Accessories

My perfect travel kit

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CP+, an international comprehensive camera and photo imaging show presents the latest products and technologies, all in order to help further the development of the photo industry and photographic culture from Japan — the heartland of the photo imaging industry — to the world

CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging Show 2015 will be taking place in Yokohama, Japan next week and I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to go along to help out.

I’ll be there for a week and I’ll be shooting for work pretty much constantly, but will hopefully also get the opportunity to shoot for myself, something that will be made especially amazing since I’ll be in great company with an amazing bunch of professional photographers:

Damien Lovegrove – portrait photographer and lighting guru from the UK
Chris Weston – wildlife photographer from Switzerland / UK
Knut Koivisto – portrait photographer from Sweden
Tomasz Lazar – reportage photographer from Poland and winner of a World Press Photo award 2012.

So now I’m left to decide what gear to take…

 

Documenting the show

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The “show bag”. Everything I’ll need to shoot and share at the show.

I want to travel light during the day, and at the show I will be looking to capture images that will reflect what is going on. I’ll be writing some blog posts and I’ll want some images that will help convey the general atmosphere and feeling of the show. For this I can’t think of a better option than my trusty X100S. (Actually an X100T is a better option for the wireless transfer but my Eye-Fi card lets me work around this). If I can get hold of one before next week, I’ll also be packing the WCL-X100 as it’s tiny yet that slightly wider angle of view can make a big difference when I don’t have any more space behind me to step into. Finally, I’ll also be using my trusty Gordy’s camera strap to hold my camera secure and close to my hand at all times.

Shooting for me

My wife has challenged me to help her decorate the living room. This basically means she wants some nice landscape shots (that I took so there’s a personal attachment) to print and frame. I’m not entirely convinced how plausible this might be looking at my schedule, but assuming I’ll get at least some free time in either Tokyo or Yokohama, I’ll need to make sure I’m prepared.

 

Camera + lenses

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Fujinon XF35mmF1.4 and the X-T1 with XF14mmF2.8

 

For this I’m going to pack an X-T1 and XF14mmF2.8. I know the XF10-24mmF4 is also a great choice, firstly for the flexible focal lengths, and secondly for the pretty amazing OIS for handheld shooting in low light, however the smaller size and the focus scales on the outside of the lens, as well as the ability to shoot wider than f/4 if I really need it, mean the XF14mm is going to be my wide lens of choice.

I think I’ll also take an XF35mmF1.4, mostly as a backup. If I find in the evenings that I could really use the wider apertures, you can’t go far wrong with any of the “trio” (soon to be “quadro”) of fast primes. As much as I love the XF56mmF1.2 for portraits, I find it fairly inflexible for general use, and since I’ve already got the equivalent focal length to the XF23mmF1.4 in the X100S, process of elimination leads me to the super all-round XF35mm.

 

Remote Shutter

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The Fujifilm RR-90 will come along for the trip to avoid any camera shake for any long exposures. Which brings me onto…

 

ND Filters

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LEE Filter Seven5 Deluxe kit plus rings to attach to X100S and also the XF14mm lens

 

I will certainly afford a bit of space in my luggage to hold my LEE Filter Seven5 deluxe kit. It’s small and gives everything I need for my level of photography. It comes with the holder, a polarising filter, a 0.6 ND Soft Grad, 0.6 ND Hard Grad and a 0.9 ND Hard Grad, and finally the 10-stop Big Stopper. Whether I’m fighting off the glaring sun to balance the exposure across my images better, or just trying to slow everything down to capture a more peaceful scene, I should hopefully have whatever I need.

 

Tripod

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My 3LeggedThing “Brian” will be coming along. He’s small and light and still stable enough for what I’ll be shooting. I’ve also got the smaller AirHed 0 ballhead that not only compliments the size of the X100S and X-T1, but also carries our own “X” branding! (almost)

 

Bag

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The “show bag”. You can also see the little felt camera bag that keeps the X100S extra safe inside the soft bag

 

I’ll actually take two bags. I have a lovely little bag called “Daniel” made is a collaboration between my faithful emploters and Millican that will serve as my “show bag” for when I know I’m only working. It’ll hold my X100S, WCL, wallet, iPad and other sundries like spare memory cards, spare batteries and charger very comfortably. It doesn’t add much in the way of protection – I learnt this the hard way when I discovered a broken filter that had been in the bag for one afternoon – but for what I’m carrying perfectly suitable, not to mention very light and (if I may say so myself) rather stylish.

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The “full kit bag”. This’ll basically be what I’m carrying when I’m out specifically shooting.

I’ll also be taking a ThinkTank Retrospective® 7. Although it’s a lot bigger than the Millican bag, this is a seriously good bag that pretty much lives on my hip if I go anywhere I know I might want to shoot. It’ll more than comfortably hold everything I’m taking, including the contents of the Millican bag, so if I do get the change to go out specifically to shoot, I’ll have everything with me at all times.

