A Slow Week – Champix Moods – And What Lenses to Buy?

I never really took any vacation last year. At least not the “going to a resort” or “going to a great city” kind. I took off a week when my mother first came to Manila in March – and then bookended the year by taking off a week in December to deal with her death. I’m taking off all of next week, and while I’d rather be spending that time in Bangkok or Penang or Vietnam, I’ll be in Hong Kong (for reasons that I won’t go into). It will at least function as a vacation – I won’t be going into the office, I’ll be staying at a nicer hotel than the one my company puts me in for business trips, I’ll see lots of friends and eat lots of good food … and I’ll buy a new camera.

So I’m expecting a pretty good week. And as a result this week feels as if it’s taking forever. How can it only be Wednesday when every morning I wake up convinced that it’s Friday?

I think that the medication I’m taking, Champix (to help me quit smoking), is contributing to my odd moods.

For some people stopping smoking, with or without treatment, has been associated with an increased risk of experiencing changes in thinking or behaviour, feelings of depression and anxiety and can be associated with a worsening of psychiatric illness.

Depressed mood may appear during smoking cessation with or without treatment. Depression, rarely including suicidal thoughts and suicide attempt, has been reported in patients undergoing a smoking cessation attempt.

Very common side effects which may affect more than 1 person in 10 are listed below:
o Headache, difficulty sleeping, abnormal dreams

– Common side effects which may affect more than 1 person in 100 are listed below:
o Increased appetite, changes in the way things taste, dry mouth
o Sleepiness, tiredness, dizziness
o Vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, feeling bloated, stomach discomfort, indigestion,
flatulence

So you get that last one, are they saying I will simultaneously suffer from constipation and diarrhoea? No, don’t ask me about the flatulence … ask my wife. At any rate, it seems to be working. My smoking is down by more than half and I think I’ll be able to stop completely soon.

So … the future. New camera, which as I previously mentioned is going to be the Fujifilm X-T2.

That part is easy. Deciding which lenses to buy is not so easy. I’ve already sold off almost all of my Nikon gear (just the 70-200mm zoom remaining, and if worse comes to worst I’ll bring it to Sim City in Mong Kok) and I don’t want to spend more than what I made in the sale.

Fuji has been very aggressive in releasing new lenses and there are 24 lenses currently available for their “X” cameras (and a handful of third party lenses as well).

Checking prices on the invaluable Price$ web site (Chinese language only, use Google Translate to navigate if you need it), and only considering “hong” goods (goods with manufacturer warranty) as opposed to  “water” goods (grey market), I see the following choices.

I could buy the X-T2 body alone for around HK$10,580. But I could buy it with the “kit lens”, the XF18-55mm F2.8-F4 R LM OIS lens for HK$12,780. That’s just HK$2,200 more for a lens that reviewers have said is much better than the average kit lens.

Or I could buy the XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR lens for HK$7,650. That’s HK$5,000 more. It’s F2.8 across the entire zoom range and it’s said to be sharper than the kit lens. It’s bigger and heavier (655 grams vs. 310 grams).  The cheaper lens has OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) but how much do I need stabilization in that range? The more expensive lens is WR (Weather Resistant) and that could be significant.

Then because I like zooms and used my Nikon 70-200 a lot, the Fuji equivalent is their XF50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR. It is also big and heavy (955 grams) but said to be wonderfully sharp. It costs around HK$9,650. Their alternative zooms – 18-135 F3.5-F5.6, 55-200 F3.5-4.8 and others – are cheaper but nowhere near as sharp.

I could save a little money going with their longest prime lens, the XF90mm F2 R LM WR (HK$6,000, 540 grams).

Then hoping I will have money left over to buy at least one prime lens. If I want the 50mm equivalent, there are two choices – the 35mm F1.4 R at HK$3,880 or the 35mm F2 R WR at HK$2,480.

Or there’s the teeny tiny XF27mm F2.8. No aperture ring, no weather resistance, “only” F2.8 but seriously small and light and going for around HK$2,000. There’s another small lens, the XF18mm F2 R. Smaller lenses like this would be make for something smaller and more easily just tossed into my day bag for every day use. But they’re not as sharp. There are more conventional 16mm and 23mm prime lenses available as well.

So here’s what I’m thinking: save money by buying the body with the kit lens, the one good zoom (50-140) and the cheaper 35 mm. That’s HK$24,910.

If I do sell the Nikon zoom, then I can consider the better 35mm or the 16-55 F2.8.

One way or another, I’m looking forward to the trip and looking forward to the new gear. I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday. How can it not be Friday yet? One this is for certain: