Carrying an extra lens vs extra camera

Started Apr 27, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Dheorl Veteran Member • Posts: 3,472
Carrying an extra lens vs extra camera

The last sentence is a fairly good summary if your first thought is TLDR.

After coming to the conclusion that I'm really just not going to get on with the 12-35mm/35-100mm combo for my travel photography needs I've been rejigging my kit a bit, which has begun with the purchase of the 45mm to fill in the portrait hole I'll have once I sell my 35-100mm.

The other requirements of my travel kit are that it must have a decent movie mode, take flashes and preferably a viewfinder (optional or otherwise) have a super-zoom of some sort and a form that allows it to be pocketable whilst covering a 28mm focal length (and ideally pocketable with a normal as well, but that's less important).

The last point is where I start to doubt which route will be best. Camera wise it was a toss up between a panasonic or sony for the video, but the super-zoom on the sonys just looks to large and heavy, so panasonic it is then. Clearly the most logical lens for a simple pocketable 28mm is the 14mm pancake. This will be mainly used for grab shots whilst hiking. I'll also carry the super-zoom in a pouch so at rest stops I can do some more considered compositions.

I wonder though if it might free up my camera choices a bit if for this grab-shot combo I instead just get a nikon A, and then have to worry less about the size of whatever camera I'd mount the super-zoom/45mm on. I was wondering if anyone else had taken a similar approach to covering a particular focal length they want and how they got on with it. I've listed out the pros and cons as far as I see it below and was wondering if anyone had anything to add.


  • 28mm grab-shot setup will be a smaller
  • Maybe marginally better IQ?
  • Can keep super-zoom mounted on other camera in my bag for quicker work at rest stops
  • Less concern about size of main camera


  • May cause confusion/less intuitive work when swapping between cameras due to different menus/controls
  • Will also result in my 'normal' focal length setup being bulkier if I were to go with a bulkier main camera
  • Will require extra work done to any movies shot on it to match overall footage
  • Will cost more (around £400 more)
  • Maybe slightly slower focus?

Previously for hiking I've just carried my Canon S95 but am often left a bit wanting with the IQ. I tried a Fuji X20 and although it's a lovely fun camera to use it's improvement in IQ is not enough to justify the added bulk, which is probably getting towards the upper end of what I find acceptable for the my use.

As I say though, has anyone here bought a camera instead of a lens to cover a particular focal length for size, flexibility or any other reason and what have your experiences been with it?

Canon PowerShot S95 Fujifilm X20
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