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02-28-2019, 11:03 AM   #1
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Travelling with MF - how much kit do you carry?

I'm impressed. OK, I've seen all the fabulous images from around the world posted into the MF images thread, a continuous line of stunning images one after the other. Some posters seem to travel on a regular basis, always with a D/Z or film, often with multiple lenses (28-45, 45-85, 55, 90, 150, 200 etc.) and rock steady tripods - all whilst enjoying a family holiday, working away from home or whatever...

How much kit do you carry on these trips and how do you find the time for these stunning images (let alone how you plan/decide what you're going to capture)?

02-28-2019, 12:44 PM   #2
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This last summer I took my Bronica on a 10 day motorcycle trip. The way I shoot my Bronica, its pretty light. I have a waist level finder instead of a prism, and I don’t use a grip, so it’s the size of a Hasselblad. I took a 50mm, 75mm, and 150mm. I also took 3 backs, a Sekonic meter and a lot of film. No tripod since I was shooting at easily handheld shutter speeds. I suspect that total weight wasn’t more that a lot of people’s full frame digital kit. I have a lot more lenses for the camera, and could take a much heavier kit, but sometimes it’s about making choices.
02-28-2019, 12:57 PM   #3
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What I take depends a great deal on the mode of transport, time away, whether it is a work trip, combo trip, art trip or family trip. A lot of factors.

If it's ground transportation, then I can take a case of stuff, and decide about whether I need certain lenses. For work, I'll absolutely need the 25, the 35, and the 55, and possibly the 120 or the 150. But in the case I can take more, so I can decide from there. The 45-85 is always a good bet.


For air travel, if I must go extra light, it will either be the 45-85,or the 55 and the 35. The 45 is a great FL and I have used it, but it is a weaker lens. But I can get a lot of gear in my Mindshift Ultralight 36L, and it easily fits in the overhead.

For work trips and art trips (including family travel that allows for the time required to concentrate on photography for a day or two or portions of the day), I can take the above as well, although I might leave the 25 behind.

For short, pure family trips to someplace I'm not familiar with, I leave my Z at home.

I have 3 tripods now and a couple of monopods. One is now relegated to studio use with a dolly. One is an older model Feisol travel tripod which is great. My new tripod in the Leofoto LN 404C with the DC 404C center column kit. It is really great, when fully extended I can walk under it without bending over, and I'm 5'-11"/180cm. But it's a big boy, and not for planes unless i stow it in checked luggage (will just fit in a large suitcase diagonally w/o head).


For heads I have a a couple of Acratech ball heads and the Benro geared head (replaced my Manfrotto geared head). The Acratech's are for travelling light with the Feisol (one is designed for macro work, the other is more versatile and can do panos).

Flash equipment as required.


One thing that does help me: I do a lot of work very early in the morning, and have no trouble getting up and out. I'm usually pretty awake at 4am every day. Nobody else in the family wants to get up that early, or even much before 7.
02-28-2019, 01:55 PM - 3 Likes   #4
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For travel with MF, I’ve found the key is to have the right bag for the airline and hotel part, then have another bag for the actually photography part.

I pack my Z, DFA35, DFA55 and FA80-160, Canon 5D4 with Ultra-wide and primes, filters and accessories into a Thinktank Airport Navigator with my laptop etc, and then pack a photo backpack (filled with clothes) into my large travel suitcase. When I arrive at my hotel I remove my photo backpack and prepare it for photography, swapping gear in and out before each outing. I also have a small photo shoulder bag that can take my 5D4 with one lens for general walk around.

Then, I travel very light during the day when site seeing with my wife and I only venture out for serious photos at sunrise and sunset/evening. This maximizes quality time with my wife vs me getting good images. I use the time during the day to scope out good locations for the coming afternoon and following morning.

Because I’ve already scoped out the place that I’ll be shooting, sometimes I will only take the Z and 1 lens to that particular location.

02-28-2019, 02:31 PM   #5
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Last trip I did with MF was backpacking where weight is always top-of-mind. I ended up carrying just the 6x7 MLU, the 105, and the 55 plus a solid mid-weight tripod and a bunch of film (total ~4.5kg). I'm not convinced I would have changed anything for that trip... Other than maybe less film, I couldn't decide what I wanted to shoot ahead of time and ended up bringing way too much. More often I do digital on the K-1 but the 6x7 is so enjoyable to shoot and the speed difference (burning film $$$) is a great change to my routine and helps me really consider my shots before pressing the shutter.

"Finding time" is usually taking a vacation day on Friday and getting out early into landscape locations the AM before most people, then on Saturday when the serious crowds head out I'm heading back. On some occasions I'll do Th-Sa or F-Su but that requires significantly more planning than a single overnight. If I've gone a place before then I can make some planned shots, but usually my planning is based on topo maps and/or trail reports.
02-28-2019, 03:05 PM   #6
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My 67 kit was "lightweight" when I started out with MF 'way-back-when'. Since then, it has blossomed into a 14kg behemoth, together with bits and pieces that I take along as a matter of precaution in remote areas (ePIRB, GPS, First Aid kit, food and ropes...). The tripod, a veteran 2009-model Manfrotto carbon 190CX with MF Mg head (and lethal spiked feet that peculiarly are never flagged during airport Security checks), is carried by hand (also as carry-on), doubling when required, as a useful staff.

