The Ultimate Travel Compact Camera Kit

I finally figured it out! I now have a compact travel kit that I’m very happy with. This is something I’ve been working on for over two years, and I think I’ve got it—or at least I’m really close. Perhaps it will get a tweak or two, but I’m quite satisfied with it as-is. I used this kit while on a week-long roadtrip to California’s central coast, and it worked out really, really well.

In 2020 I traveled to Montana, and I brought the entirety of my camera and lens collection with me. I wasn’t sure what I might need, so I wanted to be prepared for anything. I think I had five camera bodies and about a dozen lenses (I don’t remember the exact number). After returning, I realized that lugging around everything was absurd, as I only used three cameras—but mostly just one—and the majority of the lenses stayed in the camera bag the entire trip, completely ignored. I didn’t need to bring so much, but since I did, all that unused gear just got in the way.

Previously, I had taken a couple of trips with just one camera and lens, and that was overall a better experience, but there were also times that I wished I had more options. I would have liked to have had more versatility, but didn’t. Oftentimes less is more, but sometimes less is just less.

What I needed was balance. A small kit that was Goldilocks: not too big and heavy with excessive gear that would go unused, and not too simple with limited versatility. Robust, yet small and lightweight. I set out to create a travel kit that didn’t contain too much or too little camera gear. It took some time to work it all out, but I finally did!

Let’s take a look at this ultimate travel compact camera kit 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.

Camera Bag

I’m listing the camera bag first because it’s key to this kit. The one I chose is the National Geographic NG2344 Earth Explorer Shoulder Bag. The dimensions are roughly only 8″ x 7″ x 6″, yet I can fit everything that I need into it. It’s no big deal to carry around—I went on several short hikes with it last week, in fact, and it wasn’t terribly uncomfortable by the time I returned. The bag doesn’t get in the way or take up much space; interestingly, it fits perfectly into the middle console compartment of my car, allowing easy access to my gear while staying completely concealed.

I take the two velcro inserts and form a “+” in the middle, subdividing the large main compartment into four small compartments: two on the top level and two basement level. I’ll get to where exactly everything fits in a moment, but you can see in the photo above that both my Fujifilm X100V and Fujifilm X-E4 with a pancake lens fits quite comfortably in the upper two compartments.

The National Geographic NG2344 Earth Explorer Shoulder Bag has just enough space for all the gear I need when I travel. Because it is small, it never gets in the way. I’ve had this bag for more than two years and it’s been great—best camera bag I’ve ever owned. And it’s not very expensive. Currently they’re selling for $50, but I paid only $40 for mine.

National Geographic NG2344 Earth Explorer Shoulder BagAmazon   B&H

Fujifilm X100V

Yellow Kayaks, White Trucks – Pismo Beach, CA – Fujifilm X100V – Superia Premium 400

The Fujifilm X100V is the ultimate travel camera, in my opinion. It’s compact (pocketable if you have large pockets). It has amazing image quality. It’s weather-sealed to an extent. It’s fun. It’s surprisingly versatile for a camera with a fixed 23mm (35mm full-frame equivalent) lens. What more could you want?!

If I could only take one camera with me when I travel, this is the one I’d pick. In fact, last week I used the X100V for about 50% of all the pictures I captured (more on the other cameras in a moment). Occasionally it’s not wide-angle or telephoto enough, so it’s good to have options, but most of the time the X100V is all I want or need. It sits in the upper-left compartment of the camera bag.

If you are lucky to already own a Fujifilm X100V, you’re well on your way to completing your travel kit. If you don’t own one, they can be difficult to find, and often at an inflated price. My copy was a birthday gift from my wife a couple of years ago when they were newly released.

Fujifilm X100V in black — Amazon   B&H  Moment
Fujifilm X100V in silver — Amazon   B&H  Moment

Fujifilm X-E4

No Cigarettes – Avila Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm – Kodachrome 64

The X100 series is great, but I’ve felt for a long time now that you really need an interchangeable-lens option to go with it. Most models are larger than the X100 series, but the X-E line is a similar size. In particular, I really like the Fujifilm X-E4, which was my most-used camera in 2022.

When paired with the Fujinon 27mm pancake lens, the X-E4 fits comfortably in the upper-right compartment of the camera bag. There are some other lenses (I’ll get to them soon) that can also be attached to the camera and it will still fit in the bag, but it is a little more snug than with the 27mm, so I prefer to pair the X-E4 with the 27mm.

The Fujifilm X-E4 isn’t weather-sealed. It doesn’t have all the features that the X100V has. It’s a minimalistic design, and sometimes a little too much so, but I feel that approach works well for travel where less is often more. The X-E4 is my second favorite Fujifilm camera. I used it for about 40% of my photographs on the coastal trip.

Like the Fujifilm X100V, the Fujifilm X-E4 can be difficult to find and it might be at an inflated price. I preordered my copy on the the day it was announced, and I’m glad that I did. Unfortunately, Fujifilm recently (and inexplicably) discontinued the X-E4, which might make it even more challenging to get your hands on one. The Fujifilm X-E3 is a good alternative if you don’t mind buying used.

