Rediscovering The Joy of Travel

Recently I have switched from Nikon D810 to Fujifilm X-T1 to purposely rediscover the joy of photography and light travel. Here’s what happened.

On a roof in Beijing with fellow photographers (shot on Fujifilm X-T1 with Fujinon 10–24mm f/4)

There are hundreds of articles of photographers switching from Canon to Nikon, or from DSLR to mirrorless or from mirrorless to a smartphone. This is not one of them. While I did switch to a new system, I did so of the purpose of achieving my goal of travelling light.

My last trip to Russia-Germany-Iceland I packed a combined 60 Kg of stuff — promo swag, things for the family, and also photo-equipment. In total, I was hauling around a 20kg photo bag, and another 7kg photo bag with a drone.

Carrying around Nikon D810, a bunch of lenses, adaptors, battery packs, big RRS tripod, DJI Phantom drone is not something anyone can honestly enjoy, so when I got home, I reevaluated what I needed for my travel.

As the result, I put together this lightweight set:

  • Fujifilm X-T1
  • Fujinon 10–24mm f/4 (16–38mm equivalent)
  • Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 (35 mm equivalent)
  • Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 (85mm equivalent)
  • Gitzo 2542 tripod w/ Acratech GP-s
  • Small set of LEE filters 0.6 grad, 10 stopper & step-up rings

There are a few similar mirrorless systems on the market, but I choose Fujifilm for two practical purposes — organically, a lot of our team has bought or switched to Fujifilm, so there’s a chance to share lenses or accessories, and as Fujifilm is a title sponsor of the global photowalk, I got myself a loaner for a month, which I plan to replace with my hard-earned set when the loaner is due for a return.

Basically, I looked into what I usually shoot, and discovered that most of my landscape photos are wide-angle. Anything that I shoot in the city is around 35mm and most portraits are obviously in 70–135mm range, so 85mm is a sweet spot.

Now, for my last two trips, 4 and 12 days, everything I have is in a carry-on, as opposed to multiple bags, where tripod alone was so massive, it only fit in a big check-in luggage.

Travelling with such a kit makes me way more mobile. I feel less lazy carrying around a lighter, but still sturdy tripod with me, and I feel that having a camera that doesn’t hurt my back or neck is a good camera.

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