What's Your Travel Setup?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by jloden, May 19, 2012.

  1. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    I apologize if this has been covered before, but surprisingly I couldn't find any similar threads in a search.

    My wife and I like to travel, and documenting trips is one of the big reasons I got into photography. With a trip to Alaska coming up this summer, I'm starting to think about what gear I want to take, and it's actually quite a challenge. Vacations like this mean I'll want to be able to cover everything from landscape, hiking and wildlife to indoor & low light shots. I have mostly prime lenses at present, but I am wondering if investing in a zoom lens or two at different focal length ranges would be more appropriate and versatile for travel scenarios.

    I'd love to hear from others - what do you all carry as your travel camera + lens setup and why? I'm particularly interested in what lens combinations work well for everyone.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. gdourado

    gdourado Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 23, 2012
    Lisbon - Portugal

    I have my very recent setup. I haven't tested it for travelling yet, but I purchased this kit as my travel kit. I will be traveling next week and will put this to the test:

    Camera: E-pl2. It is the only camera I have and will have to do. Love the size and the iq up to iso 400. Love the jpeg output. It offers enough manual control for me and my creativity.

    12mm f2.
    25mm f1.4
    45mm f1.8

    I got the trinity of zooms for m43. I think these lenses offer the greater possible iq on the system. They also cover the focal lengths I use for landscapes, general photography, architecture, portraits, street...
    What is missing I can zoom with my feet.
    They are also wide aperture lenses, and so they are also versatile for low light and interior shots.
    As a final consideration, they are relative small and light. My combo is lighter than a mid range dslr with a general purpose lens with a rather fast aperture.

    As the other gear, I take a Thinking Retrospective 5, extra batteries and an assortment of sd cards.

    Hope this helps.


    Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk 2
    • Like Like x 2
  3. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I'll be watching this thread very closely, as I've begun to think about our family holiday in July in Ocean City, New Jersey. Certainly not the dramatic scenery of Alaska, but plenty of beach, boardwalk, old homes, grandchildren at play. I'll be limited to one or two carry-on bags, so I'll have to make some serious judgments about what gets left behind.

    Starting list:

    * Two m43 bodies, E-PM1 + either E-P3 or GH2; lenses 9-18, 14, 14-45 or 14-140, 20, 45
    * Fuji X100 and X10
    * Ricoh GRD III
    * "Beach camera" - old Canon Powershot G9 or new Olympus TG-1 iHS (on order)
    * Travel tripod
    * iPad + camera connection kit
    * Lots of Class 10 SD cards
    * Spare batteries and chargers for all these devices (!)

    I'm sure I've forgotten something....:tongue:

    Edit: GH2 and 14-140 are projected for doing video, which would/will be new to me. If I decide not to do that, would likely take only one m43 body. Would substitute in a 40-150 zoom in lieu of heavy 14-140. (Already looking at trade offs...)
    • Like Like x 1
  4. tomservoca

    tomservoca Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 17, 2010
    Calgary, Alberta
    I'm an urban vacationer, and tend to shoot the street, although I have done a landscape or two while on the road. I walk lots at destination and hate weight, especially when it's hot.

    I travel with a E-P2 tucked in a Crumpler 6 Million Dollar Home for travel:

    E-P2 w VF-2
    14mm f/2.5
    20mm f/1.7
    45mm f/1.8 <--- Love this lens!
    OM 100mm f/2.8
    OM 200mm f/4 <--- Seldom take this, I use the space it takes for a waterproof Panasonic camera)
    Panasonic LX-2

    (My sister stitched me up lens pouches for the lenses that came without)

    When I go out and about at the destination I take the lenses I think I'll need for where I'm going and they're in a canvas shoulder bag that my sheet metal AME at the hangar has modded to give some gravitas in the base. (He used some non-metallic aviation stuff so it doesn't go clang clang clang at airport security, but still folds up nice in the carry on).

    Or, I just go with the 20 on the camera and the 45 in a pocket.

    I don't travel with a laptop or tablet or a flash; just more complications and things to lose. If I run out of card storage, since I'm usually close to civilization, I just by a few more cards.
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  5. Saizou

    Saizou New to Mu-43

    Apr 29, 2012
    I'm mostly an urban traveler too! So my set up consists of...