Fujifilm X-E4 in black — Amazon   B&H  Moment
Fujifilm X-E4 in silver — Amazon   B&H  Moment

Ricoh GR III

Rocky Water – Pismo Beach, CA – Ricoh GR III – Monochrome Film

The Ricoh GR III was included in the kit simply because it fit—in fact, the GR models are the smallest APS-C cameras you can buy. The GR III is a one-trick-pony, but it does that one trick very well. When I needed a wide-angle option, the GR III was in my pocket eager to go.

I laid the X100V and X-E4 camera straps across the top of those two models in the camera bag, and placed the Ricoh GR III on the straps to protect from scratches. The camera is so small that the bag still zippered, no problem. Whenever I stopped somewhere to capture photographs, I simply shoved the tiny camera into my pants pocket, where it easily fit. The GR III is one that you can carry everywhere and it’s never in the way or uncomfortable.

I would have preferred my Fujifilm X70 over the GR; although it is quite small, it was just a hair too big for the bag. I probably could have forced it to work, but the Ricoh GR III did so quite comfortably, so I went with it instead. Even though I had the GR III with me more than any of the other cameras, I only used it for about 5% of my pictures; however, I was happy to have it when I needed it.

Ricoh GR III — Amazon  B&H  Moment

Samsung ST76

Dinosaur & Volcano – Morro Bay, CA – Samsung ST76 – Retro filter

The Samsung ST76 is a tiny point-and-shoot digicam from 2012. I paid $18 for mine about six months ago. Despite being old and cheap, I actually like the ’60’s and ’70’s color film vibe from this camera when using the Retro filter, which reminds me of old prints I’ve seen in my grandparent’s photo albums. It was a last-minute decision to add it to the camera bag.

The Samsung ST76 is so tiny that it fits into the bag without any problems. I could have placed it most anywhere, but I put it into the lower-right compartment. I only used it for about 1% of my photography on this trip. If I had left it at home I wouldn’t have missed it, but I did capture a couple of images that I was happy with, so I’m glad to have included it.

That’s it for cameras, now let’s talk glass!

Fujinon 27mm f/2.8

Three Small Boats – Avila Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm – Kodachrome 64

My favorite and most-used lens is the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 pancake. Because it is so small and lightweight, it’s especially perfect for travel photography. This is the lens that I typically keep on my Fujifilm X-E4 as my everyday-use glass, and I only replace it with something else when I need to. When I do take it off the camera, I simply place it in the bag where I took the other lens from, which will either be bottom-left or bottom-right, and then place it back on the camera when I’m done.

The 27mm f/2.8 is slightly wide-angle, but, with a 40mm full-frame-equivalent focal-length, it’s pretty close to a “standard” lens. While the maximum aperture is not impressive, I only occasionally find it to be a hinderance. I like the way this lens renders images, and that’s what matters most.

Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 — Amazon   B&H   Moment

Fujinon 90mm f/2

Wave Crash on Rock – San Simeon, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 90mm – The Rockwell

My second favorite Fujinon lens is the 90mm f/2. It just renders pictures so beautifully! It also gives me a solid telephoto option for when I need a longer reach.

Because it has a 135mm full-frame-equivalent focal-length, it can be challenging to use sometimes; however, the bigger challenge is fitting it into the travel camera bag, since it is a larger lens. The trick is to take the lens hood off and place it backwards over the lens body, which allows it to fit into the bag. I kept it in the lower-left compartment underneath the X100V. I used the Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens frequently on this trip. Did I mention that I love this lens?

Fujinon 90mm f/2 — Amazon   B&H   Moment

Fujinon 18mm f/2

Flowers on the Coastal Bluffs – San Simeon, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 18mm – Pacific Blues

The Fujinon 18mm f/2 is Fujifilm’s “other” pancake lens, although it is larger than the 27mm. It’s not my favorite option (although I do like it), and the Ricoh GR III made it less necessary, but including it in this kit seemed like an obvious choice since it is small.

I didn’t use the 18mm f/2 nearly as much as I did the 27mm and 90mm, but I did use it on several occasions. I placed it in the bottom-right compartment underneath the X-E4 with another lens and the tiny Samsung camera.

Fujinon 18mm f/2 — Amazon   B&H   Moment

Meike 35mm f/1.7

Waiting to Rescue – Avila Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 & Meike 35mm – Xpro ’62

The Meike 35mm f/1.7 is a cheap all-manual lens with some good character similar to some vintage lenses. This one is especially small (similar in size to the Fujinon 18mm f/2), which makes it ideal for travel photography. The 52.5mm full-frame-equivalent focal-length is slightly telephoto, but still pretty much a “standard” lens, which means that I have two lenses (this and the 27mm) to serve that purpose. The advantages to this one are a slightly longer reach and a significantly larger maximum aperture, which does occasionally come in handy.

The Meike 35mm fits in the same bottom-right compartment with the Fujinon 18mm f/2. The Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8-4 does fit in lieu of the 18mm and 35mm, and could be an alternative, but I personally prefer primes over zooms.

Meike 35mm f/1.7 — Amazon   B&H

Pergear 10mm f/8 Fisheye

Yellow Flowers, Grey Coast – San Simeon, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pergear 10mm – Kodachrome 64

I included the Pergear 10mm f/8 Fisheye because it fits so easily into the bag, it would be a shame not to bring it. I don’t use it often, but every once in a blue moon it comes in handy. Plus, it’s sometimes just a fun lens. I barely used it on this trip, but I did use it. I kept the lens in the front zipper compartment of the bag.

