Preparing for an Overseas Trip

Death Valley Sand Dune. Panasonix GX1 with 45-150mm lens. f/8.0, ISO 160, 1/200".
Death Valley Sand Dune. Panasonix GX1 with 45-150mm lens. f/8.0, ISO 160, 1/200″.

I am planning to take a trip a little later in the year and intend to be travelling light. At the same time, I want to be sure that I produce high quality images so I have been spending a little time today working out what my kit list is likely to be.

Olympus OMD EM5 will be the camera of choice given the quality of the images produced together with the image resolution.

To support the EM5 I will be taking the Olympus 12-40mm lens which gives a full frame equivalent of 24-80mm. I will also take the Olympus 9-18mm (18-36mm full frame equivalent) and Panasonic 45-150mm (90mm – 300mm full frame equivalent). All of these lenses produce very good image quality and with the exception of the 12-24 are small and light.

Accessory wise I will only need a few memory cards (I will actually have 6) ranging between 32Mb and 64Mb as well as 5 spare batteries. I hate running out of batteries so carrying 5 spares will allow for a couple of days shooting. My other essential accessory is the Lee Seven 5 filter system. Here I will be taking the 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 ND Grad filters as well as a 6 stop and 10 stop ND filter.

All of this will fit into a small LowPro shoulder bag.

EM5 with 12-40 lens and small shoulder case.
EM5 with 12-40 lens and small shoulder case.

As I am going to use the 6 stop and 10 stop ND filters I will also need a tripod and camera remote. I want to travel light so I am in two minds over taking the Velbon tripod. The Velbon is very light but feels a little bulky at times given how light the rest of the equipment is. I did purchase a Rollei Travelling Tripod a couple of years back and which I am also considering for the trip.

I have never used the Rollei (how bad is that) and it feels a little small and light despite being very well made. If anyone has any experience with this tripod I would be interested to know what you think and what its short comings are.

10 thoughts on “Preparing for an Overseas Trip

  1. Hey Robin, taking the 12-40 & 9-18 to Belgium next week; still up in the air over the 40-150 or 75-300. You’re confirming my thoughts here. Which model is the Lowepro bag please?

  2. Dear Robin

    You are very disciplined, as it is so easy to take too much gear. On a recent family holiday in SE Asia I took:

    Olympus EM1, with Oly 12-40 f2.8, the big Oly 40-150 f2.8,Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm F0.95 Micro, Gitzo GT1542T and left the heavy Oly 7-14 at home. I ended up using the 12-40 most of the time, with a few Lee Seven 5 filters, which obviously will not fit on the 7-14.
    Whilst It is ok using the Oly Pro lenses in the uk, for travelling I may have to do as you have done. It is still more comfortable than carrying a Nikon D800 with a trio of 2.8 lenses.
    I didn’t use the tripod on this trip!
    Best wishes and have a good trip.

    1. Thanks Martin,
      I have learned my lesson the hard way. I once took a Sony NEX5 + 3 lenses (one of them was huge) to New York. I also took the Panasonic LX5. By the end of the trip I was shooting exclusively with the LX5 and all the successful images came from that little camera. It’s more about having the right camera for the task rather than having the best quality all the time. I was able to shoot handheld from the top of the Empire State Building at night by setting the LX5 to ISO 200 and f/2.8.

  3. Ive a similar dilemma for Iceland in September
    Ive ran several scenarios and conclude too much gear is bad. Here are two options. Induro Tripod for both.
    1) E-M1; 12-40 PRO, 9-18 (OLD 4/3rds), 75 f1.8 (im a wide guy so wont be getting the 40-150pro and the kit lenses dont cut it)
    2) Ricoh GRii and Sigma DP2Merrill (share the same battery) thats 28mm and 50mm primes

    Option 1 gives ultra wide to medium telephoto, decent IQ, easier composing, weatherproofing
    Option 2 gives improved IQ and portability over 1, less choice in FL but that could be a good thing.
    Tripod negates the added portability in Option 2 slightly.
    To take the whole lot seems a bad idea, to leave either at home seems a bad idea!

    1. Dear Underphotoblog

      I think that I need to look at the Oly 9-14 for travelling? Go with option 1



      1. I agree and yes, you should take a look at the Oly 9-18. Not the sharpest lens compared to expensive competitors but tiny and it produces good results. It also takes filters which is a big plus. I had the Panasonic 7-14 and I hated not being able to use filters.

    2. I have visited Iceland a few times and I would definitely opt for the flexibility of the EM1 lenses. The 9-18 is actually cracking little lens (and very small). I think you will miss the wide angle. Take both kits and they will fight for your attention.

  4. Hey Robin, pls could you share whit us, why you decided for the Oly, and not for the A7R? Is it the overall weight of the Sony equipment, or is it more the trust into the beloved Oly? Did you ever try newer Oly cameras like Pen-F?

    Thanks, Sven

    1. Hi Sven, to be honest, I will possibly take both cameras if I can get away with the weight. This is because I need to shoot some high resolution images with the Sony. But for travel purposes the Sony just doesn’t cut it. I need a much larger bag with the Sony where a small light bag is all I need with the Olympus. The Olympus is also much easier to use in low light situations. Yes, I can crank up the ISO further on the Sony but I just find shooting with the Olympus much more flexible. When travelling, weight, versatility and flexibility wins over resolution. The batteries on the Olympus also last much longer so less to worry about.

      As for the newer Olympus cameras, no I haven’t tried them yet as the EM5 still delivers for me.

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