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May 13, 2010


Several years ago, I spent a couple of weeks in Japan. I go there every now and then, so it's not like it was a once in a lifetime event. I kept it nice and simple with the photo equipment. OM-1 with a 100mm/2.8 lens. I have a "slightly long" preference. There were certainly times when the single lens was not the best focal length, but I considered it part of the challenge, to find things that did work.

It's a clever move to think about photo equipment when a journey abroad is a few weeks away. But it's also quite interesting to look back at what we have actually done in the past, once our journeys are over.
I'm currently selecting photographs for my next exhibition. What strikes me while going through my hard disks is that the greater part of the photographs I pick have been shot with the smallest and/or the simplest equipment I had at the moment. It's amazing how my eye works better when there is the least amount of glass-magnesium-plastic-silicon between me and my subject. Despite resolution and tech features.
So I have most keepers from the Epson R-D1 (which I miss a lot) than the Canon 5D I owned at the same time, or from the Nikon D40 than the D300, or more lately from the Canon G10 and Panasonic TZ65 than the almost perfect, but a little bulkier, Panasonic GF1.
Being aware of this will definitely help me the next time I'll have a journey to plan. And the next time -very far away, hopefully- I'll have to buy new equipment.

Hi Gordon,
I'm very interested in your gear decision for Ecuador. My sister with husband and son go to Ecuador in july. I'm the one to give the photo gear for my nephew. At the moment I'm leaning towards my old reliable Nikon D50.Lenses still open. May be the kit lens because of weight. But it's not that robust.
My niece is living in Ecuador for 10 month. She took a small camera because fear of theft.But I don't like the picture quality of her camera.

I spend too much time pondering on this very question. Different trips ask for different gear. For the type of trip you're planning, I would take the Pentax K7 and prime lenses. This kit should be small enough to carry on board an aircraft and still have some spare space for family stuff.

If you said you were taking two or three Canon L or Nikon fast zoom lenses, then I would say forget it unless someone's paying you or you're without the family and don't mind a heavy backpack.

I think APS-C (Sony NEX series) and 4/3rds cameras are the direction photography is now headed. Large sensor, small format, manual control, interchangable lens cameras have a good future simply because they're easy to carry, fun to use and have great image quality.

One last thought. Halving the carry-on weight is easy. Just don't carry a laptop.

Ah, the question! What to take and what to leave behind. If you find a definitive formula to answer that question I'm all ears.

I keep coming back to these questions too. My D700 is too bulky a lot of the time, but it does offer a fantastic quality on many occasions. I've got the Oly E-P1 as a lightweight alternative and I'm very fond of it. I guess I could live with the E-PL1 as long as it gave me the same easy control over the manual controls. But I don't think it does. I run the Oly with mostly manual Voigtländer lenses and love the compact combinations. I make use of the extra DOF the smaller sized sensor offers me at the 40mm equivalent I like to work at.

Have a great time in Ecuador!

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