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Travel camera advice
Old 02-10-2019   #1
bjolester
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Travel camera advice

I am going to travel to the USA later this spring and am planning what camera(s) to bring along for the trip. On my last travels abroad I have brought along only a Pentax MX with a Voigtländer Ultron 40/2, and my iPhone 8 Plus. (I like to travel light). Film for quality shots and iPhone for snapshots. Although I enjoy shooting film, I find travelling with film to be a bit of a hassle (airport security/scanning). I own several Pentax DSLRs, but I find their size makes them unsuitable as travel cameras. If I had had the money, I would have loved to check out a mirrorless camera like the Fujifilm X-E3, which seems like a perfect combination of image quality and compactness. But for the time being I guess I will have to bring along what I already have. My travel camera options are:

- Pentax MX with the Voigtländer Ultron 40/2 (or 28mm + 50mm)
- Pentax Espio 24EW
- Sigma DP1s
- iPhone 8 Plus

I have also been looking at "vintage" second hand digital compact cameras like the Lumix GF1, LX3 or LX5, Fujifilm X10 and Olympus MFT 12mp cameras, which can be had for little money, but I am not sure how much of an improvement this would be.

Maybe I should just go for the Pentax MX + iPhone combination? What do you think?

I am grateful for any advice about travel cameras!
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Old 02-10-2019   #2
Ted Striker
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Film can be scanned without any issues. Just leave it in your carry on bag and forget about it. My film gets scanned 8-10 times on a trip and never has any problems. A Fuji GA645 is one of the best travel cameras. Amazing quality and light as a feather. Small too.
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Old 02-10-2019   #3
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I never had problems with security and scanning in USA airports, Russian airports, Polish Airport and all other Europe airports.
But this scanning myth keeps on coming. Even customs and security knows it. In December I was at Boston. It was big note posted before xray machine - no problem for up to 400 ISO.
I knew person who traveled China and India with film recently and took many flight. No problem.
So no excuse for not taking film, sorry .
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Old 02-10-2019   #4
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I'd vote for the LX3 or any others of that family; I've had and used both Panasonic and Leica versions.


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Old 02-10-2019   #5
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I really like the Panasonic LX-5 as a travel camera. I have the EVF that slides into the hot shoe of the camera. Great image quality and very capable and portable.

Vaquero by Carlos Yashinon, on Flickr
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Old 02-10-2019   #6
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Last trip: Leica CL and 28+50 mm lenses.
This trip: Light L16.
Also iPhone 8 Plus for both.

Both kits worked extremely well.
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Old 02-10-2019   #7
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bj, If you shoot film....take the mx & the ultron or 28 & 50....& the iphone. As many have said, scanning film in security is no big inconvenience. I always travel with a film camera, or usually a medium format (Rolleiflex or Fuji 6x8) & a Leica. I couldn't imagine going without them....& digital just doesn't do it for me.
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Old 02-10-2019   #8
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"I have also been looking at "vintage" second hand digital compact cameras like the Lumix GF1, LX3 or LX5, Fujifilm X10 and Olympus MFT 12mp cameras, which can be had for little money, but I am not sure how much of an improvement this would be."

Where I find having a reasonably modern digital camera to be a benefit is in relative low light ability - and when travelling this can be a big plus if you plan on being out at night or going into dark rooms, halls, cathedrals etc, etc. I will focus on this aspect in my comments.

The Sigma DP1s is not known for this ability of course and while an iphone is surprisingly good in some situations it will limit you - especially in the ability to make larger images.

I either have or have had in the past the Lumix and Olympus cameras you mention as potential "buys", and while they are not bad you would be better served by later camera bodies with better dynamic range in my view. At least this is my experience when travelling. Later cameras tend to also have image stabilization and also focus peaking making them better. None of the named ones do. And of course the LX 3 and LX5 are nice pocket cameras they will not give you much better low light capability than what you already have (if at all). In other words I would suggest a later M4/3 camera if your budget will stretch to it or perhaps a Sony NEX for their bigger sensor and better dynamic range (some do not have in body I.S. though). For example I own the Sony NEX F3 (a later upgrade of the Sony NEX 3) which is a lower specification camera body in build terms though not in image quality. It is dirt cheap to buy and when matched with, say, a Sigma 30mm f2.8 it gives terrific image quality in low light situations. I like primes for this because they are relatively faster than Sony's kit zooms. The Sony NEX 5 is a similar performer and also cheap due to its age - it is certainly a "vintage" lens in digital camera terms though once again it is a serious performer.


