Fuji X100S – The Kit I Use

As with most things, the Fuji X100s, while fantastic out of the box, can always use a few bits and pieces to enhance the abilities of the camera to match ones vision. I’ve had a chance to work with the camera on some trips to China and Germany, so I’m getting more confident and familiar with the camera. I even shot a wedding with it in Germany, and I’m thrilled with the cameras performance. Not so much with mine, I’m not a wedding shooter, but the camera performed flawlessly.

Fuji X100s Kit

The reason for this camera’s existence in my world is that I need something small and portable when I don’t want to, or its impractical to, drag my main DSLR kit around. So anything I add will have to fit this minimalist theme. Starting from the camera, the very first thing added was a lens hood. I’m too cheap to spring for the genuine Fuji version, so I have an Ebay special, the JJC LH-X100 with the filter adapter (the link is to Amazon, who can now supply for $15 at time of writing). I also bought a couple of spare batteries with the camera, both off brand for $15, a quarter of the price of the genuine article. No issues with them so far.

I am a big fan of tripods and I’ve always used an anti-twist arca-swiss style plate on my cameras. Initially, I bought the Really Right Stuff BX-100 L plate set, then kicked myself for not getting the grip (BX100-G) that goes with it. I’ve quite large hands and the grip helps tremendously. I got the grip.

While I can drag my Gitzo Traveler around, if I’m going ultra light, I’m using the Really Right Stuff TFA-01 Pocket ‘Pod . Elia Locardi of Blame the Monkey fame turned me onto this little pocket pod. I’ve mated it to the RRS BH-25 coupled with the Sunwayfoto DDH-03 panning clamp. This gives me tremendous flexibility, with panning a simple option, either using the built in jpg panning engine or single shot stitching. I might try and hunt down the smaller DDH-02 clamp. It’s been discontinued, but if I can find one it’ll be more right sized for this rig. This set up isn’t as good as a full size tripod, but it’s damn good! I use an old cable release that I’ve had kicking around for years, but if I forget it, I just switch to a 2 second self timer.

Fuji x100s Pano

A second item that improves the ergonomics is a thumb rest. This also serves to stop the exposure compensation dial being jogged accidentally, which happened a lot on my X10. There are a variety on the market, some of which have grub screws to hold them on, which makes me shudder. I got the LM-x100s from Lensmate as it’s a friction fit aided by a flexible pad. The fit is rock solid and I have no fear of losing it, or damaging the camera. There is a mini review of it on Dean Johnson’s blog here.

The next essential is a strap. I don’t care for branded camera straps as they say “steal me”, and after using a Black Rapid strap on my Nikon I really wanted to go the same route for the Fuji. Searching their website I came across their SnapR 35, which at $45 seemed perfect for the job. I’ve used this little bag a lot and I love it’s flexibility. I can disconnect the bag and just use the strap as a BlackRapid sling, or use it as intended as a quick house for the camera. Walking around with it means the camera is always accessible, a perfect complement to the style of shooting that the Fuji X100s excels at. The 35 is just the right size, with some extra pockets for batteries, lens cloths, lens hood and a few filters.

Speaking of filters, one of the dig advantages of this camera is the small filter size, 49mm. It makes getting really nice filters somewhat affordable. David Hobby suggested a B+W 2 stop ND filter to complement the built in 3 stop filter for owning the sun. I added a B+W circular polarizer and a Heliopan 10 stop neutral density filter. All three of these filters are true neutral, so I don’t have to correct weird colour casts. I picked up a couple of aluminium filter caps and keep it all screwed together in the pocket of the SnapR.

Fuji X100s Fliter Stack

What’s missing? Before on this blog I’ve talked about using filters, in particular the ND Grads. I’m not about to carry around my set of big Sing Ray ND grads, so I either expose for the highlights and use a software too to emulate the grad, or use exposure blending via Photoshop, or even use HDR to compensate. Keeping to the SnapR as my camera bag is liberating. I can’t carry anything else, so it restricts my options which makes me work harder. That’s not a bad thing. I can’t even keep my tripod in it. but that does fit in a pocket.

My current flash options are either the built in flash, or an old Nikon SB-26 that I can trigger via the on camera unit. No TTL here, it’s manual or Auto mode only. I could connect it via a cable if I want to hit the highest possible sync speed, but I just haven’t needed to yet. I need to play with the flash options more and get some pictures taken with it before I feel comfortable. What will be interesting is that the SB-26 is nearly as big and heavy as the camera, so I’m not sure I want to carry it.

The last thing of note is the SD card reader for my Ipad mini. On the road, this is my favourite way of reviewing the days take and posting to facebook for family and friends to see.

So thats it. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I need this kit to do and a fair bit of time researching options. In some areas I went the lowest cost route (lens hood), others, I spared no expense (Heliopan filter). Its a balance and a judgment call, but I have absolutely no regrets in any of the purchases. Every piece of this kit gets used and if I was to start again, the only thing I would do differently is to get the multicoated version of the B+W 0.6 ND filter. Not that I’ve had a problem with the one I have, but just because I feel MRC would possible reduce flare from specular highlights. Maybe.

I stepped away from some of my favourite tools in this kit. No Gitzo, or ThinkTankPhoto gear!  That being said, I feel I have a great toolbox for my Fuji X100s. Whats in your kit?

More to come……

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  1. Excellent post. I find myself reaching for my light X-E1 kit with the 18-55 and there 35 1.4 so much more than my D800 + Nikon glass. Even for landscapes and stock work, my bread and butter, I prefer the X-E1!
    It’s just so much more fun and convenient to use!
    Great job.

  2. Oh yea… One thing I NEVER, EVER leave home without are my 77mm Singh-Ray’s. I’ve got three of them, including a ND and they go where I go.


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