I travel on a regular basis, primarily for the purposes of photography. I’d like to talk for a bit about the gear I have selected for a few upcoming trips, and the reasoning behind my choices.
For context: I have been an all Fuji shooter for two years now, working with both a Fuji X100T kit (a recent upgrade from the Fuji X100s), and also a Fuji X-T1 kit for when I require an interchangeable lens system. Here are a few pages on this site that go into detail about how I chose the gear I use now:
As we discuss my two favourite things (Fuji cameras and travel) I’d like to keep a few points in mind:
1) I am incredibly lucky to be a photographer and have these opportunities.
2) The question of “what gear do I bring?” is entirely a first world problem. I get that, and know how lucky I am. See point number 1.
3) As mentioned above, photography makes up a huge part of my vacations. I travel with my family, who are extremely understanding about my passion for photography and who always provide me with time to work a scene and get that “trophy” picture we all love to come home with.
4) My default is to always travel just with the little Fuji X100t, but to bring some or all of the Fuji X-T1 kit when I know it will be needed.
5) If you are traveling primarily for the purposes of photography it is important to avoid single points of failure. David Hobby once said if you only have one camera and it breaks you aren’t a photographer anymore. Technically this means more than one camera, more than one charger, more than one battery, more than one memory card, etc. I don’t always follow this rule… it depends on where I am going and whether I am willing to take the risk of having a camera go down without a backup.
So, that said, let’s get to it:
I always start by researching the place I’ll be traveling to, to get a good grasp of what I want to shoot. The internet is a wonderful tool for this. Google is an obvious starting point, Flickr allows you to view EXIF data from photos others have taken, there are websites that provide you with the exact time and location of sunrises and sunsets, and it is easy to reach out to local photographers through forums.
After doing my research for this year’s trips I have come to several conclusions:
1) 75% of my shooting will be done with the Fuji X100t.
2) I need something wider than the 35mm equivalent the Fuji X100t provides for some of the landscapes and cityscapes I want to take. If this was my only other need I would probably just take the Fuji X100t and stitch images together to make panoramas. Here is a tutorial I wrote on how this is done:
3) For these trips I need something long for some of the images I want to take (maybe 10% of the shots I am after).
Honestly, my preference is to travel solely with the Fuji X100t. I love this camera, have spent extensive time with it on vacations, but I know for my upcoming travels there are shots that it won’t suffice for.
With all that in mind, the final verdict is to bring the gear pictured in the photograph at the top of this post:
1) The Fuji X100t.
2) The Fuji X-T1.
3) The Fujinon 10-24mm F/4 wide angle lens. Perfect for those wide angle landscapes and cityscapes.
4) The Fujinon 55-200mm F/3.5 – 4.8 lens. A long lens for those rare occasions where I know I will need it.
5) Assorted accessories. In the picture at the top of this post you can see two chargers for each camera (again, redundancy), extra batteries for each camera, a memory card wallet, a couple of filters, and a threaded cable release for the X100t.
Now, that looks like a ton of gear still when it is all laid out on a table like that. The brilliant thing about these tiny little mirrorless cameras we love though is their size. This is all of that gear packed down into a small Think Tank Retrospective 5 messenger bag:
That is amazing. Everything (2 cameras, 2 extra lenses, 4 chargers, required accessories) all fitting into a small shoulder bag. I. Love. These. Cameras.
The only other thing I will take is a small tripod:
I should add that once I am in a locale I travel light. Most of the time the Fuji X-T1 kit will live in a safe, only coming out when there is a direct need for it. For my general walk around time the Fuji X100t is more than enough to make photos of the highest quality. As others have said, it is my desert island camera.
I was involved in a great conversation recently on Twitter about how gear doesn’t make you a better photographer, but that it can inspire you to take better pictures. The Fujis have done this for me, and knowing that I can take this much gear in a small travel bag is a wonderful thing. The image quality is amazing, the gear is light, and I have the tools with me to create wherever I am.