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Your experiences with traveling light?


Jul 11, 2010
Melbourne, Australia
That closely reclects my own sentiments. Years ago I hiked with just a P&S in my pocket. IQ was adequate but not great. Then I discovered ILC cameras and bigger sensors. Not sure that was a positive development. I have at times considered selling all and getting an X100T or F as my only camera, but I'm not sure I can go backward now.
Yes, it's the 'not going backward' which the issue. Having seen what really good gear can do, but also experiencing what a pain in the bum it can be to travel with, I'm loathe to take my 5D Mark II, even though it has image quality and versatility beyond most of my other cameras. For some years, a DSLR was in my bag whenever I went out, even to the shops for groceries, but when micro four thirds was announced, it seemed like the answer to my wants. It wasn't until years later that the Olympus E-M5 that m43 seemed to fulfill its promise of high quality stills and video in a package smaller than a DSLR. Having said that, it doesn't have the IQ of the better aps-c cameras, let alone full frame. m43 is currently in my acceptable range for image quality, though.

In my gear list, I'm attempting to cover 21mm to at least 90mm so that I can shoot everything from landscapes in daylight to portraits in low light. Size is a factor, as some of my most enjoyable trips have been with just a couple of small cameras. Another option is the Leica M9 and Panasonic LX7, so I get high quality stills and an all round snapshot and video camera, but from experience, the difference in IQ would bug me. The GM1 with an ultrawide zoom like the Panasonic 7-14 or the Olympus 9-18 (thanks jssaraiva) could be a reasonable substitute for the LX7, but then we get back into larger footprint.

Constructing gear lists is a pasttime of mine, as you can tell, haha. :2thumbs:


Jul 11, 2010
Melbourne, Australia
I'm happy enough using one fixed focal length around my own locality, but to somewhere I might not go to in a very long time or ever again? Nah, I'm not that good at photography to pull that off to be honest, I know I'll be having too many 'what if' thoughts thereafter and what's the point of that?
The only way I could use a fixed focal length camera for travel is if it was a very high quality lens and sensor. With this, you can stitch panoramas in lieu of ultra wide angles, and crop in for moderate tele effect. The GR comes close, yielding a 28mm focal length for everyday stuff and a rather good 35mm and 47mm crop mode. The Leica Q, with its 28mm f1.7 lens and crop modes would also fit these criteria, but I don't own one of those (yet!). If I were to go overseas with just the GR, it would still need the 21mm adapter. Can't go without my superwides.


Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
Lexington, Virginia
The RX10 could be considered traveling light if it's all you carry, and not a multitude of other bits and pieces. I've often thought about a quality bridge camera like the RX10 II or III as a travel option.
It's pretty hefty but feels nice in the hand. It's basically built around the lens. An OMD body and the two small Panasonic zooms I listed above weighs a bit less than the rx10. OTOH, the rx10 is weather resistant and the little zooms aren't. As for comparing the IQ of the 20 mp 1" sensor with that for the 16 mp mu43 sensor and the equivalence of the slower little zooms to the faster 2.8 fixed zoom, I have learned that is a matter of religion.


Nov 12, 2010
I've said this before, but to me, a high quality fixed focal length compact (in my case the X100) and a "serious compact" zoom (LX series, X10 etc, RX10/100 series), is enough for my needs (but not necessarily wants) in well over 95% of the time. If the rx10i or ii were a bit smaller, it'd be my zoom choice without hesitation.


Dec 22, 2011
Copenhagen, Denmark
I've said this before, but to me, a high quality fixed focal length compact (in my case the X100) and a "serious compact" zoom (LX series, X10 etc, RX10/100 series), is enough for my needs (but not necessarily wants) in well over 95% of the time. If the rx10i or ii were a bit smaller, it'd be my zoom choice without hesitation.
I was thinking the same, but cropping my DP2M images beats zooming on my RX100 and my Ricoh GR beats the RX100 at wide angle, so I went with the "dual prime" approach.


Nov 12, 2010
Wow, is it that good? That's impressive!

Still, for a travel camera, convenience is key. Right now, for me to purchase a camera, it would have to have usb charging, and preferably also wifi.


