Over the years the gear inside my camera bag has changed tremendously from the early days of one SLR, one lens and rolls of film to a DSLR, a number of large lenses, a tripod, and a 17” MacBook Pro and now it has changed again.
I was fortunate enough to travel around Europe for nine weeks last year visiting Germany, Italy, France, and Amsterdam. This trip was different than my previous travels. It was three times longer than any trip I’d taken before. I traveled exclusively by train or air. And, less than a year prior to the trip I had shoulder surgery. So traveling lightly was important.
Before heading out I painstakingly went through my gear trying to figure out what I absolutely needed. I pared it down to what I thought was a manageable amount that would allow me to capture the images I wanted. Instead of a 17” MacBook Pro I brought a 11” MacBook Air and I left my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens at home. Those two items alone saved me about eight pounds. And instead of a second DSLR body, I took the Fuji X100s I had just purchased.
After a couple of weeks I concluded that I still had brought more gear than I really needed so I decided to ship some back home. It wasn’t that I wouldn’t use it, I just didn’t want to carry it! I found myself taking the X100S with me and leaving everything else back at the apartment. In order to get the equipment properly insured I would have to ship four separate boxes and it would cost about $500.00. So I decided to keep it with me and lug it around. The lesson learned was to really consider the things you’re bringing with you and how much you need them. Ask yourself, “Can I get the job done without it?”
By the time I got home I knew I needed to change to my travel photography gear. I loved taking photos with the X100S but wanted a bit more diversity so I stepped up to the Fuji X-Pro1. It has the same features and menu system as the X100S which meant I wouldn’t need to spend time learning a new system. And as a bonus the combined weight of the X100S & X-Pro1 was about the same if not less than my Canon DSLR body. I also picked up a couple of lenses which weighed a fraction of what my Canon lenses weigh.
Since making the change I’ve taken a couple of trips with my new setup and love it. I’m sure I missed a few shots here and there because I didn’t have a large zoom with me but I sure don’t miss carrying it around. Fuji has announced plans to release a fast 50-140mm f/2.8 lens and if it’s anything like their other lenses I know I’ll want it. But when I am traveling, the question will still be, “Can I get the job done without it?”
Here is what I carry now…
Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket & SD Cards
Fuji 10-24mm f/4
Fuji 18-55mm f/2.8-4
Fuji 35mm f/1.4
Shutter Release Cable
Canon 580 EXII Speedlite
Sekonic L-358 Light Meter
Rogue FlashBender with Diffusion Panel
Moleskine Notebook & Pen
Giottos Rocket Air Blaster
Lee Filters & Brackets
Gitzo GT0531 Carbon Fiber Tripod
SIRUI K-10X Ballhead
Apple 11” MacBook Air
Wacom Intuos5 Touch (Small)
LaCie Rugged External Drives
Cables, Extra Batteries
Power Supply, Misc. Items
Collapsible Reflector (not shown)