Pergear 10mm f/8 Fisheye — Amazon

Xuan Focus Free 30mm F/10 Body Cap

Elephant Seal Beach – San Simeon, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 & Xuan 30mm – Vintage Color

The Xuan Focus Free 30mm f/10 Body Cap lens is actually a Kodak Funsaver disposable camera lens that’s been attached to a Fujifilm body cap. It produces soft dream-like pictures that you might either love or hate. For a retro lofi rendering, this is the lens to use! I brought it, keeping it in the front zipper pocket next to the Pergear 10mm, but I barely used it.

Xuan Focus Free 30mm F/10 — Amazon

Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 & 24mm f/2.8

Windmill – Prefumo Canyon, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 50mm – Vintage Color
Bench with a View – Prefumo Canyon, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 24mm – Pacific Blues

Just because they fit, I included in the bag my vintage Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 and 24mm f/2.8 lenses, which are actually the smallest interchangeable lenses ever mass produced. They were made for Pentax Auto 110 cameras in the late-1970’s through the mid-1980’s, but, with an adapter, will surprisingly work on Fujifilm X cameras. They’re oozing with great character, but are challenging to use because the aperture is fixed at f/2.8.

While the 24mm is redundant, the 50mm lens does provide an option that’s in-between the 35mm and 90mm lenses, and so it does have a practical purpose, even if just barely. These lenses are fun and I love to use them, and that’s why I included them in the kit. They also fit into the front zipper compartment.

The Other Stuff

Flare over a Log– Prefumo Canyon, CA – Fujifilm X100V – Fujicolor 100 Gold

Of course, cameras and lenses aren’t the only things in the bag. Attached to my Fujifilm X100V was a 5% CineBloom diffusion filter. I had two spare Fujifilm NP-126S batteries, which conveniently fit into the upper-right velcro pocket. My favorite battery charger, a Nitecore FX1 USB charger, nicely fits into the upper-left velcro pocket. In the front zipper pocket, along with the four lenses mentioned above, I fit two spare SD Cards, a short USB-C cable, a Lightning SD Card Reader, and some lens wipes. Yes, all of that fit!


About to Fly – Pismo Beach, CA – iPhone 11 – RitchieCam App – Instant Color 1

The one camera that I didn’t mention is my iPhone. I never put it in the camera bag, but I always had it with me. I used my RitchieCam iPhone camera app. Approximately 4% of my pictures on this trip were captured with my iPhone (just a few less than the Ricoh GR III). Although it was not a part of my camera bag, it was a part of my travel photography, so it’s worth mentioning.


Protect our Wildlife – San Simeon, CA – Fujifilm X100V – Urban Dreams

Into such a small package I was able to include so much!

A few of the lenses were perhaps excessive, but they’re so small and lightweight that it didn’t make any real difference. I think excluding the Ricoh GR III and the lenses in the front zipper pocket would simplify the kit and it would still be equally as functional, but it would probably be a little less fun (and fun is important). I could have also replaced two of the smaller lenses—perhaps the two Fujinon pancakes—with the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 zoom, but I’ve always preferred primes over zooms. Ideally I’d replace the Meike 35mm with a 50mm, but I haven’t found one small enough that I like—if I find one, I might just do that. Otherwise, I’m very happy with this compact camera kit for travel photography, and I don’t think that it could be improved upon by a whole lot; however, I’m sure I’ll continue to refine it and make it even better—even if just a little—as I take more roadtrips.

To simplify the kit, if you want an even smaller setup, you could travel with just a Fujifilm X100V, Ricoh GR III (or Fujifilm X70), and your cellphone. The X100V would hang around your neck, and the other two would fit in your pockets. No camera bag needed! Keep your few accessories—spare batteries, cords, etc.—in the glove box of your car. That would cover most of your needs, and for the rest, you could simply use the limitation to take a creative approach to the scene.

But if you would like to have at least some gear options when you travel, the “ultimate” kit that I used last week, which I described above, worked very well for me. Perhaps something similar will work for you, too.

Find my Film Simulation Recipes for Fujifilm cameras in the Fuji X Weekly App!

Ricoh GR III vs. Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2

What’s better, the Ricoh GR III or the Fujifilm X-E4 with a Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens? They’re both compact APS-C cameras that are reasonably affordable. They are both capable of producing excellent straight-out-of-camera JPEGs that don’t require editing. But which one is the best? If put head-to-head, which one will come out on top? Let’s find out!

First, I want to point out that I have Film Simulation Recipes for the Fujifilm X-E4 and Recipes for the Ricoh GR III. I have a Film Simulation Recipes App for Fujifilm, and I have a Film Simulation Recipes App for Ricoh. While there are significantly more Recipes for the Fujifilm X-E4, there are still quite a few for the Ricoh GR III; both camera are capable of producing analog-like results out-of-camera. With that said, let’s look at some pros and cons to each camera.

