Your experiences with traveling light?

Back in 2017 when I posted in this thread, my Traveling Light kit was a Lumix GM5 + the tiny 12-32mm zoom.
In the intervening period, for several years my favorite T.L. kit was the same one Matt (@MoonMind) described eloquently earlier, the small but oh-so-capable APS-C Canon G1x Mk III, a superb (and superbly capable, for most of my purposes) small camera. But it too has departed for greener pastures.
For the last two or three years, my Light Travel kit has pretty much consisted of one of the following two cameras--
EITHER the compact small-sensored Fuji X30 (a wonderful little jack of all trades, which essentially replaced my old G1xMkiii)
OR the Lumix GX9 with a small prime on it. For some time the prime was the excellent pancake-thin 20mm Lumix lens, but these days it's the quite small (though not quite pancake sized) PL 15mm, which is probably my favorite :mu43: lens ever.
For this new year (2024) I'm adding a 3rd camera to the Kit, one which is so minuscule that it really does slide unnoticed into a jeans pocket, and is so minimal looking that few people realize that a serious compact photo tool lurks inside: my (recently acquired) little Fuji XF10.
 
It's a good time for this thread to resurface, as I'm getting very close to my first overseas trip: we are heading to Athens for a week's stay for our 10th wedding anniversary. As we are trying to go very light (a backpack plus hard-sided carryon each), I have had to think about a minimalist gear setup to enjoy exploring the city, plus one or two extra destinations (one of which will be Meteora via tour bus).

Initially I had considered how much I'd like to have the K-1 II along for the trip: battery longevity, optical viewfinder, weather sealing, image quality, lens rendering, etc. But realistically I know that it's not a good camera for traveling light, and I backed that up with research: on a recent overnight trip to Victoria, Canada, I took the K-1 with the proposed kit: the 31mm Limited and the FA 50mm f1.4 (with an old DA 55-300mm just in case. Turns out more or less as I expected: it's not a good lens, and I'd have gotten better results I think cropping in from 50mm in the cases I used it. But at least it was lightweight). I carried it in my Brevite backpack, and it was, quite simply, too heavy. My neck/shoulders suffered with a long couple of days spent mostly walking around. So the K-1 is off the table. It may take some willpower to avoid grabbing it with the fifty on the way out the door, but I need to remain strong.

It should go without saying that the GRIIIx is an easy choice. It weighs nothing and is tiny, it could ride in a pocket on the airplane even if every square inch of luggage was utilized.

The camera which hasn't seen a lot of use in the past year is the Em5 II. I had gotten rid of practically all my M4/3 optics, except for the TTartisan 23mm which doesn't have much resale value. I took a chance and bought a used 12-45mm f4 Pro to see how it handles and how I like the results in the weeks prior to the trip, and I like the lens a lot. It's a modern rendering lens, somewhat clinical, but sharp as a prime at any focal length, and the saturated colors and organic noise/grain of the 16mp sensor in the EM5 II make up for the clinical look to my eye.

The EM5 II and 12-45mm Pro make a coherent, small kit: sturdy, weather-sealed, and small, and it rides along quite well on a shoulder strap. So I think my kit will be simple, just the Olympus with the one lens and the GRIIIx, for those times when I don't want to be noticed as much. The GR is redundant, focal-length-wise, and for its higher resolution and IQ improvement, it still has some drawbacks: the IBIS is not super effective, since the area the sensor has to move around is so small, and the low-light IQ isn't the best among APS-C cameras -- but that's nitpicking. The Oly can handle some impressively long shutter speeds even at longer focal lengths, when shutter speed isn't a consideration, and the GR can do zone/snap focus and/or faster shutter speeds. They should complement each other nicely enough.

The funny thing I noticed about the origin point of this thread (2017) is how similar my travel kit would have been to those days: I went from an EM10 mark I when the Panasonic GX85 was released, and had a GM5 to go along with it. A year or so later, I got a GRII. So, while I've sized up in cameras from those days, the M4/3 and compact cameras have never stopped being relevant, even the 16mp sensor!
 
Thanks @MiguelATF for pinging me - I hadn't looked at this thread for a long time.

Considering how much my kit has changed overall, I'm happy to report that the Canon G1X III is going as strong as ever - in fact, I've now used it as my only camera on a couple of trips. The one thing I added since I last talked about this camera in this thread is a screw-in hood to protect the lens from raindrops (and some of the possible bumps).

