On the road, part 2: the serious stuff

On the road, part 2: the serious stuff

In the previous post, I discussed about the infrastructure and logistics part, while shooting on the road. The spirit was that of reduced weight and bulk while travelling, while missing very little in terms of features and flexibility. My aim is to continue in this direction in the actual photographic gear department.

Starting with:

1. Cameras

The main camera could be none other than my Fuji X-Pro2, and I decided to carry along a full assortment of lenses, for any foreseeable shooting scenario. In other words the 14mm f/2.8 for any wide angle situation, the 35mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.2 for portrait/people and low light shooting; I also brought along the 8mm fisheye because I always find there are creative opportunities for using it. Last but not least, the go-everywhere, do-everything 18-55mm zoom.

As a backup camera, I decided against a second X-mount camera such as the X-E2 or X-T1. Instead I picked up the X70 (with special thanks to Fujifilm Hellas and Vangelis Psathas for lending the camera). Why the X70? First, because I wanted to test it in real conditions and write about it. But also, second, because I thought it would be a step beyond a backup camera, since it also has unique features, such as the articulated touch screen and tiny dimensions. This would allow it to be used in conditions where the X-Pro would perhaps be not so appropriate. Besides the stealth factor, the X70 is a great wideangle choice with the only disadvantage that it needs a different battery than the X-Pro.

My “backup-backup” camera is the Nexus 5X, which also happens to feature a bitchin’ camera. And, yes, the shoot/upload via Wifi to smartphone/edit in Snapseed/upload to social media routine works wonderfully with the Fujis and the smartphone. At this point, I guess there is no excuse of any traveling photographer to be out of touch.

One thing missing which, on hindsight, I could also bring along: a telephoto lens. I don’t do much telephoto shooting, but a very affordable (less than 150 euro/dollars used) and capable option would be the “plastic kit” 55-230mm lens. It’s light and small enough to pack, while providing a very good reach and range.

2. Flash, batteries, other grip

I packed a light version of my “guerrilla strobist” setup, featuring just the Cactus V6 transceiver, RF60 flash, Rogue flashbender, plus a simple grid. Of course, additional batteries for both flash/trigger and cameras and a bunch of SD cards (besides the ones already in the cameras).

3. Various accessories and add-ons

There is a lot going on here, but not a lot to discuss. Let’s see, from left to right, top to bottom: 10 stop ND filter, infra-red filter, step down rings (so the filters can be used with almost any lens); Gorilla pod, blower, table top mini tripod for the X70, lens pen, a small case for cards, batteries, etc, cleaning clothes, business cards, pocket torch light.

Moving on: the Raynox DCR 250, of which I have written in the past; a great, light way to get ultra macro shots on the cheap. My Peak Design straps, a flash cable (trigger backup, but also let me remind you the X70 has a leaf shutter ;) ) and, finally a bunch of tie-up bands.

Not showing: my Benro Aero 4 tripod. Yes, I decided to bite the bullet and pack the tripod in my check in luggage. We’ll see how much and how I will use it, but I suspect I’ll do; also being able to work as a both a monopod and potential flashlight boom, there are many possibilities.

Also not shown but never leave home without one: one big zip lock bag. Should you get yourself and the camera in the rain, you simply towel the water off, put the camera in the nylon bag, and the water condensates in the inner surface, when you get inside.     

4. Finally, bags

My simple solution was to get everything mentioned in this and the previous blog post into my Manfrotto backpack (with room to spare). I packed the small Manfrotto sling in the check in bag, to use as a daily shooting bag; but I left its camera insert back home. Instead I took the insert from a Lowepro Slingshot, because it’s more flexible and slightly bigger. The Manfrotto sling can easily carry the X-Pro2 with lens plus 2 additional lenses, flash, trigger, Gorilla pod, tablet, batteries, cards; in short anything needed for about any daily photo mission.

This concludes this short report on travel gear; hope you found it interesting! In the next couple of weeks, I will be uploading actual work from the road, using this rig.

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