DISCLAIMER: Please keep in mind that a camera is only a tool. Most likely you already have a camera capable of great imagery. If you are planning to buy a new camera, start with simple – a one-camera, one-lens solution. Avoid zooms and complicated “do-it-all” cameras. The most important thing is to observe the world around you, create and compose in your head, learn how to read light and challenge your creativity. Don’t follow Internet trends. Only then will you learn how to see. Pressing the shutter button on a camera is the last and easiest part of photography.
I am currently working exclusively with medium format cameras and lenses – the Fujifilm GFX system but I also enjoy shooting with the Hasselblad X1DII and Phase One gear. I am working on a major update to this page. Stay tuned.
2014 © Olaf & Kasia Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.
44 thoughts on “Gear we use and recommend”
Medium format is great , I have shot with a Rolleiflex 2.8 Planar for over 50 years. It is my go to camera.
But my old 1932, 4×5 “Graflex SLR” will often eat the my Rollei’s lunch. Why?
Because of its “special lens” and the film size.
(THIS IS NOT ABOUT VEIW CAMERA PHOTOGRAPHY, THAT IS DIFFERENT DUE, TO LENS SELECTION)
The lens on a 4×5 SLR is usually a much larger aperature than one on a view camera.
As large as f:2 for a 200mm lens. With depth of field like a 50mm f: 1.2 lens
The film size(4×5) then offers a degree of sharpness not found with 120 roll film.
The image output then can look 3D because of the longer focal length lens and the wider shooting aperature.
But the real magic happens when an uncoated lens is used with larger film size.
The output image is not super contrasty like images from a Rolleiflex, leica or a digital camera. It has a natural sweet natural look enhanced by all the factors that make it different from both digiital and medium format photography.
Thanks for your lovely photos. A question, how do you set your highlight and shadow tone on your x100f? With +- 1 or 2 ? Or standard?
Of course, you need to watch light and adjust accordingly.
All the best,
Thanks! So how do you custom the setting so you have the quickest access to highlights and shadows tone while shooting on the streets?
Your images are reminding me of yesteryear photo journalism of LIFE magazine. So pleasing and film like!
Fuji thought differently to come up with excellent lenses but why the 50-140 is being trolled for its bokeh feature. Could you please provide a review on that lens.
Has your recommended equipment list in light of the Fuji GFX 50s? Are you still using the X-Pro 2 and its lenses, or have they been used to fund the bigger picture?
I am in the midst of a major gear change. Currently I am shooting almost exclusively with the X100F. I also work with the X-T2.
Will keep you updated.
Like your thought of one camera one lens, especially a 23mm (35 after conversion). That in mind, as a first digital camera, would you recommend getting the fuji x100f or the XE2S with a 23mm f1.4? Thanks for your thoughts.
Wondering if you have experience with the 16-55 zoom? I’m looking for a lens in its general range, but worry a bit about its size and weight compared to the 18-55. It’s one thing trying in in the shop, another thing living with it long-term. t I’m not seeing the extra speed of the 16-55 as an advantage for me, but I do like its 24mm equivalent at the wide end. One reason I got into Fuji in the first place was to keep size and weight down. Thanks.
Hi Olaf, what raw processor and settings do you use flor the Xpro 2?
Mostly Lightroom and and Iridient Developer.
Thank you for visiting.
Dear Olaf, I’m a big fan of your work! I regularly check your site for inspiration. Thank you for contributing to the photographic online community of X-photographers!
I have recently bought the Fuji 14mm f/2.8 and was wondering; What is your preferred aperture of the lens when you capture buildings for example and Do you use a circular polarizer?
Thank you for your kind comment. Usually shooting somewhere between F5.6 & F8.0. No, I don’t use any filters.
All the best,
I too have used Think Tank bags for years and highly recommend them.
I have a Retrospective 5 and am about to buy a 7 for when I wish to carry more gear.
Olaf, I got an X-Pro1 with 18, 35 and 60mm primes when the X-Pro1 first came out. However, to avoid weight and bulk, I shot more pics with my X100, then X100S, and now X100T. Because I love macro, I went back to the X-Pro1 and 60. The IQ and DOF I got from the X-Pro1 and primes got me back into the X-Pro1. I’ve pre-ordered an X-Pro2, and I’m looking at adding the 16, 56 and 90mm primes and 50-140mm tele. My wife and I are retired. We live in Honolulu, HI and Sisters, OR. Summers, when I’m not hiking in Central Oregon, we roadtrip in a small ragtop sports car through western US and Canada. When you roadtrip, in what do you carry your cameras, primes and/or 50-140? When you hike, in what do you carry your gear? Thank you! I LOVE your blog, philosophy and especially your and Kasia’s photos!
Thank you for your kind words and for connecting.
I am afraid I don’t have a good solution. In fact, we are now experimenting with different bags.