I also have to confirm Andrew's (@agentlossing) choice as very similar to mine: The Olympus OM-D E-M5 III with 12-45mm f/4 PRO makes for a superb one-stop solution for city travel; sometimes, I also take along one or two additional Panasonic primes: firstly, the 25mm f/1.4 II - nice and bright, small enough, very pleasing rendering (not as good as the OM System 20mm f/1.4 PRO, but distinctive), secondly, the really great 9mm f/1.7. All this fits into the smallest of my bags (a ThinkTank Retrospective 4) or my usual EDC bag (ONA Bowery) with ease.

Other very successful light setups include the Fujifilm X100V as well as something that some might not consider particularily "light", but it's certainly light and compact enough to be carried in a small bag all day: the Nikon Z 7 II with the Z 26mm f/2.8 lens. I used both of these as my sole cameras on different (consecutive) tours to Berlin, and while shooting them offered quite a different kind of experience, I was very pleased with the results I could get with either.

For a more universal combo, I've gone to Nikon Z DX: Z 50 with Z 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 DX, Z 12-28mm f/3.5-5.6 DX PD and Z 24mm f/1.7 - this has completely replaced my former setups build around the Olympus E-M10 first and E-M5 III later. Actually, the lens that "makes" the current setup is the superzoom - the Z 18-140mm DX is much better optically than it has any right to be. Of course, I'm missing the superb weather-sealing of my previous universal :mu43: combo (which included both the 14-150mm II and 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO), but in actual fact, I usually take the G1X III as well to have a truely small camera as well as a decently weather-sealed one. Needless to say that the current combo fits into the Retrospective 4 as well, even together with the G1X III (which I usually carry separately anyway).

I've also had a great time with other combinations, and with the Z fc and some primes (Voigtländer Nokton 23mm f/1.2 and/or Voigtländer APO-Ultron 35mm f/2, Laowa 10mm f/4 Cookie, Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8) and now the Z f with a single prime (Voigtländer Nokton 40mm f/1.2 or Nikon Z 26mm f/2.8) in the mix, I have plenty of really appealing choices for minimal setups. I actually think the Z f with the Z 26mm f/2.8 might be a great combo for minimal travel ...

Oh, and I'm really looking forward to travelling with the Leica M10 and just one lens, the Voigtländer Nokton 35mm f/1.5 - wonderful lens, wonderfully compact setup. Not on par with any of my Nikon Z FX bodies technologically, but fantastically rewarding to work with. I hope for a sufficiently serendipitous opportunity soon. I tried something similar before and found it immensely liberating (Leica M 262 with Voigtländer Ultron 35mm f/2 - now that was a lot of fun for sure, certainly reason enough to try it again, too).

While contemplating this subject once more, I've just realised that through shooting daily for so long, I know about a pretty big number of light and easy-to-carry combos that offer a lot, so I could probably continue with ideas for quite some while. I'll leave it at that, though - however, I want to stress how rewarding travelling light (as in, just light enough to have everything you're going to want at your destination) or even minimalistic really is. Taking too much (I've done that, too!), on the other hand, isn't - on the contrary. You're exporting a gratuitous type of anxiety with an abundance of gear that doesn't add anything worthwhile to the experience.

M.
 
For those who have a lot of gear, have you ever decided to travel light and minimize your gear? What did you take? And what were your experiences?
I use cheap airliners to travel around where luggage restrictions are borderline rediculous (i.e. hand luggage 45x25x12cm). I usually have one camera and one lens.
Never had any issues. I plan ahead- if i am going to a busy city, i take the 35mm, if not the 50mm. Has worked well for me, i never felt that i missed a picture because i didn't have the right equipment.
 
I also have to confirm Andrew's (@agentlossing) choice as very similar to mine: The Olympus OM-D E-M5 III with 12-45mm f/4 PRO makes for a superb one-stop solution for city travel; sometimes, I also take along one or two additional Panasonic primes: firstly, the 25mm f/1.4 II - nice and bright, small enough, very pleasing rendering (not as good as the OM System 20mm f/1.4 PRO, but distinctive), secondly, the really great 9mm f/1.7. All this fits into the smallest of my bags (a ThinkTank Retrospective 4) or my usual EDC bag (ONA Bowery) with ease.
I've considered the EM5 III a little leading up to this, for the slight improvement in IQ and (probably) faster operation. But I don't love the plastic body -- it's a silly objection, but it remains. I might stop by a shop and handle one again if I can find one, just to confirm/deny my previous feelings. I already flipped on my opinion of the 12-45mm f4 Pro, after all.
 
I feel like I travel relatively light, but more so in general luggage/clothes than photo gear.

I went internationally to South Africa and Bruges last year, both times with hand luggage - a main backpack, and a camera shoulder bag (which counts as my "personal item").

