Looking Back


I took this picture looking out the window of our hotel while in Virginia.  It was about 9:30 pm and you can see the reflection of me and the hotel room when I took a picture of the hotel parking lot.  It was the last picture I made while on the trip.

After I have been photographing for a while, I like to look back at what worked well and what didn’t work as well.  While driving in my car in Virginia I mostly used my Olympus E-M5 II camera with the Panasonic 12-35 mm F2.8 lens.  I didn’t need the E-P5.  It was the first time that I had used the Panasonic lens exclusively and I found that I really like it.  The image quality is great, it is fast enough, and the spread in focal lengths was ideal for what I photographed.  I was able to photograph in program mode and just think about compositions.  That is ideal for travel photography.

The only negative thing was the size & weight.  I wish the camera-lens combination were lighter but it isn’t too heavy and it is as light as I can get for its particular attributes.  But, it is heavier than I like for the particular strap I had on the camera.  The strap was essentially a round 3/8-inch rope with no neck pad.  I like it for lighter prime lenses since it is very flexible and fits in a case easily, but it gave me neck pains when I used it for longer periods with that much weight.

Another feature that I am thinking about is the camera bag I used: a Think Tank Retrospective 5.  I used it to hold the camera with the lens attached while driving the car and for carrying the camera in and out of the car for overnight.  I kept it on the floor of the car behind the front passenger seat with the top open so that I could reach back and grab the camera when I got out.  Using it that way it worked quite well.  My only fault with that bag is when I use it to walk-about.  It sticks out away from my body more than I like and can get in the way.  When walking with a bag I prefer a messenger bag style that hugs my body better.  But a messenger bag doesn’t work well on the floor of a car or when sitting it on a room floor since it falls over.

As a result of the above issues with the strap and bag, I am currently using a wrist strap and a messenger style bag, either a Domke F-802 or F-803.  Messenger style bags have an advantage in that when walking I have room to put mail, flyers, maps, additional lenses, etc. in them.  My problem is that I haven’t found the perfect all-around camera bag or strap that serves all uses.  As a compromise I sometimes use a Domke F-8 bag.

When I walk in good weather I prefer just a sling strap across my body if I’m using one camera and one heavy zoom lens, and no bag.  If I need a bag, I don’t use a sling strap since it doesn’t fit in a small bag.  I have been looking for a leather strap with a neck pad that is very flexible and easy to put into a bag without needing to remove it.  The strap also needs the ring connectors since I don’t like the triangular attachments since they and the nylon straps and connectors get in my way.