I often get questions related to my travel photography, so I thought it’d be fun to share my Fuji X100 series Travel Kit. While I now use the “T”, this would obviously apply to the original Fuji X100 and the X100s also.
It is always a tough thing for a photographer to decide what photographic gear to bring on vacation, with the two competing elements being size/weight versus image quality. For those of us who love our images it is very difficult to compromise our gear choices, but carrying around a backpack full of DSLR gear, lenses, etc can also become VERY tiresome.
The picture above (white poster board + window lighting = poor man’s studio!) shows my current travel kit. I have written extensively about the Fuji X100 series, so I won’t recap that here other than to say that they are the greatest cameras I have ever owned. Some would argue that their one Achille’s Heel is the fixed 35mm lens, but I find the opposite to be true in that it forces me to work a scene more for my composition.
In addition to the camera you can see:
- WCL-X100 wide angle conversion lens
- TCL-X100 tele conversion lens
- EF-X20 Flash
- A Canon TTL cord
- A Think Tank pouch holding a cleaning cloth, extra batteries, and extra SD cards
FUJI CONVERSION LENSES:
The lens in the Fuji x100 series (x100 / x100s / x100t) is a 23mm f/2.0 lens (35mm DSLR equivalent on an APS-C chip). 35mm is the perfect walk round lens, good for environmental portraiture, street photography, etc.
While they don’t get used often, I got great pricing on these two conversion lenses and carry them for the following reasons:
- Wide Angle Shots. Most of the time fitting everything in simply means taking a few steps back. There are times, however, where this is not possible. The WCL-X100 converts the Fuji’s 35mm field of view to a 28mm one, providing approximately 20% more coverage in the frame.
- Wide-ish angle lenses tend to distort people’s faces a little if not used properly. The classic portrait lens tends to fall into the 50-135mm range. The Fuji TCL-X100 converts the 35mm lens to a 50mm…. offering a more pleasing perspective when using this camera to make portraits.
These only leave my bag when I have a specific use for them, but to have 28mm, 35mm, and 50mm focal lengths can be very handy at times.
FUJI EF-X20 AND CANON TTL CABLE:
There are of course those times where you need to add a little light to a scene. I will tell you right now I love lighting. Love it.
Flash is not without its problems when traveling light: Lights can be big and heavy, and flash also look it’s worst when used directly on camera (You know those pictures of miners with the headlamp on the forehead? That’s usually the type of light created by on camera flash).
Fuji doesn’t offer a mature flash system yet in many people’s opinions, but the one they do offer that I love is the tiny little EF-X20 flash. It is a bit overpriced in my opinion, but can be found on eBay for a reasonable amount. It won’t push light out far, and only faces forward when mounted on the camera (no bounce).
This is where the “no name” eBay special Canon TTL cable comes into play. Fuji uses the same pin layout as Canon, so the cable enables you to hold the flash in one hand off camera and still have TTL flash. The no name cables can be had for under $20, much better than the cost of a real Canon one.
Nice for those times you need it.
The Fuji X100 series had a reputation for poor battery life. I averaged 200-300 images per battery at the most with the X100 and X100s, however with the X100t I am doing much better. Having said that, extra batteries are very affordable so it isn’t really an issue.
In the little Think Tank pouch I keep 2 extra batters, 2 extra SD cards, and a cleaning cloth.
PACKING IT UP:
Here is where we really nerd out. There is nothing photographers like better than camera bags. Find any photography enthusiast with a little disposable income and you will often find they own more bags than cameras. It is like crack for some of us.
All of the gear above fits beautifully in the tiny little Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20:
The two conversion lenses are stacked on the left, the Fuji X100t in the middle, and the flash equipment on the right.
In the front pocket you can see the batteries, cards, a polarizer filter, and extra AAA batteries for the flash.
When I say tiny, I mean really tiny:
Compared to the days of hauling around a backpack full of DSLR gear and this is pure heaven!
There are of course times where I want to have a tripod with me. For these times I use a tiny travel tripod by a company called FotoPro:
Folded it is about 12″ in length, but it stands up to 5′ tall and is a pleasure to work with.
Packed up, the whole travel kit looks like this:
That’s a whole lot of bang for your buck in terms of image quality and photographic options… all in a tiny package that only weighs a few pounds.
ARE THERE ANY DOWNFALLS?
I can’t see myself traveling with anything more than this, but I can see two main downfalls:
- No telephoto lens. I was recently in San Francisco for a week of photography and only missed this once: While the Blue Angels were practicing for Fleet Week over the Bay. DAMN!!!!! I mean, really?
- There is no backup camera. Depending on where I am traveling this could be “a thing”.
Readers of this site will know that I strongly believe in sayings like “If you want to make better photographs, point your camera at more interesting things”….. or “if you want to have better images, have better experiences”…. or, “if your photos aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough”.
This tiny little kit allows me to travel virtual unencumbered… while still carrying excellent gear. It covers at least 95% of my needs as a photographer, letting me go almost anywhere knowing I can make the image I want.
Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with it.