Lightweight Landscape Photography?

Lately, I’ve been using Fujifilm cameras to see what’s possible in cityscape and landscape photography. The cameras are much smaller than my Sony A7RIII, have some of the same features that I use for landscape work, and are LIGHTWEIGHT.





I've carried over the approach I have used with my Sony A7RIII for landscape photography to the FujiFilm system, including my choice of tools.


Here I will break down what I am using to create my landscape images with a setup that is not only lightweight but yields results that I’m extremely happy with.


Lens


I always use Zeiss lenses for my photography. With that being said, my FujiFilm Landscape consists of 1 main lens at the moment.


Zeiss Touit 32mm f1.8

I've covered the Touit in a previous post here


But to recap here are my thoughts on the Zeiss Touit 32mm f1.8 for Landscape work

  • The lens is sharpest at F4 and F5.6

  • F8 and f11 are usable though personally for the maximum resolution I wouldn't go past F8 (diffraction)

  • Sunstars are incredible at F8

  • Keep in mind that 32mm is equivalent to roughly 48mm on a Full Frame camera

  • Learn more from the MTF Charts

Tripod

Sirui T-1004SK T-S Aluminum Travel Tripod

Oben BE-126 Ball Head with Arca-Type Quick Release

I use a very simple tripod system. Here is an observation, the FujiFilm cameras are very light, I encourage you to use the hook located on your tripod collar for better stability, especially on windy days. The FujiFilm bodies I used are extremely thin as well and when I attach the Arca Swiss plate it covers the battery door with also has the Sd Card. I find this a bit of a hassle since the current cold weather in New England drains batteries much faster.


Filter + Other Tidbits


I use one ND filter. The B+W 67mm XS-Pro MRC-Nano 810 ND 3.0 Filter (10-Stop)

I encourage you to buy the largest filter for multiple lenses. Since this is a lightweight set up the 67mm lens fits all of my lenses except the 18mm f2.8 Zeiss Batis. I would also consider the following as well

  • Extra Batteries

  • 2 SD Cards (At times I will shoot 4k video and take images as well. I only use SanDisk memory cards, I've never had any issues with them.

  • Shutter Remote or Mechanical Cable Shutter Release with Bulb-Lock

  • Step Ring if needed. I use a standard 52-67 Step-up ring for the Touit


My approach to Landscape photography

Everyone has their style and way of making images. The following is what I think about when shooting and what concepts I try to apply when making images.

  • I shoot on the base ISO when possible. The Fujifilm X-E2 has a base ISO of 200 with the second being ISO 640. This allows the image to have the most dynamic range and detail. I will aim for this when possible.

  • I shoot fully in Manual. This allows me to fine-tune my focus, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc. The other benefit is the mindset that I adopt when shooting manual it lets me be in a zone of concentration that shooting in Auto takes away from my shooting experience.

  • On the Fuji system, I shoot with JPEg and Raw. This is new to me since on the Sony A7RIII I've never shot 1 jpeg image. What's interesting about this is that I can set the camera with different aspect ratios and it will change the way I compose my shots. The bonus is that the RAW version of the photo is still the 3:2 aspect ratio.

Sample Images

ISO 200 | F4 | 30 Second Exposure | Zeiss Touit 32mm f1.8 | FujiFilm X-E2 | Edited in CaptureOne Pro



ISO 200 | F8 | 5 Second Exposure | Zeiss Touit 32mm f1.8 | FujiFilm X-E2 | Edited in CaptureOne Pro

ISO 200 | F4 | 2.3 Second Exposure | Zeiss Touit 32mm f1.8 | FujiFilm X-E2 | Edited in CaptureOne Pro

ISO 200 | F8 | 5 Second Exposure | Zeiss Touit 32mm f1.8 | FujiFilm X-E2 | Edited in CaptureOne Pro

Final thoughts


Having a small, fast camera paired with the right glass makes using the FujiFilm cameras a blast. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this setup for anyone interested in a setup for landscape or cityscape.


In the past, I also brought the Zeiss Sonnar 90mm f2.8 from the Contax G era. The lens pairs up nicely with the Touit and allowed me to take telephoto Landscape / Cityscape images. The Sonnar can be a little front heavy for the X-E2 and now am reserving to use it on the X-T20 (I used this setup to take the camera/gear shots)



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