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Travel Photo Gear

Day 256 - Weathered

So, during the time that this blog was down, we took a trip to Taiwan. Our Taiwan trips seem to pretty much fall into the same pattern over the last few years: lunch/dinner with relatives, lunch/dinner with friends, lunch/dinner with old coworkers, wandering around department stores, paying an amount that I would never even consider paying in the States for a haircut, and a trip to the dentist. During our last trip, I traveled light when it came to photo gear. Packed just a Nikon D80, a Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR, and a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 in a Crumpler Sinking Barge backpack. Also used a Crumpler 5 Million Dollar Home bag for everyday use. This time, I thought I'd be a masochist and bring more gear.

To that end, I settled on the following kit:

Obviously this kit also needed bigger bags so I went through a Timbuk2 H.A.L. backpack and a Tamrac Aero Speed Pack 85 before settling on the ThinkTankPhoto Shape Shifter. Originally I wanted to find a giant all-purpose backpack that I could just cram a Six Million Dollar Home bag down into so I wouldn't need to stow that into my luggage (hence the Timbuk2 H.A.L.) but I couldn't find one large enough. The Tamrac Aero 85 turned out to be just a smidgen too small to fit the entire kit so I turned to the Shape Shifter, which I wound up liking a lot.

Day 260 - Bright Lights

The Shape Shifter is possibly the thinnest and least-padded photo backpack out there which is exactly what I wanted as I hate big and bulky bags. Plus I don't go slamming my bags around indiscriminately. But I had no problems cramming all my photo and computing gear into it. Fully loaded I think it weighed more than my larger check-in luggage. =p The only drawback to the Shape Shifter is that since each item is stowed in an individual neoprene draw pouch, you can't just unzip it, grab your camera, and shoot (like you can with the Tamrac). On top of the photo kit listed above, I also had the following stuffed in the backpack:

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 + case
  • 15" Unibody MacBook Pro + extra battery + ac adapter + airline adapter
  • External 500GB 2.5" hard drive for backup
  • Sony PSP + 4 games
  • Battery chargers for the Nikon and Panasonic cameras
  • USB2.0 Multi-card reader
  • USB2.0 charge cables for the PSP and iPhone
  • Wired magazine

And it handled it all like a champ. For day-to-day activities, I carried around the Six Million Dollar Home with either the 14-24mm or 24-70mm lens mounted on the D700 plus the Sigma 50mm, Lensbaby Composer, and Erin's Panasonic ZS3. The ZS3 came in pretty handy at times, providing me a focal length up to 300mm on the rare occasion that 70 wasn't enough. Originally I attempted to carry both the zooms around along with the Sigma prime but that wound up to be too heavy of a pack in the humid environment that I was in. The 105mm Micro lens I wound up not using at all so that was pretty much dead weight there.

Day 267 - Temple

But overall I was pretty happy with the kit. As long as I didn't try carrying both zooms around the entire day, I felt the weight was pretty manageable. I'm not 100% sure I'd carry such a large kit back with me next time though as the hot & humid weather is much more conducive to packing light. Anyway, I'm being a bit better about getting my photos from the trip up onto flickr this time around so you can check them out here. There's still a lot I need to go through so check back periodically.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 21, 2009 10:39 AM.

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