I need to be mindful before saying out loud where I'd like to visit.
While watching an episode of the updated Van Der Valk I mentioned to my wife how I have wanted to visit Amsterdam.
Tulips, art, and James Bond's Diamonds are Forever.
Isn't that what everyone thinks about Amsterdam?
My wife made inquiries and we booked a city break for the early spring. Our trip was before tulip season to avoid the largest crowds. And before I discovered the Amsterdam's preference for discouraging tourists.
I suspect if I mentioned my interest in a Donald Trump rally, I would have generated a different reaction.
Welcome to Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a blend of old and new. The city has canals, quaint cobblestone streets, and beautiful 17th-century architecture.
The city is also famous for its arts scene, food, and friendly, open-minded residents. A hub of culture, history, and diversity.
Amsterdam has redefined its approach to tourism. The city is focusing on sustainable travel, and encouraging visitors to be respectful.
This new approach hopes to protect the city's rich heritage and beautiful environment. The city hopes to deter the many groups of revellers who visit as a precursor to marriage.
The journey was a sentimental one for me because it would be the last trip with the Fujifilm X100V. As we set off to Amsterdam, I had listed the camera for sale on eBay.
I found it difficult to justify owning two top of the range cameras. The other being OM System's OM-1. It would be sacrilege if I were to limit the Fujifilm X100V for travel and street photography. The majority of my photography centres on landscape and long exposures and I fear the X100V would remain on the shelf most of the time.
Seven hours after arriving at our international airport we arrived at Amsterdam. That was six hours waiting for the delayed flight to arrive and one hour flying to the Netherlands. Though the flight seemed like five minutes because I slept for the whole journey.
The weather when we arrived was familiar. Lots of rain and wind. I had protected the Fujifilm X100V with its full weather sealing kit. The camera was better prepared for the weather than I was.
Rain in Amsterdam
Where do you go when it rains in Amsterdam?
The museums, of course.
A lesson learned in recent years is to book popular venues or restaurants before you leave home. Gone are the days of arriving on the doorstep and expecting entrance or a table.
With tickets on the smartphone, our first stop was the Rijksmuseum.
The Rijksmuseum houses an extensive collection of Dutch masterpieces, including works by Rembrandt and Vermeer.
The museum narrates the country's cultural and historical journey from Middle Ages to the present.
Fujifilm X100V: A Perfect Walkabout Camera
As I write this blog I miss the X100V. To be honest, I would keep the camera for walkabout shoots, street, and travel. But I had convinced myself that converting the X100V into cash for another Olympus lens was the way to go.
The Fujifilm X100V was the perfect walkabout camera.
- Being small and light, the X100V felt secure in the hand as I wandered museums and streets. A corded wrist strap added security.
- The X100V was discrete, compact and in the black finish, remained inconspicuous.
- A frequent criticism of the camera is the absence of in-body image stabilisation or IBIS. IBIS is unnecessary if you use the correct shutter speed.
- Weather protection with the extra kit makes the camera perfect for all conditions.
- The camera is ideal for hand luggage and easy to carry onboard a plane.
- Excellent build quality means the camera has a premium feel and can withstand some rough and tumble.
The camera's fixed 23mm F2 lens (equal to a 35mm on a full-frame camera), is a versatile choice for street scenes. The lens can capture wide enough views while maintaining the depth and detail.
The X100V's hybrid viewfinder gives a real-time preview of your shot.
One main downside with the X100V experience has little to do with the camera. It concerns Fujifilm's smartphone app.
Fujifilm fail to put the same effort into the smartphone app as it does with the hardware. Image transfers from camera to phone is an absolute pain.
I Still Need Two Cameras
I chose to leave the OM System OM-1 at home. The OM-1 is travel-friendly but at £2500 for the body and 12-40mm f2.8 Pro lens , I preferred to bring the £1200 X100V.
On the issue of price it is worth noting at the time of writing, the Fujifilm X100V could cost you much more. That's demand for you.
The X100V is an expensive camera for street photography. But if that's your genre, it is a perfect companion and priced over £3000 below the Leica Q.
I doubt I would bring the OM-1 on trips, especially city breaks. Which of course means I'll need to find a replacement for the X100V.
What is my impression of Amsterdam?
Your experience of Amsterdam will depend on how brave you are.
I tend to play it safe. At home and on travels I avoid late night city streets as other visitors become intoxicated.
We ran out of time for a safe red light district tour, but it is on the list for next time.
The Ann Frank House is a reminder of a horrific period of history and I preferred to avoid it.
But Amsterdam is a wonderful and vibrant city in northern Europe. Rich with history and art, with walkable historical areas where you can lose the crowds.
But let me warn you.
With the advent of e-bikes and e-scooters, the two-wheelers travel like bullets. And they zoom by at pedestrian crossings.
Cars stop when the pedestrians have the green light but cyclists are in a world of their own.
The trip also changed my preconception of Amsterdam. I had believed every resident was a cyclist. But besides the thousands of bicycles, there are millions and zillions of cars. Rush hour is like any other city.
The acid test - would I return?
Of the X100V.
Do I regret selling?