Every time I travel I end up taking way more than I need, lugging it around and cursing the day I thought I needed all this gear; but camera gear’s like rental car insurance, I’d rather have it and not need it, not need it but don’t have it. I think I’ve finally paired my travel camera bag down to just the essentials, it’s still a bloated list, but it’s the least amount of gear my “what if I need it” mind can handle. I used to bring my DSLR rig on most trips, but my back just couldn’t hack it, it’s not a gear bag you want to walk any length of time with and still enjoy yourself. With the addition of the Nex 3 to my rangefinder kit, I have the flexibility of digital with the compactness of my Leica gear.
- Grafea Photo Camera Bag
- Leica M2 (primary film body)
- Sony Alpha NEX-3 (w/ M Mount Adapter, primary digital body)
- Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f/4.5 M Mount
- Voigtlander Color-Skopar 25mm f/4.0
- Voigtlander 35mm Ultron f1.7 (discontinued, sorry no link)
- Voigtlander 50mm Nokton f1.5 (also discontinued)
- Olympus XA (secondary film body)
- Gossen Digisix Exposure Meter
- ASUS 1215P 12″ Netbook
- Leicatime neckstraps
- 2 x 16GB SD-Cards
- Kobo E-Reader
I usually have one of the wide angles on the Nex leaving the 35mm and 50mm lenses on the Leica. The XA is a great backup film camera, it’s really small, really sharp and can fit in any pocket. I picked the Asus 1215P because it’s one of the few netbooks with 1024×768 resolution; I can’t stress how important this is if you intend to use Photoshop CS3 or newer on your trip. The more recent versions of Photoshop have a really annoying “feature”; some of the most important windows like the Camera Raw dialog and the Save As window either render with buttons off screen or not at all if your screen is smaller than 768 pixels tall. The Leicatime leather neck straps are the most comfortable and stylish straps I’ve ever used. And while not strictly photo gear, the Kobo e-reader now comes with me everywhere, especially on vacation. One constant no matter where you travel is waiting. You’re going to wait for hours at various airports and transit stations, wait in line for hotels, attractions, food… you’re going to spend a good chunk of your vacation with nothing to do and always having hundreds of books at the push of a button really helps.
I usually end up filling up any nooks and crannies left in my photo bag with any gadget that will still fit, but that’s the important stuff. What’s in your travelling gear bag?