At the start of June we had a really great trip to the Lake District - the weather was lovely but not too hot, and there were lots of interesting cloud formations which always makes pictures that little bit more interesting.
The big decision I had was whether to go with a smaller camera (my Fuji X-E1 and it’s Fujinon 18-55 lens) or opt for my trusty workhorse, the Canon 5D2 and 17-40mm, which weighs a hell of a lot more.
Usually when down in Cornwall, one’s only a stone’s throw from the car, and things like heavy tripods and cameras do not make much odds. But when one has to potentially be out all day on foot, and sometimes do up to 8 miles before finding the perfect photo, every last little bit of weight counts.
In the end I couldn’t make my mind up, so took both up to Windemere with me, with the resolution that I would take the Fuji out for a proper landscape road test, and if I wasn’t 100% happy, I had backup.
Turns out the Fuji is no slouch at landscapes, and I pretty much just stuck with it everyday when I had to carry everything myself.
For days when we were close to the car, I brought both, and for things like waterfalls under heavy canopy where that wasn’t much light or I needed a longer zoom I used the Canon, but I pretty much saw them on a par in terms of producing usable ‘keepers’, and now wouldn’t hesitate to take the Fuji when going out for a day’s photography (along with a spare battery just in case).
To complement the lightweight camera system I was determined to find a lightweight tripod, and I settled on the VANGUARD Nivelo 204BK 4-Section Tripod which strikes the perfect balance between stability (pretty sure it’s a lightweight aluminium) and size, and hardly weighs a thing (600g), which is less than half the weight of even the lightest of carbon fibre tripods.
Downside is that it doesn’t go much higher than one’s waist (as is quite compact), but is solid bit of kit, has a built in spirit level and even managed to handle my canon camera in a pinch (but not really recommended, as wasn’t quite as stable as I liked), and was small enough to fit inside my backpack. If you loosen the locking nut on the head a little, it also can rotate smoothly for panoramic shots if you are taking sequential shots or have a panorama mode (which like many of the newer mirrorless EVIL cameras, the Fuji does so well).
Luckily we had a new unused small photo rucksack (the Lowepro 16L Photo Hatchback AW) and turns out that it’s the perfect hiking rucksack for the Fuji, and could hold lunch, two water bottles, the tripod in the top pocket (just) and the X-E1 perfectly, while providing that all important even weight distribution that one needs hiking.
In conclusion: If you are considering the Fuji X-E1 for landscapes, unless you are shooting in very very dark conditions (like after sunset where it struggles a bit with focusing/noise), I can heartily recommend it.