May 31, 2015
Espoo, Finland
I think I never travelled with more than one camera and one lens. The bulkiest set was Canon 7D and Toking 11-16mm f2.8 in 2011. For the last few years it's been either Ricoh GR or Canon G7X. I don't really care about the shots I can't get (Garry Winogrand's quote about reloading was an eye-opener for me).


New Member
Mar 31, 2012
The most fun I’ve had with a camera was when I only owned my GF1 and 20mm 1.7. I’m not saying anything against my EM5, but have never bonded with it the same way. I’m actually going to sell up my m43 gear now and buy either an RX100 3 or G7X 2, probably the latter. I rarely print big, so the 1” sensor and small size appeal to me - I went to Santorini with Just my GoPro and loved it, smaller is better to me


Nov 12, 2010
I recently had 3 photos printed large (60, 75 and 80cm wide, print behind acrylic glass and HD metal prints), and they ended up ranging from really good to fantastic. All that from a lowly 12mp original X100 with its 2009/2010 era APSC sensor.

According to DXO, the current 1" sensor is pretty similar in terms of DR (although notably worse at high ISO), and even with a less than fantastic lens, you should be able to eek more than 12 effective mp's out of that 20mp sensor.

In short, at lower ISOs, you should be able to print sony 1" sensor pics Large.

Jock Elliott

Jan 3, 2012
Troy, NY
I find myself in a bit of quandary. I have an EM5, EM5 II (and four m4/3 lenses), XP90, G12, and HX400V. So what do I carry when I go out the door?

G12 45% of the time (running errands). HX400V 45% (walks with better half) and the other three split the remaining 10%.

Occasionally, I use the M4/3 cameras for assignments, but those are few and far between. Soooo, is it worth it to keep the M4/3 gear? I really don't know.

Cheers, Jock
What I have found is that the more gear I have, the more difficult the decision about what to take. I think if I was going to go travelling... it would have to be the FZ1000. A good compromise between weight and IQ, and a reasonable mid range zoom. The thought of carting my K5 and multiple lenses... UGH. I could happily take the Nikon V1 and multiple lenses, nearly no weight in that, but not the K5. But I probably would not, because the FZ covers the same range, has a variable angle screen and a decent VF, and I'd only have to have one bag for it and my usual "stuff". The same would apply if I had an RX10 of any version.


Bring Jack back!
Jan 11, 2011
Houston, Texas
I've only traveled real light three times. The most liberating trip was a Seattle/Vancouver trip armed with a Fuji X10 and Fuji X100. No lenses to deal with, and very lightweight. Even though the X100's IQ was far superior to that of the X10, I found myself using the X10 most of the time. There were at least a couple of days in which I didn't even carry the X100 with me. The X10 was a jewel IMO.

The other trip was one of the annual Bay Area trips, and I was armed only with the Panasonic LX100. Once again, no lenses to worry about. The LX100 and I just never bonded though, which is strange given that it has an EVF, aperture ring, 4K and large sensor. So I ended up not taking too many photos on that trip. In retrospect, the power zoom is what really turned me off about the LX100.

There was also a trip to Philadelphia and New England in which I carried the Panasonic GX85 with the 15/1.7, 35-100/4-5.6. But I also have not bonded with the GX85, and didn't take many photos with it. I ended up using the Samsung S8+ most of the time.

I've had another trip to the Bay Area carrying only the Fuji XT10 with the 35/1.4, 18/2 and 90/2. It wasn't a "light" setup though, given the size and weight of the 90/2. I ended up using the 35/1.4 on 90% of the photos. I should have ditched the 90/2.

Not sure what I'll carry on my annual Bay Area trip this year. Maybe it's time to undust the X100, and try one focal length only. Unfortunately, the X10 met its untimely demise at the hands of my old man.


Sep 18, 2017
( Coming late to the party because this is a topic on my mind at present.)

A couple of years ago I took my Panasonic GX7 with various lenses away on a road trip through the Victorian High Country, and I packed my Fujifilm X10 'just in case'. Instead, I only used the X10, as it was such fun and - as others have also mentioned - it didn't require thinking about which lens to use. I still reminisce about that trip and camera, and heartily regret selling it.

After pruning my camera count back to 1 a few months ago, it has again crept up to 3 and life is definitely more stressful having to make decisions!


