Fuji X-T1 Twins Go to Iceland 

It was a tough decision, but I finally made up my mind – after all, I am preaching “Carry Less – Photograph More: Elevate your Travel Photography” – and so, in a couple of days I’ll be jumping on a plane to Iceland with just two Fuji X-T1 bodies and Fujinon lenses.

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I know I declared a full switch to Fuji not too long ago for travel photography, but this one was different. This will be my first time in Iceland and I am really looking forward to it; I’ll be wandering around the ring and mainly making landscape photos. Wait… landscape photos? That’s where my dilemma came. What if, after the trip, I wanted to make a huge print of one of those landscape photos? Would the 16 megapixels offered by the Fujis be enough? That was some of the nonsense that kept me kicking around the idea of bringing a higher-resolution camera, just in case. Then it struck me that I really don’t do a lot of printing. I shall do more for sure in the future, but when I do, I never print over 20×30 and that Fuji chip is perfectly capable of handling that. I realized that I end up sharing my work online most of the time, so I don’t really need more. Yes, I may want to license the photos, but for most brochures or publications that’s also more than enough. So what the heck I was thinking, carrying a DSLR alongside just in case? I also declared myself not to be a pixel peeper, so I came to my decision: no way.

On the other hand, the more I travel, the more I want to enjoy myself and my trip, enjoy the landscape and connect with locals. Photography is a medium that allows me to register and document the experience, but in no way does it come before the joy of being there. These days I don’t mind if I lose a picture or two; sometimes I prefer to sit and watch as the sun goes down instead of rushing to get yet another sunset photo.

Some Changes to My Fuji Kit

I just did a change to my Fuji travel kit. If you saw the prior post, I had an X-E2 and the X-T1 in my camera bag. Since then I’ve ditched the X-E2 in favor of a second X-T1. It only makes sense to carry twin bodies. I loved the X-E2, but the X-T1 plays better with my style of shooting. I like to have all the dials and commands within easy access; I don’t want to go deep into menus to change a setting. Apart from that, when you carry two bodies, it is just much easier to switch between them if they are exactly the same. With the X-E2, at times I picked up the other camera just to find myself trying to get acquainted again with the different position of the commands and dials.

In addition, I just got the Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR. That lens will replace the 18-55mm F2.8-4.0 R OIS kit lens, in favor of fixed aperture and weather resistance. I haven’t had time to play with it yet, just grabbed a couple of shots and they look fabulous. So I am really looking forward to taking it for a spin; that baby will see some auroras (fingers crossed) in the next few days.

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To summarize, my bag for the Iceland trip has the following:

Another change worth mentioning from my prior post is the filter set. I used to have the Lee Seven5 Deluxe Filter Kit, but the problem was that at 75 mm, it was small for current Fuji lenses. The 10-24 has a 72 mm thread, so it was still usable but it did vignette below 14mm. The new 16-55, however, has a 77mm thread… So if you are looking for a filter set, don’t make the same mistake I did; the Seven5 is good for 4/3 cameras, but it won’t work with APS C sensors.

Night photography is going to be big on this trip, so I am bringing a couple of flashes as I am planning to do some light painting with them.

Last, in case Fuji is listening (I know they do, but probably not to me) I want to say that as much as I love the system, I am really frustrated with my first X-T1. You see, I pre-ordered the day it was announced last year, and so I got one of the early production cameras – yes, the ones with publicly known light leaks and mushy d-pad buttons, Like many others, I sent mine back for a check-up and the light leak problem was fixed by Fuji, but the d-pad buttons remained the same. As an owner of an X-E2 I knew something was wrong with them. When comparing them with the X-E2, they were totally different – they didn’t click at all and I really needed to press down to make them function. But now that I’ve gotten my second X-T1, oh gosh, they are different. It’s day and night. I saw before in the forums that people didn’t have the problem anymore with the newer X-T1, but I didn’t realize how different it was until I got my second one. In the new one the d-pad really clicks and it works as it should. I called Fuji North America to see if there was a solution to the problem for my older X-T1 and they said there is “officially” no work-around for that, at least not yet, and there might never be. I feel sincerely feel aggravated – why in the world would a company like Fuji let down loyal clients with something like this? Why do the early supporters have to pay the price of that mistake or manufacturing problem? I will continue to support Fuji because I believe they have a great product, but I’ll be more cautious about jumping next time there is a new announcement. I simply can’t afford to be a beta tester again. I know things go wrong, but there are also ways to make it right, and up until now they have decided not do so with the early adopters. I really hope they change this in the near future and work out a solution for the early X-T1 models.

Enough of rant… that’s all for now. If you want to keep up with me during the Iceland trip, follow me on Instagram – I’ll be posting daily updates.

More coming soon…

  • Phoenix SpiritDiva

    Danny, sending best wishes for wonderful auroras. Much joy and great light in your travels.

  • mick massie

    Have you weighed this kit ? I am soon off to Iceland too and my carry on limit is 6Kg, so I am trying to work around that.

    • Hi Mick, no I haven’t. But I traveled before with it and I never had any problems. Photo gear is usually excluded from weigh limits most of the times because of the value provided they fit on the overhead bins. The only time I had a situation was traveling to Mexico with my Nikon gear a long time ago, but I asked for a supervisor and told them that I was carrying over $ 10K in equipment if they were going to offer any kind of insurance…. that I wanted something in writing if they were going to check it. I got away with it and they let me board. With the computer and batteries I am sure is more than 6kg. Have fun in Iceland!!! I can’t wait.

      • mick massie

        I think US airlines are much more relaxed about hand luggage than Europeans, particularly low cost airlines. The airline we are travelling with (WOW Air) now has a 5kg limit for hand luggage, and I am pretty sure they won’t make any exception for camera or laptop gear, however valuable. Of course, they will happily sell you duty free of any weight !!

        • Yes that´s much possible. Yeah right? you can buy as much as you can duty free and bring it on board, no problem… :-). Thanks again for commenting.

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  • Gretar Skulason

    I share your frustration about the d-pad. I got one of the first X-T1s sold in Reykjavik a year ago. My copy had the light leak problem and had to be sent to the UK to be fixed (so I was without my camera for three weeks). The light leak was fixed but the d-pad is the same “beta” version as before:-(

    Have a great trip to Iceland and a nice stay! The conditions for Aurora photography has been favorable lately (and still is, with frost and clear skies), let’s hope it stays that way. Make sure you bring some good footwear: The ground is covered with ice and many tourists have had serious falls/accidents lately!

    • Thank you @gretarskulason:disqus I am really looking forward for the trip. I’ll be heading to the airport in just a few minutes, I think I am well covered for the climate but we’ll see. I’ll be driving around the ring like many others, but not pressured. Thanks for commenting.