Both times I've taken a Panasonic G9, a Panasonic 14-140ii, an Olympus 17 and 45 1.8, a GM1 and an LX15.

For South Africa, I also packed a GoPro, a GX80, a Panasonic 100-300ii and a Panasonic Leica 50-200.

Perhaps that seems like too much, but I used every item that I packed at least a couple of times. Each item fulfills a role that I don't feel could be adequately played by something else - plus there's redundancy (which was of particular concern for the Africa trip - scared to go all that way for a safari and have a camera break!)
 
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I feel like I travel relatively light, but more so in general luggage/clothes than photo gear.

I went internationally to South Africa and Bruges last year, both times with hand luggage - a main backpack, and a camera shoulder bag (which counts as my "personal item").

Both times I've taken a Panasonic G9, a Panasonic 14-140ii, an Olympus 17 and 45 1.8, a GM1 and an LX15.

For South Africa, I also packed a GoPro, a GX80, a Panasonic 100-300ii and a Panasonic Leica 50-200.

Perhaps that seems like too much, but I used every item that I packed at least a couple of times. Each item fulfills a role that I don't feel could be adequately played by something else.
LoL.

Last trip we went on was 6,727 Kms in one of our Subaru Foresters.
GVM ~2,000 Kgs.
We weren't travelling light ...
 
I feel like I travel relatively light, but more so in general luggage/clothes than photo gear.

I went internationally to South Africa and Bruges last year, both times with hand luggage - a main backpack, and a camera shoulder bag (which counts as my "personal item").

Both times I've taken a Panasonic G9, a Panasonic 14-140ii, an Olympus 17 and 45 1.8, a GM1 and an LX15.

For South Africa, I also packed a GoPro, a GX80, a Panasonic 100-300ii and a Panasonic Leica 50-200.

Perhaps that seems like too much, but I used every item that I packed at least a couple of times. Each item fulfills a role that I don't feel could be adequately played by something else.


May I ask how you used the gopro in the context of the rest of your camera gear? Did you use it as a casual video camera to catch random memories, or did you use it with the intent to create video footage that is at least up to standard as your stills shots?
 
For years my experience was to go with the Nikon Coolpix A for a very reliable pocket compact. A bit wide for some with the 28mm lens.
But I am very comfortable with that focal length. It has been replaced in the last year with the GRIII which is even smaller.
If I am able to carry a larger camera, usually in a backpack, then it is the Q2 which again is 28mm. Have been very pleased with the 50mm, and 75mm crop. It is really versatile and makes a small light weight carry that can be used one handed if time does not allow for photography (I bring it along on work travel).
 
I always rely on my Ricoh GR III. Even when I'm "without a camera", the GR is typically with me.

When I'm traveling, I typically pack a second camera. A Fuji X-T3, in my case. The "light" option is a single prime lens, typically the 23 f/1.4 (or sometimes the 35 f/1.4). I'll just carry that on a strap, or toss it into the backpack, no camera bag needed.

But I have to say, traveling "heavy" only adds two lenses in a BYOB, so it's not like I'm much of a gear hoarder in general.
 
I always rely on my Ricoh GR III. Even when I'm "without a camera", the GR is typically with me.

When I'm traveling, I typically pack a second camera. A Fuji X-T3, in my case. The "light" option is a single prime lens, typically the 23 f/1.4 (or sometimes the 35 f/1.4). I'll just carry that on a strap, or toss it into the backpack, no camera bag needed.

But I have to say, traveling "heavy" only adds two lenses in a BYOB, so it's not like I'm much of a gear hoarder in general.


What do you mean without a camera? The Ricoh is a very capable camera.
 
I am having a hard time sticking to my decision but I am traveling to Japan (starting tomorrow) for a full month and I am planning to pack light for this trip. Specifically purchased for this trip, Leica Q 116 will be the main camera that covers the wide normal to normal (with its cropping power) and to accompany it, the Panasonic G80 with a 35-100 zoom to provide for the tele angles.

Nothing else. This removes all of the selection anxiety and my kit comes with me anywhere I want to go.

This is to mimic a successful kit I had to my road trip in 2018 when it was the Q and the Pen F. This time I have the Panasonic that shares batteries with the Q.

(Honestly, I am not at all sure this will be a good trip, photography wise. I have grown into the 50mm FOV so much during these last few years I fear the Q will feel too unwieldy for anything I'd want to shoot. Luckily in practice it's not that bad. The best thing I can hope to achieve is to gain new understanding and appreciation towards the 28mm FOV and work with it.)
 
