Stephanie Yt is a 28-year-old London based photographer from Hong Kong whose love of travel has taken her from the surreal salt lake landscapes in Bolivia to the golden sunsets in the Serengeti. She has been shooting with her Fujifilm X100s since the beginning and now alternates between her new Fujifilm X-A7 kit with add-on lenses of the XC50-230mm and XC35mm F2.
Her love for travelling and food have since been documented and shared via her blog Steph Yt Travels and Instagram @stephyttravels and is now a popular online destination for travellers and foodies alike. Since lockdown she has been focusing her energy on UK travels, lots of home cooked meals and spending time with her boyfriend and fluffy cat, Mochi.
Sparkling lights, vibrant colours and a multitude of opulent textures, there is no question that Christmas in London is something magical to experience with lots to capture. And so with my Fujifilm X-A7 in hand, I popped down to Covent Garden to trial the camera’s many user-friendly functions amongst the dazzling displays.
The displays are always on point in Covent Garden and it’s all within a very close walking distance – less time travelling means more time for photos! The main display this year is the Tiffany & Co. Christmas pop up complete with large eggshell blue present boxes, miniature ice rink, and ivory white rental skates. It’s very photogenic and the striking turquoise and white make for some gorgeous shots with the X-A7.
I normally shoot on Manual mode and avoid the pre-determined user settings purely for the lack of trust that a camera’s in-built sensors would be able to accurately predict the lighting to create the high-quality image I had in mind. However, my journey to Covent Garden with the X-A7 proved that this camera’s many user-friendly settings were more than enough to create the most creamy and beautiful images. I put my trust in the camera, fluctuating between using the Portrait mode and the Landscape mode on the dial with no additional tweaking necessary.
In truth, the quality of how the X-A7 sensed light, white balance and what it figured would be the most ideal depth of field amazed me, as even with an automatic function on my trusty DSLR, I would not be able to rely on it to not pop the flash out every now and then in a low-daylight situation, giving me an image far from what I wanted. In fact, I would not be wrong to say that the Fujifilm X-A7 has given me some of the most high-quality images from ‘automatic’ preset modes than any other camera I have ever used.
A lot of restaurants in this area are key players in the Christmas display game, my favourites this year being Balthazar with its gingerbread house entrance, J Sheekey with its colourful Christmas dining terrace, Carluccios with the smooth and matte multicoloured baubles and the ivy with its smart-looking nutcracker standing to attention.
If you fancy a bite to eat, pop into my personal favourite Din Tai Fung for some of London’s best Xiao Long Bao dumplings, Flat Iron for a mouth-watering steak (the best in London for quality and value at £10) or Avo Bar for the avo-lovers and brunch enthusiasts.
For those looking for a more comforting fare, Balthazar’s and the Ivy are classic brasserie-style and serve everything from burgers and salads to truffle arancini and lobster linguine. If you fancy something warm and a bit festive, the Ivy Market Grill is also serving a delicious gingerbread latte that is guaranteed to warm you up and put you right in the mood for Christmas.
Finally, once you’ve exhausted the options, eaten all the food, and taken all the photos to your heart’s desire, finish your day off with a cuppa and macaron at the pretty pastel La Duree, or with a pint at the local rooftop pub Punch and Judy – make sure to head to the upstairs floors of both establishments for nice views overlooking the square.
For those who are looking to shoot for social media pages, the Fujifilm X-A7 allows the user to photograph according to different crops: the 1×1 square fit for an Instagram grid, the 4×5 which is closer to the portrait full size on Instagram, and finally the larger size of 9×11 fit for stories and phone backgrounds. Shooting in these crops means that as the photographer, you can compose the image based on what you want to capture with no fear of important features being accidentally cropped out.
Furthermore, this camera allows the user to send images from their camera to their phone in a straightforward and simple manner through the specially designed Fujifilm Camera Remote App. As a photographer and travel influencer, a big part of my job can be on-the-go, completing deadlines in a train carriage or on a plane, so being able to immediately download the photographs on my phone for edit and to send off ASAP is a huge help.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed using the Fujifilm X-A7; I think it’s a perfect option for a photographer looking to upgrade from their phone to a mirrorless camera that is easy to use yet yields images of exquisite quality. It was the first time in a long time that I have been able to shoot with the preset automatic functions and truly did not feel the need to shift to manual as the quality of the images were exactly as I would have wanted. It just goes to show that this little camera has the power to yield incredible images of powerful quality!