Weighing in on Fuji Gear

January. Always something for me in January.

In a few days I’ll be in the hospital for surgery, then recovery for 3 weeks. I have a three week recovery period which will provide me ample opportunity to finish culling and editing the 5,300 images still remaining from my shoots between July and September of this year. After that, begins the submission process to the various stock agencies.

The last week of my recovery I am allowed to drive, and move around; weight restrictions are ten (10) pounds maximum, no heavy lifting. As a lark I decided to total up my Fuji gear camera, lenses and batteries — not all the other peripherals such as tripods, chargers, etc. This is gear that I can actually place in a sling bag and go shooting. Since I have that third week….

My wonderful spouse is insistent, no, adamant that I pack my gear carefully to keep it under the ten pound medical restriction including tripod and other peripherals.

With this in mind I decided to visit B&H and Fuji and get the weights for not only my gear, but the other Fujifilm lenses as well. I did not include Samyang, or Rokinon, well, frankly because I don’t use them. Not that there is anything wrong with them, I just prefer the Fuji.

I then created an Excel work where I listed not only my gear at the top half. This is what I own as far as camera and equipment. Across the top you’ll see Kit 1, 2, etc. — this is so I can modify my kit/gear bag for what I plan on carrying to determine the weight.
Regardless, even if I pack all my camera and lenses, the total is under 10 lbs which is quite honestly mind-boggling when you consider the truly amazing quality! Am I right?

If anyone wants to use this spreadsheet as a tool or just to have fun either grab it here, or comment me and I’ll email you a copy out.

Column A is self Explanatory.
Column B is the weight in Ounces. You can easily find the weight in grams if you wish and modify the worksheet to suit your particular situation

The rest of the columns I’ve labeled as “Travel Kit 1, 2, etc etc. You can lay out as much as you want, and play with the gear to come up with an ideal carry weight. I think I would also find this useful if I have to deal with travel weight restrictions.

I’m trying to keep my Kit around 5 pounds, as I also have to account for my tripod and filters. So, in my case, for my recovery period I’m going to stick with Kit #2, or #3 – around 5 pounds, and then of course there is the weight of the tripod, some filters, memory cards, etc. I’ve already accounted for 3 Fuji batteries which is what I’ll normally carry with me.

Anyway I thought it was an interesting exercise to see exactly what I carry. I hope you find it useful and fun to use!  Please note when you click this link, the excel will download to your machine either into the “downloads” folder, or wherever you’ve told your system to place downloaded files.

Fuji camera and lenses Excel


Fuji’s two SD card slots – my way!


Fuji X-T2, 23mm 1.4 laying in the sand, using the rear LCD

Since i received my X-T2 about two years ago I’ve been playing with the memory card configuration.  I’ve tried all the option:  Sequential, Raw/Jpeg, and Backup.

Sequential: It just works.  No worries.  Fill up the card in slot 1, and the camera automatically rolls over and begins using slot 2.  A no brainer there.  Great for casual shooting, and casual shooters — of which I’m neither.

Raw/Jpeg:  This is the option I’ve most often used.  I always shoot raw/jpeg anyway but wind up keeping the raw files, and deleting the jpegs 90% of the time.  This option makes it so much easier not having to load both jpeg/raw’s together.  I just pop the card containing the raw files out of the camera, and import my images into LR.  Easy enough.  The only problem I find is if the card containing the raw files is for some reason corrupted or somehow damaged I’m left with only the jpegs.  Now don’t get me wrong, the jpegs are nothing to sneeze at; as a matter of fact, the fuji jpegs are just amazing out of the box but as a travel, landscape and stock photographer I ‘really’ need those raw files.  Granted, I’ve been shooting digital since 2002 (back then using “Smartmedia” cards in my Fuji 4900z) and in all this time I’ve only had one card go bad on  me.  This particular CF card actually worked and I would have never, ever know it wasn’t working – that is – until I pulled the card out of my D700 at the time, uploaded the images to my computer and discovered that a Nikon raw file was missing every four-five images!  I would never had known this if I had just formatted the card, and went on my merry way.  This is why I always purchase, and test, test, test.  I wound up returning the card for a refund, but continued to use my other Transcend cards with full confidence.  Frankly, I think it was just a bad sector on the card, that formatting both in camera and in computer did not fix.

Backup:  This is it.  This is nirvana!  Yes.  I found it.  This week, after much trial and error and flip-flopping between the three methods I’ve decided to use this option going forward.  Even though I have not experienced a catastrophic card failure while out in the field, I still feel much better knowing that I have a “backup” of both jpegs and raw files on card 2.  The way I’ve set this up is to use a 32G card in slot 1 of the X-T2, and then use my 128G card as a backup in slot 2.  Yes, the backup card is massive; I normally would never, ever use a card this large in any camera but for backup?  Why not.

