Looking for Travel Backpack user experience

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FYI, here's some carry-on and personal item size and weight requirements. Varies widely, so you can't assume uniformity.
https://upgradedpoints.com/carry-on-luggage-size-chart
https://www.smartertravel.com/personal-item-vs-carry-on/

@L0n3Gr3yW0lf, you may want to reconsider your camera gear and laptop. I'd take less and see if you can get by with a tablet vs a big and heavy laptop (2.5 kg). You already have a fairly new iPad. And, there are other ways of backing up your photos than using a laptop. I have an iPad Mini 5 and I find it's the perfect size for travel. I bring a folding keyboard if I need to type a lot of text (not often). A WD Passport Wireless drive can back up photos. I got USB chargers for my camera batteries and an Anker 6 port USB adapter that needs only one AC outlet to charge all our devices.
 
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retiredfromlife

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FYI, here's some carry-on and personal item size and weight requirements. Varies widely, so you can't assume uniformity.
https://upgradedpoints.com/carry-on-luggage-size-chart
https://www.smartertravel.com/personal-item-vs-carry-on/

@L0n3Gr3yW0lf, you may want reconsider your camera gear and laptop. I'd take less and see if you can get by with a tablet vs a big and heavy laptop (2.5 kg). You already have a fairly new iPad. And, there are other ways of backing up your photos than using a laptop. I have an iPad Mini 5 and I find it's the perfect size for travel. I bring a folding keyboard if I need to type a lot of text (not often). A WD Passport Wireless drive can back up photos. I got USB chargers for my camera batteries and an Anker 6 port USB adapter that needs only one AC outlet to charge all our devices.
Book marked those pages for future use, considering the current COVID 19 situation don't know when though :frown:
I am starting to use Anker gear as well, seems quiet good, including the power bank I got with the EM1.3 from Olympus. Just wish it was the power delivery version.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Book marked those pages for future use, considering the current COVID 19 situation don't know when though :frown:
I am starting to use Anker gear as well, seems quiet good, including the power bank I got with the EM1.3 from Olympus. Just wish it was the power delivery version.
I can vouch for Anker products, I have used their chargers, cables, and power banks with great results and reliability. I wanted to get the power bank that has power delivery for E-M1 Mark III to use for a very long timelapse but I might have to postpone that for next year.
I bookmarked the links as well ... I have missed traveling so much and I want to get back on the road.
 
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L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Okayu, so I've been churning my brain hard lately, if I am going to skip the laptop I will lose the access to my catalog so I can't share those images with family and friends. I don't have any cloud backup that could fit all of my images, going to try and rush an improved portfolio of favorites instead, for sharing.
So going with the iPad instead is going to be definitely a "different" experience. I would not consider the 2017 model iPad a recent model these days because OS updates have such a huge impact, especially on the lower end models since manufacturers seem to love to stick the lower capacity devices with less RAM, that performance degradation is getting noticeable after 2 major updates (like iOS 12 and iPad OS 13). The workaround for this is going to be either light editing or JPEG only sharing and publishing.
For back-up, I will have to wing it, unfortunately. I am going to be staying in a rural area with no broadband and internet access is going to be very unreliable with no more than 1 MB Down and 250 KB Up and limited data cap, so cloud backup is not an option either. External self-backuping hard drives are quite pricey compared to "manual" ones. Damn Apple and their no SD/Micro SD support and only one port are really putting me off from any serious Apple products consideration (Phones, Tablets, Laptops but those for other reasons). So I won't be needing the USB A SD card reader or the Lightning Port SD Card reader since I will be using the Olympus App to transfer the files.
On the weight savings that means I can forgo my Logitech MX Ergo (I can't stand trackpads and even worse the crappy tiny one on my laptop), the laptop charger, and just use the Anker USB charger instead. I don't have a keyboard for the iPad so typing, like writing posts here and communicating with people, is going to be quite a chore. I will have to see how well the iPad can handle very long posts with multiple image uploads on the forum.
For power management, I will look into replacing the Hahnel ProCube with one of the dual battery USB chargers'o'plenty options from Amazon. I wouldn't find it useful to try and charge one battery at a time through the E-M1 Mark III body, especially after a long day of shooting. I have a small power bank, should be enough to keep my phone charged or to have one extra battery power charged for the camera when needed.
I won't be giving up on E-M5 Mark II because I want to go back to doing timelapse, there are some amazing vistas that are worth exploring, and the region has some really dark skies where you can see even the Galactic Core. That means I will need the Olympus 12-40mm f 2.8 Pro AND the 7-14mm f 2.8 Pro so I can do landscape while the camera does its own thing. I can leave the Olympus 60mm f 2.8 Macro at home and make use of the close focus capabilities of all my lenses, it won't be 1:1 but close enough. But that does mean I will have to bring the tripod with me, I can put it in the clothes suitcase instead. As for the Panasonic DMW-TC14, reach is everything, even at a bit of IQ loss and light. Plus wildlife in Sicily is a bit wilder than here in the UK, from what I have noticed the British are a lot more outdoorsey and the animals are a lot more used to peeps ... especially with dogs. It might feel less comfortable but I will drop E-M5 Mark II's grip but I will keep the E-M1 Mark III's because it makes the Panny Leica lens a lot easier to use, especially when stalking wildlife for hours :)

