At the beginning of December, I was on my way to California for a part-work, part-fun gig in SoCal. Being that this was only my 2nd trip to California and my first to the coast, I wanted to take everything that I thought I might need. One of the perks of the FUJIFILM X Series system is that I’m able to bring a lot of gear without having to worry about my bag being too heavy, on account of everything being so small and light compared to a DSLR system.Gear List:
FUJIFILM XF10-24mmF4 R OIS
FUJIFILM XF16mmF1.4 R WR
FUJIFILM XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
FUJIFILM XF35mmF1.4 R
FUJIFILM XF56mmF1.2 R
FUJIFILM XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
FUJIFILM XF1.4x TC & XF2.0x TC
Formatt-HItech Firecrest Holder
Formatt-HItech Firecrest 10-stop ND & 3-stop ND Grad
13” Macbook Pro
1TB SSD Hard Drive
Anker PowerCore 20000
The Camps Bay ONA Camera Bag in Smoke
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with shooting out of airplane windows. I’ve taken some beautiful shots, and some terrible ones, but regardless I always give it a shot and hope for the right combination of clouds and terrain to come away with something cool. For the first time in the sky I gave the X-T2 with XF50-140mm and XF1.4X Teleconverter a shot and it ended up being really awesome. Typically I have always tried shooting wide and always seemed to get the wing of the plane, reflections, or window scratches that made my shots unusable. But zooming in that far, and having the crazy good image stabilization of the 50-140 gave me some spectacular results.When I finally landed in San Diego, I only had a few hours to get checked into my hotel and find a good spot to shoot the sunset before I had to shoot the event I was in town for. I grabbed my ONA bag and ran out the door to see what I could find. I just made my way toward the west-facing beach of Coronado. This was my first “true” California coastal sunset, and it was a colorful cloudless sky. I took a few shots but mostly just took it in and enjoyed the moment.Day 2 started when a friend picked me up and we drove out to Anza Borrego. It was an unbelievable experience for this midwestern boy; in just 2 hours, we went from beautiful rolling hills and coastline to mountainous desert. We spent some time shooting from Font’s Point which gave a breathtaking view of the terrain spread out in front of us. This was everything I always expected from California: palm trees and vast expansive desert spread out in front of me. We spent a few hours shooting the beautiful textures and colors of the desert before moving on.Heading back towards the coast, we decided that the next stop would be the rocks of Corona Del Mar. Despite slipping multiple times and having extremely soggy shoes, I was thankful to have experienced one of the most beautiful sunsets of my entire life. Having 2 camera bodies is absolutely essential for the kind of work that I like to do. I split my time between my X-Pro2 with XF10-24mm set up on a tripod shooting long exposures, and my X-T2 with XF50-140mm combo in hand snapping away at boats, water and really fine-tuning my compositions with the compressed field of view. Having the 50-140 lens has turned me from a 100% wide shooter to a 60/40 tele/wide shooter and it has made such a huge impact on the work that I create.The next day was spent shooting around the picturesque Laguna beach area. It was a semi-low tide so we climbed to an area along the coast that has a sinkhole with beautiful swirling water, and set up our gear. After a bit of droning and waiting to see what we would get in terms of a sunset burn, we all got a bit ambitious and ventured further out on the rocks that were exposed by the low tide. While setting up on a tripod to get some water movement shots, a rogue wave came out of nowhere and completely soaked me and my camera. There has never been a time that I was more thankful to have weather-resistant gear. I spent the rest of the night soaking wet from head to toe, but was able to continue to shoot the rest of the sunset.After drying off at my hotel and grabbing a couple hours of sleep, I decided that my final morning before flying home was going spent in Long Beach shooting the sun coming up behind The Queen Mary. I arrived to a beautiful star-filled sky, giving me enough time to nitpick and get the composition that I really wanted. As I sat there on the rocks with my X-T2 on-tripod in front of me just waiting for the perfect moment, I thought about all I was able to experience on such a short trip, and how there is so much more of the world to see and explore. I couldn’t ask for anything better than being constantly inspired to create by my surroundings, and the gear that helps me capture it all.
I like to travel alone. Partners and friends are great, but they can also hold you back from really experiencing a culture deeply. Solo travel allows you a freedom and adventure rarely achievable for those rushing back home for dinner. So when a group of friends and I booked a house in a rather touristy area of Panama, I didn’t plan to spend much time shooting. I grabbed my trusted X-T1 and my favorite lens – the XF23mmF1.4 R.One of the local attractions in this area is a beach only accessible by boat or a long muddy trail through the jungle. After attempting the trail, we opted for the boat and were dropped at a small dock in a lagoon filled with mangrove trees. A short walk across the island towards the sound of surf led us to a beautiful beach. We were walking along the beach when a foreign couple approached saying that a man with a machete had tried to rob them, but they were able to run away. Suddenly. I regretted bringing my camera. We stopped walking for some time. We swam, did hand stands, and drank beer. Eventually, the allure of discovery won over and we continued along the deserted beach.
