Sunday, 31 August 2014

POV: The 'Unbearable' Lightness of Fuji X Series

Well, time does fly and I'm preparing to leave for Hanoi to start my The People of Tây Bắc Photo Expedition-Workshop in a few days.

This trip is something of an important chapter in my timeline as a travel photographer, as it'll be the first time that I leave my heavyweight DSLRs home. I've traveled before with just a Leica M9 and the Fuji X Pro-1 (as to Guatemala last month), but this is the first photo expedition-workshop that sees me DSLR-less.

I've tested the Fuji X-T1, the new addition to this group of non DSLR tools, in the streets of New York City and over the past two weeks, found it reliable and responsive, and I believe it'll perform well in replacing my aging Canon 5 Mark II. The Fuji X-T1 has its drawbacks and quirks, but from my past experience with the X Pro-1, these are mostly caused by my being unfamiliar with its minor idiosyncrasies.

What will accompany me to Vietnam is this: (from the top left) Marantz PMD 620 audio recorder,  a Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4 (Leica mount), Leica M9, Fuji X Pro-1, a Fujinon 18mm 2.0, a Fuji external flash EF-X8 (for fill-in if needed), a XF18-135mm f3.5-5.6 and the Fuji X-T1 with a Zeiss Touit 12mm f2.8.

I roughly calculated that the combined weight of all these is a little over 6 lbs. or 3.0 kilograms at most. Feather weight in comparison to what I used to schlep before. All of which will fit very comfortably in my small Domke F-8 shoulder bag, along with two 2TB hard drives...and other paraphernalia.

So it'll be an rangefinder (M9) for portraiture, a hybrid (or pseudo) rangefinder (X Pro-1) for street photography, and the mini DSLR (X-T1) for travel-documentary photography. 

For the X-Series cameras, I'm bringing along 5 batteries (3 back-ups/spares) which will be charged every night.

On my return, I'll be in a better position to relay my impressions and experiences with the Fuji X-1 and the various lenses.

PS. Yes, I cover the brand names of my cameras with black gaffer tape.