There are two very important reasons why using very large memory cards is not the most optimal solution:

  1.  Two cards, identical speeds, 32G and say 128G or 256G, the smaller card will ALWAYS write and read faster.  Proven point.
  2. Using smaller (32G) cards doesn’t put all your eggs in one basket.  If something happens – camera is stolen, you drop it in a lake while photographing beavers (been there, done that) at least you will only lose the images on the card at the time.  I recall a story from a workshop leader of a woman on a 10-day excursion into the Amazon.  She had one huge CF card in her camera.  On their last day there, they were at a local roadside cafe where she, for some reason, decided to pop out her memory card, and promptly dropped it in a puddle of water.  Images lost.  10 days worth.  So, no.  DO NOT place all your eggs in one basket.   Think of it this way:  You’ve paid for the gear, you’ve gotten yourself to a great location, got the images you came for.  Are you going to risk losing it all because it’s all on a single card?  Heck no.

So for me it’s now 32G in slot 1, and my 128G in slot 2 for backup purposes.  That 128G will stay in there until it’s full which means I can run through FOUR 32G cards in slot 1 before the 128G card needs to be wiped.  So my images will remain on there for the duration of the trip, or until I get home, upload them, and decide I’ve got what I need.

On another note, but along similar lines:  Once I have a card full, and it’s removed from the camera, that card is NEVER, EVER in the same location as any of my gear.  Why?  Because of the nature of my work, if my gear get’s stolen, or lost, the most important asset – the images – are safe, on my person.  In practice if I’m shooting all day, get back to my room and then decide to go out to get a bite to eat, sometimes the cameras stay in the room, however, the memory cards are with me.  The images I’ve taken become the most important asset to me after the cards are ejected from the camera.  I can replace the gear, but not the photos… At least that’s how I see it.

Hope this post helps you out now or in the future.  thanks for reading.

It’s been a while…

Waves wash over small stones grinding them smooth and creating p
Small waves wash around well worn stones on Martha’s Vineyard

I can’t believe an entire year has passed us by already!  It’s been amazing for sure!

Since mid-July I’ve shot in the Florida Keys, New York City, Maine, Canada/New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Martha’s Vineyard.   I’ve taken almost 16,000 images since I started and I am still culling just over 11,000 that I have to yet go through.  Once I complete the culling then I’ll edit the keepers, keyword, and start submitting to Getty Images and others that use my work.

In a few weeks I will compile the lists of lenses and how many images I made throughout the course of the year.  I can without a doubt tell you my Zeiss Touit 12mm f2.8 is again, my least used lens.  As a matter of fact, I’m considering selling it before the end of the year.




Bokeh Anyone?


I’ve written about the fabulous Fuji 55-200 lens in the past but I have to say it is a truly spectacular piece of glass!  FF field of view approximately 84mm to 300mm.  Pretty sweet.

I got this lens before the 50-140 2.8 came out; and I considered my options — upgrade? sell the 55-200?  what should I do?  I’m here to say I’m glad I did nothing.  The 50-140 2.8, though a phenomenal lens, is too expensive, too big, and too heavy for me.  I switched from Nikon to Fuji to save weight, and my back so I’ll be darn if I’m lugging the 50-140 2.8 around.  Heck, I remember lugging my fabulously sharp, and oh so heavy, 70-200 2.8 in the woods.  No more.

Honestly I’ve tested both.  I cannot tell the difference in sharpness.  I read the stories and reviews about how phenomenal the lens is, and the writers are most likely correct.  But for me the 55-200 just works.  But that’s me.  It’s small, lightweight, and has a marvelous range, plus it’s reasonably fast!  Can’t ask for anything more than that.

What I will stress here is that if you are planning on purchasing one or the other, test them.  Rent them.  Use them out in the field.  That would be the best way to determine if you can live with one or the other.  I remember a year or so ago I purchased the Fuji 56mm 1.2 based on the positive reviews online.  I shot three events back to back with it the same day and, after only the first event, wound up switching to my 35 1.4, and the 18-55 to finish the job!  The 56 1.2, in a extremely well-light church and I mean well lit — sunny day, large skylights, bright light colored interior, and huge windows letting in the light down both sides, the damn thing refused to lock focus often enough that I switched it out and never looked back.  It was returned for a full refund that Monday morning.  Maybe it was a bad copy.  Maybe it was I read too much into how great the lens was.  I don’t know.  But I’m to going back to it.  Waaaaay too much money for a fixed focal length, that almost cost me some serious dough by not working as I expected it to.

Anyway, I’ll stop here singing the praises of the 55-200.  You be the judge.