The following image was made with the Sony F3 camera in very low light in a pub at night (though in this case it was made using a Sony 50mm f1.8 OSS which is also a great performer). I was seriously impressed by the quality of the images that this modest camera produces in a very inexpensive package.


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Old 02-10-2019   #9
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Like many before me said... film won't get fogged when scanned at airports in the security check. Now, if you pack it in your suitcase and this one gets scanned, then you'll be in trouble. Hence, take your Pentax with lens(es) and your iPhone, and shoot away.
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Old 02-10-2019   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
"I have also been looking at "vintage" second hand digital compact cameras like the Lumix GF1, LX3 or LX5, Fujifilm X10 and Olympus MFT 12mp cameras, which can be had for little money, but I am not sure how much of an improvement this would be."

Where I find having a reasonably modern digital camera to be a benefit is in relative low light ability - and when travelling this can be a big plus if you plan on being out at night or going into dark rooms, halls, cathedrals etc, etc. I will focus on this aspect in my comments.

The Sigma DP1s is not known for this ability of course and while an iphone is surprisingly good in some situations it will limit you - especially in the ability to make larger images.

I either have or have had in the past the Lumix and Olympus cameras you mention as potential "buys", and while they are not bad you would be better served by later camera bodies with better dynamic range in my view. At least this is my experience when travelling. Later cameras tend to also have image stabilization and also focus peaking making them better. None of the named ones do. And of course the LX 3 and LX5 are nice pocket cameras they will not give you much better low light capability than what you already have (if at all). In other words I would suggest a later M4/3 camera if your budget will stretch to it or perhaps a Sony NEX for their bigger sensor and better dynamic range (some do not have in body I.S. though). For example I own the Sony NEX F3 (a later upgrade of the Sony NEX 3) which is a lower specification camera body in build terms though not in image quality. It is dirt cheap to buy and when matched with, say, a Sigma 30mm f2.8 it gives terrific image quality in low light situations. I like primes for this because they are relatively faster than Sony's kit zooms. The Sony NEX 5 is a similar performer and also cheap due to its age - it is certainly a "vintage" lens in digital camera terms though once again it is a serious performer.


The following image was made with the Sony F3 camera in very low light in a pub at night (though in this case it was made using a Sony 50mm f1.8 OSS which is also a great performer). I was seriously impressed by the quality of the images that this modest camera produces in a very inexpensive package.


Guitar player by Life in Shadows, on Flickr
Wow... the detail is impressive... Really nice photograph!
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Old 02-10-2019   #11
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Film can be scanned without any issues. Just leave it in your carry on bag and forget about it. My film gets scanned 8-10 times on a trip and never has any problems. A Fuji GA645 is one of the best travel cameras. Amazing quality and light as a feather. Small too.
But be certain that you do not put film in checked baggage.
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Travel camera advice
Old 02-10-2019   #12
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Travel camera advice

I have both the iPhone 8 Plus and Panasonic LX7.
The LX7 Zeiss zoom lens has better contrast and the sensor produces more natural colors than the 8 plus. The LX7 can support screw-on filters and full manual exposure modes and more storage, more cheaply than the iPhone. It has a built in ND filter, hot shoe, flash (GN12?) and tripod mount if needed.
It also has better image quality than the iPhone when zooming for video. The only thing I do not like is that it doesn't display the 35mm equivalent focal length on the screen. Price on eBay is $150-200 USD depending on accessories.

The iPhone has better portability, connectivity and in-camera image editing if needed. The 2nd lens for portraits is satisfactory if the subject is within 2.5m.
The iPhone is better than the LX7 at auto adjustment to backlight.

In low light, wide open, both cameras are about the same image quality.

Try the 645Pro Mk III app if you think the iPhone is the digital camera you would like to bring. It has full manual controls, crop to equivalent 35/120 formats, DNG support and film simulation modes.
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/645-...518235205?mt=8

You will probably bring your iPhone anyways, due to connectivity so my question is do you need two digital cameras?

Michael.

