Fujifilm X-E4 (X-Trans IV) Film Simulation Recipe: Arizona Analog

Building Storm Over Desert Ridge – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Arizona Analog”

Inspiration can come suddenly and unexpectedly, and it’s important to be open to it when it comes.

I was at the grocery store the other day, waiting in line to checkout, standing right next to the magazine stand. My wife points out the latest issue of Arizona Highways, which I previously subscribed to, but (with my move from Utah) I let the renewal lapse. She says, “Wanna get it?” I shake my head no, then begin to load the groceries onto the belt. I didn’t want to get it because the subscription price for a year is the same price as four issues at the stand, and because I’m pretty busy right now (still unpacking boxes and such) and I might not read it anyway.

“Do you mind getting me an iced coffee?” My wife asked a moment later. Then, pointing at the stuff on the belt, she stated, “I’ve got this.” There’s a Starbucks in the grocery store, and I was happy to jump out of the line and get a couple of coffees. A few minutes later, just as the barista was done with our order, my wife walks up with the basket of bagged groceries. Sitting right on top was the Arizona Highways magazine.

Old Saguaro – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Arizona Analog”

When we got home, after unloading the car and putting everything away, I thumbed through the August issue. On page 10 was a photograph by Scott Baxter of a rancher wrangling cattle, which was in a small article called Sierra Bonita Ranch (the picture can be seen if you click the link—click on the picture to see the whole thing—I find it interesting how different it appears on my screen vs in the magazine). I grabbed my Fujifilm X-E4 and threw in some settings that I thought might be close.

I snapped a few photos in the yard, then showed my wife. “Those look good,” she said. “This is where I got the inspiration,” I stated as I showed her Scott’s picture in the magazine. She viewed the picture, then gave me a puzzled look. “We’ve only been home 10 minutes. You made this recipe from that picture?”

“Yes!” I replied with a smile. “Wow,” she said, “that’s really amazing!”

Suburban Americana – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Arizona Analog”

This recipe isn’t a 100% accurate match to Scott’s picture—it’s pretty close, but not perfect. Not surprising, it’s closer to the printed aesthetic than the digital look, as I hadn’t yet seen it online when I created the recipe. I considered attempting to more closely replicate the aesthetic of the picture, but I really like the look of this recipe—accurate or not—so I decided not to change it. I have no idea what Scott used to capture his picture… apparently he shoots a mix of film and digital.

Thanks to Scott Baxter, Arizona Highways, and my wife’s thoughtful gesture, the inspiration for this recipe came quickly. It was one of the fastest recipes that I’ve ever created. Certainly it’s not for every person or every situation, but I’m sure for some of you in the right situations, you’ll appreciate the aesthetic that this “Arizona Analog” Film Simulation Recipe delivers. It’s compatible with the Fujifilm X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II cameras—I assume the new X-H2s, too, but I haven’t yet tested it on X-Trans V.

Eterna
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: -1
Shadow: +3
Color: -2
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpness: -2
Clarity: -3
Grain Effect: Strong, Small
Color Chrome Effect: Weak
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Weak
White Balance: Daylight, +6 Red & -3 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this “Arizona Analog” Film Simulation Recipe on a Fujifilm X-E4:

Pavillion – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
The New West – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Curved Trellis – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Evening Flowers – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Flower Garden Blossoms – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Real Bloom over Artificial Turf – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Trunk & Flowers – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Wall Flowers – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Fishhook Barrel Cactus Blossom – Mesa, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Rocky Hill Saguaro – Buckeye, AZ – Fujfilm X-E4
Desert Cholla – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Dusty Desert – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4

Find this film simulation recipes and over 200 more on the Fuji X Weekly — Film Recipes App!

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Creative Collective 024: Going Long

Fujifilm X-H1 + Fujinon 100-400mm @400mm + “Acros Push Process

I recently visited a vista in Arizona that overlooks The Valley of the Sun, which is the nickname given to the Phoenix metropolitan area (beginning back in the 1930’s); the official name is The Salt River Valley. I brought along my Fujifilm X-H1, plus my Fujinon 90mm f/2, Vivitar 135mm f/2.8, and Fujinon 100-400mm lenses. Programmed into the X-H1 was my Acros Push Process Film Simulation Recipe. I thought it would be interesting to use these longer lenses to capture the views of the vast valley, plus the desert bluff behind me—never forget to check behind you when photographing, because it can be easy to miss something great when you’re not focused on it.

