Fixed Lens Fujifilm for Overlanding [X100V] – Best Travel Camera?
We chose the Fujifilm X100v for our overlanding trips, here’s why:
For a number of years part of our warehouse was a converted photo studio, we had all the light stands, Elinchrom strobes, smoke machines, cables etc and we shot Pentax. It was work, a business and the two DSLR’s did their job.
Since we started overlanding however we’ve been looking for something a little different, jumping to mirrorless was a no brainer and for our travels something compact was required, I also wanted to get away from the ‘work’ aspect and inject some more creativity without any pressure and re-adjust my thought process every time I picked up the camera.
Bring on the Fuji X100v
Investing in a fixed lens camera may seem like an odd thing to do coming from DSLR country with a selection of primes and zooms however my intention was not just to switch things up with the camera but also my photography in general. The X100v was to be my main camera and I was looking for simplicity, stripping down all of the options a selection of lenses gives you and not having to think about it.
I was no longer shooting bands or models, the aim was to document our overlanding journeys and for capturing ‘life’ the X100v is very well suited indeed which is why many favour the 100 series for street and travel photography.
It shouts at you to pick it up
If you’re considering any of the Fuji X100 series then you will probably have heard time and time again that people just love to take this camera with them and it’s true, it just shouts at you to pick it up.
Having a camera with you all the time means more opportunities to create great images, the X100 has a ‘thing’ about it which is difficult to describe, yes it’s a beautiful camera and it’s nice to have with you, it’s not a fashion accessory either, more of a premium, fine tuned piece of technologly accomplished in it’s purpose.
the X100 series takes itself less seriously but packs a high degree of capability to punch well above it’s weight.
The X100 series is a niche line up of cameras, all I can say is that compared to carrying around a DSLR the X100v is a pleasure to have with me, perhaps it is because big cameras and lenses are associated with the ‘pro’ aspect, the X100 series takes itself less seriously but packs a high degree of capability to punch well above it’s weight.
Photography is more enjoyable
Following on from above the X100v does make my photography more enjoyable. It makes life way more simple, compact and managable. For overlanding space is at a premium so you can scale right down on that front. There is also something about the camera that makes you take photography less seriously which can be a good thing.
Shooting a big old DSLR, full frame or APSC and people expect professional results, a little camera like the Fuji X100 removes that expectation so in that respect there is an element of underpromise and overdeliver, there is no pressure, it free’s up your mind to concentrate on the moment, creating images and capturing what you want to capture not what others may have come to expect.
An adventure companion
Our camera sits in the front of the Shogun in a tactical bag [converted using foam inserts from other camera bags], it’s easy access, takes up minimal space and can be picked up straight away.
The compact size is also much easier to manage after you’ve found a spot and fancy a hike into the woods or up into the mountains. In a small bag the difference in carrying the X100 compared to our old setup of 2 x DSLR’s + lenses in a Lowepro backpack is vast. The X100 series is touted as the perfect street/travel camera and you can see why, overlanding is travel, the X100 will help you document your journey in style.
Portable but not small
The X100v is a small camera but don’t think ‘compact camera’, it has a weight about it that is reassuring, it feels premium and while it’s a small unit, it is more than capable.
- Width: 128mm
- Height: 75mm
- Depth: 53mm
- Weight: 478 grams
The X100v will get lost in a camera backpack desiged for DSLR’s, it needs something smaller [if anything at all], with no lenses to carry around the camera is pocketable in a large jacket pocket or big pockets in cargo pants etc, to fit it into your jeans might be puching it.
The realities of jumping from DSLR to fixed lens mirrorless. Yeah it’s a learning curve but to be honest it’s more about switching systems and getting your head around a new camera in general. Shooting at 23mm is the same as using a fast prime – all the time.
While some may think that the fixed lens is a limitation I see it as a huge convenience, yes you have move around a lot more to get your composition right, a zoom makes you lazy, a fixed lens makes you think more and there are no lens choices and no more lenses to carry around in your bag.
Changing lenses also means you are exposing the sensor which in dry climates like Spain, out in the camp with plenty of dust means more often than not you’ll be cleaning the camera sensor periodically. The X100v is weather sealed [with the filter attached].
Every photographer has their own preferred focal length and I always tended to shoot wide anyway, going through older images in your files will give you an idea of your predominant focal length – look at travel images or the type of photos you intent to shoot with a fixed lens, the vast majority of my own were shot around +/- 23mm.
|Sensor||X Trans 26mp [APSC]|
|ND Filter||4 Stop Built in ND Filter|
|Lens||23mm F2.0 [max aperture F16]|
|Screen||1.62m dot / Tilting LCD|
|Viewfinder||3.69m dot OLED EVF + OVF|
|Weather Sealing||Sealed [filter required] / thread 43mm|
|Video||4K 30p / F-log / 8 bit|
|Ports||2.5mm Mic / USBC headphone with adapter|
|Battery Life||EVF 350 shots / OVF 420 shots|
Did it change my photography?
Yes, without a doubt. I still have my Pentax setup for flash and the odd bit of studio work from time to time but being honest, these cameras never come out with us anymore. The X100v is so much more enjoyable to use, yeah, it’s a fixed 35mm equivilent and there is no getting away from the fact that it is very different to use, as a specialist camera it out-performs my ageing DSLR’s in almost every respect [especially overall image quality]
The X100v also changed my approach to creating images, this camera is my tool for shooting because it is fun to do so and while the results can certainly match images coming from interchanglable lens cameras the process is very different. In a nutshell this camera has made shooting enjoyable again, it kind of makes you realise why you became interested in photography in the first place.
What camera system do you use when overlanding? Are you considering something like the fixed lens fujifilm for overlanding?