The biggest pro for the Ricoh GR—and let’s be honest, this is the reason to own it—is its super compact size—the smallest APS-C camera, in fact. The GR III easily fits into my pants pockets or nearly anywhere. It’s perfect for travel or for just carrying around. The inconspicuous design lends itself well for street photography. The GR III has IBIS, albeit a mediocre one that’s not particular necessary with an 18mm lens (but, still, it has it). Snap focus is a pretty useful feature. Ricoh just gave it a new Image Control Effect (their version of a Film Simulation) with a Kaizen firmware update, something Fujifilm hasn’t done in a long time. Perhaps the second biggest pro to the Ricoh GR III is that you can actually buy one without too much difficulty.

The biggest con for the Ricoh GR is that it has a fixed lens. That could be good or bad, depending on your perspective, but for certain it lacks versatility—the GR III is a one-trick pony, but of course it does that one trick very well. Another big con is that it lacks a viewfinder; because the LCD doesn’t move, the camera can be hard to use in harsh light conditions. I don’t like that it has a PASM dial, as I much prefer the manual tactile controls found on most Fujifilm cameras. While the camera-made JPEGs do look good, I prefer those from the Fujifilm X-E4, as I think Fujifilm’s JPEGs are a little better than Ricoh’s. Finally, the GR III is now over four years old, and it’s perhaps beginning to feel slightly dated.

For the Fujifilm X-E4, the biggest pro is Fujifilm’s renown JPEG output and the large number of Film Simulation Recipes available for it. For straight-out-of-camera photography, it’s very hard to beat this camera! The X-E4 has an electronic viewfinder, as well as a tilting LCD. You can attach any number of different lenses to it; the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 is my favorite. The Fujinon 18mm f/2 is a full stop brighter than the f/2.8 lens on the Ricoh GR III, which can occasionally be a big deal, but most of the time isn’t. The X-E4 has the traditional camera controls that Fujifilm cameras are known for. Fujifilm released the X-E4 two years after Ricoh released the GR III, and to a small extent you can tell.

The biggest con for the Fujifilm X-E4 is that it’s difficult to find, and, if you do, it might be at an inflated price. Due to parts shortages, Fujifilm couldn’t keep up with demand, and then they (inexplicably) discontinued the camera. Good luck finding one. While the X-E4 is small and pocketable if your pockets are large enough, it’s significantly bigger than the Ricoh GR III. It doesn’t have IBIS, although with the 18mm lens it’s not really necessary. The Fujifilm X-E4 paired with the Fujinon 18mm f/2 has an MSRP of $1,450, while the Ricoh GR III has an MSRP of only $900.

Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Kodak Tri-X 400 Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Monochrome Film Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Fujicolor Superia 800 Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Classic Emulsion Recipe

Comparing the Ricoh GR III to the Fujifilm X-E4 with the Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens isn’t really fair. They’re two different tools for two different purposes. But there are enough similarities and crossover that they do make some sense to test side-by-side. I like the Fujifilm X-E4 better—much better, in fact—than the Ricoh GR III, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best camera. Best is subjective, and it kind of depends on your goals and how you’ll use the cameras.

The Ricoh GR III is significantly cheaper and you can buy it right now without too much trouble. The Ricoh GR III is easier to carry around and is more inconspicuous. The Fujifilm X-E4 offers a more fun shooting experience and is much more versatile. I prefer the pictures from the X-E4, but those from the Ricoh GR III are still very good. Ultimately the winner is the one that makes the most sense to you. I own both cameras, and I use the Fujifilm X-E4 probably ten or maybe fifteen times more often than the Ricoh GR III, so it is my winner; however, you might prefer the GR III for various reasons, so it could be your winner. Even though I use the X-E4 much more often, there are times that the GR III is more practical to have with me, so I’m glad that I own it.

Below are some pictures that I recently captured with a Ricoh GR III and a Fujifilm X-E4 with a Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens.

Ricoh GR III

Ricoh GR III + Royal Supra Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Royal Supra Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Royal Supra Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Royal Supra Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Royal Supra Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Royal Supra Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Royal Supra Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Classic Emulsion Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Classic Emulsion Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Classic Emulsion Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Classic Emulsion Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Classic Emulsion Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Classic Emulsion Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Monochrome Film Recipe
Ricoh GR III + Monochrome Film Recipe

Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2

Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Fujicolor Superia 800 Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Fujicolor Superia 800 Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Fujicolor Superia 800 Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Fujicolor Superia 800 Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Fujicolor Superia 800 Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Fujicolor Superia 800 Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Fujicolor Superia 800 Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Fujicolor Superia 800 Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Fujicolor Superia 800 Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Fujicolor Superia 800 Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Fujicolor Superia 800 Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Fujicolor Superia 800 Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Kodak Portra 400 v2 Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Kodak Tri-X 400 Recipe
Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 18mm f/2 + Kodak Tri-X 400 Recipe

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

Ricoh GR III:  Amazon  B&H  Moment
Fujifilm X-E4 in black:  Amazon   B&H  Moment
Fujifilm X-E4 in silver:  Amazon   B&H  Moment
Fujinon 18mm f/2:  Amazon   B&H   Moment

My Favorite Street Photography Gear

100% – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X100V – Fujicolor Superia 800

Street photography is a very popular genre, and I get asked fairly frequently what my favorite gear is for it. While I do dabble in street photography, it’s not my most common photographic subject; however, I’ve done enough street photography that I feel comfortable giving gear recommendations for it. In this article I’ll tell you what I use and why.

