My Overlooked Landscape Photography Kit

Last weekend I drove to the Lake District to meet a friend and shoot around some of the peaks around Borrowdale. Our first climb wasn’t a long one. The entire circuit was only 3.5 miles, but it was steep both up and back down. At the end of the day, I think we had clocked up around 8 miles.

Other than carrying food, water, and clothing I had two Fuji bodies, three zoom lenses, 12 glass 100mm filters, accessories, and a tripod. It may not sound like much, but my backpack was heavy, and we were out for almost 12 hours.

Despite being reasonably fit and strong, I felt wiped out the next day. The experience got me thinking that for this type of landscape photography my kit wasn’t the best solution. After some consideration I ended up going full circle to conclude my micro 43 kit is much better suited.

Here are my thoughts:

  • I can fit the Panasonic G9 with three lenses into a small shoulder bag. This leaves me free to carry food and clothes in a regular backpack.
  • I can shoot all day on a single G9 battery which weighs less than the three or four batteries I need for the Fuji.
  • The 75mm filters I use with the G9 weigh much less than the 100mm glass filters for the Fuji.
  • I only need a tripod if I intend to do long exposures or high-resolution images. I can handhold the G9 even in very dull conditions. In fact, I’ve even shot handheld after sunset and achieved good results.
  • The high-resolution mode of the G9 allows me to capture 80MP RAW files. That’s 10,608 x 7,776 pixels without enlarging the image.
  • The lenses I have for G9 are sharp. I still have my Olympus 12-40 Pro lens but now also have a 12-60 Leica and Panasonic 8-18, which are exceptional.

This image was shot in the high-resolution mode with the Panasonic 8-18 lens at 10mm.

Carhead Rocks, Peak District. Panasonic G9 with Panasonic 8-18 lens at 10mm.

The camera was tripod mounted for an exposure of 1/60” at f/8.0 and ISO200. Because I was using the high-resolution mode the image is around 44” wide at 240dpi without enlarging. It’s also razor sharp right into the corners of the frame, which is something that I’ve always likes about micro 43 system.

The only difficulties I have with the G9 are:

  1. I don’t know how far I can push the exposure limits. The G9 is better suited to highlight recovery than shadow recovery so this means I need to overexpose for the best quality. How much I’m safe to do so I don’t yet know.
  2. I haven’t found a colour rendering I like when processing the RAW files. I find the PhotoLab generic rendering leaves the images looking a little flat with perhaps too much yellow.

I’m sure I will overcome these “problems” if I push myself to use the camera more.

This got me thinking again and I’ve decided to conduct a bit of an experiment. I’m going to use the G9 outfit described above as my main camera for a month. Providing I can continue to get out and about I will let you know how I get on at the end of the exercise.

I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.

27 thoughts on “My Overlooked Landscape Photography Kit

  1. And then you shoot with a 6 years old A7R2 and you get amazed with all the file has to offer you 🙂

    Thanks for the post, always a joy to read you and see your images!

  2. I have had Lee and Nisi 100 filter systems with my Fuji XT3…..but then got Kase Wolverine Pro magnetic circular …what an outstanding revelation ..compact ..lightweight…outstanding quality and phenomenally easy to use . Yep no graduated but who needs that when you’ve got bracketing .

    I’m utterly torn ..it’s all about equipment weight for me …but I want image quality . I thought of the G9 but now I’m thinking of a full frame with a great 24-70 lens and then cropping when needed . Gigapixel Ai is absolutely phenomenal on cropped images . If you’ve not tried it get a fully functioning 30 day free trial .

    1. The equipment is important as is image quality. What I’ve found important about equipment is that it needs to be suitable for the job at hand. If it’s over-engineered then that’s a waste. If it’s too heavy or too big to be usable then that’s also a waste. Yes, we can bracket to avoid using grad filters but sometimes it’s better to get it right in camera and reduce time spent post-processing.

      If equipment weight is so important then try renting a full-frame camera with lenses and take it out for a day. If it works great but if it doesn’t then you’ve saved yourself a lot of money. As for Gigapixel, yes it’s great but also slow (I am a fan of it by the way). Have you tried the high-resolution modes on some of the micro 43 cameras though? I was amazed at how good the images are and the detail they can resolve.

  3. I have been following “The LIGHTWEIGHT photographer” for a few years now.

    😉

    “Other than carrying food, water, and clothing I had two Fuji bodies, three zoom lenses, 12 glass 100mm filters, accessories, and a tripod. “

    1. I started with full-frame before switching to micro 43 and compact cameras and hence the blog. Unfortunately, I went for the heavier Fuji system because of the demands of where I supply images. Now people are much happier to accept M43. I much prefer a lightweight kit.