100, 200% Satisfied

A couple of images here.  My grandson, Jonah.  First is the original image (from raw). I shot the entire day with the 35mm F1.4, The X-T2, Acros + G filter.  This is the JPEG from the raw file, processed in Classic Chrome.


Now below is the SCREENSHOT of the same image, at 200 PERCENT as viewed on a 46″ display!  You can see me, and Jonah’s dad in his eyes!!!  Dang…….

200% on 46" Display.png



As I walked to my car this morning…

I parked in my reserved spot, picked up my bag, slung it over my shoulder and headed to the office. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks!  The X-T1 and several lenses are so light I hardly feel it!

In the mornings when I leave home I usually have over my shoulder a Fossil leather bag –  In it I keep my Macbook Air, my yogurt for lunch, and some basic file folders.  In itself the Fossil bag is rather lightweight.  I’ve had it since 2007 and it is still an amazing piece of luggage that I proudly use in my daily life.  Every now and then I’ll stick a Jill-E insert in the bag and carry my X-T1 with me.

Today, I packed a small $30.00 bag I found on Amazon.  It’s called the Lowepro Exchange Messenger for dSLR kit and essentials.  Here’s the link.  I bought this wonderful bag in July of 2013 when a very good friend of mine and I took a three day tour around coastal Maine; he carried his two Leica’s and assorted lenses in this bag.  After seeing how light it was, and the fact I was able to store it flat pretty much anywhere I decided to purchase one right there and then and so I did.

Today I’ll be away from home for a couple of days but had to go into the office first; Instead of my Fossil leather bag I instead packed my LowePro.  In the bag I loaded up my X-T1, the 18-55 lens, the 16mm F1.4 lens, the 23mm 1.4 lens, the Fuji EF-42 Flash with four batteries, and an extra two Fuji batteries for the camera, and my lunch.  The bag has very deep pockets, one has a zipper for additional security; normally, that would be where I store my SD wallet but since the X-T1 is packing a 32G card that allows for over 700 jpeg+raws I didn’t bother bringing any more along.

When I arrived at the office and picked up the bag out of my car with the always present Macbook Air I had to do a double-check to make sure I packed what I needed!  It was that light.  I remember the days pre-Fuji when I carried my Nikon D800 or D700, plus Nikon glass — or better (or worse) yet when I carried my Mamiya 645AFD medium format!  Heck, going back a bit further my old RB67.  Now that was a beast.  I actually smiled as I walked down the Philadelphia streets to my office.  It absolutely does makes a huge difference carrying a smaller mirrorless camera.  I don’t care if it is a Fuji, Sony, Olympus — whatever floats your boat, just try one!  I do not miss my dSLR’s or MF at all! Since I haven’t printed larger thant 24″x 20″ I haven’t needed more megapixels.  If I did, I can always work some photoshop magic though I try very hard to stay out of PS. CORRECTED – SEE LAST TWO PARAGRAPHS ADDED AFTER THIS WAS PUBLISHED!

With that being said I am awaiting the arrival of the X-T2.  As I am a travel, and stock photographer the 24mp sensor keeps me ahead of the curve and my images relevant when a clients wants a bit extra oomph.  Usually we can show them that 16.3mp is more than enough but at times, they are rather adamant about larger files.  If it were not for that I wouldn’t be upgrading at all!  With regards to the rumors here of a potential Fuji medium format camera my first questions are not resolution or megapixels but how big is it going to be?  What is the weight of the system?  How about lens weight? I am now totally spoiled by the compactness, and the image quality coming from my Fuji system and I would not go back, ever, to a Nikon or any other brand.

So, when I leave my office later this afternoon and head south for a couple of days I’ll still be grinning like a Cheshire cat!

I was going to end this post here then FedEx came in.  I sent out an image to be printed a while back and I just received it!  It’s a 30 x 20″ print of an image that was processed from a RAF file into a 95mb TIFF in Lightroom.  I thought about processing it in Iridient which I own but decided i would process it in the same app that I use for 99% of all my editing work.

Here, I’ve laid it across our conference room table in order to flatten it somewhat.  But I have to say it looks amazing!  I can COUNT the grains of sand, and you can as well just from these two iPhone images!  This is 30″ x 20″ and I think I can go up to 40″ plus so that will be the next round of tests.  I performed this print test to see how far I can push 16.3 megapixels.  I have to say, these results are truly amazing.  I’ve taken my glasses off and pressed my nose and eyes very close and it’s well, trust me:  amazing!FullSizeRender 2

in this image, taken with the X-T1 and the Unbelievable 16mm 1.4 you can count the grains of sand flowing as the water ebbs, under the shell, and throughout the image. It’s that clear here even though I used an iPhone for these two

Enjoy the rest of your day.




