A Fujifilm X100F Love Story, and Japan

Every great love story starts with a copious amount of flirting. The push and pull, the looking and not looking, the smiling at each other from a distance, the subtle questions with double meanings, the … you get it.

That’s how it started with my Fujifilm X100F. I would admire it on the web, read the reviews, smile, then put the thought away, only to pick it up again later the same day. She was doing the same, I tell myself.

When it finally showed up at my doorstep a year ago I was, as you can imagine, beyond ecstatic. It was like the first night you have sex after all that flirting, all that hard work!

But this time it was different. There was something different to the flirting, the sex. There was something deeper. Lighting had struck.

The love story continues. My relationship with the camera grows deeper and deeper. I know she feels the same about me. My wife gets a little jealous about this love story, but she survives.

As I mentioned, a year has gone by, and I’m even more in love with the little camera. I won’t get into the specs because there are a bunch of better equipped people out there that can provide that information. But let’s talk emotions. And why, for the upcoming trip to Japan, I’m only going to take the Fujifilm X100F, and a few accessories!

Me, the Fujifilm… and yes, my wife, are leaving in a couple of hours, and this is what the dinner table looks like.

The small Patagonia bag  is an 8L one-shoulder-strap bag big enough to bring the camera, a few accessories, a good book, and all the while not seem like a big bulky camera bag.

So the Nikon DSLR, with the 18-200 mm lens, is staying at home. Sorry. It’s just not what I want to make photos with when I’m at the Tokyo Fish Market, or walking the streets, or even photographing the city lights and bar scenes. The X100F opens up to f2, perfect to sit on a tripod in the bars while my wife, a couple of friends, sip on a few cold beers.

The tripod is then where I’ll start. Still in its original packaging because I’m only allowed to open it tomorrow, which is my birthday. House rules.

I looked for a small, portable tripod and this Ultrapod II always seemed to come up in the Google searches. And for less than $20 it seemed like a steal. I decided to read some of the reviews which totaled 4.5/5 out of 950 reviews on Amazon. Many users just said it was perfect for day hikes, or that they had a few of these and left them in different places. The general consensus seemed to be that overall that there was nothing fancy to it, but that it was resistant and lightweight. Some people even had it for 20 years, or something like that. Lastly, it has this velcro strap so you can attach it vertically to a pole, or small tree trunk.

Anyway, I purchased it. And I can’t wait to use it. Much better than lugging the heavier and more traditional tripod which just screams “tourist” when you’re walking around. Or hitting people when walking up and down the stairs to catch the metro.

I was starting to invest in the love story. My X100F I’m sure was loving the attention.

But not as much as when this showed up at the FedEx location near my home. The Fujifilm WCL-100 II.

This wide angle lens increases the 35mm equivalent lens, native to the X100F, all the way to 28mm.  It’s like having the shorter end of the 18-200 (on a crop sensor) lens I talked about earlier, which is what I’ll need for any landscape or cityscape photos.

So essentially I’m traveling with two focal lengths, and with no significant zoom abilities. Will I be able to photograph that bird that is majestically flying over the shrine? No. Do I want to? Probably not. I’ll probably be photographing all the people with their phones pointing to the sky. But will I be pissed if I can’t get a good landscape photo with a shrine in the foreground because I can’t move far back enough? You bet!

The answer? This Wide Angle Converter.

Then come two aesthetic accessories. The Bardon 1972 camera strap and the VKO soft release button.

The strap is just geougeos. It’s a little expensive, but then again, every once in a while you just have to spend that much to show your love. And in this love story I’m not going to shy away from doing just that.

And the VKO Soft release shutter button is just so elegant. Dark maroon, wood, perfect finish.

Yet probably the most important piece of equipment which I’ll be bringing to the trip, for which I HAVE TO finish packing if I don’t want to rush last minute, is the WD Wireless Pro Passport.

This is the back-up strategy. A 2TB hard disk that reads SD Cards automatically. You can see the slot in the picture below. You just put in the SD Card in and it will incrementally import all new photos from the camera. It’s also a power bank, which is perfect to have to charge a phone, or the camera, when you’re running low on juice.

This, together with the wide lens converter, are the functional gifts I purchased for the love story. Not like the aesthetic ones above. It’s like buying a yoga mat for your wife.

The other functional gifts were the small battery and SD card holder by Thinktank.

And these absolutely marvelous rubber-covered metal zip ties for cords and cables, by Nite Ize.

In the end I decided to go with only one camera for a few reasons. The first was to actually enjoy the trip with my wife and friends. I didn’t want to overthink every photograph, which lens, which focal length, etc etc. The second is obviously size. The third, is that she is just beautiful and I fell in love with her.

And rather than buying a bunch of new gear, a younger, updated version of it, I decided to accessorize her, the one and only. Decided to go all out with rings, necklaces, jewelary.

So she will be my inspiration, my eyes, as we travel through Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima.

As expected, I finished writing this as we are about to board (and now sitting in 42J, flight Delta 275). I now get to watch an infinite amount of movies, read, stare outside the window as we travel up and around Alaska.

Maybe I’ll listen to some Aretha Franklin as I just learned of her passing. Maybe you should as well.

Until Next Time,

Gio

P.S.