I have been working on building my photography gear for only 3 years now, it's slow progress but I am getting there. I'm considering my current setup the minimum, cover most of the bases, gear. Next up for travel is going to be the Olympus 12-100mm f 4 Pro and for wildlife the Olympus 150-400mm f 4.5 Pro (if the price is right :) )
 
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I have a 60 macro too, but have found that for most casual close-up work, the 12-40 will suffice. I replaced it with a 12-100 f4 Pro, and that also does the job. My usual travel kit would be the EM1.3 or 5.3 with 12-100, 9-18, and 15 f1.7 fast prime. I decided to forego the long telephoto to keep the kit light and compact. If I were expecting to shoot wildlife or distant vistas and have the room, I would take the 40-150 Pro+MC-20. That's my current long lens until my 100-400 comes in. If I had the 75-300, that could serve as a travel long zoom. But, unless wildlife opportunities are expected, I probably would find little use for the long zooms.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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I have a 60 macro too, but have found that for most casual close-up work, the 12-40 will suffice. I replaced it with a 12-100 f4 Pro, and that also does the job. My usual travel kit would be the EM1.3 or 5.3 with 12-100, 9-18, and 15 f1.7 fast prime. I decided to forego the long telephoto to keep the kit light and compact. If I were expecting to shoot wildlife or distant vistas and have the room, I would take the 40-150 Pro+MC-20. That's my current long lens until my 100-400 comes in. If I had the 75-300, that could serve as a travel long zoom. But, unless wildlife opportunities are expected, I probably would find little use for the long zooms.
Understandable :)
Ideally, for travel an E-M5 Mark IV (with HHHR, if it comes to fruition that is) with Olympus 8-25mm f 4 Pro (for landscaping like a Pro :p ) or the Panny Leica 15mm f 1.7 or evening outings and the E-M1 Mark III with Olympus 12-100mm f 4 Pro if I don't expect to do wildlife or Olympus 150-400mm f 4.5 Pro if I am looking specifically for wildlife opportunities.
But, alas, one of these products doesn't exist and the other 2 are not even out yet, and two of those I don't even own :p ... but I can make do with what I have :D

Olympus 40-150mm f 2.8 Pro with 2x TC might be a consideration but I don't have many usages for FL under 100mm unless it's a telephoto landscape and for that 12-100mm f 4 Pro covers that. I might be blabbering on this but I would prefer not to overlap too many lenses with too many FLs, for economical and space/weight reasons.
This makes me think that "ideally" is not so ideal when you think about it:
Olympus 7-14mm f 2.8 Pro
Olympus 8-25mm f 4 Pro
Olympus 12-40mm f 2.8 Pro
Olympus 12-100mm f 4 Pro
Olympus 40-150mm f 2.8 Pro
Olympus 150-400mm f 4.5 Pro
The least amount of overlap is f 2.8 Pro grouping:
7-14mm - 12-40mm - 40-150mm
Then you have the f 4 Pro big guns:
12-100mm - 150-400mm
But then if you want to mix and match then most optimal per FL would be:
8-25mm - 40-150mm - 150-400mm ... that is if speed is not a priority on the extreme FL

