The Equipment Dilemma: The Lightweight VS The Heavyweight (Which Are You?)

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The Equipment Dilemma: The Lightweight VS The Heavyweight (Which Are You?)

Are you a Lightweight or Heavyweight photographer?

Do you travel light?  Or do you like to bring all your gear with you on trips, never knowing exactly what situations and opportunities you’ll have?

Every time I travel I go through this same painstaking process of deciding what camera gear to bring with me. From lenses to cameras to flash and more, I deliberate. Some might say, “if you are a well-versed photographer, you would just know.”  Others might say, “just bring the basics and keep things light.” And others may think, “put everything in a rolling bag to be prepared.”

Which photographer “travel personality” are you (when on vacation not on a paid assignment):

  1. The Know-It-All – knows exactly what he/she needs for every occasion (this “name” is meant to be funny – don’t take it too seriously)
  2. The Lightweight – who carries a Point and Shoot or maybe an SLR with just one lens attached (possibly one extra lens)
  3. The Heavyweight – who carries as much as possible – your SLR (maybe even 2) and a number of lenses, a flash, possibly a tripod or monopod, and more…
  4. The Indecisive – cannot decide on what to bring, changes out the camera items in the camera bag many times before settling on a final configuration

Where you fit in?  If no categories fit, come up with a name for your own.

Where I fit in: “The Indecisive”

I wish I made quick decisions. I dream of being a “Know-It-All.”  I wish I could keep packing simple.  I often second guess myself and bring far too much, but definitely not everything I own.

Photos courtesy of Tourism Queensland

My upcoming trip: I am one of the fortunate ten bloggers who leaves tomorrow on a plane for Australia courtesy of Problogger and sponsored by Tourism Queensland. I’ll be blogging about my experiences when I return, but while there I will post some images and details on my Facebook Page and my personal Facebook too – so make sure to watch for these updates. I hope to share pictures of Koalas, Kangaroos, marine life, the rainforest and my new friends from around the globe.

In addition to deciding what travel pillow, clothing, and shoes to bring, I once again needed to decide what camera equipment would make the trip. Here’s a glimpse at what I decided.  Tell me what you think in the comments.

Decision 1: I recently bought the Canon 5D MKIII. My first decision was should I take my old camera “just in case” something happens or my new one since “why have it if I’m not gonna use it.”  Originally I thought I’d go with the old.  But have decided on the latter and the 5D MKIII will be making the trip.

Decision 2: What lenses? My favorite lenses are now my Canon 50 1.2 and the Canon 70-200 2.8 II.  90+% of the time, one of these two lenses are on my camera. The 50mm is a prime lens, so not typically a solo travel lens.  The 70-200 is ultra heavy.  But I love both so much that they will both make the trip. You may notice a “hole” in my lineup – a wide-angle lens. Tamron, an MCP Blog Sponsor, just sent me their brand new 24-70 2.8.  So I will be bringing this along and give it a workout.  I debated on bring a macro and a fish eye lens, but it is just too much gear.

Decision 3: How should I handle underwater photography on the trip? My choices were to rent housing for my SLR along with underwater strobes, use my G11 with housing (that I own) or buy a small waterproof camera.  I went back and forth. I decided to buy a small Panasonic DMC-TS4 waterproof camera since my G11 housing is bulky and my space is very limited. We will see if this was the right decision.  It, along with every other similar camera, has mixed reviews.  A few note leakage, so I am nervous.  But every single underwater camera on Amazon has some of these negative reviews.  I will report back. For Panasonic’s sake, I hope it does not leak 🙂

Decision 4: Let there be light… Flash or not to flash. I have a Canon 580ex II flash.  It is large, heavy and cumbersome, especially with a large lens attached too. I decided to buy a Canon 270ex II, and if I like it, I may start carrying a flash more.  I prefer natural light but for certain conditions, such as for fill flash, this could be perfect.

Decision 5: How to transport what I picked to Australia… I have a lot of camera bags, beautiful and fun girly bags.  I need something easy to carry through multiple airports so I immediately thought of my Lowepro Rolling Bag. One problem, it weights 12 pounds.  Virgin Australia restricts people to one 15 pound carry-on. None of my other bags will fit my iPad, travel pillow, an SLR, three lenses,  waterproof camera, and other miscellaneous things.  This is one time Amazon was not the perfect place to buy something.  I could not tell what would fit just looking at pictures.  So I went to a local camera store, and found this Tenba backpack style camera bag which filled is exactly 15 pounds.  I did it!

As I write this I think “I hope I made the best choices possible.”  It is so hard for me to imagine what situations I will be in and therefore exactly what I will want with me. If I just used a good point and shoot, life would be simpler, but probably less fun!

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The Equipment Dilemma: The Lightweight VS The Heavyweight (Which Are You?)