Camera Hardware

I’m currently carrying two cameras if you dont count the cameras on my iPhone, and iPad, Motorola Moto G cell phone. These days my two main cameras are both Fujifilm but that has not always been the case. I have also traveled with a Sony, Canon or Olympus camera. I’ll cover all the cameras I have traveled with even though I have retired a few of them.


Fujifilm X-T2

The Fujifilm X-T2 is my main camera. I bought this in September of 2016. So far I am totally loving this camera. For most of 2016 my main camera was the Sony a7R II. After using that camera through India and South East Asia I found i was not loving the camera. There were many issues I with it but I won’t go into them now. However I decided I needed a replacement. When Fujifilm announced the release of the X-Pro2 I was immediately interested. I was in Asia at the time and I felt I should wait to buy the camera when I was back in North America for warranty reasons. In the mean time Fujifilm announced the release of the X-T2. It was a tough choise to make. Both cameras are fantastic but they are directed to two totally different markets.

fujifilm-xt2
I had already used the Fujifilm X100T for a couple of years I was really looking forward to the release of the X-Pro2 which shares a similar body style as the X100T. I was all prepared to buy it until the X-T2 was announced. Comparing the two the X-Pro2 just didn’t have as many features as the X-T2. So while I liked the style of the X-Pro2 I felt the X-T2 would be more useful to how I shoot.

I am not disappointed with my final decision to buy the X-T2. The body is smaller than the X-Pro2. In fact the body is almost identical in dimensions to the Minolta X-700 which is the SLR camera I used when I first learned photography.

The body is water sealed and so are many of the lenses available. This is one trait that I think is super important in a travel camera. I bought the Fuji just before starting to travel in the UK and without exaggeration I can say I have used this camera more in rainy and misty conditions than dry. So the water resistance has come in really handy. I no longer worry about getting the camera wet. I just bring along a small towel to dry it off.

Only one of my lenses is currently water resistant, but I inted to get a couple more lenses in the future and will rectify this issue. Fujifilm does not have a huge selection of lenses but they have done a great job of making available the most common focal lengths. As time goes on they are expanding the selection.

I have now been using the X-T2 for around 6 weeks. I am so happy with how this camera is working out. There are a few things I don’t like about it. But the things I love about it far outweigh its flaws.

Things I like about the X-T2;

  • Its water resistant.
  • The flippy screen tilts up, down, AND sideways!
  • Dual SD Slots.
  • Easy ISO dial.
  • Drive mode is done with a physical switch.
  • Large viewfinder.

Things I don’t tike about the X-T2;

  • The diopter dial is too easy to accidentally bump.
  • Battery life is not the best.
  • Fujifilm menu’s are still a bit cryptic.
  • I’m thinking… there must be something else.

The more I use this camera the more I am liking it. I plan to have a more in depth review of the X-T2 coming up and will place a link for it here. If you feel you would like to buy the X-T2 please consider using my link to Amazon to make the purchase. I will get a small percentage of the sale which helps me keep this site running.

Fujifilm Lenses I currently use

Fujifilm XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R IOS – I use this lens the most. Because the X-T2 uses an APS-C sensor this lens becomes a 15-36mm in 35mm equivalency. It an amazingly sharp lens and does great landscape images. Its not water resistant, but it does have image stabalization and an aperture ring.

Fujifilm 10-14mm

Fujifilm 10-14mm f/4.0 R IOS WR

Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM IOS  – This is my general travel lens. I considered getting the 16-55mm but this lens won out. Its got a huge zoom range, image stabilization, and its water resistant. Good for most any situation, but I wish it would go as wide as 16mm. That would have made it perfect

fujifilm-xf-18-135mm-f3-5-5-6-r-lm-ois-wr

Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Lenses I would like to get

Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR – I always loved the 35mm focal length when I was shooting on film cameras. The 23mm is equivalent to 35mm and with a fast f/2.0 and water resistance this would be the perfect walk around street lens for me.

Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2.0 WR

Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2.0 WR

Lenses I recently purchased

Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f2.8 R WR – I almost bought this lens. its equivalent to a 24-75mm. Its not image stabilized, but with a fast 2.8 maximum aperture the stabilization would not be needed in most situations. This will likely be the next lens I buy.