I intend to take the kit and caboodle to the Mauritius and Seychelles in June, island-hopping by boat and plane. As I will be living pretty much in my swimmers 24/7, I can pack really light -- just a towel, Brut, razor and brush! In checked luggage I'll be taking a trusty Zero Image 69 MF pinhole and a very small lightweight tripod.

Tonight there might be some 67 work on the beach, for the first day of Autumn here in Oz, is stinking bloody hot, but with days that sink into languid warm and calm nights. Lovely!

Last edited by Silent Street; 02-28-2019 at 03:16 PM.
02-28-2019, 05:27 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
Brut,
that's the most frightening thing I have read on these forums...
02-28-2019, 06:38 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by texandrews Quote
that's the most frightening thing I have read on these forums...


02-28-2019, 11:10 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnha Quote
How much kit do you carry on these trips and how do you find the time for these stunning images (let alone how you plan/decide what you're going to capture)?
I like to travel light. Last summer, 3 weeks in England and Wales, all I took was a Fuji GA645 and 21 rolls of film, one for each day. I also carry around a string tripod, but never needed to use it. I no longer have the GA645. I now have a Konica Pearl III as my travel camera. It's a smaller camera, but I'll be packing a spot meter and small flash, so the kit itself will be bulkier.
03-01-2019, 03:45 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by texandrews Quote
that's the most frightening thing I have read on these forums...
Yes, the one deodorant that will scare the mosquitoes away lol


I travel with what my wife says is WAY too much gear. I use a standard Samsonite case and a think tank shoulder bag. I mix lenses in with clothes - mix of Pentax MF ones and Sony E mount, including the huge 100 - 400. This does make my hand luggage quite heavy, but this isn't usually an issue with most airlines I travel with. I usually wear my hair Z with a shoulder strap...
03-01-2019, 08:22 PM   #11
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My travel is for pleasure, and typically out of the USA. I travel light....very light, with one body and one lens. My intent is to enjoy the trip, and not worry about a trunk load of equipment or changing lenses. I typically take my Sony a7rII and the Sony 24-105/4 AF zoom lens, extra batteries, charger, extra SDXC cards, and Rocket blower. Everything easily fits in a small shoulder sling.

I always have a great time on my trips, and come home with lots of memories and a few really great photos.....rather than a lot of mediocre shots. YMMV.
03-03-2019, 05:41 AM   #12
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I will be doing a photo based trip to southern Namibia in a few weeks so I sure as hell want my Z on that trip. I have a really light Mindshift packlight 26L backpack which will have the 645Z&28-45, 90, K1&15-30. All the bits and pieces will be in my travel vest and if the pack is weighed i will just hand-carry the K1/15-30. I will also take the 645 55mm and maybe the 24-70 for backup in my check-in bag. 2 tripods and other non-essential stuff in check in. I don't hesitate to take this gear on family holidays either Once you've shot landscape with MF it's hard to go back to using anything else.
03-03-2019, 06:58 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the replies, some really interesting & useful ideas. Normally when close to home, I carry the D and two lenses, usually either the FA33-55 or FA45-85 and one of my P6x7 135, 165 or 200. Usually when travelling on holiday, I'm limited to a small 'casual' canvas shoulder bag that has to double up with general holiday supplies (sun cream, water, binos etc.) and my MX-1 & GR. This bag will hold the D and one lens - I'm thinking the FA33-55 would be most useful (FA45-85 is second choice), alternatively I could take the K-1 with three lenses FA20-35, FA43 & M135/3.5 (or perhaps K135/2.5). The K-1 is more travel friendly for lots of reasons, has IBIS and doesn't stand out from the ordinary (it will fit in a hotel safe too!).

I normally fly airlines that only allow one piece of carry-on (I'm unlikely to get the D on 'over the shoulder') and put the canvas photo bag inside my main carry-on (taking it out at security as it's always pulled if I don't). I have a casual looking photo backpack that offers a bit more space, I may try taking that in the suitcase as mentioned, filled with clothes (great idea).

As for the shots I'm looking for, I know the area I'm travelling to and many of the shots I want, but not necessarily where I'm best shooting from - the K-1 may offer more options by looking less obtrusive. Some more thinking & planning to do...
03-03-2019, 07:17 PM   #14
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With the 645z I kept a small kit. I would ether use the 75mm or I would use the 35mm, 55mm, and 150mm

03-25-2019, 05:27 PM   #15
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Years ago I took a P645 and a couple lenses on a trip to Panama. I got some great images in the jungle, but realized that rough travel is what 35mm was made for!
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