When I was a kid, my friends and I often played “catch” with a football. Sometimes whoever the quarterback was would shout, “Go long!” You’d run as fast as you could for a good distance, turn around to see the ball wizzing through the air—maybe you’d catch it and it would be amazing, maybe you ran too far or not far enough and the ball hit the ground.

Let’s see what happens when you “go long” with your lenses.

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Weathering Thunderstorms

Last night’s storm as captured with my Fujifilm X-E4.

Arizona gets summer thunderstorms. If you are not from this region you might be surprised to learn that on average one-in-five days are rainy in Phoenix during the months of July and August. The thunderstorms come suddenly and can be intense. Flash flooding is common in the desert. They call this Monsoon, which roughly translates to stormy season or perhaps more simply weather or season, depending on who you ask.

One of these Monsoon thunderstorms hit the house hard last night. The wind was strong, the rain was pouring, and the streets turned into streams. Things toppled over in the yard. Branches broke off of trees. Lightning flashed and thunder boomed. It was kind of scary for a few moments.

I snapped a high-ISO image of the mayhem from safely inside the house. I used my Fujifilm X-E4 with a Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 lens, which isn’t the greatest low-light combo, so I used a window frame to help stabilize the camera for the 1/5 second exposure. I had my Nostalgic Print Film Simulation Recipe programmed into the camera; however, after the fact I thought it would look better in black-and-white, so I reprocessed the RAW file in-camera to the Kodak Tri-X 400 recipe.

I photographed this still-wet blossom today with my X-E4 and Fujicolor Pro 400H recipe.

I went to bed while the storm was still raging, but when I awoke this morning all was calm. It was a peaceful morning. The sun was shining. The wind was still. Birds were chirping. Everything seemed normal, except for what needed to be cleaned up—a task that didn’t take long—and I was able to enjoy the moment while sipping a cup of coffee.

This made me think of life. Sometimes the metaphoric storms rage, and it can be kind of scary. But once these storms-of-life pass—and they will pass—we can enjoy a moment of peace. The sun will shine again. The flowers will bloom. I think it’s important to take in the calm that comes after the storm. It’s inevitable that more storms will come; perhaps they’re easier to weather when we can remember the calm that comes after. Sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Yeah, you might have some junk to clean up, but then take a moment to appreciate the peaceful morning.

Storm brewing behind a Palo Verde in 2019, captured with a Fujifilm X-T30 and Velvia recipe.

This article doesn’t have much to do with photography, but I hope that it is encouraging to some of you nonetheless. If there is a way to make this more photography-related, it is this: no matter if it is stormy in your life or a peaceful morning, get your camera and capture pictures. Expressing yourself through your images can be therapeutic, and there are many valuable lessons that could be learned.

Even though they can be scary, Monsoon thunderstorms are necessary for life in Arizona. They provide much-needed water to a parched land. They produce cooler temperatures on scorching days. The land becomes more lush and green in its wake. Similarly, your personal storms-of-life, although they’re awful to experience, can make you stronger and better, and perhaps are what will propel you forward to whatever is waiting for you tomorrow.

Random Recipe Challenge: 10 Frames with LomoChrome Metropolis

The Fuji X Weekly App has a brand-new feature that’s super fun: Random Recipe! When you tap the criss-crossed arrows at the top-right, the App will randomly select a Film Simulation Recipe for you.

If you are a Fuji X Weekly App Patron and you have various Filters selected (such as Filter by Camera, Filter by Film Simulation, Filter by B&W, etc.), the Random Recipe selector will only choose from the list of filtered recipes, so you can have it select from what is compatible with your camera. In my case, I chose “Filter by X-E4” prior to tapping the Random Recipe selector, so only the recipes compatible with the X-E4 were considered.

Here’s a fun way to use this new feature: the Random Recipe Challenge! The rules are 1) use the App to select a Random Recipe for you⁠—whatever it selects you have to use (if you are not a Patron and the App chooses a non-compatible recipe, you can try again until it lands on a recipe that is compatible with your camera)⁠—and 2) shoot with this recipe for 24 or 36 frames (your choice), like it’s a roll of film, before changing recipes. If you post to Instagram, use the hashtag #fxwrandomrecipechallenge. I hope that you have a lot of fun with the Random Recipe Challenge, and I can’t wait to see what you capture!

When I tapped the Random Recipe icon, the App chose for me the LomoChrome Metropils Film Simulation Recipe. I shot 36 frames with this recipe on my Fujifilm X-E4 with a Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 lens attached to it. Below are my favorite 10 pictures of the 36 frames. Enjoy!

