It’s the end of the year and it’s time for a year-end family holiday. I am crazy enough to bring both GFX50S and the new GFX50R for a shootout. One Maldivian island, two medium format cameras ,four GF lenses and 8 beautiful days at Holiday Inn Kandooma. The four GF lenses are GF23mm, GF32-64mm, GF45mm and GF250mm mated with 1.4 TC. Oh and I also packed three other cameras for my daughter’s set-up, X100F, X70 and XP90 for all the things underwater.
This is our second time at Holiday Inn Kandooma. True to what we mention when we left last year; ‘we’ll be back”. But this time we brought more people back. My good friends and their four children to experience the wonder hospitality at Kandooma.
From a photographer perspective, I find it more difficult to photograph as nothing has change since I visited some 14 months ago. It’s not a bad thing
that this property has up kept well and still looks the same. That is where the fun and challenges comes. Isn’t it? Photographing familiar places differently. I guess this time round we have to play host to our friends as we a bit of an expert to this lovely island.
Here are photos to showcase this beautiful resort, the amazing staffs, wildlife and it’s landscape.
As the kiddos and wives were busy playing at the pool; I suggested to my friend, Hanson; why don’t we go to the local island for a tour. This local island is just across from the resort. Here is where we get to see how the local lives and go about their daily routine. A must itinerary. My last trip I took a catamaran across and I was given a 20-30 minutes tour. This year I decided to booked it’s local island tour at USD$29 for a 2 hours walk around the island. Two hours is a good time to explore the local island. Local stores and shop, colorful homes, a school, small hospital, police station and a couple of small restaurant in this island of about 2000 inhabitant. Time kind of stood still here in this charming Maldivain island.
Every Wednesday evening at 6pm is shark feeding session. If you wanna get up close to sharks; this is best opportunity. Or if you don’t like your travel companion this may be the perfect opportunity to accidentally push him or her down. Just kidding. Was told these are reef sharks they don’t fancy humans. In my last trip we even saw a couple to stingrays.
After a hearty breakfast; everyone is looking forward on our little expedition on this beautiful morning. This is a private 4 hour boat trip. According to the GM; he called this speed boat the Pink Chariot. Together with 2 crew and Ushan the marine biologist we headed off. First stop;looking for dolphins. As Ushan mention; nothing is certain when it come to nature. After traveling for about half an hour we saw dolphin! A pod of them. I think maybe 30-40 of them. Hanson and his daughter were the brave ones to dive in and have a closer encounter with nature. It was exhilarating.
Next stop. Lunch at the sand bank. It’s a pretty big sand bank or I could call it a tiny island.
A 5-7 minutes walk gets me around it. Here we get to swim; snorkel and explore. As it noon time
and rather hot and with no umbrella, the kids decided to build their own tents with beach towels.
Now that is the true spirit of an expedition; working with what we have! Well done kids! Lunch
was great with tuna sandwiches, a variety of danish pastry and tropical fruits.
With a heavy heart we say goodbye to this little sandbank. Next expedition is sea turtle spotting.
Ushan bring us to a reefs area where there are turtles. It didn’t take long before turtles were
spotted. Not just a place for turtle but also marine fishes.
Before heading back to Kandooma Hanson needed to make a pit-stop at the local island. Our last trip there; he saw a coral that he wanna purchase but we didn’t bring cash. So now is the
perfect timing plus we could bring our little explorers to visit the local island too.
For those that is planning to come to Kandooma; I would certainly recommend this 4 hour private expedition. The cost is USD$1800 for 8-10pax. Its great value considering it’s all-inclusive except for Hanson’s coral. This trip is certainly the highlight for the kids and us too.
Here are more photos from the rest of this wonderful holiday! We’ll be back again.
After using both GFX50S and the new range finder style GFX50R; here is my take. Many will ask if I could only choose one which will it be? I could only speak for myself; it’s GFX50S. Not that GFX50R is bad. They both house the same sensor. So in the IQ department there are no difference. GFX50S is a more all rounded camera. I have mounted the monster GF250mm lens with GFX50R. Do I have an issue with the handling? No. But when I mount it on the GFX50S; It certainly handle better because of the grip. GFX50R will work best with GF45mm and GF63mm. And I am sure it will shine more with the coming GF50mm Pancake lens. That I believe will be a marriage made in heaven.
So if you are into street, travel and documentary. GFX50R will be perfect. It’s also has a cheaper point of entry. About twenty percent compared with GFX50S. Which makes it very attractive. If you only shoot in Medium Format, GFX50R makes the perfect compliment as a second camera to the GFX50S. I don’t see the need spend more on a GFX50S as a second back up camera. I am just glad that Fujifilm now have two medium format cameras to cater to different needs of the most demanding photographers.
Below are some of my favorite photos from this holiday. Either shot with GFX50S or GFX50R which I don’t really care as long it’s a GFX.