I guess it all depends on individual preferences at the end of the day ... I have come to be a zoom guy and I'm fine with that. I love shooting too many things and like to be versatile. If I can fit it in my Crumpler Quick Escape 800 then I will take it with me :)
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Oh "£&$ ... Just realized, if I do travel with the iPad only I won't be able to do panorama stitching, no Brenizer Panos, and no time lapses ... mind you, my iPad has only 32GB internal storage, unless there are new apps that can do that on limited storage capacity or directly from external storage since I tried this 2 years ago.
Now, this got me depressed again.
 
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Oh "£&$ ... Just realized, if I do travel with the iPad only I won't be able to do panorama stitching, no Brenizer Panos, and no time lapses ... mind you, my iPad has only 32GB internal storage, unless there are new apps that can do that on limited storage capacity or directly from external storage since I tried this 2 years ago.
Now, this got me depressed again.

I have seen plug-in flash drives for the iPad. I have a Sandisk iExpand Lightning/USB flash drive that I haven't tested for use with apps. But, I imagine that at least you can store photo files on it as backup. You can use a SD card reader to transfer files to the iPad and from Photos onto the iExpand or something similar.

I don't know much about panorama stitching on the iPad. Does Lightroom for iPad do panorama stitching? Are these something to do when you get home?
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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I have seen plug-in flash drives for the iPad. I have a Sandisk iExpand Lightning/USB flash drive that I haven't tested for use with apps. But, I imagine that at least you can store photo files on it as backup. You can use a SD card reader to transfer files to the iPad and from Photos onto the iExpand or something similar.

I don't know much about panorama stitching on the iPad. Does Lightroom for iPad do panorama stitching? Are these something to do when you get home?
I do have a dongle for the iPad that accepts one SD and one Micro SD as well as a USB Type-A port. I can import images on the iPad but every time I open up a card with more than 300 pictures on it the Photos app on the iPad (native app) crashes and erases all the previews it builds so when I try to open it again it crashes again (I have a feeling that's because there's not enough RAM to handle more files, hence I consider this iPad old after iPad OS 13 update). And at about 15GB free space if I erase everything on the iPad leaves me with few files I can import, nevermind backup. I could import a few panorama files to be stitched on the iPad but then I have to export, delete the files and import, and repeat. (I tried to do this 2 years ago when I bought the iPad and failed, realizing that iPads are not substitutes for a laptop for my image workflow). While iPad OS 13 brought support for External Hard Drives and Flash Drives on the Lightning and Type-C (latest model) the limitation is still ONE active external drive at a time, meaning either SD Import -> Internal Storage -> Export External Drive or SD Import -> Internal Storage -> Export WiFi Connected Drive.
JPEGs instead of RAW helps but that means I have to nail the exposure perfectly and there's not much room for DR processing.

Yes, I could do something once I get back but if I don't nail the panorama/s it might take a long time before I get another chance. And I want to do a few Brenizer Pano Portraits and have a huge print for my mom as a surprise, something I can't do on the iPad. Printing services are not as effective or widespread in the rural area of Sicily so I'm not sure I can't order the print after the fact and have it delivered.
Mobile Lightroom can't do panorama stitching yet, neither can Mobile Photoshop, seeing as I can effectively use up 32GB RAM on my old (sold) PC if I try more then 25 files at 16 MP I wouldn't see how an iPad could manage that on it's (average) 2-4 GB.

