The right kit for perfect pictures
Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras are ultra portable and ideal for hillwalking adventures. In the first part of our guide to better landscape photographs we explain what to look for in a travel camera.
Hillwalking takes you to all sorts of amazing photogenic places, but how do you capture the beautiful landscapes and memories of your walks when you’re out and about? Many of us use a smartphone because they’re conveniently light and portable, but this means image quality can be left looking a little lacklustre. So we’ve teamed up with Fujifilm to provide you with the knowledge to get better landscape images, how to get to amazing locations and what settings you need to know to get them.
We kick off our three-part guide looking at the gear you’ll need to get better photos. Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras are considerably lighter and smaller than conventional Digital SLR cameras, so they won’t weigh you down when you’re out on a long hike. Use the jargon buster below to get to grips with the terminology and then discover which camera is your perfect travelling companion.
Megapixels - This is the resolution of the camera’s sensor and determines how large you can print your shots. Fujifilm’s 24.3MP sensor can print at up to 42.33x63.5cm.
FPS - Frames Per Second.
OIS - Optical Image Stabilisation is a special feature that some lenses adopt to reduce camera shake when shooting hand-held.
EVF - Electronic Viewfinders are what mirrorless cameras use to show you what the camera will take a picture of.
RAW - This file type literally means the raw data from the camera. Any camera worth its salt gives you the option to shoot RAW for more options when you’re editing.
JPEG - The universal digital picture file format that provides a good balance between low file size and great quality.
CSC - Compact System Camera. Does away with the moving mirror which makes SLR cameras big and heavy, but still has interchangeable lenses.
Fujifilm X100F RRP £1329
If you're torn between DSLR image quality and the portability of a compact camera, then the X100F is the perfect choice for you. Its 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor is the same size as those you’d find in a much larger DSLR, but has been wrapped up in a portable, retro-styled package. Tipping the scales at 419g (body only), the X100F is ideal for photographers that like to pack light. There’s also no need to carry around extra lenses as it sports a fixed 23mm f/2 Fujinon lens, perfect for landscapes.
Sure to be a hit with fans of vintage film camera chic, the X100F fuses old retro styling with new technology for a truly special user experience. It provides some remarkable features, including an Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder, which gives users the choice of a traditional low-power optical viewfinder, or an electronic display, to show you what the exact image is that you’ll capture. This even works if one of Fujifilm’s Film Simulation filters is active, such as Sepia or Acros. The retro-styling continues with its faux leatherette grip and an ISO dial which has been integrated into the Shutter Speed Dial to save space.
Lighting is key to all genres of photography, but is particularly important to landscapes because the range of tones is vast. Bright highlights in the sky can burn out to pure white, while deep shadows in the foreground can come out black. Neutral Density (ND) filters act like sunglasses for your camera, and are what professional photographers use to tame bright highlights and balance the exposure. While these are bulky and often require filter adapters to affix them to the camera lens, the X100F comes with a three-stop ND filter built in. This is a great feature, as if the highlights come out too bright you can activate the built-in ND filter to fix it. What’s more, if you shoot in the 14-bit RAW format you’ll be able to capture even more tones, unlocking the full potential of your shots.
“Sure to be a hit with fans of vintage film camera chic, the X100F fuses old retro styling with new technology for a truly special user experience.”
+ DSLR-rivalling image quality with its 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans sensor.
+ Staggering number of features in a neat portable and lightweight package.
+ Fixed 23mm f/2 lens is superbly sharp and ideal for landscape photography.
Fujifilm X-T20 RRP £1149
with XF18-55mm kit lens
The X-T20 is a portable alternative to an entry-level or enthusiast DSLR. As a compact system camera, it has no internal mirror, meaning it can be much smaller and lighter than a conventional camera. Despite its petite proportions, it packs a solid punch with its DSLR-sized X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor. The resolution of 24.3MP is nothing short of vast, and teamed with its X-Processor Pro engine, bursts can be shot at up to 8 frames per second (fps). The active AF point can be set to no less than 325 different areas and the middle 40% of the frame consists of Phase Detection points for faster subject acquisition.
The rear 3in display boasts 1.04m-dots so images can be composed and played back in stunning detail. Touch functionality makes tapping to focus possible, and you can swipe through the images you’ve taken in Playback Mode too. To top it all off, the LCD can be tilted to assist with awkward shooting angles above or below eye level. If you prefer to shoot through the viewfinder, the X-T20 has a highly-detailed electronic 2.36m-dot organic EVF. And with a lag time of 0.005sec it feels like you’re using an optical one.
