X-T2 in Sri Lanka

· 21.February.2017

My foray into digital photography started 6 odd years ago when I bought my first DSLR, a Nikon. A bit of a side hobby, my passion and hunger to grow as a photographer only started after I met my then-girlfriend-now-wife, who is an avid travel blogger. Together over the next few years, we explored Hong Kong and traversed across Asia to capture the unforgettable scenes of the region’s diverse cultures, people and places.

Heavily investing in the Nikon system (as well as a decent rucksack to carry it all in) I was extremely happy that I had finally mastered how to use my D750 being able to swiftly move my way through the complex menu system and a host of features. There was just one slight issue: it weighed a TON. The superb 12-24mm lens alone weighed almost 1kg when coupled together with the 24-70mm, 70-200mm and a couple fast prime lenses I often felt like I was a royal marine in training as I fastened my loaded back up and set off with the DSLR equivalent of the kitchen sink strapped to me!

The nail in the coffin came one Saturday when I headed over to a local Hong Kong neighbourhood to pick up some housewares for our new apartment. With plenty to see in Hong Kong, I toyed with the idea of taking my DSLR on my quick journey, but the thought of lugging it around stopped me in my tracks.  I regretted the decision within about 10 minutes of leaving the apartment after my eyes were met with enticing local street scenes that I wished I captured.

The saying, “the best camera is the one that you carry” sprang into the mind and as soon as I got home, I googled “best mirrorless cameras”. The recently released Fujifilm X-T2 / X-Pro2 was at the top of my search results. While I had often flirted with the idea of switching to mirrorless, I didn’t want to compromise size for image quality.

After watching a handful of YouTube videos, reading reviews and forum posts from new converts who made the switch from Canon and Nikon, my mind was made up. It was time to change!! That day, I listed my Nikon gear on a local classified site and within hours, a buyer reached out, paid and collected (he was moving from Canon to Nikon, I hid my sniggers as I put on my sales hat and wooed him with its many features) and was very happy with his new DSLR kitchen sink setup!

I was even happier as the proud new owner of a Fujifilm X-T2 and its companion lenses including the 10-24mm, 35mm f/2, 56mm f/1.4 and 55-200mm. As I unpacked it, the words every man never wants to hear came out of my mouth, “Wow, it’s soooo small!” I purred. In this case, less is definitely more!

After flicking through the manuals (no one cares for manuals) my two cats were subject to an afternoon of posing (sleeping) as I got to grips with my new friend.

Our next trip was planned a few weeks after I got my X-T2; we were off to Sri Lanka for Christmas. As I packed my gear, I taunted my wife, who still had her D750, that my bag weighed considerably less than hers. I was, however, only fooling myself as both knew that I would be lugging both sets of equipment around.

We landed in Colombo on Christmas Eve and spent 10 days exploring the diverse climate and regions of Sri Lanka. From the lush green tea plantations of Nuwara E’liya (little England), the animals of Yala National Park to the stunning beaches along the west coast, I happily snapped away at everything in sight. I soon got to grips with my X-T2.

On numerous occasions, I asked my wife if she wanted to take her camera as well (i.e. me carrying it) and thankfully the response usually was “no, let’s take the Fuji!” The X-T2 came everywhere with us and below are some of my favourite images that I captured in the 10 days we were there.

The 10-24mm allowed me to capture the stunning scenery, the 35mm and 56mm were great for my street and people work and the 55-200mm didn’t leave my camera whilst we headed through Yala national park searching for the elusive leopard.

After our return to Hong Kong (and with some slight persuasion), my wife’s Nikon setup was listed and sold just in time for the release of the new limited Graphite Silver Edition of the X-T2. Upon unboxing her new shiny silver toy, those faithful words of size were spoken again, and we both acknowledged that great (Fuji) things come in small packages!

Impressions of the lenses:

I was immediately blown away by the 56mm F1.2; it takes extremely sharp images and the bokeh you can achieve is simply… wow!! There is a certain magic about this lens. Whenever it goes onto my X-T2, I know I’m going to get some fantastic shots.

The 35mm F2 is a little pocket rocket of a lens. Equivalent to a 50mm on a DSLR, this lens has a sturdy weather-sealed construction and a great fast-focusing motor, making it a great walk-around street photography lens.

The 10-24mm is an outstanding lens that’s built like a tank. The colour rendering is excellent, it is extremely sharp and the image stabilisation makes it great for low light sunrise/sunset handheld shots. This is definitely my go-to landscape lens.

I chose the 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 over the 50-140mm because it was cheaper and lighter. It wasn’t a focal length that I need to use that often but knew I needed it for the safari trip. The lens has great image stabilisation and was great for our nature scenes in Sri Lanka.

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