Why choosing Fujifilm for Travel and Landscape Photography?
We all have been overwhelmed by the difficult choice of a camera system. This is totally fair, the market is flooded with great offers from very good brands. If all these brands offer a large choice of devices with amazing features, how did I end up choosing Fujifilm for travel photography?
My encounter with Fuji happened a little by chance, as it is the brand that replaced a Pentax K30 that got stolen from me. My desire to get a smaller camera to travel was a big factor in my decision, which led me to purchase an XT-10 in 2016. Back then, I didn’t really know much about photography and I did not realize that this was the beginning of something much bigger.
Since then, I have several times been thinking about changing my system to be able to do more or different things with my camera. But the truth is that my Fuji system as satisfied me in all instances and the pros of the system have always outweighed its cons, making the perfect ally for me.
It is important to keep in mind that as a landscape and nature photographer, my needs might be different from other photographers. That being said, I believe that the below list of strength remains relevant to many users.
Here are the five reasons I choose Fujifilm for travel and landscape photography:
4- Robustness 5- Film simulation
1- Fujifilm system size
Yes, size matters! This is the by far the most important factor for me. I am a landscape and travel photographer and consequently, I am hiking and moving around a lot. Fujifilm system’s relatively small size has always put it on the edge over other brands. If body size can be compared to that of other mirrorless brands with full frame sensor, Fuji's lens' size makes a huge difference.
It allows me to carry over all my equipment in a Lowepro 350 AW Flipside Trek which is about a 20-25 litres bag. This is incredible. Most full frame system would need a bag twice this size for the same amount of equipment, adding a backache on top.
Where Fuji has a very good competitive advantage is that even with smaller lenses, there is no compromise on quality.
Here is all the equipment I carry on a regular basis:
XF 10-24mm f4.0
XF 18-55mm f2.8-4.0
XF 55-200mm f3.5-5.4
XF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6
Samyang 12mm f2.0
Viltrox 23mm f1.4
3 circle filters
Additional small accessories
That’s really a lot of gear. I have to be honest, I am happy when I can get rid of the 100-400mm, as it is a beast. But, overall, the system’s size is a big advantage.
One can argue that Fuji has also a set of big pro lenses including the XF 8-16mm, XF 16-55mm, XF 100-400mm, but the alternatives they offer are very good with much smaller size.
2- The controls I love Fuji’s X-W series’ control. They are just amazing. Not only it feels sturdy, but while shooting landscapes, which is what I do most, the physical controls allow me to go fully manual without any struggle.
I realized it when I used the X-S10 after the X-T3. I was a little lost as this is more of a traditional camera and a lot happens within the menu.
Having everything handy makes it so easy that the manual mode is really practical and fun to use.
Unless money is not an issue, we all obviously try to maximize our budget as much as we can. And here, Fuji is helping us a lot. In general, I find that you get more bangs for your bucks with Fujifilm system. However, do keep in mind that the APS-C sensor weighs in quite a bit. Smaller sensors lead to smaller lenses but can, according to some, be a trade-off for the loss of depth of fields as well as too much noise at higher ISO, etc. I personally don't really have these issues.
Fuji only has a couple of lenses that top 1’000 USD, while many other brands have most of their line-up in the 1000-2000 USD range.
One could argue that third party lenses complement well the offer for other brands, but this is less true today as Fuji opened its market to third party lenses for a few years now. In addition, Fuji lenses build and image quality is really outstanding and has nothing to envy from other brands.
Being traveling all the time and not always in the best conditions (e.g. sand in the desert, mountains, dust, humidity, low temperatures, etc.) I must say that my system has seen a lot. My camera felt several times and from pretty high heights (I am 1m91 or 6.3”) and some of my lenses too. Not that I don’t take care of my gear and that I am proud of that, but things unfortunately happens while on the road.
Over the years, my gear still works very well, it needs maintenance, but it rarely let me down.
The only thing that I could complain about, is the handling of low temperature. I figured that the camera does not like very cold weather (below -15°C) and it has been resetting itself while starting the camera at these temps. And it did it on numerous occasion which is clearly pretty annoying, but I am also not 100% sure that it comes only from the cold given my X-T3’s history. As said, the camera felt a couple of times and is clearly at risk of having some flows now.
5- Film simulation
Fujifilm benefits clearly from years of experience in color rendering, thanks to its primary focus on film production for cameras before the digital era came in.
This is something I enjoy a lot, as it allows me to get surprising results on my photographs just by applying certain film simulations.
If this is less true for landscapes, the moment I start shooting portraits or documentary type of photographs, some film simulation just make wonders. I particularly like the Negative Chrome simulation, which provides a very intimate look to the pictures.
In the below shots, I am comparing the Provia film simulation with the Negative film simulation and the Classic Chrome film simulation. Each set is processed in the same way, the only difference being the applied film simulation.
These are the top 5 reasons why I like to carry my Fujifilm equipment during my trips. I am really grateful that such a brand is available to us. I would personally need to compromise much more on what I carry if I was owning any other brands. All the other point are really adding to the overall value proposition of the brand and, as of today, I am really not looking forward to changing my system.
In addition, with the newest sensor present on the X-H2S, it seems that Fujifilm has addressed some of its biggest flows (e.g. autofocus). This is definitely only reinforcing my loyalty to this brand.
If you have any comments or additional questions, please feel free to let me know in the comment section below.
About the Author
Rémi Bergougnoux is a French travel and landscape photographer based in Zurich, Switzerland. His most influential destinations include Latin America, where he spent about a year, Namibia, Iceland, Lofoten and certainly many others.
Aside from photography, hiking, cooking, enjoying good wines and socializing are his main hobbies.