 

Other bits

I’ll take the EF-X8 (the one that comes with the X-T1) and EF-X20 flashes “just in case”, although I tend to just try to shoot with natural light. Also 2x spare batteries for each camera, chargers and pin adaptors.

Full list:

Fujifilm X100S camera
WCL-X100 Wide Conversion Lens for X100 series
Fujifilm X-T1 camera body
XF14mmF2.8 R wide-angle prime lens
XF35mmF1.4 R standard fast prime lens
Fujifilm RR-90 Remote Release cable
LEE Filter Seven5 Deluxe kit
3LeggedThing “Brian” tripod
Fujifilm X Millican “Daniel” camera bag
ThinkTank Retrospective® 7 camera bag
Fujifilm EF-X20 TTL flash (plus spare AAAs)
Apple iPad for uploading images in real time to Instagram
2x spare NP-95s for the X100S, 2x spare NP-W126s for the X-T1

So what about you?

I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below. In fact, if you post it soon enough I might even have a chance to change my mind if anything is recommended that I hadn’t thought about. What would you take if you were planning a similar trip?

Notes

The use of third party products here is as result of my own choice, not that of Fujifilm’s. This blog post is not an official endorsement of any of these products from Fujifilm. It is simply my own opinions on which camera gear I will take on a trip, and why.

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See you soon!

21 replies »

  1. really nice kit and I love that Millican bag. The 35 1.4…how do you find the auto focus ? I hear it is sluggish…or do you use it on manual focus ? This may sound funny but I do not find the 56 1.2 limiting at all…but I find the 50mm range which is what the 35 gives us limiting…well…maybe I just do not like that length…so I do not have the 23 or an X100s/t…I really like that range….which would you recommend…as far as flashes I recently got the nissin i40 and I love it…for me carrying a tripod has its drawbacks so I carry in my bag a little collapsible manfrotto monopod or sometimes a little gorillapod. I think these make me more mobile

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    • Thanks for your comments.

      > The 35 1.4…how do you find the auto focus ? I hear it is sluggish…or do you use it on manual focus ?
      I do usually shoot manual focus but personally I find it fine on Auto as well.
      > This may sound funny but I do not find the 56 1.2 limiting at all…but I find the 50mm range which is what the 35 gives us limiting…well…maybe I just do not like that length…
      I just mean that when you are fairly close-quarters you pretty much only have cropped headshots, albeit amazingly good cropped headshots. I think it realy comes from the fact that I mostly use the X100S which makes me “see” in 35mm viewing angle. Whenever I think I see a shot and then hold the 56mm (at 85mm equiv) up to my eye, I tend to need to take a few steps back to get what I thought I was going to get. All down to practise I guess…

      > so I do not have the 23 or an X100s/t…I really like that range….which would you recommend…
      Hard one. The XF23 is amazing and one of my favourite prime lenses. However the X100S/T is just a different beast altogether. It lives in my coat pocket at all time. They say the best camera is the one you have on you. Even if I’m not speficially out to shoot, the X100S will always be ready to shoot

      > as far as flashes I recently got the nissin i40 and I love it…
      I had one of these on loan for a while and I agree it is a great bit of kit. Unfortunately I had to send it back though. I don’t really use too much flash myself but it’s an area I would like to get into.

      > for me carrying a tripod has its drawbacks so I carry in my bag a little collapsible manfrotto monopod or sometimes a little gorillapod. I think these make me more mobile
      Completely agree and I was tempted to get a gorillapod or similar. The only reason I went with the Brian in this case was because I’m specifically hoping to go for some long exposures (hence the LEE filters too) so feel that a bit of extra weight in order to get the best shots possible is a nice trade off.

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  2. I’m almost offended when people that have a 18-135mm and 10-24mm leave them behind on a trip because for me, these are two outstanding lenses that MUST be taken on a trip! 🙂 If I’m forced to go light, that’s what I’ll take with my X-T1. The 18-135 is extremely versatile and optically a great lens. Weather sealed too of course. The 18-135 will get me most of what I want and what that won’t get, the 10-24 will get (indoors, wide landscapes, wide urban city shots, etc).

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    • Yes I do love the XF10-24 too and it was a difficult decision to go with the XF14, If I’m honest I’ve not that familiar with the XF18-135mm yet but I would like to get more used to it.

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  3. Nice article. Just a suggestion I figured out after breaking a seven5 filter myself. The crayola 8 crayon tin will perfectly and securely protect 2 filters in their blue cloth while taking up less space in my bag then the Lee filters canvas holder and offering greater protection. I use 2 of the tins to hold my filters. Just a thought.

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    • I store my 4 Seven5’s in there original lightblue sleeves together with a B&W polarizing filter in a Case Logic Portable Hard Drive Case (QHDC-101). Saves a lot of space in my Billingham Hadley Pro and they are well protected.

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  4. Hiya!

    Have fun at the show. The last time I went, I felt that Fujifilm had by far the most impressive displays / booths / presentations. The most buzz around them too.

