What should I take with me?

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by NightBird, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. NightBird

    NightBird SC Regular

    175
    Apr 23, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    Darren
    OK. I've been around long enough and had enough gear not to have to ask this question, but I'm never adverse to common sense and objectivity, which I often lack. So I thought, where better to ask for objective advice?

    In two weeks I'm taking the family and some friends for a walk in the Snowy Mountains, Australia. From Charlottes Pass to Mt Kosciuszko and on to Thredbo. Should make for a nice day provided weather is favorable. I have some gear to choose from, however high on my list a light bag. Mainly due to some nerve damage and compressed discs. I've walked it once before, long time ago and with a camera that failed miserably. I don't want that experience again. Even though I only live 5 - 6 hours drive away, I may not get back there.

    So what camera gear should I choose to take? Perhaps someone has done the walk and can advise something I haven't thought of? The area seems to attract plenty of hikers / walkers.

    I have the following to choose from.

    Fuji X-Pro1 with most native lenses & EF-X20 flash
    Fuji X100s
    Sony RX100
    Nikon V1 with 50mm & 10-30
    Panny GX1 with 20mm, 14-45 & 45-200
    Nikon D5100 with 18-200 (Perhaps a one lens solution, except the 18-200 isn't my fav lens)
    Fuji S4500 (OK. I'm not really taking that one :) )

    My initial thoughts are for the X-Pro1 with 14mm & 18-55, EF-X20, Tripod depending on conditions + the RX100 (Though most of the terrain is above the tree line and if It's sunny, the sony will be a pain).

    It's not a place I can get to often, so limiting myself the just the X100s feels good, and I'd love to push myself, but might not be practical.

    Most of the landscape is very wide and open. I've never really shot in such an environment apart from perhaps a cruise I went on, where the sea and coastline would be the closest resemblance in terms of 'openness'

    Perhaps a grad ND... I've never liked the results of polarizing filters on wide lenses. I have a very light and compact Sirui carbon fiber tripod, though might not be necessary depending on weather and lighting. Fill flash could be useful for family and friend shots in back-lit conditions.

    And the final requirement.. All camera gear except the tripod must fit inside my Thinktank Retrospective 5, or better still, a Crumpler 5 Million dollar home (Might be ambitious with the crumpler).

    Thanks & Cheers!
     
  2. staticantics

    staticantics SC Regular

    136
    Oct 15, 2013
    Central California
    Chris
    The less you take, the more likely you are to use it. I always loved travelling with a camera I was most familiar with and a wide angle lens. I think your x-pro1 instinct will likely be your best (assuming you are comfortable with it in any lighting circumstance. Tripod is added bulk and not needed.

    Proof you should take your xpro includes:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dnightingale/9250668227/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dnightingale/9212741302/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dnightingale/9206693696/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dnightingale/8774357109/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dnightingale/8754078460/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dnightingale/8752873035/

    Looks like you are comfortable with it in various lighting and you are comfortable photographing action (and people) with it. It'll make for a great travel camera.

    Safe travels and have fun!
     
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  3. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    I certainly wouldn't want to burden you with lots of gear, but tele lenses can be great in wide open spaces, too... I'm by nature very much a wide angle junkie, but sometimes there just isn't enough going on in terms of foreground/mid/background layers to make for an interesting wide angle image, and a tele lens can be of real value then.
     
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  4. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    I just spent five and a half months travelling with four cameras and nine lenses, so bottom line, don't ask me :smile:
     
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  5. NightBird

    NightBird SC Regular

    175
    Apr 23, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    Darren
    Understood. I've sold so much gear, including 6 - 7 cameras to get down to what I have now. Hence my obvious need for objectivity, and common sense.
     
  6. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Is 45 the longest Fuji lens that you have? I always like a tele on a nature trip. Other than that, I like your choices. It would be hard to take the GX1 or the Nikon over the Fuji just for the long lens.
     
  7. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I would take the X-Pro1 and add the 55-200 if you don;t have it. If it's not in your budget sell some more cameras.......no one can use all those cameras you have.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    I hiked the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu last year with my wife and 3 yr old daughter, took only the X100 in a TINY black camera bag strapped across my chest, and got what i thought were very, very good results for laughably minimal "load carrying" effort. So of course I'm going to make an impassioned plea for the X100S... which you will ultimately not decide on. Because everytime you see a shot that would've been better served with one of the other 4,627 camera/lens combinations back home in your closet, you will weep a little inside. Because you're human, and we'd all do it. But I'm still going to try.

    A 35mm equivalent lens is the perfect companion for a mix of big scenery and family shots, in my humble. You'll shoot raw, and with a bigger / better sensor than I had in the X100, but even judging by the SOOC jpg's below, I would argue that 5x heavier / bulkier gear will NOT get you 5x better results. Law of diminishing returns is your friend here, and temptation is the enemy. Bring only the X100S, commit to it, and never look back. Make your tiny light weight bed, and lie in it.

