Your experiences with traveling light?

Everyone has a different opinion when it comes to travelling light. I learned photography in the film days where trying to capture everything was impossible and expensive. As such, I became more selective and that carried over to my digital era. Although photos are important, when I travel, the experience is more important to me.

In my film days, my light photo gear was my Pentax ME Super with a 40mm pancake and possibly a light 28mm. In my early digital days, I had a Canon G series (G3 then G6) which had a good quality zoom lens. I dabbled with Sony RX100 models several years ago but have in recent years returned to my preference for primes. I have both the Ricoh GRiii and GRiiix and I will take one or both and they produce excellent images and are very discreet.

If traveling by car, I can have my Fuji system at my beck and call, but for light travel it is Rocoh all the way.
 
This thread makes me remember old favourites - I was contemplating re-buying the Olympus 14-150mm II (after yesterday's short flirt with the Sony RX10 IV - and my ongoing suspicion I should never have sold the Panasonic FZ1000). I don't know if you see why - I'd like a universal camera with reliable weather-sealing that can also be called reasonably light and compact.

I guess it's time to check my current gear again first: I'll try to remember that I really should travel with the Z f and the Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3, either exclusively or only with a fast(-ish) prime in tow. While not exactly small and compact, I think this may be a superb combo overall that pretty much outdoes whatever else I might be considering. The question remains: Is it bearable for an extended period of time? I've carried the setup before - but only for a couple of walks of different duration, never for more than a couple of hours. Definitely something to check before acquiring more gear.

M.
 
I'm sure something moderate, like 35-70mm or 35-90mm, could be kept quite small
I would agree. My phone covers 14–85 mme pretty well, certainly enough for EDC and traveling light (which, for me, usually means one backpack) where it's general photography and the image destinations are share with friends or publish to web. More of a sensor and more accurate color would be nice, sure, but my 2023 ratio is thousands of phone images to tens of ILC images.

I think my minimal one step up from phone would be to add a μ43 body with Panasonic's 45–175 for reach.
 
Lately I have thought that it's a little unfortunate that modern zoom lenses never start at 35mm (or equivalent). I'm sure something moderate, like 35-70mm or 35-90mm, could be kept quite small, and I could get along with 35mm as my widest, or carrying a separate small wide angle prime.

That is a great point. I really loved the Canon G6 (7 Mpixels, 35-140) and the images still stand up well. Taking it was an easy choice because I had not purchased a DSLR at that point and I had no complaints. Once I got a DSLR, I became a Sherpa for awhile and I had to give my head a shake. I rarely shoot wide or telephoto so for me the choice is easy, lighter is better.

Having travelled a lot, Being discreet is just as important especially in big cities. The Ricoh GRiii(x) go under the radar like the plethora of cellphones which is a huge asset. Once you get to know them, you can use their crop modes to effectively have three FOV and their lenses are superb. Another advantage is the leaf shutter which makes fill flash a breeze when coupled with the little Pentax 201FG flash.
 
Lately I have thought that it's a little unfortunate that modern zoom lenses never start at 35mm (or equivalent). I'm sure something moderate, like 35-70mm or 35-90mm, could be kept quite small, and I could get along with 35mm as my widest, or carrying a separate small wide angle prime.
Too true! Actually, my recent playing around with the D750 started with using the small, yet pretty competent 28-105mm f/3,5-4,5 D again; I can't fathom why Nikon hasn't tried to bring out something similar (I personally could easily live with a compact 35-105mm, too) - yes, I know the mechanics on this old lens wouldn't be acceptable today (it's IF, but the front lens turns when you zoom - somewhat disconcerting because we're no longer used to that), but what prevents them from packaging the optics with modern "movements"? The lens is really quite nice, it even utilizes aspherical lenses. I'm pretty sure the result would fly with many people. Yes, the Z 24-120mm f/4 S is a great lens, but it's not a small lens (even though it may be considered pretty compact for its class - and certainly for its quality!); I'd love to have something with a bit more reach than the Z 24-70mm f/4 S, yet no (big) penality in terms of size (and omitting that pesky collapsible design I just can't get myself to like). We can only dream ...

M.
 
I'm sure something moderate, like 35-70mm or 35-90mm, could be kept quite small, and I could get along with 35mm as my widest, or carrying a separate small wide angle prime.
Wasn't there a tiny micro-four-thirds 35-100 that was just joyful? I know that's not technically what you mean, since it's equivalent to 70-200. But it really was astoundingly tiny.

I for one would love to have a compact 35-100 equivalent zoom lens to complement my Ricoh GR.
 
