The Ultimate Travel Camera

October 12, 2015

The mission: to find a camera that would beautifully capture travel adventures and perfectly suit a nomadic lifestyle.

Many of you will be looking to upgrade from a smartphone or ‘point and shoot’ to a good quality camera that will capture your travels. Others will own bulky, impractical DSLRs that you’re simply sick and tired of lugging around on your adventures.

Is there such a thing as the ultimate travel camera? Is there an affordable camera out there that is compact in size, lightweight and doesn’t sacrifice creative control or image quality?

Yes, let me introduce you to the Fuji X-T1. When I am jet setting across the globe I happily leave my bulky Canon 5D Mark III at home. Here is why the Fuji X-T1 will quickly become your dream travel camera too.

Fuji X-T1 camera

Why the Fuji X-T1 is the ultimate travel camera:

#1 Lightweight

The Fuji X-T1 uses the ‘mirrorless system’, which (without getting too technical) means it’s much more compact and lightweight compared to bulky full-frame DSLRs. The lenses are also lighter and smaller than the ones designed for DSLR cameras.

#2 Easy to use

For those acquainted with a DSLR, getting a handle on the Fuji X-T1 is a piece of cake. I usually shoot using a Canon, but I found my way around the X-T1 in absolutely no-time. Those upgrading from an iPhone or ‘point and shoot’ who want to learn how to use DSLR type cameras, this is a great place to start. In the meantime you can always shoot on automatic until you’re more comfortable.

 #3 Interchangeable lenses

Fuji X-series offers an extensive range of fantastic lenses. Having the option of interchangeable lenses allows for greater creative control compared to a fixed lens camera. The in-camera body stabilisation works with all the X-series lenses. You can build your lens collection as you go to suit your specific needs. I usually carry around my 18-55mm 2.8-4 and 35mm 1.4 which are useful for general travel shots, street photography and food photography. I find it convenient to have a zoom lens for flexibility and a standard ‘nifty fifty’ prime lens for superb image quality. You can find the collection of lenses here.

#4 Creative control

Much like a DSLR, the Fuji X-T1 allows for complete manual control. You can select the aperture, shutter speed, ISO etc. This allows you to master creative effects that give your images a more professional feel. For example, ‘bokeh’ (background blur). The dials designed for traditional handling like a ‘real camera’ along the top. This means making adjustments whilst your shooting without your eye leaving the viewfinder is both easy and intuitive.

#5 Aesthetically pleasing

One still ought to look stylish behind the camera. The Fuji X-T1 is handsomely designed with a retro aesthetic to look like a ‘real’ camera. The compact, black body and the single placement metal dial layout are inspired by the traditional SLR style. The X-T1 follows conventional design principles of ‘form and function’ making it a pleasure to both look at and shoot with.

#6 Solid body

It’s important to have a durable camera that can brave some of the unpredictable elements one experiences when travelling. The well-made Japanese camera is constructed out of magnesium alloy for the body and aluminium dials. It feels quite solid and sturdy in your hand. It’s tough design can cope in rainy conditions, colder climates and it is weather sealed to protect from additional dust and moisture.

#7 Image quality and ‘Fuji colours’

Fuji fans talk a lot about ‘Fuji colours’. There is a certain visual appeal to the images captured with Fuji cameras – typically bright and pops with colour. The image quality of the X-T1 is excellent as the camera produces sharp images and performs quite well in low light situations.

#8 Affordable

If you’re upgrading from a basic ‘point and shoot’ or iPhone, you might find this statement a little crazy. Compared to quality DSLRs or competing mirrorless cameras, the Fuji is an affordable alternative that offers many of the same perks. It’s around US$ 1, 299 (body only) at B&H.

#9 Responsive autofocus

The autofocus is fast. This is important for capturing sharp photos of people, animals or objects on the move. Although it does claim to be ‘the worlds fastest AF’ this is hotly contested. In any case, Fuji has improved upon the speed and precision of their autofocus with the latest firmware update. This commitment to improving firmware is something Fuji offers over most competitors.

#10 Incredible electronic real-time viewfinder

Viewfinders are important to me because I prefer to set up the shot in a traditional way, aka squinting through the viewfinder. This is particularly salient in bright or sunny situations where it’s hard to see the image on the LCD screen or in environments where the light coming from the display screen is disruptive. The X-T1 boasts one of the largest electronic viewfinders on any camera, fast real-time display and excellent resolution. It also love the way it sits above the camera body as some viewfinders set within the camera body have a amateur ‘tourist snap’ feel about them.

#11 Tilting display screen

This nifty feature helps with shooting in the tight spots and awkward angles that one often encounters on the road.

 #12 Wifi connectivity

This means I directly transfer my photos to my iPhone for fast editing and speedy Instagram uploads. Remote shooting is yet another perk. That is the ability to control camera remotely from your iPhone, which proves brilliant for long exposures as the shot might be ruined by the slightest touch or movement. Also, it’s not bad tool for shooting self-portraits if you’re travelling solo.

#13 Full HD recording

If you’re keen to shoot some video of your travels, you can do just that. It’s not going to look as professional as a film shot with a Canon 5D DSLR, but for simple good quality videos to upload to YouTube – the Fuji X-T1 delivers.

#14 Time Lapse

Nowadays everyone wants to get a little more creative with their travel photos and videos. Fuji offers an interval shooting function that allows you to capture time lapse videos, which is now a popular technique for recording special moments when you travel. It’s perfect for capturing sunsets, road trips or bustling streets.

Example images: 

On a recent visit to Copenhagen I shot using the Fuji X-T1 for the entire trip. If you would like to see example images taken by the Fuji X-T1, check out the Copenhagen City Guide.

My opinion is, and will always be, my own. The Portmanteau Press only includes content that aligns with the aesthetic, standard and values of the brand.

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