    PL 25mm f1.4 (my fav!)
    Oly 9-18mm f4-5.6
    P 14mm f2.5
    Polarizing filter
    Lens Pen
    2x SD cards (1 in camera, 1 spare)
    Battery and charger
    Galaxy tab 7.7

    yupz, that's bout it, the 40-150 is usually at home. I love wide-angle shots but the love of my life is surprisingly the PL25mm.

    • Like Like x 2
  6. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    GX1 + second battery, 7-14, 20, 45, (and soon enough 45-175). Then my 3-stop ND Kenko Zeta + Hoya HD CPL + step-ups. Also a cheap 3rd party wired remote from Amazon, helps with long exposures. Oh, and a Lenspen and a backup SD Card.

    These all go in my ThinkTank Retrospective 5 along with a GorillaPod Hybrid. When I have more room to pack, I put the SLIK Sprint Pro II 3-Way in my suitcase.

    edit why I carry these: I generally have the 7-14 on to capture the feel of a place, especially in crowded cities, I occasionally swap to the 20 for more natural perspective or the 45 if I want different framing and more subject separation from the background. The 45 was for a while my longest reach lens.

    crsnydertx, that sounds like an occupation while you're there, not a travel setup. I don't see any flashguns listed, no strobist for you?
    • Like Like x 2
  7. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    2 bodies
    If wildlife trip 100-300
    Benro C2192 Travel Flat carbon tripod w. monopod conversion leg
    Unpadded (not bulky) bag: SoTech Mission Go Bag.

    Capped lenses and bodies go in heavy socks. Camera bag folds flat. Everything goes loose in carryon bags. Camera bag is set up at destination.
    • Like Like x 2
  8. NettieNZ

    NettieNZ Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 18, 2012

    Only just got my m43 camera (and love it!). However I'm a certifiable travel junkie but I think my travel type locations might be slightly different to yours.
    FWIW here's some thoughts and what I'll be taking on my next trip :)

    - OM-D
    - 12-50mm zoom
    - 40- 150mm zoom
    - 20mm prime (hopefully)
    - UV and polarizing filters - I know it's always an interesting discussing but I like the UV filters for protection as I can frequently end up in locations where there are crowds of people and risk of my camera getting knocked.
    - Waterproof point and shoot (Panasonic FT4 (TS4))
    - Class 10 SD cards
    - Small tripod eg gorillapod
    - iPad
    - Messenger style bag - I like to have everything in front of me - both security and accessibility.
    - Also the normal assortment of cables, batteries and battery chargers and plug adapters. Always a pain if you've forgotten to pack one of these type of things!

    Anyway really interested to hear other people's thoughts on this as well
    • Like Like x 2
  9. LisaO

    LisaO Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 18, 2010
    New York Metro Area
    I traveled to Alaska (a week on land- Anchorage to Denali and back and then a week long Cruise) several years ago pre M4/3, I brought 2 DSLRs. I would go with a lens set that includes long lenses as well as wide. If you like shooting wildlife you need the longest lens you have as everything is often far away. Have a great time, it's a wonderful destination.

    That's Mt. McKinley (Denali) behind me in my profile photo.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    I've been traveling on a cross country USA tour for pleasure, continually, since last November. Taking a nice brake after decades of working as a professional photographer with tons of heavy gear. I use m4/3 gear for pretty much all of my personal photograhy, aside from my professional work.

    I brought more, but two bodies form the basis so I can have selected lenses on each and minimize lens swapping while out and about.

    I also brought about a dozen lenses with me on the trip, but when I head out for a day excursion as a "tourist" I generally go with an ultra wide zoom (7-14 or 9-18) on one body, which typically gets the most use and the other body generally has a 14-45 or 14-140 mounted on it, depending on whether I'm expecting to use the long end, which is not so frequent. And I may bring a third lens along, typically a fast mid-range prime, either the 20/1.7 or 25/1.4, for dim situations or images where I want to play on ultra shallow DOF.