Fujifilm XF 16-55mm

Fujifilm XF 16-55mm R LM WR

 

Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR – My plan was to get the 23mm f/2.0 but when it came down to actually buying a lens I opted for the 35mm f/2.0. I figured that my X100T already has a 23mm lens so the 50 would be more useful. Also I wanted a lens for street photography that would put a bit more distance between myself and the subject. I love using the X100T for street photography but occasionally a tighter frame will result in a better image.

fujifilm_xf_35mm_f_2

fujifilm XF 35mm f/2.0 WR

Accessories

MHG-XT2 Metal Hand Grip – This grip is made specifically to fit the X-T2. The camera body does have a nice size grip to begin with but this accessory makes a big difference in how easy the camera is to carry. It also is designed to fit into ARCA type tripod clamps which is a nice feature. the battery and SD door are accessible without having to remove the grip. It also gives the camera just a bit larger feel so it fits in my hands more easily.

Fujifilm X-T2 metal handgrip

Fujifilm MHG-XT2 Grip

 


Fujifilm X100T

fujifilm-x100t

A thing of beauty

The X100T is an amazing travel camera according to almost every review and youtube video I have read or watched. When Fuji first introduced the X100 a few years ago I loved it. It’s retro looks, decent spec’s, and medium size form factor all called out to me. When I saw the price I decided that I could wait before buying it.

Then I started forming a plan to travel around the world. I had already traveled with my Canon 5DM3 and felt it was too big and heavy to take with me on around the world. I travel with a 40 liter backpack so size and weight is very important. I started looking around and came across the updated X100S. It fit the criteria I was looking for in a travel camera. I bought it and I really enjoyed using it but there were a few things about it I didn’t like.

Just before the start of my trip Fuji came out with the updated X100T. Many of the changes to the T model addressed the issues I had with my S model. So I bought the T and sold the S.

I wrote a full review on the X100T if you want to find out how I really feel about this camera.

Reasons I like the X100T;

  • Physically small and light.
  • Fixed 35mm (equivalent) lens; my favorite focal length.
  • The fixed lens means I can’t be tempted to get weighed down with more lenses.
  • It looks like an old film camera which makes it less of a theft target.
  • Optical and Digital viewfinder, and LCD monitor.
  • Manual Exposure controls are simple to use and intuitive to switch to priority shooting modes.

Reasons I don’t like the X100T;

  • Shooting a Fixed focal length lens while traveling means I will miss many shots that need a longer lens.
  • Battery life is short compared to my DSLR.
  • The camera is not weather sealed. A good travel camera should be able to handle exposure to the elements.
  • The tripod mount is to close to the battery door. This make a tripod mount inconvenient.

As I write this I have been traveling with this camera for 7 months, and owned it for another four months prior to starting my travels. While the camera is not perfect it does make a great travel camera and i’m glad I have it in my bag.

If you are already convinced that you want this camera then Buy it from Amazon. (I am an Amazon affiliate)

Accessories I currently have

Thumb grip

Flash

50mm converter

Lens hood

Accessories I would like to get

Grip


 

Canon 5DM3

I bought the Canon 5DM3 within the first month it was released. I had been shooting and loving the Original 5D but I was ready for more pixels and the ability to shoot video. The Mark 2 was not enough of an upgrade for me and it also has a cheaper feel to its construction.
The Mark 3 was everything that I wanted in a camera. Dual memory card slots, 1080p video, great high ISO performance, and it was built like a tank. It has a better power switch, and live view for using the back LCD to preview shots.

Canon 5D Mark III

Canon 5D Mark III

Upgrades apecs from the Mark II:

  • 22.3-megapixel Full-frame CMOS Sensor.
  • DIGIC 5+ Processor, 61-point AF System.
  • 63-zone iFCL Metering System, 6fps Bursts.
  • Full HD video, 100% OVF.
  • 3.2″ 1.04M-dot LC.
  • Dual Card Slots (SD+CF), HDR Mode.
  • Multiple Exposure Support.
  • Scene Intelligent Auto.
  • Comparative Playback.
  • Dual-Axis Electronic Level.
  • Auto Lighting Optimizer.
  • In-Camera RAW Processing.
  • 25600 Maximum ISO.

I would love to travel with this camera. But its just so damn big and heavy compared to Mirrorless cameras that I could not justify it. I was able to use it while in the US and Cuba between August and October 2016. In October I left for the UK and thats when I got the Fujifilm X-T2 and left the Canon with a friend.

Reasons I like the 5DM3;

  • I like almost everything about this camera.
  • Control layout is one of the best I have ever used.
  • Blazingly fast autofocus.
  • Full frame sensor.

Reasons I don’t like the 5DM3;

  • The size and weight.
  • The menu system was always a challenge.
  • Very loud shutter when shooting in high speed mode.