Jul 9, 2010
Caguas, Puerto Rico
My last two serious trips were to Paris and Barcelona respectively. For Paris, I took a Leica M with 24, 35, 50 and 90mm lenses. The 90mm never left the hotel room. I would strap the camera around my neck, one lens in a coat pocket, and another in the other pocket. No bag to carry.

For Barcelona, I did not bring my Leica kit, since I was repeatedly warned about pick pockets. When I was actually there, I felt foolish about not having brought it, as at no point did I not feel safe. I brought a Nikon Df and 24-85mm. Again, no bag to carry.

In either case, there was no occasion where I missed any of the gear I left at home.


The GM1 is a fine, fine small camera for "traveling light". I own its updated sibling, the GM5 and probably over the years it has become my single most adaptable and flexible basic camera right for 'light' trips. If you have the desire to go even 'lighter', there are two fine general purpose lenses which combine both tininess, light weight, and superb optical quality - one is the astoundingly small pancake Panasonic zoom - the 12-32mm - which has surprising quality. The other is the venerable but still superb, in my prejudiced opinion, 20mm f/1.7 lens which slots itself FOV-wise somewhere between a standard focal length and a slightly wide angle - but with the relatively fast aperture, it is a superb available-light lens. The combination of these two - plus my tiny GM5 body - is my current favorite traveling light rig. Having said that, the two lenses you mention which you use with your GM1 - the 25mm f/1.8 and the 45mm f/1.8 - are both fine and small optics. But, size-wise, to get really finicky, they are larger than the two I mentioned - and for traveling, even though I tend to shoot primes, I love the convenience of a tiny ultra-wide-to-normal zoom.
I recently had 3 photos printed large (60, 75 and 80cm wide, print behind acrylic glass and HD metal prints), and they ended up ranging from really good to fantastic. All that from a lowly 12mp original X100 with its 2009/2010 era APSC sensor.

According to DXO, the current 1" sensor is pretty similar in terms of DR (although notably worse at high ISO), and even with a less than fantastic lens, you should be able to eek more than 12 effective mp's out of that 20mp sensor.

In short, at lower ISOs, you should be able to print sony 1" sensor pics Large.
Well, I recently had to select 3 images to go into my camera club's Xmas competition. These need A3 prints. Out of all the fancy kit I've had over the years, I chose 3 images from my RX100. They go to A3 just fine.

Atom Ant

Aug 31, 2017
Melbourne, VIC, Australia
On my most recent trip to Tokyo I used my Pen F and one zoom lens. I had packed more - an UWA zoom and a couple of quick primes - but I don't think I used them.

On my next trip to Japan I'll be with my wife - so less time for photography - and I'm tempted to carry just the LX100. On the other hand I might take the Sony with some bigger lenses just to subtly claim more photographic priority with my wife. That'd work wouldn't it?

Whichever system I take on trips, I try to take the smallest possible subset that I think I can get away with. That will be influenced by what I expect our hope to shoot, so that on some trips I'll happily leave behind UWA or telephoto options, but others will demand that shorter or longer focal lengths be covered. Inevitably I take too much on my first trip to a location, just in case, unless I've done serious research.


Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
I recently rented a Lumix GX8 and Lumix 12-35 f/2.8. A nice combination with good IQ, but it was as large as my Fuji X-E1 + Rokkor 24mm combination. I've pretty much given up on my "one lens for all" idea. That's why I originally rented the Lumix duo - to see if it was something that could replace all my gear. In a word - No. My X-T1 and a pair of small lenses fit neatly into my small sling bag. The weight is negligible. I like Fuji, but they are doing like so many other companies - making things bigger. The X-T1 is smaller than the X-T2 and X-Pro2, and the X-H1 to be announced soon is supposedly even bigger. The Oly E-M5 + 17mm f1.8 was a nice, compact combination, and if the stuff I've put on eBay sells, I may just grab the pair again for really compact outings.


Dec 20, 2013
How light I travel depends on my destination - I'm still mostly an ILC shooter. If it's urban / cities, I'll occasionally just take my iPhone, and nothing else. If I'm feeling a little more inspired to shoot, it's generally the A7r and one or two lenses (16-35/4.0, and 55/1.8). Sometimes I just take a 35mm lens. Anything that's bigger than an RX100 and I put it in a bag, so I don't mind if it's a little bulkier.

