Photos & Projects

Travelling Light in Japan with Fujifilm X-Pro3 – By John Scott

April 11, 2020

Jan 2020. Destination, Yuzawa, Tokyo, Akihabara Japan. The goal, to travel light but still take a set of amazing photos. I have travelled Japan many times so this time round I was determined to capture a different side than the usual tourist style shots. I wanted to find angles, areas that were a little odd, places that were photographed constantly but in a slightly different way.

My travel kit

The Fujifilm X-Pro3 + 16mm f2.8 + 23mm f1.4 + 35mm f2 lenses (I also had my Leica M10). Small, light, weather proof (except the 23mm) lenses and camera body. This was important for me as the first destination was the snow at Yuzawa.

Yuzawa

Yuzawa was a beautiful little snow town. Old world streets and shopfronts with a relatively quiet snow field. Everything was a short walk away. There was a bit of snow and rain so the weather sealed and light camera set up was great.

I spent a great deal of time out in the elements, walking the snow and just having a great time photographing the scenery.

Tokyo

The next destination was Tokyo via the bullet train. When travelling in Japan, you must simply try the bullet trains. Clean, efficient and fast, the bullet trains are a great way to zip through the country side. I used the moment of calm to take photos as we passed the changing countryside. The Fujifilm 35mm f2 was my lens of choice giving me speedy autofocus and a nice wide aperture. From snow to suburbs to the bustling centre of Tokyo.

While in Tokyo I transferred to the JR line and made my way to Akihabara. Akihabara is the craziest, busiest, tech centre in Japan. Staying at the Washington Hotel, I was a mere stones throw away from Yodobashi. For those who don’t know, Google Yodobashi Japan and you will soon discover that Yodobashi is a giant tech store with a HUGE camera selection with EVERYTHING on display for you to try. I believe I entered Yodaobashi in the morning and emerged some time after dark, time had seemed to have passed rather fast while I was inside.

Asakusa

Apart from Yodobashi, staying along the train line allowed me quick access to get to Asakusa Shrine. I was very excited to re-visit this shrine since the last time I was here was 10 years ago. Much to my delight not much had changed. The location was still as beautiful as ever and the small little shops were still bustling. I spent a good deal of time walking and wandering, getting lost amongst the crowds of people and little hidden streets.  The Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 was a great lens to capture the sights and street candid photos. But the Fujifilm 23mm f1.4 was the real gem here, allowing me to shoot wide open enabled a fast shutter speed to capture those authentic, candid street shots.

Homeward bound

The last stop on the journey was the train to the airport. I had shot a wide variety of subjects (street, candid, portrait, landscapes) with my holy trinity of lenses. It was really nice to not be loaded down by a heavy load of camera gear. I had just the essentials and I was able to enjoy my trip as well as take photos.

Take a look at my instagram page https://www.instagram.com/hotshotstudio01/ and on my youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY747ormmi8 for all the shots and a short film shot with the Fujifilm X-Pro3.

Thanks for reading!

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    AmDe Sidik
    April 11, 2020 at 11:47 am

    It sounds simple and handy travel ..but usually to make something simple can be difficult too all but planned out. I like seeing the product–photos . Travelling with good tools make mission second to none

    • Reply
      John_S
      April 13, 2020 at 2:17 am

      I agree with you. I was guilty of travelling with every piece of gear and kit I could squeeze into a bag in my past life. Now I feel liberated by the minimal nature of equipment that allows me to enjoy my time and take photos. I think it’s this simplicity that helps.

  • Reply
    Axel
    April 11, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Very nice pics, John! I love traveling to Japan, and Asakusa as well as the neighboring Ueno and Kappabashi are my favorite places in Tokyo.

    • Reply
      John_S
      April 13, 2020 at 2:18 am

      Thanks for the compliment. Japan is definitely one of those countries that I keep coming back to. Love the culture, people and places

  • Reply
    Huss
    April 11, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Nice work Jon! Were you using one of the jpeg sims?

