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10-30-2014, 09:17 AM   #1
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Gear Advice. Tree month trip to Europe. What gear to take.

In 10 days I`ll be leaving to Italy, then Croacia, Rumania, Turkey, Budapest, Poland, Germany, France, perhaps spain and back. (I am not sure if I`ll on all those places, how long, etc.). Returning on January for a total of 3 months. Besides seeing the great cities, I really like trekking so I will hike some mountains every time I can. I know it will be winter but I have some experience in those conditions. I am going "Couch surfing" so also taking a sleeping bag and pad.
I am trying to go "Ultralite". I got a 70 liter, 900grams backpack, a pair of light boots, clothing, sleeping bag and pad, and that`s it. Being able to buy the cheap plain tickets that just allow carry on (less than 10Kg pack) would be awesome...

Now, to the photographic dilema:
I tihnk carrying a DSLR is too much for this kind of trip. It`s difficult to take care of it all the time, lug it arround, carry all the other stuff (chargers, batterys, memory card, backup disk, cleaning kit) and it also is a barrier between me and the people I`ll met (although a friend from Poland told me it`s very common for people to carry DSLRs arround in most of Europe).
- So I am thinking of taking just the compact MX-1. It`s good enough, like the controls, light.
- But then I also thought of taking a lightweight film SLR with the DA40xs (ZX-60, -L , -7 can all control de aperture from the body) along the MX-1.
- Also considering I could take the Sigma DP2 Merrill instead of the film SLR...
- I bought a 600grs tripod from Vanguard (Yes, I bought the pink one because it was cheaper)

My great fear is being in a time and place where I can`t help but think "S@it, I sould have brought the big camera". If you have some good advice (not only about the photo gear) it would be welcome.

10-30-2014, 09:26 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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well, there is always a very easy solution this. Just concentrate on the gear you have with you, and forget about the gear you left behind. makes you think more creatively.
10-30-2014, 11:24 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Going light is never a bad idea. I'd be tempted to take my K5 and 18-135 so I could be out in any weather, and maybe the DA21 because it's tiny and the 10-17 because fisheyes are fun.

I can't fault your reasoning, though I'd probably leave the film body at home myself.
10-30-2014, 12:17 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Having been to Croatia. France, Slovenia, Denmark, Sweden, and Italy, you are going to want your DSLR with the 18-135 plus a perhaps a light prime such as the DA21 mentioned above. There were times I saw castles in Croatia up on a hill and not able to get close, so I like the reach of the 135 and so many visits to cathedrals that a fast, wide angle lens is needed there. Plus the sea coasts require wide angle lenses as well. have fun.

10-30-2014, 12:37 PM   #5
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It's true that a lot of people carry DSLRs in Europe, some of them very large ones, with very large lenses fitted. My back won't let me do that any more. This time around, I rduced the gear I packed, but the DA18-135 turned out to be on my K-3 the most, with the DA15 fitted when I needed to go wider. Sometimes I went out with just one lens, and that was mostly the DA*16-50, which only now and then made me wish I had more reach, but never width. Maybe the new DA16-85 will be useful for travel.

However, if you're planning on trekking and couch-surfing, a DSLR and lenses is probably too much to look after. Have you thought about a Q? If you want to see some great photos taken with a Q7, check out Michaelina2's recent posts. We came across each other on the same European cruise, recently. I realise the MX-1 has the same sensor, so you may be just as well taking that camera, but consider it, nonetheless.

Good luck with your choice, and your holiday.
10-30-2014, 01:16 PM   #6
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I did a road trip with some friends last weekend. I took both my K50 and the Q10 I had gotten for my wife. We went to a football game and I didn't really want to watch after the K50 so I thought I would just compromise and take the Q10.

I found it was not a great compromise. Using a small shoulder sling and a small belt case that doesn't require me to take off the sling. I was able to forget I had the camera with me until I needed it. With practice I find the Q10 can take some great pictures. As a result I decided to take it with me down to Fisherman's Warf the next day. I think it will get more use for these situations when I want a camera with me but photos are not my primary activity. For the $160 I paid it is a lot of camera. I do wish I had the telephoto zoom but it is hard to pay well more for that than I paid for the whole camera so I haven't done it yet.

