Traveling Light: Peru
I have been to Peru several times, and each time I have brought a DSLR and a hand full of lenses, flashes, and other various items. It usually takes a backpack or overhead compatible roller (ThinkTank Airport Takeoff) to carry all of this gear. Although I love bringing an arsenal of equipment, what ends up happening is that for day to day activities I leave the whole bag behind and shoot with my iPhone. I have slowly come to realize that sometimes less is more.
My last international trip was to west Africa, and I slimmed down my bag to just a camera and three lenses. While this still may sound like a lot of gear for some people, this is still an improvement for me. This approach worked fairly well as two of the lenses were specialty lenses and could be left back 80% of the time. The problem came when I still had a good size camera and lens (Canon 6D, 24-105) while walking around in the market and back streets that attracted more attention than I desired.
Combine this with a new technology that I have been meaning to try out, it was finally time to make the jump to something different. In comes Fuji.
Like every other photographer around, I have been peppered with blog posts and Instagram photos of photographers switching to Fiji film's new mirrorless camera system. The attractions are many for a traveling photographer: smaller camera, smaller lenses, cool retro looks, and now a portable wifi printer. This last feature is what has put me over the edge to try out this new system for this trip. I love the idea of being able to take pictures of people on the street and then print one out on the spot and give them one. Give instead of take. Not a concept many photographers have had the opportunity to explore in years past simply because of logistics. Once you develop or print images, the subject is long gone. Very rarely do photographers go back and give photographs back months later. The only one I can think of in Joey L.
Another photographer I follow (Zack Arias) posted his experience with using instant film as a way to engage people and open doors. Ever since reading his experience I have been waiting the day to try it out as well. If you get a chance, read his post here.
So when my wife and I booked this trip, I knew I needed to take a hard look at Fuji. Unfortunately the Instax printer only works with Fuji cameras that support wifi, or smart phones and tablets. This means that it is not compatible with a Canon, Nikon, or Sony wifi enabled camera. So my options were to either get a Fuji camera or shoot with my iPhone. I decided to get a Fuji, both for this ability as well as the great reviews I have heard from very serious and respected photographers. I decided on the Fuji X-T10. Why this model? I felt it offered the most bang for the buck and gave me a system to build on. Great image quality, interchangeable lenses, all in a small package, and can be bought with a very nice kit lens (18-55 f2.8-4). I also purchased the 35mm f2 WR lens which will serve as my main portrait lens and on the crop size sensor feels like a 50mm on a full frame. I did a little testing at the store before I left, and was very impressed with the sharpness and bokeh.
So here is my entire camera bag for this trip. All of my gear, except for the tripod and reflector fit in this small ProMaster messenger bag. It's so small that I can take the bag anywhere including a casual stroll down the street for lunch. I am also very excited to put some of these other new products through the paces and see how they do. Click the links below for each item and where to get it.
Fuji X-T10 18-55 f2.8-4
Fuji 35mm f2 WR
Fuji Instax SP-1 printer
ProMaster Cityscape 30
ProMaster Rugged SD 64GB
ProMaster square filter holder
Graduated ND filter
ProMaster Digital HD Circular Polarizer filter
ProMaster PowerHouse 9000mah
ProMaster Lenz cleaning cloth
Fuji Instax Mini 8 filmProMaster 5-in-1 reflector 22"
ProMaster smartphone remote
Manfrotto Kylp LED light