Mountain O’Things

FUJIFILM X-M1 (23.2mm, f/8, 1/30 sec, ISO400)

A new camera, one more lens or a new gadget that ends up in the closet after little use.

Why do we waste our precious time and hard earned money to collect things when we should be out to collect memories? I do the same most of the time and I can only guess why. I think it is much easier to buy a new camera or a new lens instead of going on a big trip. Unless you are retired you likely have more money than you have time.

I have an unhealthy amount of lenses but what I really take with me is my X Pro-2 plus 14/2.8, 23/2.0 and 35/1.4. Most of my images taken in India or South East Asia I shot with those three lenses.

If you are a gear collector like me this recommendation come too late. Also if you are an experienced photographer who knows exactly what he wants you can stop reading right now. But if you are rather new to photography or if you have just entered the world of Fuji read on.


The Kit

Plain and simple. If you just purchased your first Fuji camera like the X-T20 or the X-T2 you most likely bought the camera together with its kit lens, the XF 18-55 OIS. And here is where you should stop and just enjoy what you have. A great, small but powerful combo that is good enough for almost everything.


Still want more?

Which lens next? If you have shot your camera for a while you should be able to tell what you are missing. A wide angle? A longer lens? Or do you want more subject isolation? I recommend to think twice before you simply get the wide angle zoom or the tele zoom or both. Reason: What was once a super small but very capable camera is not super small any more. Both: the XF 10-24 OIS and the XF 55-200 OIS are very good lenses but they are not small and light at all.

Have a look at the prime lenses even when you are used to zooms and here is why. They are smaller, lighter and better. If you want wider than the kit lens I recommend to get the XF 14/2.8 R. This is a fantastic lens! For me one of the main reasons to shoot Fuji. Super sharp, practicably no distortion and it’s smaller and significantly lighter than the kit lens. It even shares the same lens hood so you only have to bring one.

There is no small tele option at the moment but in my opinion the real issue with the XF 18-55 OIS is not reach it is lens speed and the lack of sharpness at 55mm/f4. In order to get a better subject isolation and better sharpness I recommend to consider something like the XF 50/2.0 R or the XF 35/1.4 R. Those lenses can create what I would like to call full frame look. That’s especially true for the XF 35/1.4 R because it combines a rather short focal length with a very good subject isolation.


Small but Powerful!

The kit lens plus the XF 14/2.8 and the XF 35/1.4 R or the XF 50/2.0 R will give you everything Fuji stands for. It will make a perfect setup for traveling light and it will handle 90% of your needs. Sure sometimes you might wish to have a longer lens or a slightly wider lens but in the real world those three lenses will get you professional results that are clearly beyond any APS-C DSLR plus kit lens. It even beats a full frame DSLR plus 24-70/2.8 zoom as it is significantly wider and practicably as good regarding subject isolation. Professional results at a fraction of the size and weight: The reason to shoot a mirrorless camera.

Spend the money you have saved on travels to collect some memories.