So far we have been using a very simple Lowepro Nova Sport 17L AW bag.
We will let you know once we find something that works.
All the best,
Olaf, have you looked at the Think Tank products? For example the Mirrorless Mover 25 (https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/mirrorless-movers/products/mirrorless-mover-25i?variant=1318630787). I have and really like the Think Tank Retrospective 5 (https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/retrospective-series/products/retrospective-5?variant=1237470007). Aloha, Dick
We will check them out. Thanks for the info.
I meant to say I love your art…sorry
Hi, and thanks for the great site – above all I love the pictures.
I echo this lens choice of 14, 23, 56, except I don’t have an X-100 series, so will get a 23mm 1.4 to go with my X-T1. I just wondered if you had ever used the 16-55 2.8 zoom – I’m more of a primes guy, but also occasionally need weatherproofing and only the 16 1.4 has this for the primes so far, I think?
I haven’t had a chance to use this lens but I heart a lot of good things about it. In this range I prefer to work with primes but I understand your need for weatherproofing.
All the best,
I have had the x100s and I loved it, but…….under very bright conditions I could not fully use the camera (the button to correct the lightening) because of the shutterspeed limitations. The only way to get that fixed is using al smaller aperture, but I do not always want to use that. I see that as a big problem, but no review told me that the camera has this limitation! Greetings, Corinne (The Netherlands)
There is a option in this camera called ND filter, use it wisely.
Hi Olaf. Would u suggest XF35 or XF23 as a second lens purchase and for everyday use?
I would go with XF35. It is much cheaper and it is an excellent lens.
I gave up Leica M8 and 9 for Fujifilm X I think they are better by far.
Great photos, great site, and I share your desire for minimal equipment. But by that reckoning, is the 35mm one lens too many? Most of your recent images on the site either use the X100s, with its fixed lens, or the the X-T1 with either the 14mm or occasionally a 56mm. I’ve found I’m increasingly leaving the 35mm out of the camera bag too, using the X100s as my wide-normal. I find 14mm. 23mm, and 56mm give a better spread of focal lengths than 14mm, 35mm, and 56mm, which I find is too ‘gappy’ between the super-wide and normal focal lengths.
I am in the same situation. I own the 14mm, 35mm, 60mm and the X100S, I also tend to leave the 35mm at home because I just like to have 3 primes with me, no more. For me the 23mm of the X100s is more versatile than the 35mm.
I only use the 35mm when I am going to make portraits from people in the enviremonts. This is of course also possible with 23mm but I like to have the extra option of the 35mm to blur the background. Besides that, I leave the 35mm at home and always use the Fuji X100s as my standaard lens.
Olaf, how are you leaving the 35mm at home often? I don’t think you bring the Fuji X100s and the 35mm together often?
Good story and very nice pictures and what about your gear, for me exactly the same with only the 18-55 and the 55-200 for my wife, she’s working with a d-2X
great shoot …
thanks too Steve Huff blog..
My next gear will be a Fuji.. X series
Thanks for sharing
How about the XF23 and the XF10-24 that were mentioned in your earlier reviews?
Cannot have them all. The XF 23mm has the same focal length as our X100S. The XF 10-24 is a superb zoom lens, which we plan to purchase.
Hello Olaf, bought 2 months ago the 10-24. I can’t take it off. Great lens despite the f4, pumps up the iso.
second that…one of the considerations I make when traveling (far) is my carry on (which often is my backpack and a ThinkTank turnstyle 20 sling bag). The sling bag takes the xt1, lenses (14,23,56,18-135 in their own pouch for safety).Accessories are 3 extra batts (the xt1 is a power hog me thinks),sekonic 758 for GND readings,remote control, 0.6ND+Cpol for 14mm,USBcharger for phone , card container and MP3 player (a must for inspiration..he.he).I carry my tpod separately.Used to carry a fullsize Kata plus FF equip around the world which is ok in north america but that’s it…basta!For the magic hrs I will switch out the 56 for a hitech formatt system or maybe a strobe with rt’s (which I transport in my BP).Another reason why you “can’t have it all with you” is hotel locker size ,albeit some travel safety companies are taking great strides to make lockable steel mesh to surround your valuables with.BTW I love you art and thank you for inspiring me to “hit” the valley sometimes soon.
Thank you for sharing your perspective on the subject. We appreciate your kind words.
Hello, you need to update this page already.
Simply beautiful photography with the minimum of equipment clutter.
Thank you for your kind words.
LOve this write up..and satisfied with my purchase, for the XT1 , Pro-1 and the XE2,Olaf and KAsia…very well done and very to the point.. Also very interesting food for thought..
Thank you for letting us know.
All the best,
Can’t wait for the day I hock all my DSLR gear. As it is now, I only carry my X100s for travel and family trips. It’s so fantastic!
Thanks for visiting.