Old Retired Guy Photography and Vagabonding

Some time ago I had a number of different Fuji cameras. I had two x100f cameras, an X-T2 camera, and finally an X-T30 camera. Both x100f cameras had problems. I was told these cameras should last years with normal use. I guess old retired guy that is traveling throughout Southeast Asia is not normal use. The X-T2 camera had the “bad shutter button problem” while I was somewhere. I took it to a friend that owns a camera shop in Phnom Penh and he hefted it to Fuji Singapore to get it fixed. Some months later it hopped a bus to Siem Reap ostensibly fixed. Except two weeks later the same problem again. It’s not easy to get things fixed in Cambodia. Then I purchased the X-T30 camera with the 18-55mm kit lens. Later I would buy the 35mm F2 prime lens in Saigon. All this time I still had the iPhone 7 Plus. It outlasted the two x100f cameras and the X-T2. Go figure.

But now I was happy! I had a wonderful travel camera. Compact and useful. Except happiness only lasted a short time. The fujifilm camera remote app which can be used to transfer images or do firmware updates or remote control is basically a piece of crap. So I bought the lightning to SD card adapter.

At some point I upgraded my iPhone to the iPhone 11 and gave the 7+ to a Khmer friend in need of a replacement. I started looking at all the crap I had to carry for the camera. Batteries and chargers and type C cables and lens caps that would get lost and are hell to replace in Asia. Why? What if, for my purposes, the iPhone 11 would be a durable and useful travel companion? Well the workflow was basically zero. Take photographs. Edit in snapseed or darkroom or the very capable iOS 13 photos app and share. Why did I have to carry all the crap in a bigger daypack? So when I came back the last time I picked up the X-T30 and all the stuff from a Vietnamese friend in Saigon and gave it away. It all went. Lens and camera and chargers and SD cards and batteries. Then all my stuff when traveling fit into a so-called EDC bag. I could carry my iPad Air, iPhone 11 and later the 11 pro, portable battery and cable, AirPods, wallet and passport. Suddenly no need for a daypack. Yeah baby.

I had downsized my travel backpack while back in the US in January 2020 and then got the EDC bag and lost the need for the dopey looking small backpack on my front with the bigger backpack on my back. All could be carried in the EDC bag.

Lessons Learned

I did not need a camera like any Fuji camera for my moments and memories. I wanted light and easy and fast. Not a camera with all the parts I could forget in some airbnb in Taipei. Most of all I learned that the best camera is not just the one you have but it’s the one you have and use. My workflow went to zero. For me the combination of iPhone, Darkroom , snapseed and now Polarr, the Halide camera app and the photo app in iOS 13 was the kit.

Mission successful for my use. My use case was a small and portable device, easy to maintain, not a lot of moving parts and able to capture what I wanted. But most of all I had to be happy with the result. With the dedicated camera it was overkill. Too many things. Too many knobs and dials. Too many fragile cameras that cost thousands of dollars.

The final question,

Would it work for you?

I dunno your needs. I know my needs vagabonding around with hardly any stuff. I thrive on only a few possessions in small rooms in various countries and soon continents. My photography is for me but I love sharing so you can see and judge for yourself if it’s a place you should go. My love is to capture small things on streets that are overlooked. They tell stories. Perhaps you hear them sometimes. I listen to them when I can. Side streets in KL and alleys in Hanoi and non tourist markets in Taipei. Soon a new place.

So I don’t know. Perhaps it would not work for you and you need the camera for good reasons. I did not. Now the iPhone 11 Pro is more than enough for expression, creativity,fun, and experiences. But only for me.

Your mileage may vary ™.