I am having a hard time sticking to my decision but I am traveling to Japan (starting tomorrow) for a full month and I am planning to pack light for this trip. Specifically purchased for this trip, Leica Q 116 will be the main camera that covers the wide normal to normal (with its cropping power) and to accompany it, the Panasonic G80 with a 35-100 zoom to provide for the tele angles.

Nothing else. This removes all of the selection anxiety and my kit comes with me anywhere I want to go.

This is to mimic a successful kit I had to my road trip in 2018 when it was the Q and the Pen F. This time I have the Panasonic that shares batteries with the Q.

(Honestly, I am not at all sure this will be a good trip, photography wise. I have grown into the 50mm FOV so much during these last few years I fear the Q will feel too unwieldy for anything I'd want to shoot. Luckily in practice it's not that bad. The best thing I can hope to achieve is to gain new understanding and appreciation towards the 28mm FOV and work with it.)

Your experiences with traveling light?
 
May I ask how you used the gopro in the context of the rest of your camera gear? Did you use it as a casual video camera to catch random memories, or did you use it with the intent to create video footage that is at least up to standard as your stills shots?
Sure - I used the GoPro for memories/experiential/ambient type videos - I had it on a head strap, and switched it on every now and again, particularly at exciting sightings (such as elephants, big cats etc). It was nice to capture entire sightings on video while I focussed on stills, and it also captured the conversation among our fellow vehicle occupants (who we became good friends with over the trip, going to meetup with them in the next few weeks).

I saw it as bonus footage that I didn't really have to think about, while I concentrated on making images with the cameras in my hands. Also redundancy - to capture any interesting/unique behaviour that I didn't manage to capture with a camera due to timing/user error etc.

I also did a walkthrough of our camp with it, as well as a few POVs while we were being driven places.

The quality is pretty good - not anywhere near what one could get from the G9, say, but very watchable.
 
This was my transportation on my last trip...
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So my kit had to be light....
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I shoot a lot of video these days, so much of the gear is focused on that. The Lumix G100 plus my phone (Google Pixel 7 Pro) handle the still image duties. I nearly brought a Nikon 1 J5 instead of the G100 as it's a wee bit smaller but thought that the viewfinder would be helpful in bright light.

The action cam spent a lot of time hanging around my neck. The 360 cam on the selfie stick was often in a "feed bag" on the handlebars for quick deployment. The rest fit into a 6 liter fanny pack that likewise is quick to access.

There were a couple of times where I wish that I had more reach for the G100. On the next trip, I may bring the 35-100 Vario (fantastic little lens) instead, and rely upon my phone for shorter focal lengths. Or get a serious compact with 5-10x reach.
 
Sure - I used the GoPro for memories/experiential/ambient type videos - I had it on a head strap, and switched it on every now and again, particularly at exciting sightings (such as elephants, big cats etc). It was nice to capture entire sightings on video while I focussed on stills, and it also captured the conversation among our fellow vehicle occupants (who we became good friends with over the trip, going to meetup with them in the next few weeks).

I saw it as bonus footage that I didn't really have to think about, while I concentrated on making images with the cameras in my hands. Also redundancy - to capture any interesting/unique behaviour that I didn't manage to capture with a camera due to timing/user error etc.

I also did a walkthrough of our camp with it, as well as a few POVs while we were being driven places.

The quality is pretty good - not anywhere near what one could get from the G9, say, but very watchable.

I wish I could do that. I have to be either in stills mode or filmmaking mode, I find it difficult to juggle both at the same time.
 

I said this before - the first time I went to Japan, I photographed mainly with the 50mm. I was all about single-50mm photography up until then but I could not understand why I couldn't get my photos to work the same way. It wasn't until nearly the end of the trip when I realised that Tokyo and certain other parts of Japan are so tightly packed with so many things and yet it's so vast, that I really should've been photographing with a 28mm at least, in order to get things into my shots, in order to capture the mood.
Well, I must have had a good hunch to go for the Q then. :)
 
My travel kit is: Gx85, Pany 14 with the GCW1 (when tested for fov, the GCW1 is very close to the 10mm on my 8-18mm) so the combination gives me a 28mm for street and a 20mm for wide at f2.5, and then either the Pany 35-100 f4/5.6 (amazingly sharp) or the Oly 75-300 when I am in the SW. In a city, the Gx85 and lenses fit easily into cargo pants (which is all I wear on a trip) and gives me great stills and very good 4K 30 video. Yep, my Gh6/G9II combo with PL: 8-18, 12-60, and 100-400 never travel outside the state unless it to a destination I've not been too (has to be a photo/video trip). Today's software makes this system very capable IMHO.
 
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