Before taking an extended seven-week trip traveling around Europe I struggled with what camera gear I wanted to travel with. The dilemma of choosing between the flexibility of zoom lenses vs the weight of the smaller prime lenses was overwhelming. The one thing I knew was that on this trip I wanted to travel light.
Ultimately, I went with three prime lenses. The Fuji 16mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, and the 56mm f/1.2. I also decided to bring only one Fuji X-T2 camera body. Being a cautious person at the last minute I dropped the Fuji X100S in my bag as a back-up/walk around camera.
A couple of things helped me make my final decision. The big one was weight. A few years back I went on a nine-week trip with my Canon 5D Mark II and less than two weeks into the trip I was ready to send back my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Weighing a little under three pounds, it was just too big and heavy to carry around all day.
Do to the cost of shipping the lens back home I decided not to send it but I never ended up using it on the trip. Nope, not once! All the photos I took were with the Canon EF 17-40mm, Canon EF 24-70mm and my lightweight Fuji X100S 23mm fixed lens camera.
The other reason I chose prime lenses was I wanted to challenge myself. Shooting with prime lenses makes you think about your shot differently and slow down. Your composition changes when you’re working with a fixed focal length. That being said working with only prime lenses can be a bit problematic. Opportunities present themselves and you just don’t have time or space to get into your pack and make a lens change. Sometimes it’s the environment. For instance, while photographing the waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National Park I really wanted a tighter shot but the spray from the falls was constant and the risk of getting water inside my camera while changing lenses was extremely likely, so not worth the gamble.
Not having the flexibility of zoom lenses on this trip at times was a bit challenging and I’m sure I missed a few shots along the way. Nevertheless, I’m pleased with the shots I returned home with. I did, however, find myself wishing that I had brought another camera body with me.
Camera gear I used while traveling
Cameras: Fujifilm X-T2 | Fujifilm X100S
Lenses: Fujinon XF16mm f/1.4 R WR | Fujinon XF35mm f/1.4 R | Fujinon XF56mm f/1.2 R
Flash: Fujifilm EF-X500