On my extensive travels, I often have a specific image in my mind when I’m shooting. Sometimes, the search for this image blinds me from all the other potential shots present. It’s refreshing to go out with no expectations and see what organically appears. When I saw locals on horseback approaching, I sank into the jungle looking for a frame to contain them as they passed. They had ridden the muddy trail, and were headed to the far end of the island to go hunting.This long strip of sand is interrupted occasionally by large trees overhanging into the ocean. They are a natural jungle gym, and soon we were climbing all over them. From the trunk of a tree,I realized there was a good shot and picked up the camera again. I tilted the LCD to get super low to the ground and avoided wallowing around myself.As my friend Laura was working on a new route for this particular tree, I switch on the Cinematic Mode; it’s accessible on your camera by turning the mode dial to CH and holding down the shutter release button. As it’s clicking away, I’m able to make slight adjustments to the composition. But, I’m mostly waiting on the subject to look at their best. Yes, it fills a memory card really fast. That’s why I use Lexar 128s, so I don’t have to worry about changing cards very often.Beyond the beach, we came across some boys walking around with machetes. They seemed to be out honing their skills with these essential jungle tools. One boy was carefully opening a coconut to drink the water. I sat my X-T1 on the ground near his feet, using the tilting LCD to compose. It must be great to grow up in a land where snacks fall readily from the trees.In the evening, we returned home to discover the hunt had been successful. It’s rare that I do a trip with no photographic objective. It’s refreshing to travel light and go with the flow – and it’s authentic and easy to capture with FUJIFILM X Series. On to the next adventure!
When I first received the Fujifilm X70 I looked at it and thought…….hmmmm. Then I scratched my head and glanced sideways at my X100T which was looking back at me with suspicion and concern.
I have to admit that I also had suspicion and concern when I first picked up the X70. It’s teeny. In terms of length and width it’s almost a third smaller than my mobile phone.
My X100T, on the other hand, is larger.
So I challenged myself to see if size really does matter and, more importantly, does the X70 live up to its big brother X100T when it comes down to image making.
Brief Differences and Similarities between the X70 and X100T
This isn’t a review of either camera but it makes sense for me to point out the fundamental differences, and similarities between the two cameras.
Both cameras share the same 16-megapixel APS-C X-Trans II sensor but that, possibly, is where the similarities end.
We already know about the size difference, but really the biggest differences are the interface to shooting and the lens and so I will concentrate on these during this post.
“Beat the fear of Street photography by allowing people to come to you, instead of you to them.
Then just… Click. No pressure.“
The X100T has an excellent 23mm F2.0 lens. Way back when I was shooting DSLR, my preferred focal length was 35mm (full frame equivalent), and actually it still is.
I LOVE the lens on the X100T and this is one of the critical changes because if you also LOVE the lens on the X100T, you need to know that the lens on the X70 is different.
The lens on the X70 is a slower F2.8 but wider 18.5 mm focal length or 28mm (35mm equivalent).
So straight away, we can see that the X100T is going to be better at low light shooting, albeit marginally.
However, the size and weight of the X70 means we can shoot at slower shutter speeds to mitigate this to a certain extent (depending on the subject matter of course).
For me, I love that 35mm FF focal length and I’m getting used to the slightly wider view from the X70.
I instinctively lifted the X70 to my eye when I first got it out of the box. Big mistake as there is no viewfinder in the camera (you can purchase an external viewfinder attachment that slots into the hotshoe).
For me, the reason I never really gelled with the Fujifilm X-M1 was because of the lack of viewfinder. But then the X-M1 was bigger…..and didn’t have the X-Trans II Sensor.
I’ll give it a try I thought.
And you know what, I have learnt to really like the LCD shooting experience of the X70. I’m not a hundred percent convinced I wouldn’t prefer a viewfinder as at least an option, but obviously one of the reasons this camera is so small is because of the removal of the viewfinder.
Instead of the traditional way of shooting, in the X70, you have a remarkably versatile tilting screen, which even tilts vertically above the camera to allow you to take “selfies”.
When shooting with the X100T I have to use the viewfinder, or shoot from the hip using a zone focus technique.
I can still use zone focusing with the X70 of course, but the benefit of the flip down screen is plain to see. Additionally, the X70 implements some neat touch screen features where you can use your finger to very quickly touch, focus & shoot.
That’s a great advantage when out on the street shooting.
“I adore elderly people holding hands and I strive to look for pictures like that.
Pretty much, I just want to be like that with my wife when I’m elderly too.”
Which camera would I use?
This is the question I’ve been asking myself a lot. When would I use one over the other? And I actually sat down and came up with a list of scenarios where I would use either the X100T or the X70.
In really low light I’m going to need the X100T. I don’t use flash, and I find that I use the Optical Viewfinder on the X100T a lot when shooting in low light.
For that reason, and also because of the build and form factor, the X100T will remain one of my primary cameras as a wedding photographer.
However, the X70 really comes into its own when I pick up a camera to go and shoot street photography.
In fact, for me, its superseded all other cameras in the range when it comes to shooting on the street.
I like to get in close and I like to observe and prepare to shoot. Unless I need to use different lenses (for example, I may use a MF lens on the X-Pro2 or X-T10 for rapid zone focusing and shooting), the X70 is an ideal camera for shooting on the street.
The fact that you don’t even have to press the shutter button is a marvellous thing in itself and lends the camera perfectly to candid street shooting.
The X70 isn’t going to replace my X100T, but at the same time, my X100T will be a lot less active for my personal and street photography work.
“These images below were shot using Auto Focus, at F2.8 without the flip screen down.
Simply pointing and shooting from the hip. One handed (as the other was occupied with Guinness at the time).”