You all know I’m a lover of Fujifilm cameras for travel photography and beyond but here’s a more detailed look inside my camera bag!
It’s been a very, very, long time since my last post setting out what’s inside my camera bag and I know people are interested in what my current Fujifilm setup is so here we are again with a brand new look inside my camera bag for 2022! Things have changed a lot in the 4 years (!) since I wrote that article; I was still relatively fresh from travelling Australia and South East Asia but now it’s 2022 and I’m working full-time as a lawyer again, my travel blog has become more successful and I’m a father. Times have definitely changed and therefore so have my requirements for my photography equipment.
I think we should start with an update on what my photography and life generally looks like these days. I’m still working from home but now that we’re past the worst of the pandemic, there are a great deal more weekends away though I haven’t ventured abroad yet. We won’t ever get back to long-term travelling but I’m very much content with weekends away and a few longer haul trips each year. I’m desperate to get away to Australia again plus New Zealand and Japan. Closer to home, I really want to visit parts of Scandinavia and Portugal but there’s plenty of time for that.
I have been shooting food and drink menus at a local cafe and bar as well as the odd wedding on the side too. I’ve been working with local tourist boards to produce content either for their own website or for mine and have begun to receive a lot more invites to local restaurant openings too though please don’t say I’m an ‘influencer’. As I mentioned above, I’m also now a father so a lot of my photography is dedicated towards family life.
I’m still a lover of prime lenses and I’d nearly always pick image quality and ‘magic’ over focus speed but I have identified some inherent problems with the older cameras and older lenses which makes me want to start upgrading soon! Particularly when my daughter starts running around, I will need lenses and cameras that can keep up with her – I’m not quite convinced that the X-T2 and, say, the 56mm f/1.2 could do that.
It’s not too much to ask then is it to have an affordable collection of Fujifilm cameras and lenses that essentially covers everything from day to day life to city breaks to street photography to food and even weddings.
Hopefully by sharing what’s inside my camera bag (for now at least), it’ll help you when it comes to your own photography kit.
FUJIFILM TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY – A LOOK INSIDE MY CAMERA BAG
The Camera Bag
Before we delve into exactly what equipment I’m currently using, it’s only right to start with the actual camera bag itself. The phrase ‘a look inside my camera bag’ is often used hypothetically I guess as a means by which you can describe the equipment you own but here I can physically fit everything I have into my camera bag.
Since 2017, I’ve used the original Brevite camera backpack and I’ve absolutely loved using it. It’s seen me through 10 months of travelling fitting all manner of life’s belongings in it and is still going strong to this day. However, very recently, I bought the new Brevite Jumper camera bag and my first impressions are pretty good! For starters, as I said above, it fits all of the camera equipment I own so there’s not really an excuse not to take everything away with me…
Inside My Camera Bag
Fujifilm X-T2 (x2)
Ah, the Fujifilm X-T2. A camera that is six years old in July 2022 but one that is definitely not out of date by any stretch of the imagination. I now have two X-T2s, one a little more beat up than the other thanks to 10 months of travelling. Whilst the Fujifilm X-T2 might not have the latest film simulations or the latest specs, I am falling more in love with it everyday. The camera has essentially become an extension of me and, for now at least, I have no desire to upgrade.
If you’re wanting a mirrorless camera that really can do it all, honestly I’d never stop recommending the Fujifilm X-T2. It’s very cheap nowadays so definitely worth a look if it’s your first step into the Fujifilm X system. Yes, the autofocus might be a bit slower than say a Sony or Canon (especially in low light situations) but it’s never really caused me an issue.
One of the real plus points to all Fujifilm cameras is the ability to change every setting completely manually with old-school dials on top of the body. I also love the electronic viewfinder as you can see the effect of setting changes in real time plus what the image will look like with your chosen film simulation – super helpful for those that shoot JPEG images.
I’ve already written about this lens on the site and concluded, quite quickly, that the Fujifilm X100F is the greatest thing I have ever held in my hands. The X100F is a fixed lens camera essentially squeezing the Fujifilm X-T2 and a 23mm f/2 lens into one stealthy package. This is the camera I use on little day trips out and, after an experiment on the streets of Newcastle, the camera I would use for street photography/photography where you just wander and explore.
The 23mm focal length is the one I used extensively whilst travelling as it is just so versatile. Whilst there’s been little travelling over the last few years I’ve been leaning towards both the 16mm f/1.4 and 35mm f/1.4 but, whenever I pick this camera up, I’m reminded just how much I like photos captured from the classic 23mm (35mm in full frame terms) point of view. The autofocus is surprisingly fast and the shutter is practically silent. This is the perfect pick up and go camera.