If you’re struggling to fit in all of the scenery in front of you, it’s possible to switch to a wider lens because the X-T20 is an interchangeable lens camera and can be used with any of Fujifilm’s X-Mount lenses. Alternatively, you could use the X-T20’s Panorama Mode which squeezes in up to an 180° view.
Video is an area where the X-T20 excels. Its 4K movie mode packs in four times more detail than Full HD, so it’s a great way to make your footage stand out from the crowd. Fujifilm’s legendary Film Simulation digital filters can also be applied to your videos and photos. The Interval Timer mode is another great video feature and can be set between 1sec to 24hours. The total number of frames can be set from 1 to infinity, so is fantastic for creating dramatic timelapse videos wherever you are.
“The X-T20 is an interchangeable lens camera and can be used with any of Fujifilm’s X-Mount lenses.”
+ Brilliant autofocus system with 325 AF points to choose from.
+ Great features including 4K video recording and a 14fps burst rate.
+ Supports Wi-Fi connectivity with the Fujifilm Camera Remote app.
HIGH END CSC
Fujifilm X-T2 RRP £1899
with XF18-55mm kit lens
The X-T2 is a professional mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, designed for speed, performance and astounding image quality. As a pro-level camera, the X-T2 has a tough and rugged build ready for whatever you throw at it. Its durable magnesium alloy body is weathersealed in no less than 63 different areas. And it comfortably handles hot and cold climates with its operating temperature of -10°C to 40°C. The handgrip has been designed for increased comfort and will make it feel familiar to DSLR users. Fujifilm’s X-Processor Pro paves the way for a blisteringly fast 14fps RAW burst mode, a start-up mode of just 0.3sec, 4K video recording and an improved autofocus system which can hunt down a subject in just 0.06sec. Speaking of focusing, the X-T2 uses an Intelligent Hybrid AF capable of acquiring focus in low-light situations at up to -3EV, and has 325 AF points at its disposal.
Inside its tank-like body you’ll find Fujifilm’s 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor. This is physically the same size that you’d find in many enthusiast DSLRs, but its X-Trans technology provides a more organic capture of colour and helps to combat moiré, an imaging defect that can appear on repeating patterns within your shot. The high resolution makes it possible to comfortably print images at A2 size, and because the sensor omits an image-softening Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF), your pictures will take on an extra level of detail.
It’s not just a solid image-taking machine though, the X-T2 is also fantastic for recording movies. The jewel in the crown of the X-T2 is its superbly detailed 1.04m-dot LCD display, which boasts toughened glass to protect against knocks and bumps, touch functionality for tap focus, and an innovative tilting mechanism that allows it to be adjusted on three different directions to make it easier to compose images above or below eye level. If you prefer to use a viewfinder, the X-T2 has a richly-detailed EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) which activates instantly when brought up to your eye and refreshes at up to 100fps.
“As a pro-level camera, the X-T2 has a tough and rugged build ready for whatever you throw at it.”
+ Weather-sealed in 63 areas allows you to shoot in a heavy downpour.
+ Ergonomic button layout and feels like a DSLR in the hand.
+ Movies can be shot in the 4K video format for astounding detail.
X-E3 RRP £1249
with XF18-55mm kit lens
Fujifilm's latest Compact System Camera, the X-E3, is built with portability in mind. It’s the firm’s smallest and lightest model to date that boasts both an interchangeable lens system and a viewfinder. Some impressive features have been squeezed into its petite body, including the 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor found in all of the current X series models. This yields fantastic image quality even in low light conditions. It also adopts Fujifilm’s remarkable X-Processor Pro which allows a top shooting speed of 5fps and makes it possible to record 4K videos for incredibly-detailed movies. Bluetooth is a brand-new feature for X series CSCs, and it allows users to transfer images from the X-E3 to a smart device in a heartbeat, using the free Fujifilm Camera Remote app. It uses the same X-mount as other Fujifilm CSCs, so is compatible with the current range of 25 Fujinon interchangeable lenses.
