Ronda on Velvia (kind of)

We’ve just got back from a week in Ronda, in Spain. It’s a small town in the Andalusian mountains, with a couple of gorgeous old bridges, one of Spain’s oldest bullrings, and more cafes than you can shake a stick at.

We booked our holiday as a celebration of the end of a crappy year, in which bad health plagued our household. A trip up into the mountains and sunshine seemed like a great idea – and we weren’t wrong.

We spent a lazy week wandering around the town, eating things at small cafes (my vegetarianism also took a holiday, and I ate a shitload of iberico ham) and chilling in our lovely hotel room when it got too hot.

I took my X-T20 along, along with the perfect walking-about lens – the TTArtisan 25mm f2 pancake. I bought it just for this trip, as I’ve always been a bit disappointed with the shorter lens I have (Fujifilm’s own XC 15-55mm). It’s not got much character, and the plasticky build feels a bit flimsy. The TTArtisan didn’t disappoint – it’s all-metal, manual focus, with an aperture ring. It straddles the bridge between vintage lenses and modern ones nicely, especially when paired with the X-T20’s focus peaking functionality, which at this point I couldn’t live without. The only downside was the included lens cap, which for some reason was a screw-on (why?!) – I replaced it with a cheap pinch cap.

I also took along a longer zoom along, Fuji’s XC 50-230mm – even though it’s one of the cheaper XC lenses, on a zoom lens I don’t miss the aperture ring so much, and the plastic construction keeps the weight down. I didn’t use it as much as I thought I might, preferring the speedy and unobtrusive pancake.

I also made full use of the Velvia simulation, which was in its element in the sunshine. Velvia was my film of choice for holidays in the past, but at the eye-watering prices it commands now, I’m glad the simulation is so good.

I’ve had nothing but fun with the manual lenses I’ve bought for the X-T20 – the image quality isn’t perfect, but I don’t want perfect. The swirly character, slight vignetting, and retro styling is perfect for me – evoking the feel of old film lenses, without having to fork out lots of money for Velvia and slide film processing. I’ll definitely be taking it out for more trips in the future – the rest of my photos are here.

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