My review of the gear I took to Europe (plus pics)

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My review of the gear I took to Europe (plus pics)

I recently spent a month in Ireland, Sweden and Finland. I took a similar batch of gear as I took to Iceland a couple of years back with a wide range of focal lengths. Big difference this time was I didn't take a laptop, and had to find an alternative backup option.

Camera Stuff



12-40 (plus custom lens cap so I could permanently mount a polariser filter.

60mm macro


8mm Pana Fisheye.

The small E-M1 II flash.

Backup Gear

2 x 128GB USB sticks

RavPower Filehub


Thinktank Perception Pro Backpack.

Peak Designs capture clip.

All the lenses got a fair bit of use, with the exception of the 60mm macro. The 12-40 was the main workhorse, but the 100-400 came in very handy for a lot of landscapes and wildlife, and the 9-18 and 8mm were invaluable once amongst medieval streets and ruined castles and abbeys. A few shots in particular made the 100-400 a most appreciated tool.

One thing that was obvious (and stands out in a lot of my shots) is that there was a lot of haze in the atmosphere. This made the use of the 100-400 tricky for a lot of landscape shots.

The macro didn't end up being that useful. Usually it wasn't worth switching out the 12-40 for macro-ish shots. Still, it's tiny and wasn't much of a penalty to carry.

In terms of carrying the gear, the Thinktank Perception Pro was great. Perfect size for carry-on, and comfortable enough for long days hiking. We generally do a fair bit of wandering through national parks on these trips. I estimate we clocked up around 300km of walking, with many days being over 15-18km. The backpack alone wouldn't be ideal, but worked really well when combined with the capture clip, so the camera could be mounted on the backpack strap.

Backups were done using a mobile phone to control the RavPower Filehub. This little device can connect to iPads, Phones, USB sticks and SD cards, and transfer files between them. Each night we'd backup the primary SD card (raws) to one of the USB sticks, with a second backup being the secondary SD card with jpegs. Total shot count was about 4500 shots, for around 80-90GB of data. The USB sticks were then stored in different luggage, so that if anything went bad with my camera gear, we'd still have a copy.

One of the things we tend to do when travelling is try to avoid the crowds. This paid of handsomely at Giant's Causeway. We left at 6am, got to the town just west of the causeway at 7am, and hiked in to get there at 8am. At that time of the morning there were just 6 or so other people on the entire site. By the time we left at 9am, about 50 people were making their way down to the Causeway.

Similarly with the passage tombs of Ireland. Rather than going to the big tourist sites of Newgrange, Knowrh and Dowth, we went up the hill to Carrowkeel. This meant we could visit and enter several passage tombs, that haven’t been as “interpreted” as Newgrange. Also, there was nobody there, which was nice.

Wasa - fisheye processed to ultra wide-angle.

Baby sqrl!!!

Fisheye heavily processed

Between a rock and the deep blue sea. (See next shot)

Yep. That's one unhappy goat.

An empty Giant's Casueway

Puffins (at last)

Stockholm archipelago

Helsinki at night (from the Suomenlinna ferry).

Not a great shot, but also pretty awesome IBIS demo - from a moving ferry!

Helsinki Cathedral

Northern Goshawk

Running away from the storm - Ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki.

Helsinki Cathedral's gear's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm F3.5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ +7 more
Comment & critique:
Please provide me constructive critique and criticism.
Olympus E-M1
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