Gear we use and recommend

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 small and 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. 

Fuji X100(S) (see full review here)

This is the best digital camera on the market, period. First, it is small, silent and unobtrusive (we never leave home without it). Second, it has a superb image quality and produces fantastic JPEGs with beautiful skin-colour rendition. Third, the high quality Fujinon prime 35mm lens (after conversion) is a great focal length for almost all types of photography. NO, you don’t need a zoom – quite the opposite! Having a prime lens is the best way to learn photography. Instead of fiddling with your lenses, you will focus on composition and light, you will walk, crawl and look for a new perspective. Your photography will become creative and imaginative. We believe that every student of photography should start with a simple camera and one lens. Finally, all major settings such as an aperture compensation or shutter speed are at your fingertips – there’s no need to dive into menus. This allows you to focus on the scene.

If I had to pick only one camera – this would be it.

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Fuji X-Pro2 (our coverage here and here and here)

It is a natural extension of the Fuji X100(S) philosophy but with interchangeable lenses. If you cannot live with only one focal length, this is the camera to get. If you take your time and slow down before taking a photo, as we do, this camera will help you to connect with your surroundings and realize your vision. Most importantly, you have a number of a very high quality Fujinon lenses at your disposal.

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XF 14mm F2.8 R

All metal, very sharp, wide-angle lens with an aperture ring. It is one of our favourite lenses in the Fujinon X-series line-up.

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XF 35mm F1.4 R

It is a must-have lens, with a classic focal length, very bright and sharp.

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XF 56mm F1.2 R

This is a super fast portrait lens, which allows you to shoot in very dark conditions; beautiful bohen and rendering.

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XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR

The best zoom lens from Fuji.

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Our bag: Fuji X100S, Fuji X-T1, XF 14, 35, 56 and sometimes 50-140 mm. That’s all you need to create beautiful imagery and they all fit into a small, over-the-shoulder camera bag.

 

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2014 © Olaf & Kasia Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.

35 thoughts on “Gear we use and recommend

  1. 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?
    Best regards!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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?

    • James,

      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,

      Olaf

  5. 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)

  6. 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?

  7. 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

    regards, peter

      • Hello Olaf, bought 2 months ago the 10-24. I can’t take it off. Great lens despite the f4, pumps up the iso.
        Regards. peter

      • 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.

  8. 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..
    TY

  9. Pingback: Photo Bits II: New section, Fuji X-T1 and five minutes of light |

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