During my first round the world trip in 2009-2010 I had at least 3kg of photography equipment with me if not more. Heavy DSLR body with two huge zoom lenses and gorilla tripod. It had a dedicated bag, which I had to carry on me nearly 10 hours a day on top of the regular 12 kilogram personal stuff backpack. I began to dream about traveling light.
I’ve gone a long way since then. First I have challenged myself to shoot exclusively with prime lenses (weight and size was one reason, but the other was skills development – see my post about no zoom project). Later I have moved to the Fuji X system. My photography style (taking pictures, not gear) has been evolving into the direction where I no longer needed a heavy kit with a wide range of focal length and all possible accessories. My current need is to carry as little as possible and don’t be distracted by variety of options. This applies both to photographing as well as giving my attention to the family that is currently traveling with me (we’re on a four month trip around Asia till April 2015).
So here’s what I have in my… well, backpack, because I no longer have a dedicated camera bag. It’s a list of things that are used for taking, processing and posting pictures during the trip:
- Fujifilm X100T camera with fixed 23mm f/2.0 lens and Wi-Fi. It has a custom made Gorky’s leather strap.
- JJC lens hood and Hoya UV filter on the lens. I didn’t want to use any filters, but one day on a beach I saw pieces of sand on the optics and I literally run into the photo gear store to buy something for protection (I took whatever they got in stock and ended up with Hoya for now).
- Original Fuji leather case. This is how I carry the camera: I literally wear it on me hidden in the leather case. If I want to take a picture, I just open the case and shoot.
- Motorola Moto E Dual Sim. This is my travel phone, which is being used solely for that purpose. There are several advantages that make it a great travel companion: 1) it is very cheap (90 EUR); 2) it works with two sim cards (one from home and one prepaid from the country I’m currently in); 3) it is small; 4) it has pure Android on board and hence is very fast and responsive; 5) it’s cute. The photo apps that I use are: VSCO Cam, Instagram and Squere InstaPic. See my previous post about the photo publishing process I follow during the trip.
- USB cables with respective power plug adapters. Another fantastic feature of the X100T is that you can charge it via the USB cable and in result you do not need to carry the dedicated camera power charger! Instead you can pack one of those:
- 7800 mAh portable power bank. I bought a cheap Lab31 device in Tesco and it works like a charm. I’m able to recharge the little Moto or even the Fuji if I run out of juice and am currently in transit (bus, train or plane).
- Three SanDisk Extreme Pro SD cards.
- Optics cleaning accessories.
- Kindle full of books about photography and places I’m going to visit.
- Note that I don’t have any spare batteries for the Fuji. It was not an issue so far, because I don’t shoot weddings. I use the camera only a few times during the typical travel day.
On top there are two items worth mentioning that belong to my wife and that I would not bring if I were traveling alone:
- Fuji X20 camera used to capture memories.
- Sony Xperia Tablet Z used mostly by my son for playing, but also by me for managing our travel blog and making backup to all the pictures from both cameras (64 GB micro SD card).
Does this kit seem to be optimal? Let me know if you’re traveling even lighter camera kit wise.