There’s a newer version of this camera, the X100V, which looks to be even better having updated the lens itself so that the well-known issue with softness at f/2 at close distances is all but erased. It has the newer film simulations and settings too (eg Classic Negative) but, most importantly for me and the reason why I didn’t opt for the X100V over the X100F, the D-Pad has been removed. Not an issue for some people but I have all three cameras set up exactly the same and I feel the D-Pad is essential for the way I shoot.
I’ve pimped my X100F a little with a Squarehood (it has to be done) and a little thumb grip which helps with holding the camera in one hand.
Samyang 12mm f/2
This is one of the latest additions to my camera bag and the first ever non-Fujifilm lens I’ve used. I love a wide angle lens and it’s something I’ve really missed since selling the 10-24mm f/4 lens. Wide angle lenses are perfect for capturing architecture, sweeping landscapes and starry night skies. During my time in Australia, I used the 10-24mm lens to capture unbelievable night skies full of billions of stars but the f/4 aperture always struggled with how much light was let into the lens. This is where the Samyang really comes into play with the f/2 aperture and I’ve already managed to capture beautiful night skies here in the UK.
This is a manual focus lens with no electrical connection with the camera but this is no problem at all. With the Fujifilm X-T2, you can set up focus peaking when focusing manually so the parts that are in focus are clearly marked in red. So easy! The camera won’t record the lens that you’ve used or the aperture but that doesn’t really matter to me.
Samyang have recently released an updated version of this lens with autofocus which would definitely help when wandering the streets but, for me, given how cheap this lens is I can easily put up with manual focusing.
With the latest Fujifilm announcement however I am over the moon that they have finally listened and are looking to release an 8mm f/2.8 lens in 2023. I will be all over that.
Fujifilm 16mm f/1.4
This is definitely one the Fujifilm Holy Grails; part of the ‘Holy Quartet’ if you like of the original fast primes. The 16mm f/1.4 is Fujifilm’s answer to the popular 24mm focal length in full frame photography. The focal length certainly takes a little getting used to but, once you’ve nailed that, this lens will be one of your favourites.
I use this lens very regularly when travelling and I’ve even shot parts of weddings with it too. I love a good ‘holding something in my hand’ shot like food, drink or a record for example and this is my go-to lens for that. The f/1.4 ensures that you have insane picture quality with beautiful out of focus areas even in low light. It’s always good to take a wider angle lens with you when travelling and, for me, this is perfect.
Fujifilm 23mm f/1.4
Another new addition to the camera bag, I bought this just before Christmas 2021 when I had two weddings booked in. I’ve found with all Fujifilm lenses that even if you’ve never used it before, it will feel like reuniting with an old friend. This is another lens that has been upgraded by Fujifilm with a newer version just recently released but for me all that meant was that I could get the original at a cheaper price.
The 23mm focal length is perfect for documentary style shooting and the faster aperture at f/1.4 means that this lens immediately became my main lens when shooting weddings. To be fair, the lens performed exceptionally throughout the two weddings and even though I’m taking a step back from weddings, I still love this camera for documentary style family photography. I know I’ve got this focal length covered already with the X100F but there’s something about this lens now that it’s in my collection that I just love.
There is one downside that I’ve seen with this lens, and maybe it’s just because I use a slightly older camera, is that sometimes even in perfectly good light it’ll have a little glitch and fail to focus 5/6 times in a row. All of a sudden it will snap out of it and behave completely normal again. I now use this lens with the Fujifilm X-T5 and, guess what, this issue has completely resolved – wow I have fallen back in love with this lens!
Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4
Without doubt, my favourite lens is the Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4. Before setting out on my Fujifilm journey back in 2016, I generally used a Nikon 35mm lens but decided to skip the focal length altogether for a good few years. I regret that decision as, for me, the 35mm focal length (50mm on full frame) is the one that gives the most true to life images.
As you may have guessed, I’m a sucker for a prime lens and this is the most magical (cliche I know) lens out there. Hell it’s sometimes slow to focus, noisy and old but the Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 will fill a void in your life that you just didn’t know was there. Pretty much every image this lens takes has something special ingrained into it. This lens is never off my camera and will always be my first choice when travelling.
There are two more modern version of this lens; the first being one of the ‘Fujicrons’, the 35mm f/2. I love the design of this lens, how fast it is to autofocus and it’s cheaper however, for me, the f/1.4 edges it. The second is the new 33mm f/1.4 which admittedly looks fantastic with fast autofocus, fast aperture and it’s weather resistant too. But does it have the magic?
Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2
No doubt the Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 is Fujifilm’s most legendary lens. Shooting images at f/1.2, where subjects almost pop out of your camera, is insane. This is the lens that I use primarily for portraits and other aspects of weddings. I’ve tried on many occasions to get away with this lens whilst travelling but it’s slightly too big and slow to focus for me.
I love using this lens for weddings, the full-frame focal length is 85mm, as it allows me to get close to the action without rudely interrupting events as they unfold. I toyed with selling this lens but it stays and I will always make a conscious effort to use it even in my day to day life.
Fujifilm 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8
This is one of my original Fujifilm lenses, purchased back in 2017 and is actually the only lens that has remained in my collection since my long-term travels ended. That’s not to say it was my favourite but I’d figured a way to replace the 23mm f/2 with the X100F and the 10-24mm f/4 with the 16mm f/1.4 (though I will forever miss the 10mm focal length).
Every travel photographer needs a telephoto lens in their arsenal and, whilst this isn’t technically the sharpest lens out of Fujifilm’s offerings, the 55-200mm certainly packs a punch. It’s got image stabilisation too which helps prevent blurry images. I love the compression that a telephoto lens brings to an image, it’s a great way tighten up environmental portraits eg I’d earmarked this lens for a particular shot in New Zealand to make the distant Mount Cook look as though it was merely metres away. Covid-19 meant that the honeymoon didn’t happen and, unfortunately, this lens hasn’t actually seen much action since 2018.
If I was travelling more regularly, and not just on city breaks, there’s no doubt that I would use it more. Just look at what images the lens can produce!
Peak Design Straps
I use Peak Design Straps on all of my cameras. I have two Slide Lite straps and one wrist strap. The reason why I love these straps so much is the fact they are super quick to connect/disconnect with a little slide and click action. Full disclaimer though – for some strange reason one of the connections failed where it joins the camera and so, on one nice day exploring a relatively unknown corner of Northumberland atop a viaduct, my camera smashed to the ground with the 16mm f/1.4 taking the full brunt of the impact. Luckily despite cosmetic damage, there was no internal damage to the lens and Peak Design customer service were extremely helpful too.
One downside to using mirrorless cameras is that the battery life isn’t the best. However, I never feel it’s as bad as what people make out – I can happily shoot a weekend away with one battery in each camera but to be fair that’s three cameras taking the brunt of the workload and I always switch my camera off immediately after taking a shot. Anyway, it isn’t a bad idea to be prepared so stock up on extra batteries (I always use the official Fujifilm batteries despite being more expensive).
Sandisk Memory Cards
Clearly you are going to need memory cards to store all those incredible memories you create. I use two Sandisk memory cards in each X-T2; the 128GB Extreme Pro in Slot 1 for RAW files and a slightly slower 64GB card in Slot 2 for the JPEG files. The faster your memory card the less problems you will have for example when shooting in burst mode where the camera can easily slow down whilst trying to store the images.
I don’t think I’ve used flash in my photography for many years and, even then, it was only messing round with the one sold as standard alongside the X-T2. This was a tip from Kevin Mullins, the legendary wedding photographer, who equally doesn’t use a flash but adds some continuous light to assist with evening wedding photography. For the weddings I’ve shot, this was an absolute must.
With the mirrorless cameras, every time you change lenses you risk getting dirt on the sensor as there is nothing whatsoever to shield it from the elements. For all you make the effort to change lenses quickly, it is almost certain you will one day end up with little sensor spots which is the classic sign a clean is needed. I use a little blower every now and again directly on the sensor just to keep it free of dirt. If there’s anything more stubborn, I’d opt for a sensor clean from a professional.
MY FUJIFILM WISHLIST
As I’ve mentioned above, one of the newer Fujifilm bodies (like the X-Pro3 or X-T4) has been on my wishlist for a very long time and, in various drafts of this post, I would have 100% included one. However, I’ve slowly realised I’m perfectly content with the Fujifilm cameras I have and I don’t need to upgrade at all. Whilst I would love to have access to the latest film simulations, faster autofocus plus the ability to save white balance shifts, there’s not much else that I really need. So, after much deliberation, there are no Fujifilm camera bodies on my wishlist and I’m okay with that. Unless Fujifilm want to send me an X-Pro 3 of course…
Fujifilm 50mm f/2
There is however one lens that sits proudly atop my wishlist; the Fujifilm 50mm f/2. I reviewed this lens recently and definitely felt that it could sit alongside the 56mm f/1.2 in my collection. After re-visiting my earlier review and the photos I took with the lens, without doubt this is a lens that will fit perfectly into my camera bag right now. I may just have to pull the trigger sooner rather than later.
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