Which cameras and lenses for travel?

I have a trip to Helsinki planned for the end of August, and I have spent the last two weeks trying to decide which cameras to take. I have gone over the camera and lens options I have already, and even considered upgrading for the trip.

Upgrading is always fun. GAS is a term that I always pertain to guitar gear, but I have seen the term used with camera equipment. A shiny new piece of equipment is always fun, and can, even if only for a short time, inspire. Now, the main problem is the honeymoon period is exactly that; a short time. It so happens I have a little saved that could have gone towards a new lens or trade in and upgrade to a new body, but real life kicks in. I have an MOT that needs to be done before I go away, and most likely the funds will go towards that.

So which tools do I take with me on my trip abroad? Well I know that I do not want the hassle of taking film, so right away my film cameras are off the cards. What sort of thing do I want to shoot while away? Well, I am a street photographer, so some Helsinki street photography is definitely going to happen. I will also want to get some scenic shots, as that part of the world is beautiful. First off, it is a trip. So I will need something that is portable and easy to use. My main digital street photography camera happens to be the Ricoh GRII, which is also a very small compact APS-C camera. That’s 28mm equivalent of compact streety goodness. But what if I need something more versatile or a different focal length?

At this point in time I do not have the accessories that change or manipulate the GRII focal lengths. I happen to own a Fuji X-T1 (the camera I was going to upgrade). So what are the advantages of this camera? Weather resistance is handy, so I can use it in spitting rain or if it is damp out. Secondly, it is fairly small, and I have a 35mm F2 (50mm FF equivalent) lens for it. Both this and the 28mm equivalent on the Ricoh should provide enough cover for most photographs. However, I also have an adaptor that allows vintage lenses to be used with the X-T1.

I have made the decision to not take any vintage lenses with the adaptor, as from past travelling experience I have not used more than two lenses when travelling. Granted previously I had traveled with a Wide Zoom and a normal zoom, which is quite different to the two prime lenses mentioned above. However, the way I approach and shoot situations is completely different to what it used to be. I am quite happy to work around the restrictions that may arise from using two prime lenses, and ultimately I am happy to avoid the space taken in my carry on luggage by an obnoxious telephoto lens.

In conclusion, past travel experience has taught me that less is more useful and less hassle. I always think I need more lens/ focal length coverage than I actually need. Do you need to cover all bases? That simple answer is no you don’t. Take what you know how to use, and take as little as you can get away with taking. New gear is exciting, but may only provide a short-term inspiration or even just be a placebo for creativity. Most of all, enjoy your holiday – something I plan to do!