I know I am barking a niece situation here, I am starting to regret not getting a Microsoft Surface or maybe even a 13-inch notebook that supports multiple drives and extra storage capacity and lightweight.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Finally finished making a list of (I hope) everything that should be in the backpack and getting the overall weight: 6.4 Kgs with the iPad and 7.5 Kgs with the laptop. I used the Shimoda Action X30 Starter Kit as a reference but I don't know if the 1.7 Kgs specification is without the Mirrorless Medium Cube or with it.
 

dirtdevil

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I bought a "Eagle Creek - Weekender" back in 2013 that I've been using to travel on an airplane for business reasons. I could stuff enough clothing for almost 10 days, pair of shoes, personal hygiene bag, and 2 camera bodies, 3 lenses. Dimension was legit for a cabin size luggage in North America. It has hidden shoulder straps to carry it like a backpack.

I would keep my laptop in a separate bag with its own case.

It has been discontinued, but something like this looks very interesting : https://www.eaglecreek.com/shop/caldera-collection/caldera-travel-pack-45l-ec0a4p5w#hero=2

Only 1.42kg

I know it's not the cheapest out there, but why would be cheap with things that have a lot of value inside? They are worth every cent.
 
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Lawrence A.

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Hello. I have a trip to Sicily for a family visit at the end of next month for 2 weeks and a half. I will be doing a lot of photography since I haven't been there in 5 years, going to do a little bit of everything: landscape, wildlife, street, portraits, and possibly some events.
Last year I bought a LowePro FastPack 250 AW that I have used as a daily driver for my commuting to work which has worked quite well and has gotten quite a lot of usage. The reason why I don't want to use on this trip is that it looks too much like a camera backpack for traveling abroad (and I will be doing some city traveling) and I don't think the backpack is very international travel friendly.
I would like to ask the community about their own experience of traveling with your own camera bag/setup. There are so many backpacks out there and so many reviews that I get lost after a few days of research. But at least I know I have some certain preferences that might help me narrow down my options:
*I prefer side zips to be more flexible and mobile (compared to having to put the backpack down to open it up and get access inside)
*Comfortable straps priority (I have back problems and being overweight makes things quite difficult, yus I am working on losing weight but it's not very fast)
*Good security for the zips (I am going to travel by bus, train, and plane and pass through 4 cities) and because it's the first time I travel by plane I am quite a new experience ... for carrying over 8.000 £ in a bag.
*Good weatherproofing for hiking (with room for a water bottle and a tripod, Sicilian hills are very tall and hot even in October)
*And the last one. to carry all my electronic/photography gear:
#Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III (Plus 3 batteries, dual battery charger, 3rd party L bracket grip)
#Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II (Plus 2 batteries, dual USB battery charger, 3rd party L bracket grip)
#Olympus FL-LM3
#Olympus 7-14mm f 2.8 Pro
#Olympus 12-40mm f 2.8 Pro
#Olympus 60mm f 2.8 Macro
#Panasonic Leica DG-Vario Elmarit 50-200mm f 2.8-4 (Plus 1.4x Teleconverter)
#Vanguard Nivelo 214BK
#ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo 15" notebook (with obligatory charger, Active Pencil, 512GB M.2 external USB stick for backup, Logitech MX Ergo)
#Apple iPad 9.7" 2017 (with obligatory Apple Pencil)
#Anker Quad-Port USB charger (plus a couple of travel charging adapter)
#Anker 20.000 mAh PD Power Bank
#Polaroid Zip Printer
#Travel Papers

The budget I have set aside is 300 £ for a high-quality backpack (which I hope will last me for the next 10 years), to sum it up: to be airport and travel friendly, stealthy and decently secure, roomy for packing most of the stuff, high quality build. What I keep gravitating is Peak Design's Everyday Backpack V2 but I want to consider other options as well, hence why I am asking here.
I can't take to much luggage with me, with only a backpack and a small suitcase, but I will take Crumpler Quick Escape 800 (in the suitcase) for when I am out in the town and possibly when hiking (to keep either the camera with the big Panny Leica lens on quick access). I can't wait to do some timelapse as well, it's been years since I've tried it, that might be the main use of the E-M5 Mark II and the 12-40mm Pro.
Almost forgot to mention: this is the guideline for the luggage I can have:
View attachment 842139

Does your airline have weight limits for carry-on baggage? Some international carriers I've flown have really strict carry-on weight limits.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Ovidiu, what you really need is the f/4 12-100 plus one of 12/17/25/45 fast(-ish) f/2 or f/1.8 primes.