    This minimal "day kit" works great for most any subject that comes along as a tourist - general purpose photography. If I'm planning to do anything more specialized, I will bring along some more specialized lenses (45/1.8, 12/2.0, Zeiss Planar T 85mm f/1.4).

    Summarized - for most out-and-about day excursions:

    • E-M5 w/7-14 (or 9-18)
    • E-PL3 w/ 14-45 (or 14-140)
    • 20/1.7 or 25/1.4 on tap

    I want to say that if I could only take 1 lens... it would be the 9-18 so I can achieve the ultra wide looks that I really love and a marginally decent long end of 36mm equivalent FOV. I would never be without either the 7-14 or the 9-18 as I find these lenses highly applicable for general use travel photography. The 14-45 is also an awesome lens, for having only one lens, but I would miss having the ultra wide FOV. The Pany 14-45 has exceptionally good performance for a kit lens... surpassing the performance of most kit lenses, in m4/3, as well as DSLR formats.

    Lastly, I also keep an LX5 around at all times for quick grab shots. This little camera is handy to have around, is truly a gem and performs magnificently.
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  11. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I travel a lot for work. As such,I don't really know what, if, or when I will be able to get out and have to be prepared for every photographic opportunity.

    In the bottom half of a Tenba mini-messenger:
    - G3
    - Panny 8/3.5 fisheye
    - Leica D 14-50 f/2.8-3.5 with adapter
    - Panny 20/1.7
    - PL 45/2.8
    - Panny 45-200
    - iPad

    In the other compartments:
    Polarizing filters, lens pen, 2 spare batteries, a couple memory cards, USB sticks, iPad camera connector kit, wallet, passport, etc

    I like to take my Benro Travel Angel whenever I can, as most of my opportunities are at night, but it just isn't always possible with the small luggage requirements I have for in-country travel.

    I am greatly looking forward to the new f/2.8 zooms!
    • Like Like x 1
  12. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    I, as well.

    As much as I enjoy shooting with my primes, when I want to move quickly, walking around as a tourist, I do what I can to avoid lens swapping and good quality zooms make that easy.

    Each of two cameras have a quick-detach shoulder strap, one camera hangs off each shoulder, so I can grab whichever body has the zoom lens of choice for subject at hand. Quick working and no lens swapping.

    My Tenba Mini Messenger (with iPad, as well!) and other goodies typically stays in the car.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    I like to travel light, so I would be taking:
    1. M5 + the included mini flash
    2. mZuiko 9-18 zoom with 52mm-62mm step-up ring attached
    3. mZuiko 14-150 zoom with 58mm-62mm step-up ring attached
    4. 62mm polarizer
    5. 62mm UV
    6. Garmin eTrex GPS
    7. extra batteries
    8. extra SD memory cards

    If you're going to be spending most of your time around town, then primes may be okay for you, but outside of town, "zooming with your feet" probably wouldn't cut it.

    If your camera has the digital 2x teleconverter option, I would suggest you try it, do your post processing, and take a few to Walmart or Walgreens or who ever; have some 8x10 prints made, and do a quality evaluation. You may find the digital teleconverter acceptable for some situations. You may also want to have a look at the photo books Apple has available via iPhoto and Aperture.

    The reason for taking a GPS is obvious, if out in the wilderness and a breathtaking shot is captured, there's a good chance it's location will be lost after taking possibly thousands of shot on the trip. If using a GPS, make sure to sync the camera time/date to the GPS, then simply mark each shot as a way-point. Should you decided to the Apple photo books (this may apply to other services as well), you can add a caption the photo, such as "MT. Whitney, as viewed from 2.5 miles SouthWest".

    Enjoy your trip.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Thanks for the feedback DHart, I was hoping you would chime in on this as I've enjoyed your photos very much as well as your threads on the 9-18 and 7-14 lenses. In fact, your photos and rationale behind the use of UW lenses convinced me to add an ultra wide to my lens collection eventually.