While there is no definitive explanation, street photography is best described as pictures of chance encounters in public places. It often takes place in urban environments (such as downtown city centers), but it is certainly not limited to that. Some will say that humans must be included in the pictures for it to be street photography, but others will argue that the effects of humanity within the environment is acceptable, and some believe that any urban image fits within the genre. It is commonly understood that street photography involves candid (unstaged) pictures, but some will state that it is the chance encounters that are most important, and it is okay to provide some direction to that randomness in order to create a stronger picture. In other words, there’s no universal answer to what exactly street photography is, but most of the time you recognize it when you see it.

Grandmother & Grandson – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – Fujicolor Superia 100

If you’ve never done street photography but want to try, the first place to start is understanding the laws and customs of the place you are photographing. Each country is different, and it may even vary from specific location to specific location. You want to understand your rights as a photographer in a public location, and the rights of those potentially being photographed. Besides the legal question, there is the ethical one: should you? While something might be legally ok, it does not necessarily mean that it is moral. These are all things that you should consider before attempting any street photography. Research the local laws. Consider what you are comfortable photographing and why, and what you are not comfortable photographing and why not. I cannot emphasize this step enough, and I encourage you to spend some time on these questions before heading out with your camera.

After that, the next step is to go to a public place and capture some candid images. The most common location is an urban environment, such as the center of a large city, but it can be anywhere where people are. If you don’t have easy access to a large downtown, consider what is nearby where you live. Even if you live in a small town or a rural location, I bet there are opportunities nearby if you look hard enough.

Now, let’s discuss gear. To be clear, you can use any camera. I’ve done street photography with most of my gear. There are a few tools that I do prefer over others, but if you don’t have these don’t worry too much about it, because whatever gear you currently own is good enough. The list below is simply the cameras that I personally prefer for street photography.

Fujifilm X100V

This is my favorite camera for street photography. Actually, it’s my favorite camera, period. The Fujifilm X100V is my “desert island” model—if I could own only one camera for the rest of my life, it would be this. There are a few things that make it especially good for street photography.

First, it’s pretty small. It’s good for carrying as you walk around for awhile, and people don’t often get intimidated by it like they would with a larger body. Second, the leaf shutter is basically silent, and allows you to be more stealthy. Yes, electronic shutters are silent, too, but they do have a couple of drawbacks that might affect your photography (situationally dependent), so a silent mechanical shutter is an excellent feature. Third, the optical viewfinder allows you to see outside the frame to better anticipate the decisive moment. There are many other things that make the camera great, such as the build quality, weather sealing, traditional tactile controls, built-in ND filter, etc., etc.; this isn’t a review of the X100V, just some reasons why it is my favorite tool for street photography.

Perhaps the top thing that makes the Fujifilm X100V great for street photography are all the Film Simulation Recipes that you can program into the camera. Almost no matter the aesthetic you want to achieve, there is a Recipe that will allow you to get the look straight-out-of-camera, no editing needed. This can make street photography more fun, while saving you time and frustration later.

The only accessories that I commonly use on my X100V are a Hoage filter adapter, Fotasy UV filter, and 5% CineBloom filter (I only use one filter at a time).

Friendly Wave – Carlsbad, CA – Fujifilm X100V – Kodachrome 64
Paid Fare Zone – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X100V – CineStill 800T
Folding Chairs – Panguitch, UT – Fujifilm X100V – Kodak Tri-X 400

Fujifilm X100V in black:  Amazon   B&H  Moment
Fujifilm X100V in silver: Amazon   B&H  Moment

Ricoh GR III

The Ricoh GR III is a super small and compact camera that you can literally carry with you everywhere, since it fits so easily into a pocket or purse. If you own a Ricoh GR III, there is no excuse for not having it with you. Since photo opportunities aren’t always planned, it’s important to have quick access to a camera at all times, and this model makes it easy. I try to carry my GR III with me whenever I go out, even if it is just to the grocery store.

There are a few reasons why I like the GR III for street photography in particular. Since it is so small and unassuming, most people won’t figure you to be a photographer; if they even notice that you have a camera, they’ll likely think you are a snap-shooter or tourist, and will often disregard you. The 27.5mm (equivalent) lens gives a wide view, which can be good for showing context. Like the X100V, the GR III has a nearly silent leaf shutter. If you don’t want to be noticed, this camera is probably the best bet. There are certainly drawbacks to the GR III (no model is perfect), but for the size and weight it is pretty darn excellent.

There are Recipes for the Ricoh GR III, although not nearly as many as there are for the Fujifilm X100V. If you want to skip picture editing (called one-step photography), the GR III is a solid option that should be strongly considered. In fact, the Fujifilm X100V and the Ricoh GR III compliment each other, and can coexist comfortably in your camera bag.

Urban Crescent – Salt Lake City, UT – Ricoh GR III – Royal Supra
Speak Up or It Will Be Flat – Salt Lake City, UT – Ricoh GR III – Kodak Chrome
Bike with Basket – Scottsdale, AZ – Ricoh GR III – Aged Print

Ricoh GR III:  Amazon  B&H  Moment


Since you always have your phone, you always have a camera. If you accidentally left your “real” cameras at home, no worries! Your cellphone camera is a perfectly capable photographic tool. My current cellphone is an iPhone 11. I don’t think your cellphone make and model matter much—any cellphone camera will suffice—but I personally prefer Apple, since I can use the RitchieCam camera app, which is only available for iOS (click here).