Lather – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm
Malnatis Pizzeria – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm
Cheese ‘n Stuff – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm
Local – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm
Umbrella – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm
Empty Hummingbird Feeder – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm
Daylight Bulb – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm
Tree Leaves – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm
Spraying Water – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm
Palm Tree Top – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm

Find the LomoChrome Metropolis Film Simulation Recipe and over 200 others on the Fuji X Weekly App! Don’t have the App? Download it for free today! Become a Patron to unlock the best App experience.

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Fujifilm X-E4 Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Silver   Amazon   B&H

Travel: 10 Film Simulation Recipes in Arizona

Three Palms – Sun City West, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm – “Kodak Portra 400 v2”

In my last article I showed you my “ultimate” Fujifilm travel kit, which I took on a recent trip to Arizona. In this article I will share with you the film simulation recipes that I used while in The Grand Canyon State!

In my kit are two Fujifilm cameras: an X100V and an X-E4. The X100V is capable of saving seven recipes, while the X-E4 is capable of saving eight, which means that I could have had as many as 15 different film simulations ready-to-go between the two cameras! Of course, with the Fuji X Weekly app, I had access to many, many more, which I could have quickly programmed if I had wanted to. I ended up using 10 different recipes: two on my X100V and eight on my X-E4.

While I could have used as many as 15 recipes, and I ended up using 10, I think no more than eight film simulation recipes for one trip might be a better strategy. It would have made a lot of sense to have the same ones programmed into both cameras, just for consistency. Still, it’s fun to see how different recipes do in various situations, so maybe consistency isn’t as big of a deal as enjoyment is—there’s something to be said for both, so maybe it’s important to find the right balance, and that number is likely different for each person.

Fujifilm X100V

On my Fujifilm X100V I had seven film simulation recipes programmed into the camera, but I only used two on this trip. I ended up using the X100V a lot less than I thought I would, mostly because the X-E4 had just arrived, and I was trying to put it through its paces. If I had shot with the X100V more, I likely would have used more than just two recipes with it. On my next trip I plan to program the two cameras with, for the most part, the same recipes.

Color Negative 400

Golf Balls – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X100V
Putting Practice – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X100V
Desert Spikes – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X100V

Creamy Color

Faux Tree Leaves – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X100V
Metal Pool Flowers – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X100V
Pinnacle Peak – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X100V

Fujifilm X-E4

Of the eight film simulation recipes that I programmed into the X-E4, two are currently early-access recipes only available to Fuji X Weekly Patrons on the Fuji X Weekly app: Vintage Negative and Lomochrome Metropolis. These two recipes will eventually be free to everyone, but right now only Patrons can access them.

The recipes that I used the most are Fujicolor Superia 800, Kodachrome 64, and Kodak Tri-X 400. If I only used those three for the trip, I would have been happy, I think. But it’s fun to try different ones. For example, Lomochrome Metropolis and B&W IR aren’t always easy to use, but in the right situations they can produce stellar results.

Kodachrome 64

Cactus Seat – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
SS At 35th – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 35mm
American Motorcycle – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 18mm

Kodak Portra 400 v2

That Way – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Yellow House & Blue Sky – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Arizona Rainbow – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 50mm

Fujicolor Superia 800

Blossoming Red – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Lemon Tree – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 35mm
Spring Seeding – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 50mm

The Rockwell

Palm & Uncertain Sky – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Yucca – Glen Canyon Nat. Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pergear 10mm
Fire Food – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 18mm

Vintage Negative

Yellow Corner – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 50mm
Yellow Wall – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & 7artisans 50mm
Shrub & Sky – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & 7artisans 50mm

Lomochrome Metropolis

Dirt Desert Drive – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pergear 10mm
Dark Blossoms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & 7artisans 50mm
Hanging Light Bulb – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 35mm

Black & White Infrared

Ceramic & Stucco – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Tropical Blossom Monochrome – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & 7artisans 50mm
Black & White Bloom – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm

Kodak Tri-X 400

Palms Trees & Storm – Sun City West, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Roundabout – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 18mm
Two Thirty – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T4 & Fujinon 27mm

Which of one these film simulation recipes is your favorite? Which one that I didn’t use should I on my next adventure? Let me know in the comments!

My “Ultimate” Fujifilm Travel Kit

I recently set out to create an “ultimate” Fujifilm travel kit.