    Slightly tangential topic, but if you could only pick one UW lens would you go with the 7-14 or the 9-18, if you eliminate the cost difference as a factor and look strictly at IQ and versatility? I am leaning toward the 7-14mm figuring the 7mm at the wide end is worthwhile, and I can cover 14mm+ with other lenses.
  15. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Yes, I agree it looks like all I'm going to do is take pictures! But I'm not one to sit on the beach just soaking up UV radiation...:biggrin: Already thinking of ways to scale back.

    Very perceptive comment on lack of flash. I'm a complete disaster with artificial lighting; I can even mess up simple fill-in flash. I've been looking recently at flash units, but I won't pull the trigger because I'll disappoint myself again. Mental block..or lack of intelligence...whatever..:frown:
    • Like Like x 1
  16. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Ah, I forgot the GPS..thanks for reminding me! I also like geotagging as well, although my usual approach is to just have the GPS running while I'm taking photos (outside of course - GPS unlikely to maintain contact with satellites while indoors). Then I can upload the GPS track and photos to my laptop, and finally use (free) software to write the latitude-longitude to the individual photo EXIF info. Sounds complicated, but it's surprisingly easy and fast. As you said, very important to sync camera clock with GPS time.

    More stuff in the bag...:eek:
    • Like Like x 1
  17. landshark

    landshark Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 27, 2010
    SO CAL
    I have a vacation trip coming up. So far I think I will be taking with me
    2 Fuji XPro1 bodies
    1 OM-D body
    18mm, 35mm and 60mm Fuji lenses
    Pan 7-14 lens, Oly 12 lens,
    6 extra batteries, a couple of chargers
    10 sd cards
    Apple Air 10.6"

    maybe a pocket tripod, maybe Pan 100-300 lens if my second OM-D shows up before I go
    • Like Like x 2
  18. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    jloden... thanks for your comments... I'm glad those threads were of help to you. I KNOW, you will find having an ultra wide is essential once you've had the opportunity to find out what they can do for you.

    I really hate to have to choose between the 7-14 and the 9-18 because I love them each for slightly different reasons. But if I could only keep one... yes, it would be the 7-14 for

    1) its amazing image quality
    2) the amazing 7mm perspective
    3) 14mm on up I'm covered with other lenses.

    But for a 1-lens walk around lens, the 9-18 is preferrable for having a more versatile, slightly longer reach.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Gotcha - so what you're saying is get the 7-14mm first, but be prepared to be suckered into the 9-18mm later anyway :tongue:

    I think I picked the wrong hobby for a gear nut like me haha.
  20. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Interesting commentary regarding flash. While I have used flash extensively in the studio settings as well as on location commercial shooting, in my personal work and ALL of my outdoor portrait work, I would never choose to use flash. There are some highly skilled shooters who have on location flash down to such a science that it works magnificently for them when they need it. But a great many photographers who use flash produce work which I wouldn't want to show.

    Much of the time, flash produces a look which is artificial. A photographer has to be very, very good to be able to use flash and NOT have an artificial lighting look.

    If you learn to "see" available continuous light and choose your angles appropriately, you can often eliminate the need for flash. Especially with the the fast lenses and better high ISO we have now with the G3 and E-M5.

    For my personal and travel photography I have NEVER used flash and don't ever intend to. If I ever use supplemental lighting, it is with reflectors and various continuous lighting sources. This retains a remarkably beautiful, natural look.

    For the most part, flash is helpful in filling shadows. BUT with the decent dynamic range on G3 and E-M5 sensors, shooting with RAW capture, and using the Fill tools in Lightroom... I have no problems with filling shadows in even some of the harshest lighting conditions. I use fill tools in Lightroom a great deal and love it. No need for flash for this shooter.

    Learn to "see" available light and work with it... you can do amazing things.

    Bottom line for me is that I have no need for a flash in my travel kit. And I love that because it reduces gear cost, size, weight, time, and complexity. For the shooter who thinks he "needs" a flash, but only because he thinks that's what you're "supposed" to have... I suggest learning more about seeing the available light around you, consider various materials that can be improvised for reflector fill, shoot with RAW capture, and learn the Fill light tool in Lightrom. Personally, I think you can do awesome work in most situations and never use a flash at all.
    • Like Like x 4
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