The iPhone is great for street photography because nobody thinks twice about seeing someone with their phone out. Even if you do get “caught” capturing a picture, you can easily fake that you are taking a selfie or texting someone or some other typical phone action. Many cellphones have multiple focal length options, so they’re surprisingly versatile. My favorite accessory is the Moment Tele 58mm lens.

While I do use my phone for photography, I also use it for another important reason: Apps! Specifically, the Fuji X Weekly App (Android, Apple) and the Ricoh Recipes App (Android, Apple). In my opinion, those are essential tools to accompany your Fujifilm and Ricoh cameras.

Fame, Fortune – Moab, UT – iPhone 11 + RitchieCam App – Standard Film
Yield then Stop – Panguitch, Utah – iPhone 11 + RitchieCam App – Night Negative
Exxon in Winter – Moab, UT – iPhone 11 + RitchieCam App – Night Negative

Let me show you a few more street images that I captured recently.

The three above pictures, despite being pretty different overall, all have something in common (besides being street photography). If you want to know what it is, you’ll have to tune into SOOC Live on March 2. Nathalie Boucry and I will be discussing the theme of street photography, including things like gear and Film Simulation Recipes and such. Mark your calendars now! Be sure to subscribe to the SOOC Live YouTube channel so that you don’t miss out on all the great upcoming broadcasts.

See also: Elevating Your Street Photography with Fujifilm Film Simulation Recipes + 5 Recipes to Try Today!

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

New Ricoh GR III & GR IIIx Recipes!!

Captured with a Ricoh GR III using the new “Classic Emulsion” Recipe.

I just published a new set of Ricoh GR III & GR IIIx RecipesThe Film Collection!

For those of you who (in addition to your Fujifilm X cameras) own a Ricoh GR III and/or GR IIIx, you now have five new Ricoh Recipes to choose from, and if you are a Ricoh Recipes App Patron, you have an additional Recipe available to you on the App. Be sure to check it out! If you haven’t updated the firmware of your GR III or GR IIIx recently, be sure to do so right away to get the new Negative Film Picture Control Effect.

Classic Emulsion

Positive Emulsion

Kodak Print

Film Look

Vintage Film

Nostalgic Print

See also: Ritchie’s Ricoh Recipes

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

Ricoh GR III  Amazon  B&H  Moment
Ricoh GR IIIx  Amazon  B&H  Moment

Fujifilm Take Notice: Ricoh Just Did What You Won’t

Captured with the new “Negative Film” Picture Control Effect on my Ricoh GR III.

Fujifilm, pay close attention: Ricoh just did with their GR III and GR IIIx what you won’t do with your X-series cameras.

Fujifilm has stated that they’re moving away from Kaizen and to expect less of it going forward, but some other camera makers—including Ricoh—are embracing it. In fact, Ricoh just added a new Picture Control Effect, which is their Film Simulations equivalent, to their GR III and IIIx cameras. This new Effect is called Negative Film, and it looks pretty good so far to me. It’s not really like anything on Fujifilm exactly—perhaps it could be described as somewhat similar to a cross between Classic Negative and PRO Neg. Std—but it does produce an aesthetic that’s easy to appreciate.

I want to point out that the GR III was released almost at the same exact time as the Fujifilm X-T30. Since the release of the X-T30, Fujifilm has introduced three new Film Simulations—Classic Negative, Eterna Bleach Bypass, and Nostalgic Neg.—plus some other JPEG options like Color Chrome FX Blue, Clarity, and Grain size. None of it has trickled down to the X-T30 (or X-T3). Even the X-Pro3 and X100V—premium models, supposedly—weren’t given the Kaizen love that they (really, Fujifilm’s customers) deserve. Yet little ol’ Ricoh not only created a new Effect for apparently no reason other than the fun of it, and they gave it to the almost four-year-old GR III just because they wanted to make their customers happy.

Captured with the new “Negative Film” Picture Control Effect on my Ricoh GR III.

I have a ton of advice that I’d give to Fujifilm if they were ever interested in hearing my opinions. I mean, I have a pretty good pulse on a big chunk of their customer base, and I’ve done more than most to bring them new customers, whether directly or indirectly, so you’d think they would be interested in hearing what I have to say. The very first suggestion that I would have for them is to do more Kaizen and not less. I get that it costs time and money, but fostering a happy long-term repeat customer base is priceless, and well worth whatever it takes to do that. A lot of photographers go from brand-to-brand-to-brand, or they begrudgingly put up with a brand for a long time because they don’t want to endure the cost and headache of switching, and there is a surprisingly large amount of disloyalty among customers. Yes, there are the outspoken fanboys—I am one for Fujifilm—but while their voices are loud, their numbers are surprisingly small. So if a brand can actually make more of their customers loyal, which they do by showing them that they matter and are appreciated, it can have a significant long-term impact. Of course, if your customers don’t think you care about them, they’ll be more quick to leave when another brand offers something new and exciting, or if they think that another brand cares more about their customers than the one they’re currently using.

Ricoh just made sure that their customers know that they care. Fujifilm, make sure that your customers know you care!

Below are some examples of photos captured using the new Negative Film Picture Control Effect on my Ricoh GR III.