  4. And when I first discovered your page, it was because you were writing about the “LIGHTWEIGHT” Sony RX100. But have enjoyed all your posts since.
    thank you.

  5. I started following you (!) when you shot with an Olympus camera. When I decided to downsize from my heavy Canon gear I investigated both Olympus and Fuji. Whilst the Fuji kit was a little cheaper, their lenses were very heavy compared to Olympus and there were problems reported by many that processing Fuji images could be problematical. I purchased an OMD EM1mkii (since upgraded to a mkiii). Despite having the Panasonic 8-18 (as it has a screw thread) and an Olympus 40-150Pro, my most used lens is the Olympus 12-100Pro – this lens plus my EM1mkiii is the best lightweight gear, with a Peak Design capture clip on my rucksack. And the mkiii has built in ND filters options – say no more.

      1. Who knows – a 24 megapixel Olympus and Panasonic MFT may be on the horizon? Could make a difficult choice for you!

  6. I work for several years now with Panasonic. I’ve been using Fuji and Nikon camera”s for over 20 years as a professional photographer (ABIPP), but now I am retired I use only Panasonic because of the weight. My (only minor) problem with Panasonic is just a little oversaturation. I understand that most people prefer oversaturation as it brings ‘fresher’ colours, but, especially most landscape painters use use less colour saturation. Just look at the works of Gainsborough and Turner, most of their colours have this muted tone I prefer.

    1. I’m with you on the muted tones. I find the yellows and greens just a little too strong for my taste. I think if I can find a good rendering in PhotoLab it may fix my problems. Great equipment though and very nice to use.

  7. Hi Robin!
    Your fate is not that dire – I have to pay for my lust to use as big sensor (or film) as possible. Being slightly overweight, I carry no food… 😉
    Postponing downsizing as long as I can – tried Nikon 1, no way. Nikon DX lenses are not much smaller and lighter, and Z7 is small enough anyway, so currently it is the lightest setup. It is a nice game we are allowed to play 😉😁

    1. I think it’s that there isn’t one perfect camera. I also like my kit to feel like it’s a bit of a challenge and that I need to think about my shots. That is a downside with the micro 43. It makes it too easy to shoot images. I sold the last of my full-frame cameras a couple of years ago but will probably buy another in the future. If I do, I need to remember not to take it up mountains.

      1. FF in the mountains – not bad as I see it, especially since the Z line. Z7 is my light „go everywhere“ camera. Hasselblad X1D with 4 lenses has place in f-stop Guru rucksack too. H6D is anorher story, comes to places which have been researched already. Horses for courses as they say. I find it often difficult to decide which one to take, so I guess I am not quite consequent with myself. Your landscape images always make me hungry for a trip to England – I am already under pressure, what to take with me and where in the van to stow it 😉 Take care Robin!

      2. The trouble is I’m getting old and finding the climbs hard. I think I will have to settle for M43 for the time being. If you’re thinking of coming to England to photograph the landscape be sure to pack the one essential – an umbrella. If you don’t mind wet and damp conditions it’s great (although we are having something of a mini heatwave at the moment – it’s been sunny for 4 days running).

  8. Hello Robin, thank you for all your insights on the Panasonic camera! I have a Fuji xt4 and an old canon 5dsr. I almost put away my canon due to weight ! Yes, turning old and wanting to walk with that kind of equipment is way to much for my body. You found that you had some troubles with devloping programs, just by chance I have been testing them a lot lately. And I found some surprises that perhaps were interesting for you. On1 Software is quite good for at least Fuji .raf raws, same goes with Capture One, and now the surprises, best of all are Raw Therapee and Silkypix Pro 10. Silky Pix has some color modes that let you change the base color of the photo ,but even with out it, the color display is very accurate, and Raw Therapee, lets you play with a lot of different values, that will make your photo beautiful ! I started learning it not long ago with Andy Astbury, who is a very nice person and has a lot of courses about that program. Just give it a try if you haven’t done so before. My system is Mac, and the program works like charm. And best of all, it’s free. After my first steps in developing, I tend to keep my files in TIFF form, so I can go on working in whicever other program I want. I hope this may help you , even if I don’t have a G9 camera!

    Just bought your book on printing, you write wonderfully well and clear, even for non native speakers like me.
    Be safe and good travels 🙂
    Best from Uruguay,
    Daniela.

    1. Hi Daniela. Thanks for the suggestion about RAW Therapee and Silkypix. I have used both and after a lot of testing a few years back I found RAW Therapee to be the best for processing the Fuji RAF files. I like that it has a dedicated demosaic routine for the RAF files. I published an article at the time but then decided to switch to capture One for my RAF files because I found it easier to work with. What I haven’t yet tried is processing the G9 RAW files with RAW Therapee. I will have to try that to see if I like the colours better. I’m glad you like the book and hope you find it useful.

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