Camera Woes and Woahs

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I have too many cameras. Theoretically they all have different purposes, but sometimes it feels like too much. Most days the big weight that I am carrying is technology, not clothing. I would love to not have to carry the big weight, but photography is an important part of travel for me. The skill of getting a good shot, the memory inducing act of looking through old pictures and of course the blogging. Though some days it can feel lite a trial.

This is a look at my camera tech without really a solution. I did a similar post at Too Many Adapters about computing technology if you are interested.

Big Camera

A few years ago on the night before I was to fly to New Zealand, I broke my DSLR. Yup, dropped it on the ground and it just stopped working. So I had to replace it. One of my biggest complaints was how heavy it is. So when I went looking for a replacement, weight was an issue. I ended up with a Micro 4/3’s camera.

The Micro 4/3s is a half way between a small point and shoot and a bigger DSLR size and weightwise. There is no viewfinder (you look at the display on the back) but it can take different lenses. The exact model I got was an Olympus PL-2. It has plenty of features and I am pretty happy with it over all.

It is still the heaviest camera I have. Especially since I got a zoom lens to go with it. And it still means getting it out of its bag and putting it back, so it can end up a bit of hassle to deal with. I will probably still always travel with it, but it isn’t as useful for just wandering around taking random pictures.

Point And Shoot

I bought this against the weight of my old SLR. I felt I was able to capture more spontaneous things. In so many situations it is nicer to just have a camera in my pocket rather than a big bag. I just walked into the photo store a number of years ago and bought the cheap one with a zoom lens for 99Euro. It isn’t very good in low light, as I find it blurs too easily if I am not very stable. Even still, this was the camera I took through all of New Zealand, so I have seen it take some great photos. See comparison between Fiordland and Rotterdam. The other downfall is that it runs on AAs, not on rechargeable batteries.

I like it and might think about replacing it with one that runs on rechargeable if it took decent pictures. There definitely are times when I like having a camera without the whole big bag.


As I started getting more into blogging and was heading off to Greece, I bought a little camcorder. I thought I would get into video. Yeah, I am not. I can’t really get into video. And yet I still carry the camera around, because “hey I have it. Maybe I will find a use for it, and it has a single-shot mode as well.” The problem is that the single shot is usually crappy, especially in low/artificial light (see above).

I always think it will be handy and it ends up just not being. I would almost always be better with my point and shoot. The benefit of the camcorder is that it recharges via USB rather than the AA batteries of the other one.

Smart Phone

I am not a big smart phone user. I do like it and do use it some but not often as a camera. It does have one so it is convenient sometimes, like shopping in Ikea. I didn’t buy the phone based on the camera, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the camera isn’t very good. There is no zoom and although it has a flash, it really doesn’t take that great of pictures. I have started taking occasional pictures with it in travel situations, so we will see.

I have no interest in instragram or being a smart phone photographer. I always have a hard time seeing the screen and just want to have a dedicated camera most of the time.

– – –

My latest incarnation has been carrying the big camera bag without the zoomlens and the point and shoot and/or camcorder stuffed in its place. Normally I have that whole thing stuffed in my backpack, so it is weird to not have that extra space just carrying the camera bag. I ended up strapped the umbrellas on top the other day, but I need a better solution in the long run.

So the balance seems to be convenience versus quality. I would love the quality of my Olympus with a high zoom and the size and weight of my silver one. To be able to just whip out a camera and take shots without having to dig through a bag. It just won’t work though. I do need to remember to just leave the camcorder at home. I am rarely happy with the pictures it takes, on the other hand I don’t have to worry about batteries.. Hmm.

I really don’t want to spend more money, but I will continue to investigate. As we slow down travel more, I don’t always feel the need to be carrying so much stuff with me and yet I still want quality.

What do you carry? Do you get annoyed with the weight of your camera?

8 thoughts on “Camera Woes and Woahs

  1. I feel pretty much the same way about cameras and whatnot… I have a small pocket point and shoot that I almost never use, a tiny video recorder that I almost never use… most of my photography these days is either the dslr or my iphone. And yeah, carrying the dslr can be a huge pain in the butt.

    • Yup, very similar. I really like my point and shoot, but batteries are a pain. The DSLR is great fun and takes wonderful pictures. Maybe I just need to get more tolerant about carrying it.

  2. My primary camera is a fullframe Nikon, so weight and size can be an issue. It takes gorgeous pictures in low light, but there are times when the size or weight is a disadvantage.
    We also have the micro 4/3 system and are really happy with that (Olympus OMD). In addition to the portability you mentioned, we’ve found a couple other advantages to the M4/3 when my husband and I compare our cameras on trips:
    – with a mirrorless camera, the shutter is much more quiet than a DSLR. If you go often to places of worship or are photographing wild animals, this can be an advantage
    – If you want to do wildlife or other photography requiring a really long lens (400mm+), the M4/3 options are a fraction of the DSLR price and can actually be carried around all day. Even if I could afford 400mm, I couldn’t carry it!

    I still love my Nikon and it does take better photos at extreme conditions. However, the truth is that the M4/3 (especially the newer ones) offers pretty much everything us non-pros would need, with the benefit of size and weight – and in some cases, cost. We’ve also found the video to be quite good – with the high quality and the ability to add a zoom lens, we don’t need a camcorder.

    • That sounds like a nice camera, but really heavy. I even get annoyed by the weight of my M4/3 sometimes with the long lens.

      For my subjects? I take mostly scenery, architecture and a lot of quirky signs. I traveled forever with my little point and shoot and it really was the blogging that got me into wanting a nicer camera. I don’t regret the M4/3 at all, but it can be burdensome times too. Good to know about the video. I keep thinking there will be a use for video for me, but I have yet to find it. But really it is that sense that it mightbe useful at some point so I’ll keep the camcorder.

      Don’t think we will make WEBMU this year. Too far. Hope you guys are doing well.

      • unfortunately we won’t make WEBMU this year either. but it’s a good tradeoff – baby is due that week, so I don’t think we’ll be travelling.

        Looking forward to seeing more from your travels!

        • Congrats on baby. Thanks. There are more travel-y style posts on Ctrl-Alt-Travel. Grounded Traveler has become more of my philosophical style ramblings.

  3. I take my D90 everywhere. Depending upon what my weight and space restrictions are, I may take different lenses. When going on travel, I never go without the D90. I’ll forgo almost anything else. I *can* take pictures with my cell phone, but it cannot match the composition and quality of the pictures taken with my Nikon. Half my reason for going somewhere is to take the photos of it, so despite it’s weight and size, it is an absolute essential.

    • Yeah, I don’t like the cell phone pictures much at all. I really do LIKE the big camera, but when we go for a longer trip the weight does become an issue. Although I may soon be trying a rolly bag instead of my backapack, so maybe that will make a change.

      I also definitely get the purpose of travel being intertwined with photography. I do still really like taking pictures I am also trying to take days where I just travel for the sake of being in a place, not solely seeing it through a lens.

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