Sunday, November 22, 2015

Getting by with a Fuji X-T1 and two Fuji standard zoom lenses

Sometimes I really want to travel light and uncomplicated, yet have enough of a focal range to cover most anything I would encounter. When I know my photography will be limited to the outdoors and I will have plenty of light, I often just pack the two standard Fuji zooms, the original 18-55mm and the 55-200mm. This gives me an effective, full frame focal range of 27mm-300mm -- enough to cover most anything I would encounter. Both lenses are variable aperture (f/2.8-4 for the 18-55mm, and f/3.5-4.8 for the 55-200mm) so I won't expect to be using them for any selective focus shots. Nonetheless, on a bright day with distant subjects I would probably be working around a constant f/5.6 anyway.
This is my basic kit for the day of shooting, just two Fuji zooms, a polarizing filter, and my cell phone where I also have a light meter APP I sometimes use. 
On this particular day I planned to walk around a New York construction site at Hudson Yards where I had seen a forest of cranes one day while passing by in a taxi. I didn't think I would even need any lens shorter than 27mm. Otherwise I would have also tossed the Fuji 14mm in my pocket.

I would never think to use this sort of zoom combo with any other camera brand, but the Fuji lenses are so good that even their basic zooms are truly exceptional -- maybe not up to the extremely high standards set by their fixed aperture zooms, but solid performers with no apologies needed for their performance. The big advantage is that both zooms are light enough and small enough to fit in a coat or vest pocket -- just right for the kind of casual shooting I had in mind.

When you consider that you can buy a Fuji X-T1 kit with the 18-55mm lens for around $1400, and add the 55-200mm for another $499, This is a fully packed pro-quality travel kit for only $1900.

The 18-55mm has a 58mm filter thread, while the 55-200mm is 62mm. So I carry one 62mm polarizer and a 58-62mm stepup ring so it fits both lenses. With the two lenses, a polarizer, and my X-T1 plus extra battery I set off for an afternoon of photography of the construction site.

This panorama of the entire construction site is made up of four horizontal images stitched together later using PRGui software.

I took this hand-held panorama on my walk back from the site. It is made up of two 18mm shots stitched together later in PTGui. 


  1. Very good point made. I love primes, but do have two zoom lenses; the older Fujifilm XF 50-230mm and the standard Fujifilm XF 18-55mm. Its really pleasing to have every lens in your photo bag. However, carrying only two lenses and getting every shot is extremely rewarding too. I don't think enough people try doing it.

  2. Another excellent post! And this is my go-to kit when I go light - though I throw in the 16 1.4 in the bag as well.

  3. Kudos for your blog...I'm relatively new to Fuji these past 2 years with my two X-E1's, each permanently fitted to their XF 18-55 and the other with a XF 55-200 lenses. While I may eventually buy into the XT series and the new pro lenses these two suit me just fine as travel cameras. I really appreciate the coverage you give these 2 so called "kit"