Now if there's wildlife to shoot, all bets are off. Although I occasionally consider a Sony RX10 mk IV as a 'do it all' for a lightweight version of a wildlife trip.

(and I won't mention dive vacations, a.k.a. 'how to make an RX100 rig put a FF mirrorless camera kit to shame')


Jul 11, 2010
Melbourne, Australia
It's been a few months since I started this thread, so I figured I owe you fine folk an update!

M9 - Bathing in the Sun by Archiver, on Flickr

in the months leading up to the trip, I laboured over multiple gear combinations and lens choices. Ricoh GR + 21mm and Panasonic GM1 + 25 and 45? Or would I go whole hog and bring the M9 and GH4 with me? I even vaguely tossed around the idea of bring a Leica M7 film camera, a bag of film, and my Panasonic LX7 for digital images. Or resurrect my Fuji Natura Black film compact, which accompanied me to Hong Kong 10 years ago.

Looking back through my trips and thinking about what I planned to do, my wants boiled down to:

  1. high quality stills and shallow depth of field
  2. stabilized video for capturing travel
  3. convenient snapshots
So I ended up going half-hog. The Leica M9 with 21/2.8, 35/1.4 and TWO 50mm, the Zeiss Sonnar and Leica Summicron. The secondary camera was the Olympus E-M5 with Olympus 17/1.8, 25/1.8 and 45/1.8, and the compact camera was my Panasonic LX7.

LX7 - Before the shopping storm by Archiver, on Flickr

The M9 got the most use. Work is so hectic that I don't give myself much time to shoot stills, which I lapped up in Hong Kong. The E-M5 came out more to shoot video than anything else, and I found it a bit cumbersome to switch out from a backpack too often, so it didn't get as much use as the HK trip four years ago. In fact, the LX7 sat in my pocket and shot a lot more than the E-M5, which follows my current practices of camera-around-my-neck and compact-in-my-pocket.

M9 - Texture in the Streets by Archiver, on Flickr

My dear friend and guide in HK let me use his Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f2 for an afternoon, and it is a super little lens. It's even smaller and lighter than the Voigtlander Nokton 35/1.4, and quite low contrast when wide open, but still sharp.

M9 - Tin Hau Temple 1 by Archiver, on Flickr

Even though I brought two 50mm lenses, I ended up using only the Zeiss C Sonnar, which gave a really lovely look and enabled me to shoot in very dark environments.

M9 - Lin Fa Kung Lantern by Archiver, on Flickr

M9 - Plumcot Baker by Archiver, on Flickr

What would I do differently?

There were times when I was frustrated with manual focus on the M9, particularly in dark environments where I was unable to stop down and go hyperfocal. The E-M5 and LX7 were great in these situations. But they don't have the image quality of the M9, so that's a trade off. The only solution would be to get a Sony A7 type camera and deal with either new lenses, or a Techart Pro autofocus adapter. Or lower my IQ standards a bit and use a 20mp m43 camera like the GH5 or G9, as I still really like the fast m43 lenses.

I wish I had been able to shoot a lot more video conveniently, preferably with a camera that has M9 stills quality. This would necessitate either a M240 (which has video) a Leica Q (which has a 28mm f1.7 lens and video) or get a Sony A7r or A7s variant. But I stumbled across another possible solution.

At a Sony Centre, there were all the Sony cameras and lenses on long tables for customers to try (PARADISE!) and that included the Sony RX0, a matchbox sized stills/video camera with a 24mm f4 lens and the 1" sensor of the RX100 series. With a small hotshoe adapter, I was able to mount the RX0 to the hotshoe of the M9, and it was like an oversized EVF. An arrangement like this would allow me to shoot video with the M9, or at least, shoot video without having to put down the M9. I had a 21mm optical VF in the hotshoe of the M9 most of the time anyway, so a RX0 wouldn't be much different.

With a Sony RX0 on the M9 and a compact for pocket snapshots, this would cover almost all my travel photography needs. The RX0 would be easy to activate without having to switch or pick up another camera. It could even taken 24mm stills with RX100 quality. The Panasonic LX7 continues to be an excellent pocket camera, but a LX10 certainly wouldn't go astray!

It was a super trip and I aim to go back to that amazingly photogenic country again. Thank you to everyone for your experiences and thoughts about traveling light.

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