This is the best stuff I've been using throughout the year, on the streets, in the studio, at events, at home and out on location in the US, Canada, the UK and Iceland.
Camera It’s a tough choice between two great cameras, the Fujifilm X100F and Fujifilm X-T3. Just writing that feels like a privilege to be able to shoot with some of the latest and greatest gear, even if it’s not quite Leica or medium format. The X-T3 has been getting consistently excellent reviews and is the best all-rounder from Fuji so far. It’s the best camera I’ve owned. My favorite though? That’s a tougher choice. The X100 has that bit more character, although the X-T3 is a beautiful design too, especially in silver. And I haven’t had the X-T3 for long yet so the X100F just edges it as my favorite for now.
Lenses The X100F obviously has it’s excellent fixed 23mm f/2 which I loved using. On the X-T3, I mostly switch between the great little 35mm f/2 and the 56mm f/1.2. Otherwise I think I’ve only used the old 18-55 zoom once for an event. The 35mm is easily my favorite on the X-T3, for it’s size, versatility, excellent autofocus and, crucially sometimes, weather-sealing. We’re going to be trying out some of the Moment smartphone lenses too very soon.
Other cameras I’ve been rediscovering the joy of phone photography. Maybe because I use Fujifilm for all client work, I find a freedom in just using my phone sometimes. It feels more like play, like sketching, without worrying about pin-sharp images or high resolution files. For most of the year I used an iPhone 7 Plus, which was a great phone with an excellent camera but mine had a small crack in the camera lens. In September I picked up a cheap (~$150) Google Pixel mk1 on eBay. It’s fast and reliable and the images have been excellent, and I'm in the process now of switching over to a Pixel 3 (and Google Fi) thanks to a Black Friday deal.
Software For desktop editing I’m using primarily AlienSkin Exposure X3 now, which has been very good. Occasionally not quite as slick as Lightroom but it’s being updated pretty rapidly too. I didn’t like being tied into the Adobe subscription, and then finding out that doing a clean uninstall of Adobe software is virtually impossible made me like it even less. Exposure provides a good alternative, although I'm going to be trying out the updated Luminar by Skylum too now that it includes some file management functionality.
I’ve also been doing more mobile editing on an iPad. I like using a stylus directly on screen (as opposed to a graphics tablet) and there are plenty of great editing apps. Affinity is the most powerful but I mostly use Polarr, Pixelmator and Snapseed. As often as I try other apps, Snapseed is still my default and favorite. Polarr runs it close though, it’s more capable but the interface isn’t quite as nice.
Accessories I'm still using my trusty ThinkTank Retrospective 5 bag, and a Peak Design strap. I used the excellent Peak Design pouch when I had the X100, but the X-T3 is too big for it so it’s back to the ThinkTank.
I'm still using an early 2015 MacBook Pro which is fine, but I was given a Synology DS418 NAS drive for backups. So now my main hard-drive backs up automatically to the Synology, which backs up automatically to Amazon Drive (all using the Synology software). So it's a nice little solution and seems to be working well (I do manually check it occasionally just to make sure).
I haven't done much studio work recently so my lighting kit hasn't been called into action for a while, but I'm still very happy with Godox lights and Westcott softboxes.
So, the gear I consider to be the best I've used through this year:
Fujifilm X-T3 Fujifilm XF35mm f/2 Google Pixel 3 (cheating a bit because I've barely used it yet) AlienSkin Exposure X3 Snapseed ThinkTank Retrospective 5