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Old 02-10-2019   #13
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I'm a firm believer in "it's not rocket science". In other words, it's not that hard, you don't need to over analyse it. Any digital camera released in the last decade is sufficient, film won't be a problem at airports (just don't check it)
Take what you feel like using and carrying, which unless it's a specific holiday (safari etc) will likely be the exact stuff you use at home. You might have a million cameras, but on any given day most people take a small selection of equipment. Holiday's are just someone else home.
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Old 02-10-2019   #14
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It's very difficult to argue against any film camera.
Have been traveling a lot and my camera being small has been important to me. Same time I love to play with manual lenses which makes it a bit more bulky, but my old, trusty Sony NEX5n is about as small and powerful it get's for that. There are newer models out but myself I love the EVF to be articulating and the NEX5n or 5T now should be cheap enough. Well, with the optional EVF less so.
Recently I got a used, tiny Sony RX100iii for 300.-, should be available even a bit cheaper than that. Amazingly powerful for such a small camera, IQ of course isn't up to level par with bigger sensor cameras but astonishing good nevertheless
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Old 02-10-2019   #15
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A APS-C Ricoh GR digital along with your MX and 40mm would be a nice combination
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Old 02-11-2019   #16
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Travel... travel is the reason photography has blossomed over the years. I remember the Kodak travel books; I should remember them because I bought them; pocket size for easy reference on the go.

In the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s… everyone who traveled carried a camera, instamatics, flash cubes, slide carousels packed with pictures of the hula show in Waikiki! Uncle Fred and Aunt Betty serving up pineapple cubes while wearing a moomoo and an aloha shirt in the dead of winter in St. Clair Shores Michigan all whilst the slide carousel clicked away projecting brilliant color images on a white sheet taped to the wall.

Anyway, nowadays when I travel the only camera I need is the Fujifilm X100F. Works in a drawer. Gets the job done to my complete satisfaction.

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Old 02-11-2019   #17
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It's usually a simple type of decision;

1, Film or digital; saying film means colour neg or slides or B&W ditto?

and then

2, Travel light or take almost everything?

Oddly enough it doesn't seem easy at the time...

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Old 02-11-2019   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yokosuka_Mike View Post

Anyway, nowadays when I travel the only camera I need is the Fujifilm X100F. Works in a drawer. Gets the job done to my complete satisfaction.

Mike

What does works in a drawer mean? Never heard that before.


I used to use an X100 too for travel for many years. Then I gave up on digital and went back to film. Havent shot my X100 in 4-5 years. I just dug it out of storage but can't find the battery charger. It's buried under years of stuff.
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Old 02-11-2019   #19
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I just dug it out of storage but can't find the battery charger. It's buried under years of stuff.
Ahhh... you need visit from Marie Kondo
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Old 02-11-2019   #20
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For "very little money" (though I haven't checked prices) I'll be an outlier and suggest an early super zoom with IS. I would suggest an old Panasonic Lumix FZ-X with "Leica" (branded, designed... who knows) f2.8 through the zoom range lens. I used a modded Lumix FZ-1 (making it an FZ-2 with manual control). I took some great pics with that 2 MP camera. The sensors are so small on that thing and ISO is limited but the small sensors = non-obnoxious lens size when zoomed out to 420. Early IS very effective. I'd pair that with the Espio 24EW for your film fix. Use your IPhone indoors, low light.
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Vest pocket camera
Old 02-11-2019   #21
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Vest pocket camera

I have all sorts of cameras and lenses, large and small, but I prefer
to travel with a good truly pocketable 35mm fixed-lens film camera.

I find lightweight (plastic) folding capsule models especially convenient.

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Old 02-11-2019   #22
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Ahhh... you need visit from Marie Kondo

She's welcome any time!
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Old 02-11-2019   #23
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Travel Camera by Narsuitus, on Flickr

I use the Canon G15 compact digital as my travel camera (the Canon G11 is shown in the attached photo).

I also carry the following:
Battery charger
Extra Battery
Extra memory Cards
Polarizing Filter
Pocket-size tripod (not shown)
Cell phone for backup (not shown in image)
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Old 02-11-2019   #24
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Film Travel Camera by Narsuitus, on Flickr

The Fuji 6x9cm medium format rangefinder with 65mm f/5.6 lens is my film landscape travel camera.

I also carry the following:
Small tripod
Hand held light meter
Cell phone for backup
Enough 120 medium format roll film to shoot at least two-dozen photos per day because that is the average I normally shoot
Lead-lined storage containers to protect my film from the X-rays used by airports and cruise ships for security purposes

If I plan on shooting people, instead of the 6x9cm, I carry a Fuji 6x7cm medium format rangefinder with a 90mm f/3.5 lens.
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Old 02-11-2019   #25
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Thank you all for such extensive response and valuable advice! Maybe I need to purchase a rangefinder camera to show my respect for this great forum
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Old 02-11-2019   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Striker View Post
Film can be scanned without any issues. Just leave it in your carry on bag and forget about it. My film gets scanned 8-10 times on a trip and never has any problems. A Fuji GA645 is one of the best travel cameras. Amazing quality and light as a feather. Small too.
I will surely keep this in mind if I decice to bring a film camera along on a travel abroad!
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Old 02-11-2019   #27
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I will surely keep this in mind if I decice to bring a film camera along on a travel abroad!

