Traveling Light in Tokyo with the FujiFilm X100T

Since the moment I began my photographic journey I've always had the compulsion to go big or go home when it comes to camera gear. My Nikon D800, heavy glass, oversized Thinktank Retro 20 bag and a bevy of accessories were always on my shoulder, giving me comfort that I was prepared for just about any possible situation that could present itself. As time went on the weight became more of a burden and I found myself carrying too much gear to the point that it influenced my decision making.

How far do I need to walk to get to the shoot location? Am I bringing the right gear for the moment? Should I use the 70-200mm or the 16-35mm? Do I have enough time to move my polarizer from one lens to the other before the moment passes?

It was a trip to Tokyo in 2013 that finally broke me. Afraid I'd never make it back to mainland Japan I brought most of my kit and a Redrock Micro video rig for good measure. My wife and I spent a full week wandering the city 10 hours a day in freezing December temperatures. Hopping on to this-and-that metro, squeezing past thousands of other commuters, huffing it up countless staircases and along miles of pavement. At the end of what was supposed to be a relaxing trip, I had a lot of images that I was happy with, but my "vacation" felt more like work than relaxation.

 My Fuji X100T, fresh out of the box.

My Fuji X100T, fresh out of the box.

A few years later I fell into FujiFilm's trap and purchased an X100T. This marvelous little camera is filled with virtues and a ton of features (that I won't go in to here as they've been extensively covered on review sites everywhere). The virtues I'd like to cherry pick on are weight and simplicity. The common phrase "keep it simple stupid" applies to the X100 in spades as it is an easy to understand and operate camera with a single non-interchangeable lens with a 35mm equivalent field of view. This, combined with the overall small size of the camera lends it to be a lightweight travel camera.

In 2015 my family and I made another trip to Tokyo, made much more pleasant by the fact that I decided not to take the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-approach and only packed the Fujifilm X100T. It was probably the most liberating experience I've had since taking up photography. A single lens, a single body, and no camera bag to fuss with (I simply stuffed it in the top of my backpack which held provisions for a 5 and 1 year old).

The X100T allowed me to get the images I wanted to make, didn't burden me with too many difficult decisions or make me out to be an obvious tourist, and saved my back. Most importantly, it allowed me to enjoy the moment with those that matter most to me.