Then whatever support gear you need.

What you are proposing is overkill IMHO.
If money and time wasn't an objection sure, I would like the idea of 12-100mm f 4 Pro as my do it all. Alas, all I have is 3 zooms (well, that I am going to use that is). I can't imagine the horrors of peeps who like doing video as well as photography :p

I bought a "Eagle Creek - Weekender" back in 2013 that I've been using to travel on an airplane for business reasons. I could stuff enough clothing for almost 10 days, pair of shoes, personal hygiene bag, and 2 camera bodies, 3 lenses. Dimension was legit for a cabin size luggage in North America. It has hidden shoulder straps to carry it like a backpack.

I would keep my laptop in a separate bag with its own case.

It has been discontinued, but something like this looks very interesting : https://www.eaglecreek.com/shop/caldera-collection/caldera-travel-pack-45l-ec0a4p5w#hero=2

Only 1.42kg

I know it's not the cheapest out there, but why would be cheap with things that have a lot of value inside? They are worth every cent.
Thanks, I will definitely look into it :)

Does your airline have weight limits for carry-on baggage? Some international carriers I've flown have really strict carry-on weight limits.
On EasyJet website, they say there's no limit to weight for cabin luggage, only dimension size: 56 x 45 x 25 cm / 22 x 17.7 x 9.8 inch. but they do request you be able to lift it into the cabin or IF it fits under the front seat (which is what I am hoping for) you can store it there. For the hold luggage, it's 15 Kgs.

I live in Canada's Arctic and travel on small planes from community to community with my EM1X and 3 lenses and iPad, using only low bandwidth satellite communication, and I carry about 1/4 of the items you're taking to Italy to see family!
I do know how it sounds, family visit with a significant amount of gear. I will be spending half of the time on my own since my mom is working most of the week. In the current climate,I don't know when I will get to travel next so I do want to make the most out of it, why I want to try a bit of everything but videography. I am still finding it hard to see how iPad workflow works with hundreds of pictures (if not more) unless the iPad has 512GB or more storage and/or it used in conjunction with (can't remember the name of it) the wireless hard drive that works with iPads, of which I don't have either.
If it's of any help, my mom has only a smartphone and no home broadband so all the internet access I can get is whatever data my provider gives in roaming or what I can buy there (still with data caps).
This is why what I provide for myself is all I get.
I was thinking I could put in the suitcase some of the less valuable stuff to lighten the backpack ... it has to be fully loaded only to get from point A to B (and back).
 
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...
On EasyJet website, they say there's no limit to weight for cabin luggage, only dimension size: 56 x 45 x 25 cm / 22 x 17.7 x 9.8 inch. but they do request you be able to lift it into the cabin or IF it fits under the front seat (which is what I am hoping for) you can store it there. For the hold luggage, it's 15 Kgs.
...

On the carry-on chart website I linked earlier, they say that Easyjet allows personal items only on certain fare types and lists the max dimension of a personal item (under the seat) in the last column. This is similar to what other airlines have posted.

