Getting my OM-D kit ready for Africa
10 months ago
One week to go before heading off on a five week trip to South Africa, Namibia, Bostwana and Zambia. Can’t wait – trip of a lifetime.
We’re using small aircraft for part of the trip which have crazy-tight baggage restrictions… a total of 15kg each including all carry on! So (assuming I perhaps need a change or two of clothes) my camera gear has to be mighty compact.
After lots of research I made a giant leap of faith and opted to try an EM-5. I already have some m43 gear (a Lumix G2 plus lenses that have served me well) so I first intended to take both cameras on this trip – reducing the amount of lens changes in the field and also giving some degree of back up. However once I had a good play with the EM-5 I made the big call to get a second one and retire the G2. I found I was struggling to jump between the tow control layouts and also I want to ensure the images we take (my girlfriend will shoot as well) will have a consistent look. The EM-5 is certainly not without its quirks - so I hope I won’t regret leaving the G2 in the cupboard!
Next decision was how to pack the gear. After looking at lots of options (ie every bag from every shop!) I’ve ended up with a simple little LowePro Event Messenger 150 - which unbelievably can swallow:
• One EM-5 fitted with a Lumix 14–140mm Lens for general use.
• Second EM5 fitted with a Lumix 100–300mm Lens for safari use.
• HLD-6 Battery Grip – horizontal section attached to either of the cameras, vertical section ready to add as required.
• Lumix 7–14mm Lens for landscape use.
• Lumix 20mm Lens for low light use.
• Olympus 12 – 50mm Lens for back up (and to give us the option of having both cameras fitted with ‘normal’ lenses at the same time if we wish).
• Six Batteries – OEM in each of the cameras; one BestBatt type in the vertical grip and three more BestBatt ones in the bag. I had to go for the copy versions as the Olympus ones have not turned up here in New Zealand at all.
• One Charger (one of BestBatt type) in the camera bag as a back up (the other ones are in my main bag).
• Memory Cards – About a dozen good new ones - capacity for 4000 raw shots had better be enough!
The camera bag is certainly very full - yet even with lens cleaners, a pair of sunglasses and some sunscreen it still slips under 4kg – remarkable. Try that with a DSLR!
Considerations when selecting the bag were a) the ability to have both cameras ready to shoot – they sit neatly with the 14–140mm and 100–300mm lenses fitted and with lens hoods on (not reversed) and b) that the bag was reasonably discreet and not screaming “camera gear inside”. The compromise is the Event Messenger is not as robust as some other options and maybe not as environmentally sealed as I would have liked.
The only gear not in the camera bag are the extra chargers plus plug adaptors etc and a Lumix LX3 compact camera for casual stuff. I’m not travelling with a laptop – simply no room for it.
Getting the two EM-5s set up (and then performing the same) was a huge exercise – big thanks to all the people who have written so much useful information on this site – I would have been lost without it. I’ve tried to pre-empt some shooting situations using the Myset functions (but boy could this do with a firmware overhaul… it could be so much more useful if it was better implemented). I also wrote myself a basic instruction sheet – partly to remind me what I’ve set where and also as a starting point for my girlfriend who is new to this level of photography.
Looking forward to getting out there and hoping for some great photo opportunities – heard there has been snow in South Africa this week – hmmmm.
Christchurch New Zealand