Autumns Last Hurrah

Fuji X-T1, Fuji 18-55, 7/10th second, F14, ISO 200, Tripod, 2sec self timer, in light drizzle, Classic Chrome Finish
Fuji X-T1, Fuji 18-55, 7/10th second, F14, ISO 200, Tripod, 2sec self timer, in light drizzle, Classic Chrome Finish
Fuji X-T1, Fuji 18-55, 6/10th second, F11, ISO 200, Tripod, 2sec self timer, in light drizzle, Classic Chrome Finish
Fuji X-T1, Fuji 18-55, 6/10th second, F11, ISO 200, Tripod, 2sec self timer, in light drizzle, Classic Chrome Finish

Roanoke Marsh Lighthouse at Dusk

I took an impromptu 3-day trip down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for some R & R.  This trip was NOT to photograph, but to just get some rest and get away from the daily grind.  On my desktop I left over 6,300 images I’ve yet to review, process, and get out to my various stock agencies.  I did not even bother to take my laptop or externals with me.  What did I take with me to “not” take photos?  I took my X-T1, the 18-55, 55-200, and my 16mm 1.4.  I packed a couple of filters, two SD cards and only used one, plus my extra batteries.  As far as tripods, I keep one in each vehicle so that was a given they would travel with me.

I’ve been in this area on many occasions to photograph the  incredible lighthouses and landscapes in the area.  This particular lighthouse had always eluded my attempts at getting a decent image. Either the weather, the tides, the lighting something always conspired against me.  Not this time!  Using my app Photographers Ephemeris, checking the sundown times, and tide tables I decided to drive out to the area and check it out.  I spent two hours photographing the light from the golden hour when the sun was lighting it up orange, until dark.  This is only one of my favorites of the evening.  While there, a group of photographers who were taking a class lead by an instructor showed up.  The instructor asked me about the mirrorless X-T1, and as we started chatting, each and every photographer in the group had to oooh and aaah at the quality of the camera, the viewfinder,  and the images I was shooting!  It was great to talk about and promote the X-T1 and the incredible array of Fuji lenses ieven though I was only shooting with the 18-55 at the time.  I know I missed some images as the light was changing quickly having to give impromptu guidance and lessons on the values of mirrorless-especially the Fuji!  All the photogs were hauling bags full of gear with Canon or Nikon gear;  one guy had a Sony and he stayed away from me all night!  What I found very interesting is that NONE of the photographers carried a tripod!  Are you kidding me?!  I suspect it was because they were hauling around their dSLR’s and heavy lenses.  As the light started to change, and they had already seen a few of my images on the (gorgeous LCD) and handled the camera, many of them tore out back to the parking lot to get their tripods.  But, they left their gear sitting on the dock!  Hilarious. A bunch of nice guys though — except for the Sony jerk who wouldn’t even acknowledge my presence.

Overall a very productive evening considering I wasn’t even going to photograph much on this three-day, impromptu trip.  But, who can give this up?  Especially when as I mentioned this particular lighthouse had eluded my attempts to capture it for quite a few years.  Now, I GOTCHA!

Anyway here is one of the many images.  Enjoy.

Fuji X-T1, Using the horrible (just kidding, as many people complain about this lens) the Fuji 18-55 @ 55mm, 10 seconds, F14, ISO 200, Tripod, 2-sec Self timer, Velvia, Singh-Ray 77mm Warming Polarizer, Daylight WB My copy of the 18-55 is so darn sharp that at 100% in LR I can read the sign posted on the white fence towards the left side of the lighthouse.
Fuji X-T1, Using the horrible (just kidding, as many people complain about this lens) the Fuji 18-55 @ 55mm, 10 seconds, F14, ISO 200, Tripod, 2-sec Self timer, Velvia, Singh-Ray 77mm Warming Polarizer, Daylight WB
My copy of the 18-55 is so darn sharp that at 100% in LR I can read the sign posted on the white fence towards the left side of the lighthouse.

You can see more of my stuff at:  drama king images, or at my Flickr Feed.


Hangin’ on by a Needle

Fuji X-T1, 16mm 1.4, Yes.  16mm Wide gets this close, AND closer!. 1/50th second, F2.8, ISO 400.  Raw developed with Velvia Preset in LR. Handheld.
Fuji X-T1, 16mm 1.4, Yes. 16mm Wide gets this close, AND closer!. 1/50th second, F2.8, ISO 400. Raw developed with Velvia Preset in LR. Handheld.

Westbound out of Key West

Fuji X-T1, 18-55 lens, 1/240th second, F6.4, ISO 200, Raw processed in Velvia, then desaturized in LR. Handheld from the stern of the boat
Fuji X-T1, 18-55 lens, 1/240th second, F6.4, ISO 200, Raw processed in Velvia, then desaturized in LR. Handheld from the stern of the boat