It has a start-up time of just 0.4 seconds and takes just 0.06 seconds to track down a subject so you’ll never miss a shot. In addition, the tracking autofocus speed for moving subjects is twice as fast as its predecessor. Focus can be set by tapping the touchscreen, just like you would with a smartphone, or using the Focus Lever which sits to the side of the LCD and makes it easy to set the focus area without looking away from the EVF.
The X-E3 has a premium exterior design. Taking on the style of old film rangefinders, the Electronic Viewfinder on the back is great if you prefer to compose this way, or if the sun is too bright to see the LCD screen. The top of the camera has been kept simple and uncluttered with its Shutter Speed and Exposure Compensation dials that let you hone in core settings quickly. There’s also a hotshoe for attaching a flashgun or microphone accessories and a Function button that you can personalise to really make the camera your own. The shutter button has been integrated into the power switch for a rapid start-up too.
“It has a start-up time of just 0.4 seconds and takes just 0.06 seconds to track down a subject so you’ll never miss a shot.”
+ Bluetooth connectivity makes it quick and easy to transfer images to a smart device.
+ Touch functionality makes the X-E3 handle more like a smartphone or tablet.
X-Pro2 RRP £1699
Charmingly retro-styled and packed with innovation, Fujifilm’s flagship X-Pro2 is the long-awaited update to the highly regarded X-Pro1. Building on its success, the X-Pro2 comes brimming with new features, including a totally revamped Advanced Hybrid Multi viewfinder. This incorporates an Optical Viewfinder, Electronic Rangefinder and a 2.36m-dot, 0.48in Electronic Viewfinder, so you can choose your preferred mode depending on the subject you’re shooting.
Built with professionals in mind, the durable magnesium alloy body is sealed in 61 places to keep dust and water out. Inside sits a 24.3MP X-Trans III sensor to delivers DSLR image quality, and an X-Processor Pro for a speedy 8fps burst rate, native 200-12,800 ISO range and a rapid Intelligent Hybrid AF system. 14-bit RAWs can be shot to capture every detail in your landscapes, and can shoot in a new Lossless Compressed file format to save space.
As expected with a flagship model, the X-Pro2 comes with dual SD card slots. This can be set up in the menu to overflow your shots when one card becomes full, backup a card like-for-like, or to separate your RAW and JPEG images onto different memory cards.
The speed of the X-Pro2 has been shifted up a gear, boasting a start-up time of just 0.4sec and an autofocus acquisition time of just 0.06sec. It has an extra 28 AF points, with 77 in total and 40% of the imaging area is covered in the faster and more accurate Phase Detection type points. There’s the option to use a Colour Digital Split Image mode which works in a similar way to the focusing system of film rangefinders. There’s also the option to use Focus Peaking, where a bright colour overlays your shot to show you which areas are sharp.
As the viewfinder is an integral part of the X-Pro2’s DNA, the buttons and dials have been positioned in a way that means you can easily change settings and exposure parameters without taking your eye away from it. This includes the Dual-Function dial on the top plate, which can be used to set both the ISO and the Shutter Speed.
“The speed of the X-Pro2 has been shifted up a gear, boasting a start-up time of just 0.4sec and an autofocus acquisition time of just 0.06sec.”
+ The 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor delivers incredible image quality.
+ State-of-the-art Advanced Hybrid Multi viewfinder makes it a joy to compose.
+ Perfect blend of style and substance, fusing retro-chic with innovative new features.
Four great lenses
Fujinon XF10-24mm f/4 R OIS
Fujinon XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS
Fujinon XF18-135mm f3.5-5.6 WR LM R OIS
Fujinon XF55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
An ultra-wide lens helps you squeeze more of your surroundings into the frame, so Fujifilm’s XF10-24mm f/4 wide-angle zoom is a brilliant choice for landscapes. It has a 35mm film equivalent focal length of 15-36mm, and its 2.4x optical zoom gives users the option of shooting wide, or super-wide. It’s not always ideal to carry a tripod when you’re out and about, so you’ll be glad to hear that it boasts powerful Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) to reduce camera-shake when shooting hand-held. It has a bright maximum aperture of f/4 which is constantly the widest aperture value at both ends of the zoom. It also has an inner focusing system and stepping motor for a rapid and quiet autofocus action. The minimum focusing distance of 24cm is ideal for nature macro images.
