Europe with m43 - What worked what didn't retrospective

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Martin Ocando
MOD Martin Ocando Veteran Member • Posts: 6,169
Europe with m43 - What worked what didn't retrospective

Recently having city hopping in Europe, this was my experience regarding a travel kit. I brought:

  • E-M5 Mark II sans grip. I wanted the less weight possible, and clipping it to my capture clip on my backpack shoulder strap was a lifesaver. Both to avoid robbers and to lighten the load on my hand and arm.
  • 12-40mm f:2.8. It was the most used lens by far. The weight was a real burden when the day got long and we were tired of walking, but again, the capture clip worked wonders.
  • 35-100mm f:2.8. Used very little. I'd say 30-50 frames out of 3,000. Tops. But the range was really useful when needed. And I avoided switching to it out of exhaustion, or I simply left it at the apartment when I wanted to be super light. Some extra reach would have been good, though.
  • Rokinon 7.5mm f:3.5. This was a very useful lens for museums and churches. Not very fast, but I handled it. And coupled with today's defishing algorithms in Lightroom makes it ideal.
  • Panasonic 20mm f:1.7. Only used on rare occasions when I needed to be super light, like when we were exploring just the city and not visiting special places. It was not very used really, but a bit more than the 35-100, due to its size and weight.
  • As for the bag, I took the Peak Design 5L sling, and it was great to hold everything, and a few other things as well.
  • 2016 15in MacBook Pro with an external 1TB SSD for dual backup when importing files into Lightroom.

I also brought the 9-18mm and 45mm 1.8, but they lever left the camera bag. It was not a real burden since they are very light, but next time they'll stay at home. Also brought the E-M1 Mark I, just to have a spare body, but never used it either. 6 batteries in total, which proved excessive. 3 are more than enough for a full day of shooting, and charging them with the Watson dual charger makes them ready for the next day in a couple of hours.

I carried everything inside my Peak Design 45L travel backpack with a small camera cube. Although only used it for air travel and not for exploring. Is way too large as a daypack. I simply used a minimal backpack to carry water, food and whatever we ended up buying while walking around the city. Used a wire lock on it 24/7. My wife was in charge of getting stuff in and out of the backpack. Then I emptied the backpack and put it on my suitcase for air travel.

There were a few issues that I'd like to avoid or improve on my next trip:

  1. Changing lenses in a real inconvenience on dry/windy/rainy situations. Or at all. I rather kept shooting with one lens instead of swapping it when I had my hands full, or I didn't have a place to rest my camera. I used the 5L Sling a lot for that, and also the capture clip.
  2. Lugging around a full-size 15inch MacBook Pro is not very comfortable
  3. Dust in the sensor was very noticeable on some pictures (blame changing lenses for that)

So, this is my plan for my next trip:

  1. Get an E-M1 Mark II or a Panasonic G9. Still hasn't decided on which one will be. Mostly because my old E-M1 is already pretty banged up. It has endured lots of events and is time to retire it as a backup. More pixels and a better battery is a plus. Kind of leaning towards the Oly, since the G9 seems a bit heavier and larger, and don't know if it's going to fit inside my 5L bag.
  2. Get an Olympus 14-150mm f:4-5.6 II. Definitively weather sealed lenses are a must if you are walking around. You never know when the rain will catch you unguarded. Also, the extra reach was needed, and I will avoid changing lenses almost completely unless I walk into a museum or a church in which I will be already somewhat protected from the elements. Why not the 12-100? 1.: reach, 2.: price, and 3.: size/weight
  3. Get a Panasonic 7-14mm f:4. Yeah, I know, purple blob. I don't plan to be shooting outside too much with it anyway. But the extra range, AF, and being rectilinear is a plus.
  4. I'll take the E-M5 Mark II as a backup as well, also stripped from all grips. Just as minimalistic as possible, with maybe 1 or 2 batteries. They are different from the E-M1 Mark II or G9, so can't share between them. I can also put the 7-14mm on, and bring both bodies minimizing changing lenses. Can't say if they'll both fit inside the 5L sling, though.
  5. I'll also bring the 20mm f:1.7, as it proved pretty convenient for just strolling around the cities in a minimalistic way. I can even leave the bag, and just clip the camera to my chest, and throw an extra battery in my pocket.
  6. Will take my son's 2015 MacBook Air instead of my MBP.
  7. I'll keep the 45L travel backpack as it proved very convenient for air travel, and it freed my hands, which was convenient to help my wife with her bags. Otherwise, I couldn't have done it.

That's it. If you have more ideas, I'm open to suggestions.

And as a reward to reaching this far, a pano from the trip, and a spoiler of my next Europe thread

Madrid Royal Palace

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"One of the biggest mistakes a photographer can make is to look at the real world and cling to the vain hope that next time his film will somehow bear a closer resemblance to it" - Galen Rowell

 Martin Ocando's gear list:Martin Ocando's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 OIS +10 more
Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
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