Photography while traveling – what to carry?

I recently took a trip to Italy with my daughter, and naturally, I brought my camera along.  For any traveler, this isn’t even really a question – doesn’t everyone bring a camera to capture memories?  But for people who are serious about photography, it can be a pain in the butt.  My family likes to make fun of me because I’m always lugging around my “big” camera – a Sony a850 with the battery grip (see picture at right).

Dave shooting the Golden Gate Bridge

When I travel, I’m always thinking (and hoping) that I’m going to see something that would make a great photograph, as well as capturing images of our trip that might fall more into the “snapshot” category.  But as I walked around Rome and Venice, I began to feel that my “big” camera was becoming more of a pain than it was worth.  I always bring a point-and-shoot with me as well, and I found that I was using that more and more, just because it was handier.  Granted, if I was on a photo-specific trip, whether as part of a workshop, or on an assignment, there wouldn’t even be a question – I’d only be there for the photography, so I’d want my most versatile and capable camera.  But, when traveling with family, where I want to do both snapshots and photography – surely there must be something better!

It really brought into focus a thought I’d had in the back of my mind for about 6 months or so regarding finding a different camera to take with me when I travel.  Since I’m a Sony shooter, I’d been checking out the Sony NEX-5 for a while, especially after Andy Biggs talked about taking it on safari with him and really enjoying it.  I’ve also been following with interest the growing number of photographers who I follow on Twitter that have been talking up the Fuji X100.  These types of cameras, and others by Olympus and Leica, seem to me to be the answer (for now) – they offer excellent resolution, interchangeable lenses, but more importantly, a compact size that makes them comfortable to carry.

When it comes time to plan my next major trip, part of the planning will definitely include deciding which of these cameras to add to my arsenal, so that I can enjoy the trip itself better, without worrying that I won’t be able to get a great photograph when the opportunity presents itself.

The Colosseum at Night

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