So my son and I flew to Paris to meet up with my wife, who was there for work. What a wonderful week of restaurants, museums, and shops.
After a decades long career in photography and related endeavors I don’t shoot professionally anymore, or at all for that matter. But the upcoming trip gave me a kick to the creative head. After years using Canon gear I downsized to a Lumix micro 4/3 [MFT] system a while back. It’s a trade off, but the size and weight savings suited me at the time.
While not using it much I have of course kept my kit relatively intact and functional. I did sell the Voigtlander Nokton 10.5mm f0.95 [e-21mm] manual focus lens recently. It was too specialized and slow in use to justify the weight and value. I’m sure the new owner is putting it to good use.
Of my two cameras I’ve always considered the Lumix G9 and the larger, faster Leica DG ASPH lenses to be for local landscape work and any unavoidable pro jobs; and the much smaller GX85 paired with a couple of cheaper, lighter, slower but very capable Lumix branded kit lenses to be for travel. The later is what I packed into a tiny Tamrac bag for our last [pre-covid] trip, to Canada, and it served me well.
But this trip was different. It’s Paris, baby! I have a Manfrotto backpack which holds the entire G9 kit along with a small tripod and 15″ MacBook Pro. I decidedly did ‘not’ want to deal with that on an overseas trip. But I did find a nice sling bag that was more ergonomic and specifically made for DSLR gear, and still had a slot for my 11″ MacBook Air.
I would never have designed a bag this…hybrid…but it was a wonderful find. The laptop pouch was taller enough than my MFT gear that a nice space was available up top for easy access to other travel stuff as necessary [gloves, scarf, snacks, etc.] The bag, an ‘Incase DSLR Sling Pack’ worked out very well. I really do wish the zippers were more robust, but I managed not to break anything hurriedly repacking whilst exiting Ubers, buses, and planes.
Since the bag offered to accept larger gear, that’s what I brought along. The Lumix G9, Leica DG 8-18mm f2.8-4, 50-100mm f2.8-4, and 15mm f1.7 lenses [all focal lengths x2 for 35mm- equivalent, of course] made the trip along with the laptop, chargers, cables, filters, spare cards, reader, passports, itinerary, and car keys.
Much of the above was offloaded to the hotel safe upon arrival, so weight when traipsing around for the day wasn’t ‘too’ noticeable. But later in the week, and in the evenings, I was just carrying the camera with the fast little 15mm around on a strap.
What is interesting about this last thought is that I have been wondering what the perfect travel camera might be. I’ve considered the newer D-Lux 7 upgrade to my old Leica pocket zoom [Typ 109], and the Leica Q2 as well. That is an apple to oranges comparison though, since the Q has a fixed focal length lens as well as a full frame sensor.
And I did, I really have to admit, notice that the MFT files can be a bit noisy…lacking just a little at times. Full sun, tripod, remote release, and the MFT files are terrific. But take a lens extended to f4 length handheld, add a polarizer and occasional clouds, and the shutter speeds start heading down while ISO creeps up. Not a great combination with this sensor, especially when printing to A2.
I was reminded that you have to be very careful and intentional when shooting MFT. And that’s not always possible when you’re moving, jostling in the crowd, keeping up with other people in an unfamiliar place. And, concerning both other cameras, I did have an [admittedly few] very successful shots with the longer focal length lens that they simply can’t accommodate.
So the takeaway for me is that no future trips are on the horizon, therefore no decisions need be made soon. I’ll continue to mull over my impressions and the 1k+ files brought home from this trip, keep a more informed eye out for a better solution, and dream of my next fresh croissant and jam.
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