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.
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.
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.
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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?