    It has top-shelf optics and plenty of IQ to make lovely, wide scenics. It really gives up nothing to anything else in your closet here.
    [​IMG]

    It will focus close, and with f2 and the built-in ND filter, it will bokeh the bejeezus out of those backgrounds for detail shots. "Oh I should open my bag, find the ND filter, screw it on, then take the shot, then take it back off, then put it away - NO WAIT this is the X100S, I just hit a button." Boom. ND filter engaged, low-ISO f2 goodness in broad daylight.
    [​IMG]

    It stitches lovely panoramics together for you. No work.
    [​IMG]


    The glass and sensor are really, really good. If there were an RX1 in your closet I would give up that point, but nothing this small in your closet is this good, as far as I know.
    [​IMG]

    Perhaps the biggest selling point is the size. You're thinking of size because of the weight of the gear and its bag, but what you may not be thinking of is the fact that when a camera gets THIS compact and light, you can have it at your fingertips constantly. Either hanging on a strap exposed, or in a tiny grab bag. You don't MISS things, you just raise the camera and flick it on with one finger, compose, fire, and you got it. No recreating what just happened, no digging through a bag. I see so much discussion about how much faster other systems focus, but if you're digging for lenses because the wide you left on doesn't fit with the shot you now want to take, it doesn't really matter. With the X100S, that whole decision tree has been sawed off at the stump. There ain't no other lenses. The list of things going through your brain is now probably just ISO and aperture, then framing. That "only 1 lens" weakness becomes a serious strength in practical use.
    [​IMG]

    Your back and your nerves will thank you. The images will be fantastic. You'll miss a few opportunities, but I promise you that if you have the X100S close at hand the entire time, you'll more than make up for missed posed shots with priceless casuals. That's all I've got. Good luck and I can't wait to see whatever you wind up shooting!

    -Kyle
     
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  9. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Kyle, your impassioned speech and photos to back it up nearly have me selling my DSLR kit.
     
  10. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    All I can think now is "I wish I'd shot RAW+Jpg."
     
  11. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    After the Gettysburg Address by Kyle, take the X100S and nothing else!!



    Sent from my iPhone using SeriousCompacts mobile app
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    I went too far didn't I.

    Dangit.
     
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  13. Tilman Paulin

    Tilman Paulin SC Top Veteran

    681
    Nov 15, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    two things come to mind when reading your initial post:
    -the area is called "Snowy Mountains"? Will there be snow? Then you could choose the camera/lens combo that deals best with high contrasts...

    -how long is the actual hiking distance? and you're hiking in a group... How much time will you have for stopping and taking pictures?
    If you don't want to have the group waiting for you a lot, or it's a long days hike you may not want to spend most of the time changing lenses...

    Since you've done the hike before, you probably already have the answers to both in your head. :) Just my first thoughts...

    --

    That being said, all the cameras you mentioned should do a great job.
    Two or three years ago they would have surpassed anything available on the market, so I wouldn't worry too much about ultimate image quality.

    When I'm in the mountains I use the Panasonic 20mm a lot (most of the landscape features are "far away", so there's no need for a wide-angle most of the time).
    I'm still happy to have additional lenses with me, but the 20mm is so tack sharp... and you can still use it for portrait shots...

    Ultimately I'd say: Pick the camera you're most comfortable with. That's the most important bit :)
     
  14. NightBird

    NightBird SC Regular

    175
    Apr 23, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    Darren
    The XF 55--200 is the next on my list. You're 100% correct about selling more gear. In fact, I am hoping to get the Nikon and 18-200 + GX1 and 20mm onto eBay this weekend. That should clearly raise what is needed for the XF 55-200.
     
  15. NightBird

    NightBird SC Regular

    175
    Apr 23, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    Darren
    Hi Kyle,

    You make fantastic and passionate reasoning. You know, I'm really swaying now. I love the X-Pro, and I can have everything covered, though with the option of the WCL-X100 conversion lens, I'm instantly back in my comfort zone with the X100s as well, and feel much more comfortable that I won't miss what's already in my minds eye.

    Luke, I've also seen wonderful tele shots of landscapes, and I have no doubt of the extra versatility and options they bring. You'll see from my flickr though, I'm not as comfortable with them. Depending on what happens over the next week or so, the XF 55-200 or WCL-X100 will be sitting in my closet (Perhaps both).

    In any case, I'm determined to 'go lite'.
     
  16. NightBird

    NightBird SC Regular

    175
    Apr 23, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    Darren
    Definitely not. Love the passion.
     
  17. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I'd take the X100s and the Xpro. Kyle has it right with the X100s doing it all BUT tele, and you might regret that. But if you take it and the other with the long lens on it.. two cameras isn't too much. It's how I did Venice although I had a G12 and GR. Forget the tripod unless you use a mini, and yes on the ND. I'd also take a polarizer but you don't like them so that is one less piece of gear.
     
  18. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    -chuckle-

    If I actually had a closet like yours, I'm pretty sure I couldn't leave the X-Pro at home. It's only easy for me because my closet is an X100, a 70's minolta, and rolls of Ektar 100 or TMax 400.

    edit: And having said that, my travel setup lately for trips is in fact the X100 and the minolta with a 55 1.7 on it.
     
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  19. NightBird

    NightBird SC Regular

    175
    Apr 23, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    Darren
    There are often periods of some snow through the warmer months. Dec-Feb are the hottest. They are forecasting possible snow later this weekend. The weather there is very hard to predict, and can go from 25 Celsius to 0 in hours. I think the X100s and X-Pro would have the best dynamic range of anything I have.

    There are just 7 of us. My family and friends family. I think we are planning for around 15-20km's for the day, so not punishing time wise. No schedule other than daylight hours.

    You're right about the 20mm. It's fantastic. It just sits in a bag with the GX1 now I've already sold my E-M5. Sad really. It will have to go. I've been there once before around 10-12 years ago. The landscape won't have changed, but the weather and lighting can drastically alter the mood and look of the place. You make a good point about the landscape features being far away, thus wide angle not always being as useful as it might otherwise be. Perhaps my beloved XF 14mm is not as necessary as I had deemed it for this trip.
     
  20. Susan Sande

    Susan Sande SC Veteran

    296
    Aug 3, 2011
    Upper left USA
    I like that!!! I just walked through your Flickr photostream. Very enjoyable as I kept saying to my self been there, been there, been there (US photos). Were you hiking the Pennine Way in the Yorkshire Dales set? And the photos that had me grinning? The bat enjoying the cantaloupe!!
     
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