Lenses

I used to have a whole bunch of lenses for Canon. Now i’m down to only one. The 16-35mm f2.8 L original. I have always favored wide angle lenses and this one is amazing. It’s water sealed so it compliments the camera and allows me be outside shooting in rain storms. Its great for landscape as well as street photography.

16-35mm f/2.8 L

16-35mm f/2.8 L

 


 

Sony a7R II

For the first 10 months of my travels I was using the Sony a7R II as my main camera. I bought it based on its amazing specs and a recommendation of a very popular photographer. The camera is pretty amazing to use. However I decided to sell it after only 10 months of use. One of the biggest problems I had with this camera is that Sony decided to allow Apps to provide extended functionality. One of those Apps was for a Time Lapse function which costs an extra $10 USD. My big beef is that this functionality should be build in for a camera in this price range. The other thing that really bit me was that the apps are not available to download in every country. I could not download the time laps app when i was in Thailand. Sony blamed the Thai government. Whatever the reasons it really left a bad feeling with me. Sony’s camera web site is also based around the Playstation, which is a horrible experience. AND their tech help was indifferent to my queries. So I made the decision to jump ship.

Sony a7R II

Sony a7R II with 35mm f/2.8

Reasons I like the a7R II;

  • Small size and lightweight.
  • Full frame sensor.
  • ability to mound many different lenses.
  • 42 freaking mega pixels.
  • Battery can be charged in camera with USB.

Reasons I don’t like the a7R II;

  • Lenses are not water resistant.
  • It’s kind of ugly.
  • LCD Screen does not flip sideways.
  • Horrible menu navigation.
  • Ergonomics did not fit my hand.
  • I prefer a D-pad instead of a spinning wheel in the back.

 

Lenses

Sony 10-18mm f/4.0 – have two lenses for the Sony. The first lens I used was the amazing 10-18 f/4.0. This lens is designed for Sony crop sensor cameras but it still works on this full frame body. In full frame mode there is vignetting around the 10mm and 18mm range, but at 15mm it looks great. The a7R II body can sense that this lens is for crop sensor cameras and automatically puts the camera in 18 megapixel mode. In this mode the lens works as a 15mm-27mm. Not exactly my favorite focal range but pretty close. This lens is great for landscapes, architecture, and general travel use.

Sony 10-18mm f/4.0

Sony 10-18mm f/4.0

Sony 35mm f/2.8 – This is the longest lens I used on the a7R II. After using the 10-18 for so long the 35 felt like a telephoto. The cool thing is I could manually switch the camera into crop sensor mode and this lens would act like a 50mm. So its effectively two lenses in 1 if you don’t mind the drop in megapixels. As I was typically shooting in crop mode I had no problem with this. The lens focuses super fast. I didn’t use it too often before I decided to replace the camera but I did enjoy it while i had it.

Sony 5mm f/2.8

Sony 5mm f/2.8

 


 

Tripods

3 Legged Thing Punks Rick Carbon Fiber

I have now been using the Rick Carbon Fiber tripod for a year. The only other tripod I have to compare it to is the one I bought 20 years ago. That one was aluminum, large, heavy, and clumsy to use. When I first got the Rick I was super happy with it. Over time I have noticed a few issues.

Reasons I like the Rick;

3 legged thing Rick

3 legged thing Rick

  • Super compact
  • Light
  • Amazingly smooth Ball Head

Reasons I don’t like the Rick;

  • The rubber feet unscrew very easily. I have lost one.
  • The D-hook on the bottom of the stem also unscrews easily. Lost one of those too
  • The locks on the legs are a bit flimsy.
    • Sometimes a section of leg will easily slide even when the lock is engaged
    • Sometimes a section of leg is super stiff to slide when the lock is disengaged.
  • All adjustable points on the tripod have loosened off during travel
  • My camera has fallen off the clamp twice even though I constantly check the clamp pressure
  • the leg pivots losen up regularly. Allen keys are provided to tighten the legs back up.
  • The tripod bag had a little pouch to keep the accessory allen keys in but the keys easily fall out.

I have a lot more points about the tripod that  have issues with. But I still carry it because I have learned how to deal with the issues, and without spending a bunch more money on a new tripod I have no idea if it would be any better. I plan to keep using this one until it completely breaks down.

 


 

Camera Bag

Peak Design Messenger Bag

Tortuga Backpack

Osprey 70

Computer

Mid 2014 Retina Macbook Pro 13 inch

Drawing Tablet