Sunday, February 14, 2010

Traveling Light? Not me.

What is the opposite of traveling light?

Well that's what I'm doing.

I wanted to travel light but it just didn't work out that way.

I'm in Paris now trying to see as many sights as I can. The question was, what cameras to bring. I brought everything to the house and started packing about two hours before heading to the airport.

No way was the 8x10 coming along, just looking at the backpack was the end of that, and I would need a large tripod, film tent and sherpa to move it around.

The next camera to get cut was the Pentax 645AF. I really like this camera and enjoy the Auto Focus and the size of negative but with only a 45mm and 200mm lens there was too large a gap to use it as the main camera. It's a bit heavy too, and the 120 is bulky for how many shots you get.

Full-frame digital Sony A850? Axed. Great files, but too heavy and I don't have a film camera using the same lens mount since the shutter went in my Minolta a few weeks back.

I did bring the Sony A550 body with the Zeiss 24-70 F2.8 lens. This combination is a bit heavy as well but I really like the files from the A550 and the lens is outstanding. The 24mm at the widest is a little long on the cropped chip sensor of the A550 but I couldn't justify bringing the 16mm fisheye on an APS size camera.

The new HX5v was the next model to get added to the growing pile. This is the latest Hi-zoom point and shoot from Sony with a 10 times lens, true wide angle and a boat-load of great features. This camera is small, light and has a great build quality. I'm really enjoying it.

I also brought the XR520 video camera from Sony and a wireless mic for it. You can make nice stills with it in a pinch.

The only film camera to make the cut was my black Zeiss Ikon. I brought the little rangefinder with the Zeiss 25mm F2.8 wideangle, the 35mm F2 as a normalish lens and the 85mm. Since I was shooting only black and white film I added an 040 B+W orange filter for each lens and about 20 rolls of Delta 100. I have a regular Domke strap on the black body and keep a wrist strap on the silver one. On my last trip I found the regular camera strap worked better so took the black model.

Well there we have it. Four camera bodies, two camea bags, film, small tripod, small flash, mic, batteries, lenses, two chargers, a bag for the memory cards and some wires to connect to the computer.

The photo on the top is of the Chateau de Versailles using the cool "Sweep Panorama" feature on the HX5v. I took a picture of the gate because after hauling the gear there, taking 2 subways and three trains, and getting lost.... it was closing just as we showed up and we couldn't get in.

After one day on the trip I realize I brought the wrong gear.

Rob Skeoch


  1. I hate trying to figure out what I should take when I travel for myself camerawise. I do better when I'm traveling for work and just carrying my digital point-n-shoot.

    What do you feel you should have taken?

  2. It's a work in progress for sure and I expect to have a better idea by the end of next week.

    It does make sense to have the same system if you want to shoot digital and some film. So I need to buy an M9, a Pentax 645 Digital, or find another idea. I did have the Minolta body to work with my Sony lenses but the shutter went in the camera and overall I'm not impressed with the Minolta build quality.

    Unlikely I'll be getting the Pentax 645 digital since they haven't brought it to market yet.

    The M9 is a great solution but costly..... but a Zeiss rangefinder and an M9 would make a great combo.

    I've also thought about the Bessa III 667 for just black and white since they fold up small but give a big negative. It would limit black and white to one lens though.

    So I still don't know what to do... but I'm searching for an answer every day.

    No matter what you bring you do need a good point and shoot for family snaps. I have no plan to shoot those on film it's too much work in the darkroom. I'm very happy with the Sony HX5v that I'm testing.