Traveling with the Fuji x100s

As I am sitting at Kevlavik airport in Iceland on my way back to the US, I thought it would be a good time to share my experience shooting with the Fuji x100s for a month. I left the Canon gear and L glass behind on July 3rd and never looked back! My trip started with a 4 day trip to Iceland followed by a month in France, my home country. Please keep in mind that this was a personal trip, not a client assignment. If you are not familiar with the Fuji x100s, it is a small retro looking mirrorless camera with a fixed 23mm focal length lens (35mm equivalent) which means that you cannot change lenses. What’s on the camera is what you are going to have to live with. Having shot with a dslr for many years, I had already come to the conclusion that a fixed focal length lens, such as the 50mm or 40mm, was the key to experiencing more growth as a photographer. Not letting the gear get in the way was both very liberating and very satisfying. The smaller size camera added to this sense of rediscovery. I traveled really light this time, with the lightest carry-on bag I ever took on board of an airplane.  Accompanying my x100s was the ultra light 11″ MacBook Air. I still shoot RAW with the Fuji. I process my images in Lightroom 5.

I was hesitant to tackle Iceland with a fixed lens and no other option. Although I am not a landscape photographer, I knew that I would miss my dslr and a selection of lenses when exploring new landscapes. Truth be told, the thought of my 5D Mark II and L glass crossed my mind a couple of times but I did not dwell on it. I had limited time and the lighter approach was perfect, no camera bag, no tripod. I looked like any other tourist out there!

Here is a sampler of pics I shot during my vacation. Although most of my work is B&W street photography these days, when I travel I photograph whatever moves me. It was quite a colorful trip this year so I selected a variety of genres to give you an idea of what a fixed lens can do if you let your vision take charge.

valerie jardin photography - Iceland Landscape-3 valerie jardin photography - Iceland-1 valerie jardin photography - Iceland Landscape-5

Iceland is not all about landscape and nature, Reykjavik also offered wonderful and colorful street photography opportunities…

valerie jardin photography - Reykjavik Street Photography-5 valerie jardin photography - Reykjavik Street Photography-1

valerie jardin photography - skate park-11valerie jardin photography - Reykjavik Street Photography-9

After Iceland I spent several days in Paris shooting mostly street photography. The Fuji is the perfect tool for that!

Valerie Jardin Photography - Paris-1 Valerie Jardin Photography - Paris-2 Valerie Jardin Photography - Paris-9 Valerie Jardin Photography - Paris-19 Valerie Jardin Photography - Paris-20 Valerie Jardin Photography - silhouette-1

Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s-20After Paris, my new camera accompanied my daily outings on the Normandy coast of France…

Valerie Jardin Photography - golden hour-1Valerie Jardin Photography - cat-1 Valerie Jardin Photography - Fishing nets-1 Valerie Jardin Photography-10 Valerie Jardin Photography - Dinan-1 Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s-2 Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s-6 Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s-23 Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s-24 Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s-25Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s-22

valerie jardin photography - Blue hour-1

Conclusion:  Photography had never been more satisfying on any previous trips! The Fuji X100s fits my style and I foresee that the DSLR will only be used for commercial assignments in the future…

16 thoughts on “Traveling with the Fuji x100s

  1. Greetings from Chicago, IL Valérie.

    Love your photography and the fact that you took then with just the one camera & fixed lens is sweet!

    Did you use Lightroom 5 on the MacBook Air 11″ & did you process your RAW photos with it?

    Thank you,
    Gurley Hardin


      • Hi Valérie,

        May I ask what model MacBook Air
        did you go with?
        I too will be getting one & can’t decide on one.
        I shoot as if I’m 
        shooting Kodachrome film so I do very little to my images.
        I will be working on RAW photos. 

        Thank you Valérie,
        Gurley Hardin


  2. Hi Valerie

    I hope all is well with you these days. Sounds like France was once again wonderful. It’s still at the top of my list of favorite destinations. I didn’t think I could top a Kenya safari, but Paris did. Just ask my friends…They are tired of me talking about Paris. And I’m eating a lot of French cheese and bread, and drinking French wine now. And I have printed many pics from the workshop—most framed to 18” x 24”. I will make it back one day.

    I’m assuming that you are still happy with your Fuji x100s. I’m in the market for a new street camera. My dslr is too big. Great for landscapes, but too bulky for the street. I have the small Sony RX-100 which is perfect size—loved it in Paris. But it has a smallish 1” sensor. Depth of field is a problem. With a 2.7 factor, DOF is always too great. Almost impossible to get subject separation. Everything is in focus. I like separation. I also like small for the street. Sony just came out with full-frame small cameras, either 24 or 36 MP. With a 35mm f2.8 lens it runs about $3K. Too much, I think. For less than half, I could get a x100s. Yeah, it’s APS-C, but that’s what I’m using now and I’m happy with the compromise. And it has a viewfinder, unlike the RX-100. It’s a must have for me.

    So now that you have used it extensively, do you still like it? Would you recommend it? Has it been reliable? Most important, are you happy with the results you are getting? Is there anything that your DON’T like about the camera?

    OK, enough questions. I’ve read many reviews online and they all seem positive. But I know you and your style of shooting so I trust your opinion.

    BTW, I’m seriously considering your NYC workshop. I’ve always wanted to shoot NYC and never have. I’m trying to put together the pieces—accomodations, flights, cameras!, etc.

    Thanks for your input. No rush. I know you are busy.

    Thanks again for Paris!



    • Hi Jim!
      The x100s is my favorite camera of all times. I just love everything about it. I rarely use the viewfinder though, it’s amazing how quickly I adjusted to framing with the LCD, I never thought I’d say that! Having the fixed lens is actually a plus for me, one less decision to make when I hit the streets to capture life as it happens around me. Hope to see you again during another photo adventure!


  3. Wow! Beautiful! Love the quality of the photos. Both what the camera can deliver and what you as a photographer see and capture! The range is wonderful from the people to the close ups to the large landscape. Thanks for sharing and encouraging us to work with our cameras to get the maximum out of the lenses we have! You continue to be my favorite photographer to follow!


  4. Valerie, IF there was an X100S body, but with interchangeable lenses, would you still prefer the fixed lens version?
    I enjoy your street photos and wonder what your default settings are for most shots in Aperture mode with the X100S?


    • Jamie, good question. Actually no, I bought of the x100s because it has such a great fixed focal length lens. I have a dslr system with all the glass I need, I wanted something completely different and the Fuji delivered. I shoot mostly in aperture priority, often 2.8 or 4.0 for street.


  5. well… je ne suis pas loin de penser comme toi, je viens de faire un voyage “far west” des Etats Unis en portant mon matériel… pouf… pouf ! je vais revoir mon équipement !
    merci pour ce partage et les belles photos


  6. Wonderful photos, Valerie. I just finished my Blurb book of our time in Normandy. Putting it together really brought back all the wonderful memories I have of our trip. I’d love to show it to you. Travel safely and we’ll stay in touch.


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