18-55mm is an ideal focal length for many shooting scenarios, and as such many kit lenses adopt this zoom range. This XF18-55mm is essentially a ramped-up kit lens, taking on a much wider aperture value of f/2.8 at the wide 18mm end, and f/4 at the telephoto 55mm mark. This allows better light gathering for faster focusing and shooting at faster shutter speeds. Autofocus can be achieved in just 0.1sec, so you’ll never miss a moment. The AF also has a silent operation so it’s suitable for video recording as well as taking photos. The aperture is made from a seven-bladed round diaphragm for smoother, circular bokeh (out-of-focus highlights) too. Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) has been included for shake-free shots when shooting hand-held.
If you like to cut down on weight and bulk, then it can be a good idea to travel with just one lens. An optic with a versatile zoom, such as Fujifilm’s XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6, boasts an 18mm wideangle perfect for landscapes, and a long telephoto 135mm zoom, great for getting tighter compositions or shooting nearby wildlife. Its WR badge means the lens is fully weather sealed, so you can carry on shooting even if the heavens open. Camerashake is magnified when shooting at longer focal lengths, but fear not as this lens implements a comprehensive 5-stop Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) system to combat blur and produce crisp images. Large zoom and focus rings around the lens barrel make it feel comfortable and secure in your hand too.
Need to get closer to your subject? You need look no further than Fujifilm’s XF55-200mm f/3.5-4.8. The zoomis equivalent to 84-305mm in film terms and complements an 18-55mm kit lens. It’s ideal for shooting long lens landscapes, far away wildlife or macro shots like insects. Built for superb image quality, the XF55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 features an array of Fujinon’s low dispersion (ED and Super ED) elements to increase clarity. There’s a large zoom ring around the lens barrel which makes the lens comfortable to use and easy to change the focal length when you’re in a hurry. The manual focus ring is easy to find, placed at the front of the barrel, and a powerful 4.5-stop Optical Image Stabiliser (OIS) system reduces camera-shake when you’re shooting hand-held.
Focal length: 10-24mm
Aperture range: f/4-22
Dimensions (DxL): 78x87mm
Filter thread size: 72mm
Focal length: 18-55mm
Aperture range: f/2.8-4
Dimensions (DxL): 70x62mm
Filter thread size: 58mm
Focal length: 18-135mm
Aperture range: f/3.5-5.6
Dimensions (DxL): 75x97mm
Filter thread size: 67mm
Focal length: 55-200mm
Aperture range: f/3.5-4.8
Dimensions (DxL): 75x118mm
Filter thread size: 62mm
Three Fujifilm features for BETTER LANDSCAPES
Framing guideline – 9x9 grid for easy rule-of-thirds framing
Composition is key to creating fantastic landscapes. The rule-of-thirds is an age-old method where the frame of your scene is divided into nine equal boxes. Generally speaking, positioning your subject on one or more of these lines is said to give your shot a more pleasing aesthetic than having it in the middle, though remember – rules are made to be broken. Many of Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras have a Framing Guideline mode where a 9x9 grid can be applied to help you compose using the rule-of-thirds. There’s also a 24 box, 6x4 grid modes for extra framing options. The Framing Guidelines also appear when using the Electronic Viewfinder on the X-T2.
Electronic level – helps achieve straighter horizons
A wonky horizon is the first thing we spot when looking at a landscape and a perfectly straight one makes your images look much more professional. A hotshoe bubble level is one way of making sure the horizon is absolutely level, but this is another thing to carry in your kit bag and slows down the flow of your shooting. Many Fujifilm X-Series cameras have an Electronic Level built-in to them. All you have to do is activate it in the Display Custom Settings menu and a white horizontal line will appear over your scene which turns green when your horizon is level. It can also be used in conjunction with the Framing Guideline if you’d like to compose using the Rule-Of-Thirds at the same time.
Film Simulation modes - Get a new look in an instant
Fujifilm’s powerful built-in Film Simulation modes are a fantastic way of applying a different look to your images live through the rear LCD panel or when using the Electronic Viewfinder. Black and white photography lends itself to landscapes, and Fujifilm’s Acros Film simulation provides high contrast results with rich details and incredible clarity. There’s also a more subdued Monochrome setting and a Sepia tone to play with too, each adding a new feel to your image. If you prefer to shoot in colour, the Velvia/Vivid setting delivers vibrant and striking colours. If you shoot in the highly-detailed RAW picture format you’ll keep the original colours intact should you prefer a different look later on.