing at the moment I feel it suits me perfectly… well maybe until the X-pro2 arrives!


Leave a comment and let me know your views!

I'm the latest Street Photography London member so read my Q&A and visit my Street Photography London gallery as well as the rest of the collective.

Sam -