Over the last couple of years, as I’ve collected more and more gear, traveling with my cameras and lenses has become cumbersome, which has lead to frustrations and reduced productivity. More isn’t always better; in fact, less is often more—this is especially true when traveling. I realized that my gear wasn’t nearly as ready for adventure as I was, and I needed to make some series changes to my kit before embarking on my next road trip.

What makes a travel kit bad? If it’s big and heavy and gets in the way, it’s not good. My travel kit consisted of a backpack camera bag filled with multiple bodies and as many lenses as I could stuff inside. I went to Montana last fall, and in my bag there was an X-T1, X-T30, X100V, and X-M1, plus a handful of lenses, including the Fujinon 100-400mm and Fujinon 90mm, which aren’t small or lightweight. I hardly used any of them, except for the X100V, which I could easily carry with me, and so I did. Because I had it with me, I used it often. The rest of the gear just got in the way—literally, the backpack took up too much space in the car, and it become a point of frustration. I would have been better off just bringing one or two cameras and maybe a few small lenses—gear that might have actually been used.

I was afraid that if I didn’t have a certain camera or lens, I would regret not bringing it, if at some point I thought I might need it. You never know what you’ll need, so it’s better to be prepared, right? What I discovered over the last few trips is that the majority of what I was carrying with me I didn’t use. Or, for some of it, if I did use it, it’s only because I forced myself to use it when it wasn’t really necessary. Having too much gear actually made me want to photograph less, and made me less creative when I did. My best photography most often happened when I had limited gear—perhaps one camera and one lens—and left the rest behind.

What makes a travel kit good? It should be compact and lightweight, yet versatile. One camera and one lens is often enough, but not always. The X100V is a great travel camera, but sometimes I need something more wide-angle or more telephoto—it’s not always versatile enough, even though it is often my camera of choice. I think two bodies and a limited assortment of lenses in a small bag is good. Small enough to not get in the way. Lightweight. Something that you don’t mind having with you, so you do. A good travel kit strikes a comfortable balance between practicality and petiteness.

I put together what I hoped would be a great kit for travel photography. I was able to put it to the test on a road trip to Arizona—was it actually going to work for me?—and I discovered many good points and a few things that still need to be worked out. Let’s take a close look at this “ultimate” Fujifilm travel kit that I assembled for myself, piece-by-piece.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Bag

It might seem strange to begin with the bag, but in my mind it’s just that important. The camera bag needed to be very small, but it also had to be able to hold everything. Finding one that I felt was just the right size and design turned out to be a challenge, but after much research I stumbled across the National Geographic NG2344 Earth Explorer Shoulder Bag, and for only $40! The dimensions of this bag are roughly 8″ x 7″ x 6″, yet I can fit two cameras and six lenses inside. I was thrilled to learn that the bag fit into the middle storage console of my car, so it is completely out of the way on road trips, yet is easily and quickly accessible.

I subdivided the main compartment into four, using the soft dividers to create “hidden” storage under the cameras, which I use for lenses. The bottom-right holds two Fujinon lenses, and the bottom-left holds three third-party lenses. Two cameras fit on top, just as long as the interchangeable-lens camera has a pancake lens attached. The small front compartment holds charging cords, extra batteries, SD-cards, etc., while the two tiny top pockets (which are probably more for looks than anything) hold lens-wipes. While everything is packed in, I don’t feel like it’s overstuffed—there actually is a little room for more, should I need it.

One thing that I don’t like about this bag is that the shoulder strap is permanently attached. I might modify it at some point to make the strap removable, as I think that would improve it. Otherwise, the bag seems pretty darn good for the travel photographer.

National Geographic Earth Explorer Bag Amazon B&H

Cameras

I already owned a Fujifilm X100V, and that camera was going to be in this kit, no doubt about it. The other camera was a question mark for me. It needed to be small yet an interchangeable-lens model. I thought that my X-T30 might be too big, so maybe the X-E3, but it has the older sensor. I really wasn’t sure which camera was going to be the right one. Then Fujifilm announced the X-E4, and I really hoped that it would be the correct camera for this kit, so I immediately preordered it. After several weeks of waiting, and just a couple of days before my Arizona trip, it arrived at my doorstep. And it fit perfectly into the camera bag.

Fujifilm X100V

The Fujifilm X100V, which I’ve had for about 10 months, was a birthday gift from my wife. It’s such a great camera and I absolutely love to shoot with it. The X100V has a permanently attached 23mm lens, which is 35mm full-frame equivalent—a very useful focal-length. The compactness of it makes it especially great for travel.

