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Travelling Light

...with the Fujifilm X100T...

Packing for a trip can be a daunting task. No one wants to overpack only to end up lugging around items that never leave the bag. The fear of needing something that has been left behind means it is human nature to pack everything that you think you may need to cover all situations. I spend hours before a trip figuring out what I need to pack to remain as light as possible while trying not to exclude anything significant. 

I was travelling to Mallorca recently for 10 days for a celebration and general holiday and my wife and I decided, as we often do, to travel with hand luggage only. I purchased the Fujifilm X-T2 several months ago and have a small collection of lenses, all of which would seem to be the perfect travel system due to its relative lack of size and weight. Prior to this investment I had been introduced to the world of Fujifilm, as so many have been, by way of the X100T and had fond memories of travelling with only that camera, a small tripod and other accessories over the last couple of years. 

I decided that, despite the potential of the X-T2 for travel that the X100T was all I required for this trip.

I had always liked the compactness of the X100 cameras which is why I had never opted for the tele or wide convertors as they added size, weight and more importantly, choice of lens which I was glad not to have with this camera. I had read many articles about the X100 cameras and how, many people reported that having the fixed focal length actually made them think more about the shots and take time to hone their skills. I was skeptical at first as I regularly travel with several lenses however at no point did I find it a limiting factor.

The X100T proved fast enough to capture the action.

The 35mm Perspective

I was initially worried about the limitations however I found that my photography changed to suit the lens. I regularly attend local fiestas and events where I would use a zoom in on faces to try and capture all the detail or compress the action however I found I was now trying different techniques and focusing more on atmosphere than detail. This continued when using the camera for street and landscape photography and the 35mm perspective became an advantage rather than a hindrance. I know that the quality of sensors these days means varying degrees of crop can be performed in post production however that is not something I do.

The Festa de Moros y Cristianos in Pollença. I would not have used this technique if armed with a telephoto lens.

Not Just The Camera

I travel with a tripod as much as possible as I try to capture a lot of night and long exposure photography so I put together a small kit comprising of the X100T, a recently purchased Manfrotto Pixi tripod and a couple of filters. Admittedly I did pack a speed light, trigger and SP1 printer, none of which saw much action however the entire kit was kept small and portable. It was, as I remembered, a liberating experience and I was able to fit the camera, spare batteries and either the flash or Manrotto Pixi tripod into my small ‘man bag’ (yes, I use one when abroad!) which went everywhere with me.

I have sling bags and other small travel bags which could have easily accommodated the X-T2 however the X100T with built in ND filter and leaf shutter just seems so much more compact regardless of lens attached to the X-T2. Throw a 10-stop filter and a 6 inch cable release into a beach bag and you are able to get over 60 second exposures in bright sunlight which is something I never managed with my old Canon gear simply because I was not prepared to carry the amount of kit needed to get those results.

The X100T with 10 stop ND and built in 3 stop ND is capable of 60 second expusures in the midday sun.

Moving Vehicles

It is traditionally not advisable to capture images from moving vehicles as the results seldom produce anything more than blurry snapshots. I found that having a wrist strap attached and using this in continuous (low) shutter it is possible to capture some interesting, although possibly not technically perfect shots. Again, this is something that can be done with any camera but having this ‘always with you’ camera certainly makes things a lot easier.

Always With You

The low light capability always amazes.

I had obviously carried out some research before moving to Fujifilm and the one thing I noted from the articles I read was that the X100 series cameras were the ones that photographers took everywhere with them. When on a photoshoot with the medium format tripod mounted and ready for the shoot it would be the X100 that would be hanging from their belt. It reinforced my decision to purchase this even more when I read that some used these cameras for the commercial shoots themselves. This idea of having something as compact as this that could produce images of such a high quality was ultimately what sold me on this model.

To Complete The Kit

I had packed the speed light as I was hoping to take some flash exposed images in broad sunlight however it ended up sitting in a drawer for the 10 days. I tend to carry the SP1 printer everywhere as it is so small and will continue to do so even if it does not get much use. With all the tech these days and the ability to share images seconds after taking them there is something quite unique about being able to hand someone a printed photograph seconds after it was taken. Many people of a particular generation have fond memories of the Polaroid type prints and the Instax printers generate the same, albeit evolved nostalgia.

Kit List:

Fuji film X-T2, Manfrotto Pixi tripod, Hoya ProND1000, Hoya 71A infrared filter, mechanical cable release, Fujifilm S-P1 printer, Yongnuo YN-560 IV speedlite, Yongnuo YN-560 TX trigger (for Canon) 

I must admit that I will be taking the X-T2 with a selection of lenses in future trips but there is something very calming knowing you only have one body with a fixed lens with you.

 -Ken

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