As an aside I constantly had people coming up to me saying the camera was really cool, what was it? Who makes it? etc. They were doubly surprised to know you could change lens, etc.

With that said, if I were you, I would be taking my K50, 18-135 and my DA 15mm. I would probably also take my K28mm 3.5 to shoot for stitched pano shots. Too many great shots to be had to not have my best camera along.

Good luck making your choice. It sounds like a great adventure!
10-30-2014, 10:41 PM   #7
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A lot depends on which focal lengths you prefer, and how much weight you are happy with. I can only suggest what suits me.

I was in the UK, Ireland and Canada for 2 months earlier this year and returned with 2,000 images to choose from. I took a 21mm, 35mm, 100mm and 18-250mm. I did not use the 18-250mm at all. I used the 35mm about 70%, 21mm 25% and 100mm 5%.

In your situation I would take the 15mm, 28mm and 70mm. Not a heavy kit, but able to deliver excellent images.

You will find an endless supply of wonderful scenes in Europe. Over 3 months you need to be prepared to walk past many photo opportunities. Otherwise you may spend more time looking at your viewfinder than enjoying your surroundings and you will come back with thousands of images.

The three primes should easily allow you to get enough images, and they should be top quality. If you take a zoom, you will be able to get a lot more images, but do you want to?
10-30-2014, 11:30 PM   #8
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I think it all depends how important your photos are to you.

Lots of ppl do carry DSLRs with them in europe but not many pppl are on a 3 month hiking trip.

I think a good compromise would be a q or a decent quality compact.

Photo kit seems a lot cheaper over in the States so I would get kitted up before you leave.

10-31-2014, 01:12 AM   #9
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last year during European Spring I had the Q with 01 + 02 , was very happy with it, my Niece's small boys absolutely loved it.
last year during European Autumn I had K-30 with DA18-250 + Sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5 macro , worked very well
this year European Spring I had K-3 with Sigma 18-250 Macro + 17-70 2.8-4 Macro Contemporary + iPhone 5c , took ~ 30% of photos with iPhone ( always in my pocket ), you can crop , has HDR and you can share them more less instantaneously with your Friends and Family
so take MX-1 + smartphone ( get the EU sim with data) , you will be fine.
11-01-2014, 03:21 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by carrrlangas Quote
Gear Advice. Tree month trip to Europe. What gear to take.
Everything, best achieved by filling all you travelling companions hand language with kit.
11-01-2014, 01:56 PM   #11
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Guys, I read all your post and give it some thought these days. I am amazed to find such great advice, this places continues to surprise me.
I am definetely taking the MX-1. The IQ is more than good and itīs the best to put on mmy bag strap. But I also see the low response makes it not so ideal for some situations.

So, besides the MX-1 I have the following options:

- Sigma DP2M.
---Advantages: size and weight. Uses same batteries as MX-1. Excelent quality.
---Disadvanteges: Even slower operation than the MX-1. Mostly obliged to use tripod. Fixed focal length.

- Pentax DSLR + DA15, F28 and DA70.
---Advantages: Fast operation, OVF, IQ.
---Disadvantages: Size, weight, start thinking as a photographer all the time. Additional charger and batteries.
I just bought a K-3 having sold the K-5IIs but the seller retracted so I got the two cameras for the moment. Which one to take? The K-5 is cheaper, lower size files but the K-3 is better at everything else for my applications. Also, I donīt like zoom lenses. Regarding WR. Iīve used the limiteds on the rain without problem and a plastic bag is ok if needed. taking the DA21 and DA40 too is very tempting but itīs doesnīt make sense. No way I can switch between 5 lenses.

My idea is to have the MX-1 on the front for easy access and the other camera in the backpack. If itīs worth it, I can take it out. But which of the other ones should I take?

Notes on Backup:
I just bought a 128Gb Usb 3.0 thumbdrive and will realy on PCs along the way for backup. I am also looking at portable versions of lightroom but perhaps it needs too powerful computers. Some advice on portable editing software?

PS: I have an idea for a series during the trip. As Iīll be mostly staying with strangers Iīd like to make environmental portraits of them in their homes. I think the MX-1 is up to the task but the DSLR would be best because of the wide angle lens for thight spaces.
Also, I forgot to mention I am travelling alone.