There are some X100V features that are unique in my bag. It’s weather-sealed, has a nearly silent mechanical leaf shutter, built-in high-speed-synch fill-flash, optical viewfinder, and built-in neutral-density filter. I could photograph with this camera 90% of the time and be very happy, but the X100V isn’t always the right choice. It has strengths, but it also has weaknesses that limit its versatility.

If I could only have one camera, it would be the X100V; however, I believe that this camera demands a partner. If you have this camera, you also need an interchangeable-lens option to accompany it. That’s why I have two cameras in my kit, even though the X100V is oftentimes all that I need.

Fujifilm X100V Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X100V Silver   Amazon   B&H

Below are a few pictures that I captured with my Fujifilm X100V on the Arizona trip.

Putting Practice – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X100V
Metal Pool Flowers – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X100V
Pinnacle Peak – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X100V

Fujifilm X-E4

The Fujifilm X-E4 is the smallest interchangeable-lens camera with an electronic viewfinder offered by Fujifilm. The compact size of the X-E4 is an important aspect of this travel kit. I have an X-T30, which is a small camera that’s a little bigger than the X-E4, and it does fit into the camera bag, but barely—it’s much more snug than I want it to be. In a pinch it would work, but the X-E4 is a more comfortable fit, and a better choice because of that.

When the X100V isn’t the right tool, the X-E4 fills in nicely. It adds great versatility to the travel kit. I can go more wide-angle or telephoto by changing the lens. It can store one more film simulation recipe than the X100V. It has some new JPEG features that the X100V doesn’t. Even though 90% of the time the X100V is all that I need, I found myself using the X-E4 much more than I thought I would. It’s a fun camera that’s easy to have with you because of its compact size.

Fujifilm X-E4 Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Silver   Amazon   B&H

Below are a few pictures that I captured with my Fujifilm X-E4 on the Arizona trip.

Three Palms – Sun City West, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
That Way – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Blossoming Red – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm

Lenses

In the camera bag I have six lenses—seven if you count the one permanently attached to the X100V. This provides versatility for whatever photographic situations present themselves. The lenses must be small, or else they won’t fit inside the bag.

Would a 100-400mm zoom be nice to have as an option? Yes, for sure! But it’s too big, and it would add a lot of weight—if it’s not going to be used much, it’s not worth bringing along. The Fujinon 90mm f/2 is one of my favorite lenses, but it’s also big and heavy, and not used often enough, so it’s not in this kit. A zoom lens would make a lot of sense, perhaps something like the 18-55mm f/2.8-4, but I prefer primes. My philosophy as I put this travel kit together was smaller is better. Zooms are often smaller than a few primes put together, but are rarely smaller than a singe prime. If a lens attached to the X-E4 made it possibly pocketable, that was a win. The more compact the camera and lens combo is, the more convenient it will be for travel. With those goals in mind, I chose six lenses to place inside my camera bag.

Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R

The Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R is Fujifilm’s second smallest lens, which makes it a great option for travel. The 18mm focal-length, which is 27mm full-frame equivalent, is very useful—great for walk-around photography and landscapes. This is my primary wide-angle lens in this kit. The 18mm f/2 is a little loud and a bit slow, but it captures beautiful pictures. The compact size and lovely image quality are what makes this lens great.

Most of the time when I want a wide-angle option, the 18mm focal-length works well; however, occasionally I would like something a little wider. I think a 14mm or 12mm lens would be preferable sometimes, but unfortunately there’s not an option that’s small enough for my camera bag—for example, my Rokinon 12mm f/2 is just a little too big. Thankfully, this lens is often a great choice when I want to shoot wide-angle, so it gets used a lot, and is an essential part of this travel kit.

Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R   Amazon   B&H

Below are a few pictures that I captured with my Fujinon 18mm lens on the Arizona trip.

Sunlight Through Palm Leaves – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 18mm
American Motorcycle – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 18mm
Roundabout – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 18mm

Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR

The Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR was my most used lens on the trip to Arizona. It’s Fujifilm’s smallest lens, so I knew that it would be an essential element of my travel kit, but I didn’t know just how much I’d love using it. The 27mm focal length, which is 40.5mm full-frame equivalent, is the closest to a “normal” lens on Fujifilm X, yet it is slightly wide-angle.