Have no worries about X-rays. Film is 100% safe in today's scanners for carry on bags. Never put film in a checked bag.


Glad to hear you are shooting film. Nicely done.
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Old 02-11-2019   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
"I have also been looking at "vintage" second hand digital compact cameras like the Lumix GF1, LX3 or LX5, Fujifilm X10 and Olympus MFT 12mp cameras, which can be had for little money, but I am not sure how much of an improvement this would be."

Where I find having a reasonably modern digital camera to be a benefit is in relative low light ability - and when travelling this can be a big plus if you plan on being out at night or going into dark rooms, halls, cathedrals etc, etc. I will focus on this aspect in my comments.

The Sigma DP1s is not known for this ability of course and while an iphone is surprisingly good in some situations it will limit you - especially in the ability to make larger images.

I either have or have had in the past the Lumix and Olympus cameras you mention as potential "buys", and while they are not bad you would be better served by later camera bodies with better dynamic range in my view. At least this is my experience when travelling. Later cameras tend to also have image stabilization and also focus peaking making them better. None of the named ones do. And of course the LX 3 and LX5 are nice pocket cameras they will not give you much better low light capability than what you already have (if at all). In other words I would suggest a later M4/3 camera if your budget will stretch to it or perhaps a Sony NEX for their bigger sensor and better dynamic range (some do not have in body I.S. though). For example I own the Sony NEX F3 (a later upgrade of the Sony NEX 3) which is a lower specification camera body in build terms though not in image quality. It is dirt cheap to buy and when matched with, say, a Sigma 30mm f2.8 it gives terrific image quality in low light situations. I like primes for this because they are relatively faster than Sony's kit zooms. The Sony NEX 5 is a similar performer and also cheap due to its age - it is certainly a "vintage" lens in digital camera terms though once again it is a serious performer.
Thank you for highlighting the very important aspect of travel camera low light capability! I will have the Sony NEX5n on my list when planning for my USA trip.

Great photo from the Sony NEX3!
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Old 02-11-2019   #29
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A APS-C Ricoh GR digital along with your MX and 40mm would be a nice combination
I agree! A Ricoh GR digital would be a perfect match for an MX and 40mm.
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Old 02-11-2019   #30
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Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
For "very little money" (though I haven't checked prices) I'll be an outlier and suggest an early super zoom with IS. I would suggest an old Panasonic Lumix FZ-X with "Leica" (branded, designed... who knows) f2.8 through the zoom range lens. I used a modded Lumix FZ-1 (making it an FZ-2 with manual control). I took some great pics with that 2 MP camera. The sensors are so small on that thing and ISO is limited but the small sensors = non-obnoxious lens size when zoomed out to 420. Early IS very effective. I'd pair that with the Espio 24EW for your film fix. Use your IPhone indoors, low light.

I only recently acquired the Espio 24EW, and have so far only shot one roll of Kodak Gold with it, so I do not have enough experience to know how good a camera the Espio is. Do you have experience with the Espio 24EW?
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Old 02-11-2019   #31
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Originally Posted by narsuitus View Post

Film Travel Camera by Narsuitus, on Flickr

The Fuji 6x9cm medium format rangefinder with 65mm f/5.6 lens is my film landscape travel camera.

I also carry the following:
Small tripod
Hand held light meter
Cell phone for backup
Enough 120 medium format roll film to shoot at least two-dozen photos per day because that is the average I normally shoot
Lead-lined storage containers to protect my film from the X-rays used by airports and cruise ships for security purposes

If I plan on shooting people, instead of the 6x9cm, I carry a Fuji 6x7cm medium format rangefinder with a 90mm f/3.5 lens.
Fabulous camera, looks to be in superb condition. Lucky you!
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Old 02-11-2019   #32
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What does works in a drawer mean? Never heard that before.
“Works in a drawer” was a tagline from the 1960’s Motorola TV commercials, it was referring to convenience and ease of use. I guess I’m showing my age.

The other day I referred to someone being almost as beautiful as Sophia Loren, the young man I was talking to had no idea who Sophia Loren was. So I asked him if he knew who Raquel Welch was and got the same blank stare. I thought to myself, when did 63 become so old?