EasyJet AirlineAll56 x 45 x 25 cm
22 x 17.7 x 9.8 in
UndisclosedOnly with certain fare types.
Max size
45 x 36 x 20 cm
17.7 x 14.2 x 7.8 in
 

RickinAust

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I would recommend that:
  1. Do not put anything of value in checked luggage as it will get stolen. Friends have had laptops and electronic stuff disappear. This means it should be in carry on so pack needs to accommodate this.
  2. Get a pack with a separate storage area for odds and ends. Very useful if wanting to say freshen up after or before a flight and for storing anything that is valuable and not going in to checked luggage. I use a Lowepro pack that's discontinued where camera gear is in lower compartment and has an separate upper compartment for other stuff. I think they still make something similar. It's held up really well and been allover the world.
  3. Get a collapsable pack for use when sight seeing. I find that I either have a day out in the country or in a city and so don't want to lug whole kit around.
  4. Make sure the carry on pack is padded as stuff in overhead lockers can be treated rather roughly sometimes. Flight attendants sometimes move stuff to pack more in!
  5. Cut back on what you need to take a few zooms will cover 90% plus of your requirements. You'll find that most of the stuff will not be used.
  6. Enjoy the trip and stay safe.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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I would recommend that:
  1. Do not put anything of value in checked luggage as it will get stolen. Friends have had laptops and electronic stuff disappear. This means it should be in carry on so pack needs to accommodate this.
  2. Get a pack with a separate storage area for odds and ends. Very useful if wanting to say freshen up after or before a flight and for storing anything that is valuable and not going in to checked luggage. I use a Lowepro pack that's discontinued where camera gear is in lower compartment and has an separate upper compartment for other stuff. I think they still make something similar. It's held up really well and been allover the world.
  3. Get a collapsable pack for use when sight seeing. I find that I either have a day out in the country or in a city and so don't want to lug whole kit around.
  4. Make sure the carry on pack is padded as stuff in overhead lockers can be treated rather roughly sometimes. Flight attendants sometimes move stuff to pack more in!
  5. Cut back on what you need to take a few zooms will cover 90% plus of your requirements. You'll find that most of the stuff will not be used.
  6. Enjoy the trip and stay safe.
Thank you for the advice, I am in the same zone with you on everything :D
It's the reason why I want to pack most valuables in the backpack and take it with me in the cabin instead of leaving it in the holding area. Some of the less valuable stuff I could put them in the suitcase, cables, wall chargers, travel adapters, etc. When I packed my LowePro Fastpack 250 AW it's about 8.000 £ worth, which makes me quite uncomfortable leaving it anywhere else than on my back or around my feet. The purpose of the backpack is to carry mostly the camera gear and the laptop/tablet (I will decide on one at some point :p ) from my place to my destination, then I will use it with just the camera gear, some water and a bit of food when hiking the hills on location. I will see if I can camp out in the woods for a night or two if the weather permits, to do some astrophotography (I love those serpentines at night, getting the Milky Way and hopefully some trail lights either in one shot or in timelapse would be freaking awesome). Protection is a top priority, I have a significant amount of bad luck and clumsiness even when I try to be as careful as possible, and rain protection as well (got caught in heavy English rain, it rained horizontally, and even with 2 rain covers on my LowePro some stuff still got wet when I went home from work).
I will be carrying only the zoom lenses:
*Olympus 7-14mm f 2.8 Pro for narrow streets, architecture, landscape timelapse and astrophotography
*Olympus 12-40mm f 2.8 Pro for backup of 7-14mm to do landscape or even 2nd Astro setup as well as my one lens camera setup when going out through town
*Panasonic Leica 50-200mm f 2.8-4 with 1.4x TC for local wildlife and landscape as well, and potentially portrait setup with family and friends outdoors.
*E-M1 Mark III, 20 MP, HHHR, Stary As F&*£, best IBIS, Eye AF Tracking
*E-M5 Mark II, mainly for timelapse usage (and backup camera)
*Dual USB battery charger for BLN and BLH since they are compact, light and I can use a USB power adapter for both of them (I can charge all 3 E-M1 batteries in about 3 hours and both E-M5 batteries as well)
*Olympus FL-LM3 for fill-in flash outdoor and for low light indoors and it's very small and light
*Vanguard 214BK Nivelo, small, compact, very light
That's all the photographic gear I would need.

This will be my first proper holiday (more than a week off) since December and working in a nursing home with lockdown for 6 months has not been easy. The only thing I want to think about is photography, hiking, and not being stuck between walls or being awake only at night.
 
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