I tend to be an over-packer when it comes to traveling and camera gear. I will cut my luggage down to a bare minimum with exactly what I need to get by; in a very minimalist way, but then I have a backpack with entirely too much camera gear. I have a habit of just not being able to leave a film camera behind or being concerned that I might want to shoot with a big medium format setup… and then the digital DSLR comes along with at least two or three lenses. It gets heavy … and then I go on a trip and frequently leave at least one camera untouched for a trip. It’s a bad habit and annoying for someone who tries hard to travel light!
But then, I got a Fuji X100T. I expected this camera to be a fun daily shooter, but not much in the way of a travel camera due to being “so restrictive”. I expected it to be a tag-a-long with my bigger DSLR body, so I could have a lightweight camera on a hike or walking around a city. I expected that I would still need my “real” camera for most situations.
I was wrong! While packing for a long weekend trip to the coast of Oregon, I decided that I just wanted to take along one bag, and that meant restricting my cameras and gear. I’ve had my X100T long enough to be comfortable with shooting with it in most environments, and have discovered that it isn’t actually a restrictive camera.
I packed my bag and this one little camera along with some spare batteries and a charger. At least a few times before leaving the house I almost threw in another camera or packed a whole separate bag. It’s like separation anxiety with my camera gear!
The concerns were completely unfounded. Having a lightweight bag was so great while bustling through airports. The camera is perfect for city exploring, because it is so small and doesn’t attract a lot of attention. We spent some time in Portland, but the trip was mostly out on the coast of Oregon. That meant rain, wind, ocean spray, and a lot of variable light. The camera is easy to stash in rain and can deal with most any lighting that comes its way.
It has a built-in macro mode for the detail shots that I love so much, but also shoots beautiful scenery and landscapes. The film emulations allow for some fun on the go creativity, as you can switch between Vivid, Soft, and even a Chrome setting to change the scenes. While the camera has a fixed lens at 23mm (equal to 35mm on the Fuji sensor), it never feels limiting. The lens is a perfect width to allow for portraits, nature landscapes, macros… just about any photo!
The aperture and ISO allow the camera to work well in low light situations – with an aperture as wide as f/2 and an ISO that goes ridiculously high (51,200), though I usually stop around 3200-6400.
There are, of course, some limitations. I wouldn’t want this to be the only camera in my bag if I was out in the wild watching bears far off in the distance. A telephoto is necessary for moments like that. A prime macro lens on my DSLR outperforms the macro mode on this camera, but in an everyday shooting environment, it’s not a dramatic difference. While medium format film will always have a place in my camera bag, it just isn’t ideal for every situation.
I was not a bit disappointed at the end of the trip. Having this lightweight camera allowed me to feel much less weighed down during travel. It worked great, and I’m pretty sure this camera will be in my bag for just about every trip I take in the future!