If I wanted to really simplify things, I could be happy just bringing this lens and the 18mm f/2 to pair with the X-E4 (plus the X100V). That would be a lightweight and uncomplicated kit. Expanding the focal-length options with a few other lenses is a nice bonus, but the heart and soul of the camera bag are the two camera bodies and the 27mm and 18mm pancake lenses.

Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR   Amazon   B&H

Below are a few pictures that I captured with my Fujinon 27mm lens on the Arizona trip.

Old Cars & Tires – Kamas, UT – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Two Roses, Mary & Child – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Two Thirty – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T4 & Fujinon 27mm

Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR

The Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR has been my most used lens over the last two years. The 52.5mm full-frame equivalent focal-length makes this a slightly telephoto “standard” prime lens, often referred to as a “nifty fifty”. There’s a little redundancy between this and the 27mm, as they’re both “standard” lenses, but the 35mm has some advantages: quieter autofocus, larger maximum aperture, slightly superior optics. Despite that, I found myself using the 35mm f/2 less often than I thought I would.

Because I have the 27mm lens, this lens isn’t an essential part of the travel kit. Since there’s room for it and it’s been a favorite lens of mine for a couple years, I decided to include it anyway. I did use it a little on my trip, but more because I forced myself to and not so much because I needed to. I might rethink its inclusion in the camera bag, but for now the 35mm f/2 lens stays.

Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR Amazon B&H

Below are a few pictures that I captured with my Fujinon 35mm lens on the Arizona trip.

SS At 35th – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 35mm
Coin Prizes – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 35mm
Lemon Tree – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 35mm

Pergear 10mm f/8 Fisheye

The Pergear 10mm f/8 Fisheye lens is quite limited in its usefulness, but occasionally it comes in handy, such as when I visited Horseshoe Bend, which demanded an ultra-wide-angle option for the dramatic landscape. The Fujinon 18mm lens wasn’t nearly wide-enough, so the Pergear 10mm came out and did the trick. The strong barrel distortion makes it tough to use, but it’s definitely useable in a pinch.

This compact pancake lens takes up almost no space in the camera bag, so its inclusion is a no-brainer. Even if it was only used a few times, and otherwise remained in the bag unused, it’s worth having around for those rare occasions when this lens comes in handy. It’s so small, lightweight and cheap, it just makes sense to have it in the camera bag, providing a more wide-angle option than 18mm.

Pergear 10mm f/8 Fisheye Amazon

Below are a few pictures that I captured with my Pergear 10mm lens on the Arizona trip.

Yucca – Glen Canyon Nat. Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pergear 10mm
Green Spikes – Glen Canyon Nat. Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pergear 10mm
Sitting Above Horseshoe Bend – Glen Canyon Nat. Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pergear 10mm

Asahi Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8

The Asahi Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 was the last lens that I added to the travel kit. Why did I include it? Because, since it’s a tiny lens, there was room for it, and I really like how it renders pictures. This lens has a fixed aperture, which makes its usefulness limited, but when I do use it I enjoy the pictures that I capture with it. This Asahi lens is the only vintage lens in this kit.

I wish that I had used this lens more, but it had competition, so I ended up using it less than I should have. Next time I will use it more. This little 75mm full-frame-equivalent lens has a special quality and takes up so little space, so its inclusion in the travel kit should have been obvious. The Asahi Pentax-110 50mm lens is going to stick around awhile.

Below are a few pictures that I captured with my Asahi Pentax-110 50mm lens on the Arizona trip.

Spring Seeding – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 50mm
Closed Canopy – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 50mm
Jon (and Yoda) Ready to Play – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 50mm

7artisans 50mm f/1.8

The sixth lens in my travel kit is the 7artisans 50mm f/.8. This fully manually lens is good and all, but there are two reasons why it will be replaced: I already have a 50mm lens that I like, and focusing on distant objects is more difficult than it should be. Otherwise this a decent lens, and it has several advantages over the Asahi 50mm: closer minimum focus distance, larger maximum aperture, adjustable aperture, less vignetting—technically speaking, it’s a superior lens, but it’s missing the great character that is oozing from the vintage Asahi lens.

The reason why I selected this particular lens for this kit is because it’s the smallest 50mm X-mount lens available. I did discover that there’s actually a little more room in the bag for something slightly bigger. Ideally I’d like to replace this with a longer focal-length lens, but at the moment I’m just not sure what it will be, or when I’ll replace it. I do know that the inclusion of the 7artisans 50mm f/1.8 lens in my travel kit won’t last long.

