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October 14, 2012

Cheese!

My Leica D Lux – small, and perfect for photography on the go

I woke this morning with a confirmed case of man flu (although I thought might be Congo fever at first!). It crossed my mind that I probably picked up the bug on the train last week, which in turn reminded me of “The Cassandra Crossing” (see my “Great Train Flicks” blog). Anyway, I’m trying to do something semi productive today, even though I would rather be in bed, so I’m going to talk about my camera.

I gave up lugging a big camera on my travels decades ago. I used to carry two SLRs and several lenses plus all the bits and bobs that you swear you need to make you a better photographer. Then I gave up and carried nothing for several years, preferring instead to enjoy what I saw without having to look at things through a lens. Having an iPhone camera has coaxed me back to the odd spontaneous shot, and a couple of years a ago I bought a Leica D Lux – if I’m honest more as an excuse to go back to Sri Lanka and photograph the elephants!

Well this trip has provided another excuse, as I have re equipped with train travel in mind. In my defence, I was planning to carry the D Lux on the Trans-Siberian until early one morning at the airport I spotted the new range of Fuji “retro” cameras. It took me about a week to justify having one, research which one suited my needs and buy it.

I plumped for the X10 – its the smaller one with the fixed lens. I wont bore you with the detailed specification here, but in summary it has 12MP resolution, a fastish F2-2.8 lens (like 28-112 on a 35mm camera) and a nifty 2/3 inch CMOS EXR sensor. You can see more detail here – Fujifilm X10 at Amazon, who are selling it today for £319

I have had mine now for a month or so and I love it. For me its the ultimate compromise – small and light, as manual as you want, and it takes brilliant photographs. If you do your research you will find reference to some sensor problems in low light in the original version. I was worried about this, but am happy to report that the latest models have a newly adapted sensor – look for a serial number of 21N or later (mine is 23N).


My Fuji X10 with some upgrades

In  terms of Trans-Siberian requirements, I have purchased two spare batteries. As I discovered, a battery isn’t always the battery you think it is. Many batteries describe themselves as “X10 compatible” (often called NP-50) but actually have a lower capacity than the original – look for ones that have “1000 mHa” – I even ordered one on line described as this, but a 750 mHa one was delivered, so be careful. I have also purchased the two 16GB Sandisk Extreme memory cards – plenty of space, and the neat Apple adapter to allow me to connect the camera or flash card to my iPad for editing and blogging on the move. Finally a USB converter so I can blog with pictures from internet cafes.

The X10 itself is out of the box, but I have added a few extras – a decent wrist strap, a neutral density filter and lens hood, a screen protector, a soft shutter release button and a bubble level (in the flash shoe).
I’m hoping you are going to like my photos – there are some lovely creative settings that you can load into the camera modes – so with the click of a dial I can move from news photography black and white mode taking 5 fps, to single shot colour film stock like Astia, Provia and Velvia.
Finally, I have now managed to turn off all the bleeps, bells and whistles so I can be as covert as possible. I’m also going to carry it in a small Tenba bag rather than round my neck. If you are interested in that, there is a good review here on YouTube

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