Monday, July 27, 2015

Motorcycling trip camera (Fuji X100T) & photo gear

Fuji X100T (OEM thread protector not on)
I've got several e-mails asking about my camera equipment so rather than answering them from time to time I'll make a short post about my camera, gear and my reasoning for carrying it.

I used to own a DSLR system (Nikon) that I loved, but I found that the times I wanted to take pictures the most, I couldn't / didn't want to carry around the bulky DSLR stuff. Also, most of the times I'm shooting with my helmet on and the Nikons (D7000) live view wasn't working well enough for it to be used for shooting. I decided to sell all the DSLR gear to fund my road camera purchase and without going into much detail on the other options I decided upon getting a Fuji X100T for my main camera. If you are interested in camera specs and such has a good review.

a sample shot
Factors that led me to choose the Fuji X100T
- USB charging - this is an absolute must on the road
- good IQ, the Fuji certainly has this
- small size, well... the Fuji really isn't.
- important controls can be operated with gloves on (power, aperture, shutter speed, focus area, exposure compensation)
- fast to operate (no servo operated lenses to extend / retract, no lens hoods etc.)

What the X100T lacks
- image stabilisation (haven't missed this once)
- zoom
- weather proofing

Fuji X100T, modified MeFoto DayTrip, JJC Lens hood, Fuji 50mm tele converter and IShoot grip
Once I got my hands on the Camera it became obvious that I needed some sort of lens protection especially when I was never ever going to use a lens cap on it. Another thing was that the camera wasn't very grippy and I did not feel confident it would not slip my hand when operated one handedly.

The lens protection was solved with a combination of Hoya 49mm UV filter and a JJC  LH-JX100II  49mm Lens hood. The JJC hood is needed because the filter needs to be moved away from the moving lens element. The filter WILL screw right on the camera too, but by doing so you risk damaging the camera as the lens element moves back and forth and it will touch the UV filter.

I also bought a screw in 50mm tele converter, but I haven't used it really and I don't see it in my future either. It's just too bulky and the camera won't fit in the bag with it either.

For the grip issue I bought Quick Release Camera Holder Grip from eBay. That fixed the gripping issue and also allows me to quickly attach the camera to a arca-swiss compatible tripod.

IShoot grip fro the Fuji X100T
For a tripod I bought the Mefoto RoadTrip model, but once it arrived it was clearly too big to be lugged around on a motorcycle. I then bought the MeFoto DayTrip and swithed the ball head from the Roadtrip to it so it would fit the quick release grip already on the camera. * The DayTrip ball head has a smaller camera plate so the Arca-Swiss plate or grip will not fit. Oh, and a word of warning make sure you get a grip designed for the T model. The X100 and X100S look very similar, but the body shape is slightly different.

All the photo gear I'm willing to lug with me on a motorcycle trip
For a bag, I needed something that would allow for a quick access to the camera while on the bike. After crashing with the camera dangling on me in the bag, I've tried to avoid it though. It's much more convenient to have the camera on the tank bag, although the BlackRapid SnapR 35 bag works even for that as it keeps the camera in place while it's in the tank bag. The SnapR is a very good solution for being off the bike too as it has some very convenient strap options and fits the X100T size wise pretty well. The SnapR is configured so that you can pull the camera out of the bag and it slides along the neck strap, but it can also be quickly detached via quick release buckle. The neck strap can also be used as stand alone as the end male and female buckle snap together. Very clever.

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