7artisans 50mm f/1.8 Amazon

Below are a few pictures that I captured with my Asahi Pentax-110 50mm lens on the Arizona trip.

Tropical Blossom Monochrome – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & 7artisans 50mm
Dark Blossoms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & 7artisans 50mm
Tattered Awning – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & 7artisans 50mm

Conclusions

How ultimate is my “ultimate” Fujifilm travel kit? It’s not perfect, but it’s significantly better than what I was traveling with before. The bag is ideal. The two cameras are wonderful. There are some excellent lenses to choose from. No doubt about it, this is a really good kit for travel photography.

If anything, it’s the lens selection that’s not quite perfect. I like the 18mm and 27mm. The 35mm is great, too, but a little unnecessary since I have the 27mm. The X100V, with its built-in 23mm lens, is awesome. I like the Asahi Pentax 50mm lens, but it’s not especially practical for everyday photography. The 10mm Fisheye is good to have around, but not especially useful most of the time. Those two lenses take up very little space, so it’s easy to keep them in the bag just in case I want to use them, but I know that I won’t be using either of them all that often. I don’t need two 50mm lenses, so the 7artisans will be replaced.

Should I replace the Fujinon 35mm f/2? If so, with what? The 16mm f/2.8 is the same size, so it’s a logical option, although it creates the same redundancy problem, just at the wide-angle end, which actually might be slightly more practical. Maybe the Fujinon 16mm f/2.8 and the Fujinon 50mm f/2 would be good options to replace the 35mm and the 7artisans models. The 50mm f/2 is a little bigger, but I believe it would fit. The Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 might be an option instead of the 50mm, which would be preferable because it has a longer reach and is also a macro lens, but it might be a tad too big for the bag. Maybe I should consider a vintage model. Or maybe replace two primes with a zoom. There’s a lot to consider, and I think replacing one or two lenses will make this “ultimate” travel kit even better. I’ll let you know when I make that modification, and how it goes.

This trip to Arizona that I recently returned from was photographically so much more pleasant than my other travels over the last couple of years. A small camera bag filled with compact and lightweight gear—a purposeful assortment of cameras and lenses—is a night-and-day difference from the heavy backpack stuffed with everything that could fit that I used to haul around. Practical and petite is preferable when it comes to travel photography. Less is often more. This might not yet be the “ultimate” Fujifilm travel kit, but it’s pretty close, and will only get better.

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Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There’s a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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Video: Horseshoe Bend + Fujifilm X-E4 + Pergear 10mm

Check out this quick video where I use a Pergear 10mm f/8 Fisheye on my Fujifilm X-E4 at the Horseshoe Bend overlook near Page, Arizona. The film simulation recipe that I used was The Rockwell (find it on the app!).

While I’d passed this famous photographic landmark a handful of times, this was the first time that I’d actually stopped to take a look myself. It’s a part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and sits a little ways northeast of the Grand Canyon and just southwest of Lake Powell.

Despite visiting during the “off season” it was surprisingly crowded. There’s a small entrance fee, and it seems well maintained. A well-marked trail leads to an epic overlook of the Colorado River. The steep drop-off has railings at one spot but otherwise there’s nothing to keep visitors from falling except for good sense—it didn’t seem as though everyone was exercising good sense while I was there. The red rocks were dusted in red sand, making footing unsteady at times. Be careful if you should visit.

The reward is an incredibly amazing view! There’s a similarly amazing place in this region called Goosenecks State Park that’s much less crowded, which is briefly featured at the beginning of my Monument Valley video. If you have a chance to visit Horseshoe Bend or The Goosenecks, be sure to do so. Don’t wait until the seventh or eighth time passing by before finally getting out of the car and heading down the trail. It’s worth your time, and your photographic attention.

Video: Monument Valley with Fuji X Weekly (500th Post!)

Follow along with me as I photograph Monument Valley! The video above, Monument Valley with Fuji X Weekly, is a behind-the-scenes look at my photographic adventure to the incredible desert formations of southern Utah and northern Arizona on the Navajo Nation. It was a thrill to experience Monument Valley. It really is an amazing place!

This was my last trip before the worldwide pandemic shut down all of my travel plans. So far I’ve had to cancel two trips, and there’s likely one or two more that won’t happen. I hope that this video will bring you some joy. I hope that it reminds you of some recent travels that you’ve done. I hope that it inspires you to dream of where you’ll go and what you’ll photograph when you can once again go places.