    I can’t go this year, as I’m out of Japan at the moment (same for last year actually). I don’t really know the Yokohama area, but your hosts will be able to point you to some night views, etc. that will look good. Sounds like you don’t have much free time, otherwise I might suggest a day trip to ‘Ko-Edo’ in Kawagoe (http://www.koedo.or.jp/foreign/english/), which would be a slightly long train trip but totally doable from Yokohama – and if you don’t know Japan, riding through Tokyo and out into the countryside a bit on a train is interesting in of itself. Back in July 2013, 5 days (apparently) after I had bought my X100s, I took it to Ko-Edo on it’s first hard core outing, the results of which can be seen here, to give you an idea of the place. http://tinyurl.com/kan4rp9

    Oh, I almost forgot, there’s also Kamakura, which might be doable for you too, since it is closer. It would still be a day trip though. I’ve only been there once, ages ago, and I don’t really remember much about it, except the big buddha. So, I can’t really vouch for the photo opportunities there. It is very famous and popular though. http://guide.city.kamakura.kanagawa.jp/en/

    Take care.

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    • Thanks for the comments and advice. I should get a chance to explore Yokohama even if I can’t get any further afield than that. Kamakura sounds interesting

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  5. I probably spend more time trying to figure out what to take when I go out than I do actually shooting (which is pretty dumb really :-), so I loved this article and the way you explained your choices.

    I have the same cameras (except I recently traded my 100S for a 100T), and lenses, and also have the 10-24, 18-55, 56 and 55-200. I’m predominantly a landscape guy, so have the same problem.

    While I LOVE that 14mm, I also LOVE the 10-24 and I’m a sucker for ultra wide shots. So I tend (these days) to leave the 14 at home and take the 10-24. I love the 35 so that’s always with me. And I do take the 55-200 as I like the reach I get with that.

    My 56 stays at home – unless I know I’m shooting a portrait.

    So in my bag is the X100T and X-T1, the 10-24, the 35 and the 55-200.
    I also have a Rainbowimaging Timer Remote Control a Gitzo Traveller GT1542T Tripod and Really Right Stuff BH-30 ball head – with these I can shoot some great shots at night in low light.
    I carry a polarizer and 3 stop and 9 stop ND filters for all the X-T1 lenses (I basically have two sets of each and some step-up rings to get them on the different lenses).
    What else, batteries (of course) 2 spare for each camera. A Manfrotto 709B Digi-Table-Top Tripod that I love and I use an Up-Strap that snaps onto both cameras. I also have a nice microfiber cleaning cloth and some alcohol lens wipes – just in case)

    So what’s the bag? Well I have the TT Retrospective 5, 10 and 30 (the big one used to be used with my old Nikon gear), a Mirrorless Mover 30i, none of which I’m using at the moment. Lately I’ve been using a Lowepro Flipside Sport 10L Backpack (as recommended by Bill Fortney) and everything fits in it.

    OK So what’s missing?

    Well I have a load of lights and modifiers, but normally I’m shooting landscapes so again if I’m not going out for that they stay at home. Just for interest I too have an EF-X20, and 3 LP180s (recommended by Hobby) which are fantastic. I fire these when I need to using PocketWizards. And I have, well more modifiers than I need 🙂

    So that’s my current rig.

    Again, great article, thanks for sharing.

    Tony

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  6. Hi,

    thank you for sharing your travel kits ! I’m very interested in the Millican Daniel camera bag but the color on your pictures is very different from the pictures on Millican’s website. Can you confirm the name of the color of your bag and if it is available from Millican’s website ?

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  7. Great list! Hadn’t seen the Seven5 system before, will definitely be picking that up! Right now I’m using a B+W polarizer and 10-stop ND filter with step-down rings that are holdovers from my Canon days—before I sold all my Canon gear and made the switch to Fuji! I’ve also got an Ona Bowery bag, which holds my X-T1 with two lenses (my walk-around go-tos are usually the 35mm f/1.4 and the 10–24mm f/4), a couple of batteries and some memory cards, along with a wallet and such. It’s super comfortable and doesn’t scream “camera bag”—I get tons of compliments on it just as a “regular” bag.

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  8. Hi, great article!!
    I own a XE2 for almost two year and love it. Recently purchased XF56mm since my main focus was to take photos of my kids. However, I agree that XF56mm is often inflexible due to its focal length. What would be your suggestion for portrait shots, other then the XF56mm?

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    • I’m a big fan of the XF35mm for portraits, as long as you get the shoulders in too. I even like using the XF23 for full body or waist-up portraits. Any closer than that and it starts to make people’s faces look a bit unnatural. Marc

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  9. Great post.

    I own fuji xt-10 with 35mm 1.4 and 60mm 2.4. i also have x100s but im thinking should i trade the x100s to a fuji 14mm?

    Since i bought my xt-10 i rarely use my x100s anymore. Its great camera but i like xt-10 even more.

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