Minimalist Travel with a Camera


As part of my concerns about what I might be shooting in the future, I started thinking about traveling while I was staring at my electric tea kettle which you see a portion of in the above picture.  With my back I would have to really travel light.  I figure I could do that if I went to the right locations at the right time of the year.  As an example, I’m thinking of Hawaii.

If I traveled to Hawaii I wouldn’t need to take much and could probably travel with just a very light bag.   If I stayed in a condo with a washer and dryer it would be easy … just a pair of shorts, a few tee-shirts, a few changes of underwear in addition to what I wore while traveling, along with my medicines.  Every couple of nights I could wash clothes when necessary and I could buy a few things there if necessary.  I don’t think I would have much weight in clothing, etc.; but what about a camera?

At the moment I think I could manage to just take the Ricoh GR and carry it in a pocket; but, would that be suitable?  The GR has good enough image quality if an effective 28 mm focal length works.  While wondering about the focal length, I looked back at my pictures that I took on my last trip to Hawaii in 2011 and looked to see what my most used focal length was.  At that time I used a Pentax K-5 with the 18 – 55 mm kit lens.  [You can see some of my pictures in this blog.  Just go to category at the top right and select Hawaii.]  In looking through my pictures I found that the majority were taken at an effective 28 mm focal length, but not all of them.

My question is, could I get enough pictures with only an effective focal length of 28 mm?  Given the tremendous weight savings by taking only the Ricoh GR with one spare battery and a charger I think the answer is yes; but I would have to think some more about it.  Maybe it would be worth taking a slightly heavier system like the Olympus E-PL5 along with one to three prime lenses, the 14 mm, the 20 mm, and/or the 45 mm.  Another option I would need to think about would be finding a camera with a zoom lens … maybe something like the Panasonic LX100.  The choice would come down to balancing the image quality, convenience, and focal length against the total system weight for camera, lenses, batteries, charger, and bag.

My choice might not be what you would do but I am intrigued with the idea of seeing what kind of pictures I could get while traveling extremely light.  If it came down to travel or no travel or camera or no camera I could “make-do” with just the Ricoh GR or with just the 20 mm lens on the E-PL5.

One comment

  1. agent909

    Hi John, great photo collection you have here.

    Ricoh GR is great and the lowlight-autofocus is very nice indeed. A close friend of mine compared it with my Sony RX00II and the result were as expected, Ricoh has better sharpness and low light ISO performance by a slight margin, but Sony is more versatile due to the zoom lens. It’s interesting to see people switching their photography gear from bulky DSLR to mirrorless system, I used to have 5D Mark II for several years but now I use Fujifilm X-Pro and could only say good things about it. You might want to compare Fujifilm X-series before buying Olympus. Cheers.