Fujifilm make some of the best mirrorless cameras for travel. The Fujifilm X-Series cameras have a cult-like following and have earned their reputation among traveling photographers for being compact, lightweight, and fun-to-use alternatives to the other brands.
That said, Fujifilm’s X-Series lineup can be a bit confusing for the new photographer. That is why I wanted to write this guide, to help travelers who are new to photography (or looking to buy a new camera) decide which Fujifilm X-Series camera is right for them.
I am assuming that you’re here because you’re considering buying a Fujifilm camera and need some validation, or that you’ve already decided on buying a Fujifilm camera and you need some help making a final decision.
If you’re the type of photographer/traveler who wants an excellent camera that can produce beautiful images straight-out-of-camera without having to sit in front of a laptop editing images all day, this article is for you.
I should add here that while most of these cameras do record 4k video, this article focuses on still photography and won’t consider video capability in its recommendations.
Bottom line up front - my recommendation (early 2023)
Any of the Fujifilm cameras listed in the comparison tables at the bottom of this post will be great to take with you on your next adventure. Though, I recommend that you purchase a Fujifilm X-T4 as it is the best balance of price, handling, image quality, and size.
The X-T4 offers IBIS (in-body image stabilization) and weather sealing. And though it is “medium bodied,” it is still quite small and light when compared to DSLR cameras, especially when using the smaller of the X-Mount lenses.
To be sure, there is a newer model (the Fujifilm X-T5). But that means the X-T4 can be purchased at a great discount. Unless you really need 40 megapixels of the X-T5 or don’t mind the expense, the X-T4 will be your best bet.
Why choose Fujifilm for travel over other brands?
The reason why I recommend Fujifilm X-Series cameras to travelers over other brands is because they offer the perfect balance of size, handling, image quality, and cost.
Having a light camera kit is just as important to the traveler as image quality. Because Fujifilm X-Series cameras use APS-C sensors, they are generlly smaller and lighter than their full-frame competitors. And smaller sensors means smaller lenses (read: not as much heavy glass to lug around).
You will need to factor in lenses when determining your travel kit, as some lenses can be quite large and heavy even for APS-C cameras. But Fujifilm makes compact, weather-sealed lenses that are well-built and discreet.
Design & handling
Fujifilm cameras are also known for their vintage-inspired designs. This is not a gimmick. Having vintage controls, like those on the X-T4, means quick and easy access to all the critical features you need, which means less time wasted scrolling through menus and fiddling with buttons.
And, Fujifilm cameras are simply fun to use.
Many a Fujifilm user prefers the handfeel of their camera, the way it feels in the hand and the way it works. Sergio Larrain spoke about the importance of getting a camera that feels good in the hand in a letter he wrote to his nephew, which is excellent advice.
A camera that doesn’t feel right is one that isn’t used.
Fujifilm film simulations for travel
Because the company has a long, storied history in producing photographic films, Fujifilm has been able to use its years of film and color science and research in its digital cameras.
Enter film simulations.
Every Fujifilm camera comes with “film simulations,” which are basically color profiles or—as the young kids say these days—“filters” or “looks.” They are digital recreations of the classic film “look.” They are subtle, but a little goes a long way.
Users select which “film simulation” they want to shoot with, and the camera will bake the color profile onto the image. So, when you transfer images to your computer or mobile device, they already look great. You might spend less time editing images in post-processing software like Photoshop, Lightroom, or Capture One.
If you shoot in the jpeg file format, the film simulations will be permanently baked into the image when you capture an image. If you shoot in the raw file format, you can apply whichever film simulation you prefer after the image is taken using your camera and Fujifilm’s X Raw Studio program.
There are many advantages to shooting in raw, including the ability to capture more information and to recover highlights/shadows in over/under-exposed images. But most of the benefits are enjoyed when using post-processing software like Lightroom and Capture One. The downsides to shooting in raw include larger file sizes and more time spent processing images on cameras and computers.
Personally, when I use my Fujifilm cameras, I shoot raw + jpeg with a modified film simulation. Why both raw + jpeg? I like keeping the raw files in my digital archive and having the jpegs for easy social sharing.
You can also edit or make your own film simulation in the camera.
What about sensor size?
The Fujifilm X-Series cameras have APS-C sensors. The sensor is the part of the camera that is light-sensitive and captures the image. APS-C sensors are much bigger than the sensors on your smartphones and, because of that, they create better images.
That being said, APS-C sensors are smaller than the “full frame” and “medium format” sensors you’ll find in other, more expensive cameras. There definitely is a difference, but unless you’re a professional photographer shooting for major advertising and media campaigns, chances are you won’t be able to tell anyway.
Images taken on Fujifilm cameras, and other cameras that use APS-C sensors, regularly appear on magazine covers, in articles for major digital publications, and on the walls of galleries. They win major photography awards. They’re all over social media. Don’t let anyone tell you that the sensors are not “professional” or good enough.
Just get a camera that you enjoy using and go make pictures. Don’t worry about it.
How to pick a Fujifilm camera for travel
Photographers who travel extensively have special needs. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when picking a camera for travel, whether it be a Fujifilm camera or one of any other brand.
- Handfeel: This is the single most important point for any camera you buy. You want to buy a camera that feels good in your hand, one that you like to use, or it will stay in your hotel room. Forget what everyone else shoots with. Get a camera that you like to use.
- Size & weight: Who wants to be burdened with heavy and bulky camera equipment? Keeping the size and weight of your camera kit down is imperative in travel situations. If the camera is too bulky or cumbersome, you’ll be less likely to schlep it around. Plus, being discreet is often nice.
- Weather resistance & durability: Weather is unpredictable. You don’t want your gear to get ruined while on the road. And, your camera might take a beating while traveling; it is critical not to buy a fragile thing.
- Expandability: Because travel presents us with different environments and situations, having a camera that can use different lenses is not unimportant to some shooters.
- Straight-out-of-camera images: Who wants to waste time editing pictures in a hotel room when you could be exploring the world? Getting good-looking images straight out of the camera is great for wasting less time in front of a computer and on-the-go social sharing.
- Video: If you’re the type of person who also likes to shoot videos, then pay attention to the camera’s video specifications and look for a body like the X-T4 that has IBIS (in-body image stabilization).
Mid-size Fujifilm comparison table
|40 MP sensor. IBIS. Weather resistant. 4k video. Brand new (as of late 2022).
|26 MP sensor. IBIS. Weather resistant. Fully-Articulating screen. Great for vlogging. 4k video.
|26 MP sensor. Weather resistant. Beautiful design. 100 grams lighter than the X-T4. 4k video.
|Larger file size. Expensive. Resolution may be overkill for hobbyists and casual photographers.
|Newer generation camera available.
|No IBIS. Not ideal for handheld video/vlogging.
|Amazing ultra-high-resolution interchangeable lens Fujifilm camera for travel.
|Best bang-for-buck, high-resolution interchangeable lens Fujifilm camera.
|Great for street photography. Hidden LCD screen forces you to focus on the photography and the experience.
|Weight w/o Lens
Compact Fujifilm comparison table
|26 MP sensor. Interchangeable lenses. Built-in flash. 4k video.
|26 MP sensor. Weather sealed. Built-in flash. 4k video.
|26 MP sensor. Interchangeable lenses. 4k video.
|No IBIS. No weather sealing.
|No IBIS. Fixed 35mm (equivalent) lens.
|No IBIS. No weather sealing. No flash.
|Compelling compact interchangeable lens Fujifilm camera.
|Best grab-and-go, fixed-lens camera.
|Compelling compact interchangeable lens Fujifilm rangefinder-style camera
|Weight w/o Lens
|478 g. (lens incl.)