See also: Ritchie’s Ricoh Recipes

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

Ricoh GR III  Amazon  B&H  Moment
Ricoh GR IIIx  Amazon  B&H  Moment

Fujifilm X70 vs Fujifilm XF10 vs Ricoh GR …in 2022

Fujifilm X70

This post is by popular demand! Ever since I started sharing pictures captured with my new-to-me Fujifilm X70, I’ve been bombarded with requests to compare the camera with the XF10 and the Ricoh GR models. And I fully understand why: there aren’t very many truly pocketable APS-C fixed-lens cameras, yet these are perfect for travel, street, and to just carry everywhere and use literally every day. There’s definitely a draw to them, and I can’t fathom why they’re not even more popular. Every photographer should want one of these, or something like them, but they often stay in a state of obscurity. I find it odd, but that’s the way it is.

We’ll start this off with a comparison of the two Fujifilm models: X70 and XF10. What’s similar and what’s different? Which one is better? Of the two, which should you buy?

At first glance you might think they’re the same camera, because they look very similar, and have nearly identical dimensions. The XF10 is lighter than the X70 because it has more plastic in its construction, and it feels like a cheaper camera (which it is). The lens is optically the same, but the X70 has an aperture ring while the XF10 doesn’t. The X70 also has a tilting rear screen, something not found on the XF10. And then there’s the dial: PASM vs Shutter Knob—regular readers of this blog know already that I don’t prefer PASM (putting it mildly), but maybe you do. The XF10 doesn’t have a hot shoe, or C1-C7 Custom Presets. The X70 has a 16-megapixel X-Trans II sensor, while the XF10 has a 24-megapixel Bayer sensor—I think, as far as image quality goes, they’re pretty similar, and I wouldn’t call one output “better” than the other. The XF10 is newer, released more than two-and-a-half years after the X70.

Fujifilm XF10

There are some things, such as Snapshot, that I like about the XF10, but there are some things, such as a generally sluggish performance, that I don’t. Between the two, it’s clear that the X70, despite being an older model released in 2016, is the more premium option, and it is the camera that I prefer of the two. The X70 is a keeper if you’ve got one; the XF10 is dispensable. With that said, the X70 can be hard to find (those who own them rarely sell them) and are often expensive. The XF10 is much easier to find, but finding a bargain on one can still be a challenge. If you are on a tight budget or don’t have much patience (and don’t mind the limitations of this model), the XF10 is a very good runner-up, but if you want the better option of these two, the X70 is the one to go with. Both models have been long discontinued, so don’t expect to find one brand-new, and if you somehow do, know that it will come with a premium price tag; otherwise, you’ll have to be satisfied with something that isn’t new but is new to you.

How does the X70 (and XF10) compare to the Ricoh GR cameras? I’m most known for my Fujifilm Film Simulation Recipes, but lesser known are my Ricoh GR Recipes; I know a thing or two about both brands. I own a GR and a GR III. The GR II is essentially the same camera as the GR (just minor improvements), so everything that I say about the GR in this discussion will apply to the GR II. The GR IIIx has a different focal-length lens, but is otherwise very similar to the GR III, so what I say about the GR III applies also to the GR IIIx. I hope this makes sense and helps to simplify things a little.

The Ricoh GR models are not as pretty as the Fujifilm models, but what they lack in beauty they make up for in compactness. While the X70 and XF10 are small, the GR cameras are really small, which makes them even easier to carry with you everywhere. The GR III is just a little smaller than the GR I & II. Functionality and feature wise, all of the GR models are more similar to the XF10 than the X70. The rear screens are fixed. There’s a PASM dial. There’s no aperture ring around the lens. The GR cameras aren’t laggy like the XF10, though, plus there’s a hot shoe.

Ricoh GR

Image quality on the GR cameras are similarly good compared to the Fujifilm models. My opinion is that the GR, which was released in 2013 and features a 16-megapixel camera, has the “worst” technical image quality of all of these cameras, but there’s some sort of pixie dust that gives it a special quality—I’m not exactly sure what it is, but there’s an unexpected appealing quality to the images (this applies also to the GR II, released in 2015). The GR III, which has a 24-megapixel sensor and was released in 2019, has superior technical image quality over the GR, but lacks a little of that pixie dust. Is technical image quality more important, or that hard-to-define special quality? Your answer will reveal which GR camera to consider. I personally like the GR III a little more than the GR.

What’s better, though: Fujifilm or Ricoh? That’s a really tough decision. I do like Fujifilm’s JPEGs a little more than Ricoh’s, but they’re both very good; the “color science” and approach to JPEG output is different, so you might prefer one over the other (I personally prefer Fujifilm’s, no surprise, but everyone is different). Between the XF10 and any of the GR models, I would go with Ricoh, but Ricoh isn’t the hands-down winner—the XF10 is nearly as good, but the GR cameras are slightly better, in my opinion. Between the X70 and Ricoh, I give the X70 the edge, because the design and shooting experience is superior. Even though the GR models are noticeably smaller and fit just a little easier into my pockets, I’d choose to take the X70 with me instead, as it’s more fun to shoot with. The GR III is the only model that you can still buy brand-new, so if you don’t want to purchase a used camera, it’s your only option.