Last edited by carrrlangas; 11-01-2014 at 02:04 PM.
11-01-2014, 02:36 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by carrrlangas Quote
In 10 days I`ll be leaving to Italy, then Croacia, Rumania, Turkey, Budapest, Poland, Germany, France, perhaps spain and back. (I am not sure if I`ll on all those places, how long, etc.). Returning on January for a total of 3 months. Besides seeing the great cities, I really like trekking so I will hike some mountains every time I can. I know it will be winter but I have some experience in those conditions. I am going "Couch surfing" so also taking a sleeping bag and pad.
I am trying to go "Ultralite". I got a 70 liter, 900grams backpack, a pair of light boots, clothing, sleeping bag and pad, and that`s it. Being able to buy the cheap plain tickets that just allow carry on (less than 10Kg pack) would be awesome...

Now, to the photographic dilema:
I tihnk carrying a DSLR is too much for this kind of trip. It`s difficult to take care of it all the time, lug it arround, carry all the other stuff (chargers, batterys, memory card, backup disk, cleaning kit) and it also is a barrier between me and the people I`ll met (although a friend from Poland told me it`s very common for people to carry DSLRs arround in most of Europe).
- So I am thinking of taking just the compact MX-1. It`s good enough, like the controls, light.
- But then I also thought of taking a lightweight film SLR with the DA40xs (ZX-60, -L , -7 can all control de aperture from the body) along the MX-1.
- Also considering I could take the Sigma DP2 Merrill instead of the film SLR...
- I bought a 600grs tripod from Vanguard (Yes, I bought the pink one because it was cheaper)

My great fear is being in a time and place where I can`t help but think "S@it, I sould have brought the big camera". If you have some good advice (not only about the photo gear) it would be welcome.
If you want to create landscape/cityscape shots, all your choices here Sigma DP2 Merrill/DA40xs/MX-1 might not be wide enough. But MX-1 definitely is not a bad choice as it is very versatile (28-112mm range). Given that you have K3, DA 15mm sounds to be a very natural choice. So what you need to do is to use MX-1 for walking around and when you encounter beautiful cityscape/landscape, using you K3 + DA 15mm + tripod! You have the capability to reproduce world-class shots!

If you want to take serious portrait, DA 70 sounds to be a reasonable choice too.
11-01-2014, 02:40 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by carrrlangas Quote
Disadvantages: Size, weight, start thinking as a photographer all the time.

That sounds like a great adventure! I haven't done much international travel with a DSLR, but I think if I were in your shoes I would go with a two camera kit: 1.) a quality P&S I could stick in a shirt-pocket that would serve for Facebook posts and "holiday snaps;" and, 2.) a Sigma DP2 or Micro 4/3d's with a quality zoom that would stay in the pack until the light was great and I wanted to really get down to business as a photographer. Of course, everyone's ambitions are different, but for myself, I think I would accept the fact there would be shots I just wouldn't get on the long end, and just be prepared to pano with whatever high IQ option I had if I wanted something wide.


Take this with a grain of salt as well, but for myself, I would be much more comfortable using an ultralight pack in a wilderness environment than in an urban setting--you'll be taking the pack off and on much more frequently than you would on a hiking trip, and be at the mercy of bus drivers and (sometimes burly) flight attendants while enroute. I might go with a light down sleeping bag and bomber inflatable pad and try to get everything in a smaller, more robust pack that I could also (at times) use as carry on.
11-01-2014, 03:14 PM   #14
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He bottom of your signature line is all you need. 10-17, 16-50, and 55-300 plus your K5

You don't need more and it is worth taking the camera. .
11-01-2014, 03:21 PM   #15
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3 years ago I went to Germany for 3 weeks, carry on luggage only. I took my Kx and the 18-55 kit lens, no flash, just spare batteries and a charger (kx takes AA batteries, I had rechargables) I bought a binocular harness and fitted my Kx to it and wore it all the time I was out, quick to get the camera, somewhat protected, not dangling on a strap or getting banged in a backpack. I took probably 2000 pictures, yes there were a few times I wish I had a zoom, but not that many. I made sure it all packed in my backpack so I didn't have to wear it on the plane! I don't hike, but we did tons of walking and had some minor inclement weather. I bought a raincoat big enough to cover the camera in the harness.
Sounds like a great trip. Enjoy and like was said earlier, whatever you decide, just be happy with it and do what you can.
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