My wife, Amanda, and I created this video. Actually, she did the majority of the work. Amanda recorded the clips. She did all of the editing. She coached me through the narration. I have a face for radio and a voice for print, yet somehow she made the video look great! Her vision, her storytelling, and her talents are what made this happen. Thank you, Amanda!

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Evening at Monument Valley – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

The photographs in the video were captured using a Fujifilm X-T30 and X-T1. I used four different lenses: a Fujinon 100-400mm, Fujinon 90mm f/2, Fujinon 35mm f/2 and Rokinon 12mm f/2. Amanda recorded the video using a Fujifilm X-T20 with a 16-50mm lens and a GoPro Hero 8 Black. The film simulation recipes used on the X-T30 were Velvia, Kodachrome 64, Analog Color, Dramatic Monochrome and Agfa Scala, and Velvia and Monochrome were used on the X-T1. Amanda used PRO Neg. Hi on the X-T20.

This article marks a significant milestone that I wanted to point out to you. This is the 500th post on Fuji X Weekly! Many blogs never make it to 500 posts, either because they publish too infrequently or they simply give up before it’s reached. What it means for you is that there’s a lot of content on this blog! If you haven’t been following Fuji X Weekly since the beginning, there are a ton of articles that you might have missed. There are perhaps many posts that could be helpful to you and your photography that you’ve never seen. I invite you to explore the older articles. The best way to do this is click the four lines on the top-right of this page, and either search a topic or browse the archive. Anyway, thank you for being a part of Fuji X Weekly! Without you, the 500 Posts milestone would not have been reached. You are appreciated!

Be sure to follow Fuji X Weekly, so that you don’t miss anything! I invite you to follow the Fuji X Weekly YouTube channel, as well. If you liked the Monument Valley video, I invite you to give it a thumbs-up, comment and share!

See also: Monument Valley – A Monumental Landscape

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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Photoessay: November Arizona, Part 2: Monochrome

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North Mountain Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Part 1: Color

Many years ago, Ansel Adams photographed the Arizona desert in black-and-white. Many people might be unaware that he was a regular contributor to Arizona Highways magazine back in the day. Adams’ photographs of the desert have been an inspiration to me even before I captured a single exposure in Arizona. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not trying to compare myself with the legend. What I am saying is that Arizona and black-and-white photography go together like peanut butter and jelly. There’s something timeless about it that just makes me feel good on the inside. It brings me back to those classic pictures by Ansel Adams that I carefully studied back in the early years of my own picture-making. As colorful as Arizona can be, to me it looks best in black-and-white.

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Downtown Phoenix From North Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Saguaro In The City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Monochrome Desert Hill – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 

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Hillside Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Lookout Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Cactus Sun – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Morning In The Desert – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Arizona Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Saguaro Couple – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Rushing New River – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

See also:
Willow Beach, Arizona
McCormick Stillman Railroad Park, Scottsdale, Arizona

Photoessay: November Arizona, Part 1: Color

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River & Rays – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

I love Arizona! It is perhaps the most beautiful state in America. Some might disagree with that sentiment, thinking that the desert is dull and brown, but I find it to be a colorful and diverse landscape. Others might consider California, Colorado or my current home state of Utah, or perhaps another state like Maine, Alaska, Hawaii, etc., to be more majestic, and they are each certainly majestic, but to me Arizona is at the top of the list, and my heart belongs there.

My family and I like to travel to Arizona whenever we can, which is usually once or twice each year. A few weeks ago we visited some family of ours in Phoenix, and of course I brought my Fujifilm X-T30 along, with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 attached to the front. I appreciate this setup for travel because it’s small and lightweight enough to not get in the way, yet can produce some stunning pictures. The film simulations I used were Velvia, Kodachrome 64, and “Classic Negative” (for Quit My Job). This wasn’t a photography trip, but as always I captured a number of pictures. I hope you enjoy!

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In It Together – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Gravel Road Above The City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Above, City Below – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Saguaro Above Phoenix – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Neighborhood – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Lookout Mountain From North Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Phoenix From North Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Above The City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Two Palms – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Palm Tree Bees – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Hill – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Red Barrel Cactus – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Foothills Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Warmth – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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The Desert – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Bright Spikes – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Palo Verde Sun – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Quit My Job – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Lucy – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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New River Trail – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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New River – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Water Under The Bridge – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Falls & Foam – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Pigeons Over A Roof – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Part 2: Monochrome

See also:
Willow Beach, Arizona
McCormick Stillman Railroad Park, Scottsdale, Arizona