Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Back To Basics: Assembling My Kit

My last "Back To Basics" post covered the selection of equipment typical of what photojournalists 
working in the 1970's might have carried. The requirements were adjusted to accommodate the new digital technology, and appropriate adjustments made to lens selection and other equipment requirements. Nearly all of the pieces for this minimized kit have been identified, and the final camera-specific inventory includes:
  • A Fuji X100 with a  WCL-X100 Wide-Angle Conversion Lens attached,
  • A 27 mm F 2.8 "pancake" prime lens, and
  • A Fuji X-E1 body with a 50 mm F 2.0 WR prime lens.
This gives me four possible (35mm equivalent) focal length lenses: a 28 mm F 2.0, a 35 mm F 2.0, a 43 mm F 2.8, and a 75 mm F 2.0. Also, I have flash synchronization at all speeds in both 28 and 35 mm lengths. Considering the relatively large maximum apertures available using these primes, I have enough lens options for shooting indoor assignments at relatively short distances.

Click here for image source.
In addition to a flash and some essential bits and bobs, all of this will fit neatly into my LowePro Photo Runner 100 (sorry, no longer available, but you may still find one somewhere). Fitting everything  safely within introduced some interesting problems, with some interesting solutions.

Storing The Wide Angle Conversion: In the unlikely event that I need to remove the converter from the front of my X100, I included a 49mm screw-in lens cap. It turns out that this will thread directly into the back end of the converter, and provide protection much more secure than the rubber, slip on cap supplied with the lens. For more details, click here.

Body Choice: In the field, I found  it confusing to switch between Fuji's two different body types (the offset eyepiece bodies like the X100, the X-E, and the X-Pro series vs. the SLR  patterned X-T series). Once when I was on an assignment, I made the mistake of carrying one of each body type, and found myself frequently bringing the camera to my eye only to find the eyepiece in the "wrong" place. Pairing the X100 with an X-E1 eliminates the confusion.

I gained 0.053" by sanding the rear lens cap.
Making It Fit: Initially, the pancake lens wouldn't fit in the storage box I selected. Reducing the height of the rear lens cap might allow lid to close fully, so I clamped a strip of emery cloth on a firm, smooth surface and spent a few minutes sanding off the tiny ridge on the base of the cap. This gave me a bit of additional clearance, but not enough to clear the center-pinch front lens cap. Shazbot.

New Front Lens Cap Needed: I could gain some additional clearance if I used a screw-in front lens cap. The more convenient center-pinch caps were just too thick, and the screw-in caps add very little addition height. I manged to find only one on-line retailer who had them. And m
ind you, I'm doing all of this so that the pancake lens will fit in a $2.00 plastic box purchased at TAP plastics. I suspect I've just elevated my status to Black Belt Uber-Nerd.

I haven't had the opportunity to take this minimized kit on an assignment, but feel confident that once it is fully filled out, I will be reasonably well prepared once I settle on a suitable flash.