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Old 02-11-2019   #33
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Shocked to discover I first posted this 8 or 9 years ago...



The Cobra slave flash is brilliant...

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Old 02-11-2019   #34
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Originally Posted by Yokosuka_Mike View Post
“Works in a drawer” was a tagline from the 1960’s Motorola TV commercials, it was referring to convenience and ease of use. I guess I’m showing my age.

The other day I referred to someone being almost as beautiful as Sophia Loren, the young man I was talking to had no idea who Sophia Loren was. So I asked him if he knew who Raquel Welch was and got the same blank stare. I thought to myself, when did 63 become so old?

Mike

Thanks. Interesting. I'm not all that far behind you age wise. I've checked out of popular culture, unable to find anything even remotely interesting.
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Old 02-11-2019   #35
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I travel almost each year to some country, and I always then have at least one camera with me. I have tried different variations of camera & lens set-ups. They all worked in the end. Once I had with me a Canon P and Canon 50/1.2 ltm. I dropped my Pentax Digital Spotmeter as we arrived to Paris! I had to estimate exposure at night time with rain. I used slide film then, so I had to really guess exposure well enough not to completely wash out all slides.
These days, I use mostly Leica M9 and M8 during trips. I have tried using E-P2 and E-PL1, and it worked out really well. Two small m 4/3 cameras, each with one lens.
When we visited Japan for 6 weeks, I had with me Bessa L with CV 25/4 plus (one in each pocket) a Minox GT and Olympus XA. It was a great choice then.
I have tried having with me Hasselblad SWC plus Canon M9. This also worked out well.
It seems to me that as long as you have with you at least one camera and lens and you know well how to use them, all is fine here.
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Old 02-11-2019   #36
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“Works in a drawer” was a tagline from the 1960’s Motorola TV commercials, it was referring to convenience and ease of use. I guess I’m showing my age.

The other day I referred to someone being almost as beautiful as Sophia Loren, the young man I was talking to had no idea who Sophia Loren was. So I asked him if he knew who Raquel Welch was and got the same blank stare. I thought to myself, when did 63 become so old?

Mike
I’m (only) 38, but got the same black stare when I used a Simpsons reference yesterday. The young man was a PhD student of mine, so would be mid twenties. Young people are no longer my generation. I feel old.
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Old 02-11-2019   #37
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I travel almost each year to some country, and I always then have at least one camera with me. I have tried different variations of camera & lens set-ups. They all worked in the end. Once I had with me a Canon P and Canon 50/1.2 ltm. I dropped my Pentax Digital Spotmeter as we arrived to Paris! I had to estimate exposure at night time with rain. I used slide film then, so I had to really guess exposure well enough not to completely wash out all slides.
These days, I use mostly Leica M9 and M8 during trips. I have tried using E-P2 and E-PL1, and it worked out really well. Two small m 4/3 cameras, each with one lens.
When we visited Japan for 6 weeks, I had with me Bessa L with CV 25/4 plus (one in each pocket) a Minox GT and Olympus XA. It was a great choice then.
I have tried having with me Hasselblad SWC plus Canon M9. This also worked out well.
It seems to me that as long as you have with you at least one camera and lens and you know well how to use them, all is fine here.
Thank you for sharing your experience with travel and cameras! I believe I need to invest into a good compact digital camera, to supplement my many film cameras.
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Old 02-11-2019   #38
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I only recently acquired the Espio 24EW, and have so far only shot one roll of Kodak Gold with it, so I do not have enough experience to know how good a camera the Espio is. Do you have experience with the Espio 24EW?
I do not. My compact is the Pentax PC35AF, however, and it's a very good camera. The Espio line was Pentax's top-of-the-line brand so I would imagine it's quite good.
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Old 02-11-2019   #39
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I’ve got my trip to Chicago later in the year and I’m already baffled as what to take.
I’ve a choice from
Fuji XT1, 18/2, 50/2, 18-55, Laowa 9mm
Fuji X100F, WCL(28mm)
Fujif X70, 21mm adapter
Fuji XQ1
Ricoh GR

Already decided not to take the Epson RD1
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Old 02-11-2019   #40
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Originally Posted by kuvvy View Post
I’ve got my trip to Chicago later in the year and I’m already baffled as what to take.
I’ve a choice from
Fuji XT1, 18/2, 50/2, 18-55, Laowa 9mm
Fuji X100F, WCL(28mm)
Fujif X70, 21mm adapter
Fuji XQ1
Ricoh GR

Already decided not to take the Epson RD1
i'd keep it simple with the xt1/18/50...
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