Thursday, March 26, 2015

Packing A Small Do-It-All Kit For Travel

In a couple of hours, I will be on my way to UAE where I will be spending three days. I will be visiting both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I’ve never been there before, but I know that there will be excellent photographic opportunities there. So, instead of just taking the LX100 (which is a very capable camera, especially in video), I decided to take a more flexible setup. It has to be small, and it has to fit in my ThinkTank Retrospective 5 bag.

How small can you go and cover everything? MFT is the answer. Despite the small size of APS-C and FF mirrorless cameras, the lenses are not that much smaller compared to a DSLR, and still a bit larger than their MFT counterparts. Have a look at the gear I chose for my trip:

Olympus OM-D E-M1: a professional, weather-sealed, no-compromises camera with excellent image quality, excellent built-in stabilization and a zillion features like full WiFi shooting experience, Time Lapse modes, Keystone correction, etc… I also have the flash that shipped with the camera just in case, I have a white card to bounce it.

Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8: a professional, weather-sealed, fast zoom that covers 24-80mm equivalent focal lengths. Will be my main workhorse for landscapes.

Olympus 40-150mm f/3.5-5.6: a small and light zoom lens covering 80-300mm, with great performance. Will be used for activities that require the telephoto end, and compressed landscape photos. I will also try to test it with the new firmware 3.0 that enables continuous focus tracking at 9 fps.

Bower Fish-eye: one of the sharpest, less-distorted fish-eye lenses available. Will be excellent to shoot the tall buildings and unique sky towers in Dubai. Also sold as Samyang or Rokinon.

Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4: you saw it before. This is my fast lens for low light shooting, small, light, and can do very well in various situations.

Panasonic LX100: the best video camera I had the pleasure to use. 4K video output from this camera edited to a 1080p time line is a joy for the eyes. Also as a carry-everywhere camera when I want to be discreet.

Oben-50 tripod: a tiny table-top tripod with very few moving parts and a very good ball-head, and fits easily inside my bag.

Filters: I took a Tiffen Variable ND Filter for long exposures, and a Tiffen Circular Polarizer. My filters are 62mm in size fitting the largest lens I have, and I have step-up adapters to use them with other lenses. They are put inside a well-padded Tiffen pouch.

Spare Batteries & Memory Cards: 4 Progo batteries for the E-M1, and one Wasabi spare for the LX100. No chargers whatsoever.

Everything fits smoothly inside my all-time favorite bag, the ThinkTank Retrospective 5.

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