The best case scenario is if you can own multiple cameras, because each have their advantages and disadvantages. There are times when each of the models discussed in this article could be the best choice. If you own a Fujifilm camera and a GR camera, that allows you to choose which one you think will work best for you in the situations you anticipate encountering. However, if it can only be one, I recommend the Fujifilm X70 (even though I’ve only owned it for a short time), followed very closely by the GR III, then followed very closely by the GR or GR II (get the GR II if the price is the same), then followed very closely by the XF10. Some might disagree with that ranking, but that’s my opinion. I do hope this article is helpful for those trying to decide which one to get.

None of these cameras are perfect by any means, but they are all perfect for shoving into a pocket and carrying with you everywhere. Can’t afford any of them? Don’t worry, just use your phone—if you have an iPhone, be sure to try my RitchieCam camera app! This can serve a similar purpose, and since you already have your phone on you, it’s not necessary to also carry a camera. While I have a phone with RitchieCam in my pocket, I’ll often have a Fujifilm X70 or Ricoh GR III in a pocket, too.

Fujifilm X70

Monochrome Red” recipe
Kodak Color Negative” recipe
Kodak Color Negative” recipe

Fujifilm XF10

Velvia” recipe
Classic Chrome” recipe
Monochrome” Recipe

Ricoh GR

Monochrome Negative” recipe
Negative Film” recipe
Color Chrome” recipe

Ricoh GR III

Americana Color” recipe
Vibrant Analog” recipe
Analog Film” recipe


Instant Color 3” filter
Faded Film” filter
MetroColor” filter

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

Ricoh GR III Amazon B&H
Ricoh GR IIIx Amazon B&H

Download the Fuji X Weekly App for free today! Apple Android
Download the Ricoh Recipes App for free today! Apple Android
Download the RitchieCam App for iPhone for free today! Apple

New Recipes for Ricoh GR!

Captured with the new Vibrant Teal recipe for Ricoh GR III

Ricoh GR owners rejoice! I just published a new Recipe Collection, called The California Negative Collection, for the Ricoh GR III and Ricoh GR IIIx cameras! Find it at Ritchie’s Ricoh Recipes, and on the Ricoh Recipes App!

Also, the Ricoh Recipes App received an update, which fixed some bugs and added the ability to search for recipes by name. If you have the App, be sure to update it manually if your phone didn’t do so automatically.

Have a Ricoh GR camera? Download the Ricoh Recipes App today!

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

Ricoh GR III — AmazonB&H
Ricoh GR IIIx — AmazonB&H

Introducing: Ritchie’s Ricoh Recipes!

I’m very exciting to announce a new project that I’ve been secretly working on for the last several months: Ritchie’s Ricoh Recipes! This is similar to Fuji X Weekly film simulation recipes, except for Ricoh GR cameras. Obviously, Ricoh and Fujifilm cameras are much different, so the recipes are much different, too; however, I’m very pleased with how these turned out. If you own a Ricoh GR, GR II, or GR III camera, you’ll want to check it out!

Why Ricoh GR? I often get requests to make recipes for other camera brands, but the top asked-for brand is Ricoh. At first this might seem strange, since Canon, Sony, and Nikon (and probably a few other brands, too) are much more popular than Ricoh, but there are three factors that make this seemingly unlikely camera a popular request. First, a surprisingly large number of Fujifilm photographers also own a Ricoh GR camera. Why? Because Fujifilm and Ricoh are both popular options for street, travel, and documentary photography, and Fujifilm doesn’t offer a great alternative to the GR (the X70 has long been discontinued, and the XF10 was a little underwhelming). Second, Ricoh GR photographers are more open to using straight-out-of-camera JPEGs due to the camera’s film heritage and the film-like experience of shooting JPEGs. Third, Ricoh has included many useful and creative JPEG options on the GR cameras—it’s easier to create recipes that you’d actually want to use than with some other brands.

I don’t know the percentage of Fujifilm photographers who also use a Ricoh GR, but it has to be a fairly significant number based on the requests that I’ve received. Many of the messages are to the effect of, “I love using your recipes on my X-Pro2, and I’d really like to do something similar on my Ricoh GR III.” While this project is for a different camera brand, I’m hoping that it is largely for the benefit of the Fujifilm community. I believe that many in this audience will find it a useful resource.

Ricoh Recipes are different than my Fujifilm Recipes, not only in how they look but in how they’re organized. Choose either GR/GR II or GR III. Within each camera category are four recipe Collections. Within each Collection are five recipes. In other words, there are 40 recipes, 20 for the GR/GR II and 20 for the GR III.

A Ricoh Recipes App (similar to the Fuji X Weekly App) is in the works for both iOS and Android, and should be available before the end of the month. With any luck, it could be available as early as the middle of September. On the app, for Ricoh Recipe Patrons, will be eight bonus recipes (one for each Collection). Be sure to check out Ritchie’s Ricoh Recipes Blog. Follow me on Instagram, too! Please be patient with the website (and app), as it is all still very much a work-in-progress, and far from finished.

I’ve been trying really hard to prevent this new project from interfering with Fuji X Weekly. I have a whole bunch of upcoming things for this website, which I think you’ll appreciate. There are many film simulation recipes in the works. If you don’t own a Ricoh GR camera, don’t worry, there’s a lot of great things happening for Fujifilm, so stay tuned. If you do own a Ricoh GR camera, I hope that you enjoy trying these new recipes for your camera!