    • Reply
      John_S
      April 13, 2020 at 2:19 am

      Thank you! Yeah I was using Classic Chrome but also shooting RAW and editing in Photoshop.Camera (I was one of the Beta testers). I love the fuji simulations but over the years have developed my own style of colour treatment.

  • Reply
    eric
    April 12, 2020 at 5:40 am

    ahhhhhh !!! So happy, thank you so much. Many thanks. whaou, at last some great pictures of Japan and Tokyo ….. I was missing and hoping we will have …. THANK YOU SO MUCH.
    Your pictures have story, history, are natural, well composed, … they are perfect.
    This is what I see in Japan and from many great photographers, …Thanks you give me rising sun about the pictures of Japan. Thank you so much
    To have so many cameras digital, films from Leica, Sony, Nikon, …. the Fuji images are great and the X-Pro 3 is a must. But, they do not change my passion for films and the fact I use mainly film, but this digital camera is a must

    • Reply
      John_S
      April 13, 2020 at 2:21 am

      Ha thanks for such an enthusiastic response and positive feedback! I always try to tell a story about the place or the item or the person so I am glad you appreciated that. Love that you continue to enjoy film. I too still shoot film but it is a little more costly nowadays compared to digital but yes I hear you. Thanks

  • Reply
    Bernhard
    April 18, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    Hi John,

    very impressive images from Japan.

    Stay well in this days

    • Reply
      John_S
      April 19, 2020 at 12:13 am

      Thanks for the compliment. It was fun taking the photos. Stay safe too

  • Reply
    Jay Dann Walker
    January 10, 2023 at 10:05 pm

    A most excellent article, with equally stimulating (and I think, entirely appropriate to the culture) candid images – as I’ve found over the course of a long lifetime with cameras, the essence of good travel is to go lightly, move slowly, take time to savor as well as to record – and keep your gear to the very minimum.

    Put me in your shoes, and I would have taken (correction here, I do take!!) the following –

    A Fujifilm XT2. Which I’ve found in every way, is THE perfect camera for all my travel needs. I bought into Fuji in ’21 after decades with Nikon (yes, I still have all my N gear), until age forced me to rethink my gear needs and ponder new ways to travel more lightly. When I decided to Go Fuji I lucked into a pair of demo XT2s at a budget price, AUD$500 for one and AUD$650 for the other. So Fuji is is. And I have never looked back.

    The kit zoom, 18-55 Fujinon. It stays on my XT2 90% of the time, and does everything I want it to. So far my only “concern” with this otherwise in all ways most excellent lens, is its relatively high contrast – which I’ve “tamed” to an extent by changing film modes from Chrome to one of the Color Negative films. Also cut down on the dynamic range. Which now produces images to the quality I look for (and my few remaining book publishing clients agree with).

    I’m not a standard lens or telephoto lens shooter, so the 55mm setting on the zoom suffices for my very few needs for long shots. Maybe 2% of my shooting is done at 55.

    The Fujinon 18/2.0. This is my fave walkaround/walkabout lens. As with th 18-55, it has never let me down. Ignore all the doomsayers who pooh-pooh this lens for various reasons (all relatively minor, and as I suspect, more to do with their own shortcomings as photographers, than with any technical or other fault with the lens). Like the zoom, it does what I want it to, with the added advantage of being light enough to fit into a (big) pocket, usually in my travel vest.

    One other lens. Sometimes the Fujinon, 14/2.8, a, otherwise the Fujinon 23/1.4. Here the lens book is entirely open on a blank page. As with just about everything else in life, YMMD…

    And that’s it!! Wandering about with one camera and two lenses at most two lenses, lets me concentrate on the actual experience of being, without worrying about technique or technicalities. Which is, to me, why I travel.

    You write well, John, and I (as well as many others, I’m sure) will be following you here. Let us have more, please!!

    From Dann in Melbourne

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