With the introduction of the Nikon D750, I have also begun using it as my main lifestyle camera instead of a D4. Having 24mp to work with helps, as does the tilt-screen, wifi control, and smaller, more portable size, as does the faster, 6.5fps frame rate -- plenty fast enough for most lifestyle situations. Ever since the D750 came out I have been using it and a Fuji X-T1 for all my lifestyle shoots, choosing one over the other based an handling differences. Bottom line is that I no longer have any qualms at all about relying on my X-T1 for shooting lifestyle, or anything else for that matter. This decision has been spurred along by the continuous support Fujifilm has provided in the way introducing new lenses that are every bit as good as any top flight, full frame, pro optical system -- maybe even better than most. The recent introduction of a f/2.8 16-55mm zoom to complement the already well-received f/2.8 50-140mm rounds out the system to professional requirements. All that is missing now are some extremely long focal lengths, and they are already in the works.
Response time is critical in lifestyle shooting. The photographer must be ever ready to jump on a spontaneous moment when it occurs, and the camera has to be capable of fast reaction and continuous follow through if necessary. As good as the mirrorless cameras, like the X-T1, have become, I would still give the edge for this feature to a fast DSLR. The refresh rate of the viewing screen in any mirrorless camera, no matter how good, is still an artificial way of looking at a scene. Once the motor drive keeps going as the action progresses, I find it much easier to follow it with a DSLR.
That said, there is a something an X-T1 finder can deliver that is very helpful. Because you are viewing a digital interpretation of the scene instead of the real scene you also get to see the actual digital effects of your exposure without moving your eye from the finder to look at a preview. In a sense, the image you are currently viewing and taking is actually the preview. When the light is changing rapidly or the subject is moving in and out of light and shadow areas, I can easily adjust the X-T1 to compensate as I proceed with capturing the scene. With a DSLR I have to take my eye away from the finder and look at a preview of the last image to check and then adjust the exposure.
At close or even moderately close distances using the 85mm f/1.2 lens on the D750 with the aperture set anywhere between f/1.2 and f/1.6 is dangerous in terms of achieving sufficient focus on the subject. The depth of field is so shallow at that aperture that you might wind up with the eyelashes in focus and the eye itself out of focus -- not a very flattering result. For this reason, I try to limit myself to a maximum opening of f/2 on a full frame camera. On the X-T1, on the other hand, I don't have the same problem. Even wide open with the equivalent lens, which would be the 50mm f/1.2, I achieve a much higher percentage of pleasing in-focus images while still maintaining the selective focus effects I like.
When composing through the viewing screen of the D750 I find myself often having to take advantage of the larger 24mp sensor by pulling back far enough so I can place a focus point on an important area near the edge of the image. With the Fuji's smaller APS-sized sensor I try to avoid cropping because I don't want to sacrifice any more quality that I have to. Fortunately, the focus points on the X-T1 pretty much cover the entire screen so I can always reach into a far corner to focus. This allows me to always use the full X-T1 sensor and not have to give up precious pixels by cropping the image.
One of the interesting observations that has become apparent when shooting the Fuji X-T1 side-by-side with a Nikon DSLR is that the exposure needed to achieve the same results has been differing by around 2/3 of a stop -- sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. In other words, while I am able to capture a correct exposure on the Nikon at, say, 1/500 second, I may need 1/320 second on the Fuji for the exposures to be equal. Since most of the time I am working at what I consider the lowest limits of a hand held camera in terms of aperture and shutter speed, I often have to make the compensation using the ISO. This is not very desirable especially considering that the Fuji is already handicapped with a smaller APS sensor size that is going to make it more susceptible to noise than the full frame Nikon.
I have been in this profession long enough to remember when shooting like this would have been impossible, even with the best Nikon F film cameras available. The digital revolution of the past decade has dramatically expanded the range in which a camera can see and operate. Now the mirrorless revolution is taking this another step by shrinking the size of the equipment to a smaller, more comfortable level.
I depend upon photography, and by extension photography equipment, for my livelihood. I also shoot a very broad category of subjects from lifestyle, to still life, landscape, travel, and food, to name some of them. For this reason I have always tried to stay on top of the changes in equipment -- a task that has become all the more daunting as the digital race continues.
Using the word, "shootout" in the title of this blog might be a misnomer. I am really no longer comparing the two systems. The Fuji X-cameras have proven themselves to me with their results. It had become more a matter of "both/and" as opposed to "either/or". The Fuji X-series no longer has to prove itself to gain admittance. It is already there.
I am constantly introducing new technology into my workflow to see if it will improve the results and make my job easier. I began using the Fuji X- cameras with the first X-Pro1 when I realized I was witnessing a significant advance in digital photography. Over the past few months I have integrated the X-T1 into our regular photography workflow as an option on par with the other equipment I use. In my mind the testing phase is over. Now I reach for the X-T1 as I would for the D750 or any other high end camera, for what it can do best given the task at hand. Basically, this is a "right tool for the right job" philosophy. Works for me.