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.
Put a nice leather half case on the EM5 MKiii or the OM-5 and the plastic feeling disappears IMHO. The EM5 MKii was a jewel, I do wish Olympus had kept that design philosophy but, they did not. The 5.3 or OM-5 are very capable cameras in a very small form factor.
 
IMG_2546.jpeg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


This is my minimalist setup.
 
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 hope it proves to be a creative and satisfying trip, Mike!
And if the photography gods are helpful, I hope to be seeing some of your images from the trip, as well.
But regardless of photography... Hope you enjoy it!
 
This was my transportation on my last trip...
View attachment 440598


So my kit had to be light....
View attachment 440599

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.
Cool rig, John! And not just the photographic part of it - your bicycle looks like a capable multi-terrain traveler! Does it go 'off road' easily as well as navigate the pavement?
 
There is something alluring about the idea of carrying one small, fixed lens camera on a trip, and being immersed in taking photos without the burden of deciding which body, which lens to use.

I like to put together magazines of each year's best photos; flicking through them, it seems it mostly hasn't mattered which gear I used, what mattered more was the care I took to compose, shoot, and edit. Some of my best travel memories have been made with small sensors, and even printed and hung on the wall they're alright.

The day I carried two mu43 cameras and all my lenses on a 10 kilometre hike, I realised I made the wrong choice, so now I leave all unnecessary lenses behind (usually in the car, since I rarely travel any other way). The times I've travelled with one body and two lenses - usually a zoom and a small prime - or just one compact zoom camera, have been generally more enjoyable.

Recently, I took my newused small sensor Casio EX-100 on a couple of road trips. It gave me constant f2.8 and 28-300mm reach, where 300mm is pretty terrible, but better than none when trying to identify a distant bird. It wasn't the perfect solution, but I enjoyed the freedom it gave me. I would have had better results from my Lumix GX9 (similar body size) and 14-140mm lens (28-280mm), but with some sacrifice in bulk.

It's something I think about a lot, so have enjoyed reading this thread.
 
In the past my light travel kit was an Olympus EM1 with 17/1.8, 45/1.8 and 60/2.8 macro. Add 4 or 5 batteries to the bag and and it's right around a kilo (plus the bag). I could do without the 60 but I love that lens.

Today I'm not sure what I'd do. I've been shooting a Fuji GFX50R and my favorite lens, the 120mm/4 macro, weighs as much as the whole m4/3 kit. Either carry the m4/3 kit and give up those beautiful Fuji files or bite bullet and carry the 50R with the 120/4 and 50/3.5. Lightweight is relative.
 
Wasn't there a tiny micro-four-thirds 35-100 that was just joyful? I know that's not technically what you mean, since it's equivalent to 70-200. But it really was astoundingly tiny.

I for one would love to have a compact 35-100 equivalent zoom lens to complement my Ricoh GR.

The Lumix 35-100 Vario is a fantastic little lens. I'll likely bring it on my next trip and use my phone for wider angles.

Cool rig, John! And not just the photographic part of it - your bicycle looks like a capable multi-terrain traveler! Does it go 'off road' easily as well as navigate the pavement?

That's a Bike Friday All Packa, made up by you in Eugene, Oregon. It's a bikepacking bike so it handles dirt and gravel roads like a champ. It'll even do some singletrack but it's a bit of a challenge.
 
That is a great point. I really loved the Canon G6 (7 Mpixels, 35-140) and the images still stand up well. Taking it was an easy choice because I had not purchased a DSLR at that point and I had no complaints. Once I got a DSLR, I became a Sherpa for awhile and I had to give my head a shake. I rarely shoot wide or telephoto so for me the choice is easy, lighter is better.
I had a Canon G7 and took it to China along with a Fuji Natura Black film compact and the tiny Casio Z750. Ah, those were the days. I left the Canon 30D and 17-55 at home, and while the Canon would have taken better quality images, the zoom range of the G7 was so versatile. The only issues were the lack of raw, and the patchy autofocus.

It's crazy that we can now buy a Panasonic TZ220 or Sony RX100 VI/VII and get a one inch sensor with amazing zoom range, and the whole thing fits in a pocket. I would have killed for a camera like that in the G7 days.
Having travelled a lot, Being discreet is just as important especially in big cities. The Ricoh GRiii(x) go under the radar like the plethora of cellphones which is a huge asset. Once you get to know them, you can use their crop modes to effectively have three FOV and their lenses are superb. Another advantage is the leaf shutter which makes fill flash a breeze when coupled with the little Pentax 201FG flash.
Absolutely. I loved the crop modes on my GR until it succumbed to the dreaded stuck shutter syndrome.
 
Back
Top