Travelling With A Camera: What To Bring

Travelling with a camera Olympus OMD EM10-MarkII

[This post has been updated as I have recently sold ALL my Canon DSLR equipment. Why? Read on]

I loved (and still love) my Canon Rebel XSi DSLR camera. I say loved because I recently sold the camera and every single accessory associated with it. It was just too heavy. Picture this in my knapsack:

  • Canon DSLR with 18-55mm lens
  • Canon 18-200mm telephoto zoom lens
  • Canon 10-22mm wide angle lens
  • Extra batteries, filters, lens hood, etc.

Total weight: over 1.7 kilograms (3.7 pounds)

Imagine carrying that all day on your back. As I have some problems with my shoulder, I just couldn’t imagine carrying this equipment all day, even though I was extremely happy with the photos I took.

Mirrorless Four-Thirds Camera

So, instead I opted for a mirrorless camera (also known as a Compact System Camera or Four Thirds Camera). It is lighter, more compact and can still use interchangeable lenses. In essence, a DSLR camera has a mirror which reflects the light coming in. It hits the prism and sends the image to the sensor and then your viewfinder. This mirror and mechanism requires more space and weight. Hence, a heavier, bigger camera.

Olympus Camera Photo
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The light that comes through a mirrorless lens, however, goes straight to the image sensor. In my research about mirrorless cameras, it has been found these cameras can take just as good if not BETTER photos than those taken with a DSLR. The pictures I have taken so far have definitely proven this. I’m sold! I have purchased the following based on the “feel” of the camera, the ease of use, and obviously the quality of the photos.

Olympus OMD EM10-Mark II

Olympus OMD EM10-MarkII Camera
Olympus OMD EM10-MarkII Camera

Kit lens:  14-42mm f/3.5 – 5.6

Wide Angle Lens: Olympus M Zuiko ED 9-18mm wide angle lens f/4-5.6

I have not purchased a zoom telephoto lens, however, if I did, the weight would still be significantly less than my Canon

Total Weight of camera + kits lens + wide angle lens + zoom lens = 793 grams (1.7 pounds) or less than half the weight!

In a nutshell here are the pros and cons of this camera, chosen by Techradar as the #2 choice in their list of the Top 10 Mirrorless Cameras of 2016

Pros

  • lightweight, small and compact
  • retro styling
  • good sized, easy to use controls on the top and back of the camera
  • 16 Megapixel
  • image quality: very good
  • uses interchangeable lenses: uses Micro Four Thirds lenses which both Olympus and Panasonic make, so I can buy a Panasonic zoom lens for my Olympus camera
  • faster shutter speeds
  • has all the features of a DSLR such as autofocus, programmable, aperture and shutter priority modes, image stabilization, etc.

    Olympus OMD EM10-MarkII Camera
    Olympus OMD EM10-MarkII Camera
  • has video (my old camera did not)
  • five-axis stabilization built into the camera body: adjusts camera movement. Because it’s built into the body of the camera, not the lens, you can attach a lens without image stabilization.

    Olympus OMD EM10-MarkII Camera Image Share App
    Olympus Image Share App
  • has wifi which will enable me to wirelessly transfer photos from my camera to my iPhone or tablet. (IOS and Android supported). The Olympus Image Share app has these features: Remote Control, Import Photos, Edit Photo and Add Geotag. You can also change other controls such as exposure all via your device

Cons

  • battery life is short because it uses the OLED and electronic viewfinder. With my old DSLR I could shoot over 1000 photos but with this camera, maybe 325 before I have to change the battery
  • video is not 4K, but that actually doesn’t bother me
  • menu and learning curve is a bit steep. The instruction manual is 167 pages long and could be better written. For example, I had to email Olympus to get clarification on the battery level settings.
  • battery charger doesn’t just plug directly into the AC outlet. You have to attach a cord first. This is a pain when travelling as it takes up more room in one’s luggage.

Here’s a list of my original equipment and a few comments in case you decide to pick up one of the lenses:

Canon XSi Camera Travelling
Canon XSi
  • Canon Rebel XSi DSLR 
  • Canon Zoom Lens 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6
  • Canon Wide Angle Lens 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5
  • Canon Portrait Lens  50mm f/1.8

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