Crazy idea? Traveling only with a P&S?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Chip NoVaMac, Jun 30, 2006.

  1. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #1
    After my fun time in Reykjavik in February on a few jaunts with only my Panasonic LX-1 in tow. I am think that maybe I will leave my Nikon kit at home on some planed travels in July.

    I am thinking that I might regret not having the focal length range (10.5 through 200) of my Nikon kit. But I am looking at city type trips (Toronto and maybe Amsterdam) in July. So the 28-100 range of the LX-1 might do me well.

    Do you think that I will regret not taking the Nikon kit?
     
  2. Pistol Pete macrumors 6502a

    Pistol Pete

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    #2
    Personally I would.

    sure it may be heavy...er but you may see some once in a lifetime things...
     
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #3
    It depends on how you travel. If you're staying at hotels and are touring around in relatively safe conditions, then I'd bring my Nikon and a few lenses. If you're staying at cheap hostels, then bring just your P&S.

    What type of bag did you plan on bringing?

    I brought only my Canon IXUS 40 (SD300?) to Perth because I couldn't be bothered carrying my DSLR through the fracking™ desert. I didn't know what type of people I'd come across while backpacking, or whether I'd be staying in rooms with 26 other strangers in it. Turns out that bringing my DSLR wouldn't have been unsafe in terms of theft, but how was I supposed to know beforehand?

    If my P&S was more capable, I wouldn't have missed my DSLR as much. :rolleyes: However, I brought it because it was easy to hide and keep with me at all times. My DSLR wouldn't have been, and so my p&s did exactly as I was hoping --- I took some nice photos and it was safely with me at all times, including at the beach and at several bars.

    I'd bring the Nikon if I was going to Toronto and Niagara Falls, along with the fisheye 10.5 mm. You know you'd miss having it with you. ;)
     
  4. ksz macrumors 68000

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    #4
    I think it all depends on the type of travel you expect to be doing. If you're backpacking or hiking, every pound of weight has to be prioritized. If you're traveling to some unstable parts of the world you don't want to flaunt. But if you're traveling to politically stable countries and plan to stay away from mean streets, then be free to use the best equipment practical.

    I brought along my Panasonic P&S, but after comparing what I can get with the D200, I'm entirely sold on my dSLR. The tilting head of the SB800 flash has produced results I simply cannot obtain with a P&S. The low noise, higher dynamic range, very fast shutter response, very fast cycle time between snaps, 11-area autofocus, and the extra long battery life with 2 EN-EL3e's inside the MB-D200 battery pack, ..., all lead to a much more satisfying and productive photographic experience.

    Not every situation is amenable to a large dSLR, but my experience in India is telling me that the dSLR is the thing to use whenever possible.
     
  5. ipacmm macrumors 65816

    ipacmm

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    #5
    I am in Europe right now and I brought my 5d and 3 lenses and a lot of other camera stuff in my Tamrac Adventure 9 backpack, so far it hasn't been that hard carrying everything around but if I were to bring something else, I would have just brought one lens and a small case over bringinga a lot of other things that I won't end up using... I think it will still be worth bringing the DSLR because the pictures will be better.
     
  6. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #6
    If you're not pushed for luggage space and know you have a safe place to leave it when there, take it. Better to have it just in case you find a shot you want to have (even if you've left it in the hotel and go back to the spot later) than find a great shot that your P&S can't cope with.
     
  7. Chip NoVaMac thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #7
    Thanks all for the thoughts so far.

    First to answer how I travel. I generally stay in B&B's or cheap hotels. So sometimes security can be a concern.

    Second, I understand the "quality" issues of a digital P&S vs. a DSLR. Attached are some of the images that I took in Reykjavik with the LX-1. The last one (what I call iFaith) were done with the LX-1. iFaith is an image that I have printed to 13x19, I am very happy with the results.

    But more why I raised the question in the first place. Had my Nikon kit (the 18-200VR and 10.5) in a LowePro Orion Trekker II backpack. It was a great bag to travel with. But sometimes given my large frame :eek: , I was an intrusion on other peoples "personal space". Also when the weather turned nasty, I was concerned about soaking this backpack.

    I do also realize that my images from that same trip in London, may not have been possible with only the LX-1. Though in London, I was the typical tourist IMO. Lets see how much one can see in just 12 hours (lost about 8 hours due to food poisoning on the flight to London from Iceland. :eek: [I did spend about 4 hours the next day after my 12 hour jaunt, exploring the Hammersmith-Fuller area, before I had to leave for my flight back to the US]

    Because of the weather issues I did sometimes go out with only my LX-1 in Reykjavik. I found it liberating. No big camera bag. No big camera and lens that was intimidating to the public. And being like 5 to 10 pounds lighter was nice.

    Fast forward to today. I bought a REI sling bag that is the smallest bag I ever owned (I tend to over pack). I bought for work and quick trips into the city to visit friends. I am now seeing the benefit to this size bag on urban travels with my LX-1.

    Maybe I should have phrased my original question along the lines of: have you ever traveled with a P&S digital camera, and regretted not taking a better equipped DSLR kit? [And maybe I am spoiled by my favorite film kit: a Leica M6TTL with a 15mm, 24mm, the Tri-Elmar, a 90mm, and perhaps the 135mm. The bag that I carried this kit in was very small overall. Not much bigger than my REI sling bag.]
     

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  8. Chip NoVaMac thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #8
    Sorry for the quick follow up post. I started my previous post earlier and got sidetracked. :)

    It is about trying to travel lighter. (An aside, can any one give the secret of traveling for 4 to 5 days - including "air" time - and still be able to meet a 6 kilo limit - about 13 pounds for those of us in the US? Glad I packed a "spare" bag in my carry-on for my IcelandAir flight. At 19 pounds, I was not allowed to carry-on my bags! :eek: Planned on more coming back than going.)

    It is also about being "inviting" to meet the locals. In some ways it was being free from choices of "which lens should I use here). It was nice that I wasn't approached by others, ogling and awing over my "professional" equipment.Sort of the type of reaction I get when I go out with my Leica gear. Except for gear-heads that know what the Red Dot™ means. :eek: Non gear-heads just think that it "strange" that I would be using an "old" camera. :)

    To further expand on my original question. The quality of the final image is not the issue. I have 13x19's from the LX-1 at ISO 400 that I am very pleased with. It is an issue of missing the fish-eye effects from my 10.5 Nikkor, and the de-fishing under Nikon Capture. It is about not having something greater than a 28mm FOV. It is about not having a 35/2.0 (FOV 52mm). It about not having the ability to go to ISO 1600 for low light shots.

    So I guess the question I should have posted is: How often did you regret not having greater than a 28-100 FOV in your urban travels?

    I know that in my case when I traveled only with the LX-1 in Iceland, I did not regret my choice of camera. But in London, I relished having the 10.5 fish-eye. I am not sure of an easy way to check out how often I used my 18-200VR, beyond the 100m FOV mark (about 60mm on the zoom lens) - but I am thinking only 10 to 20 percent were done greater than 60mm actual focal length.
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #9
    Yes, particularly for low-light and sunrise shots where less noisy images would have been nice.

    Actually, the sunrise images I took weren't very noisy, so I'm exaggerating a bit, but sometimes I think, "How much better would the photos have looked if I had packed my D50 instead of my tiny little Canon IXUS 40/SD300???? :rolleyes: I have attached 2 sunrise photos from my IXUS 40......handheld, and using the optical viewfinder rather than the LCD.

    There were also times when I wish I had better continuous shooting capabilities --- ie: when taking photos of dolphins I saw. It's not like they stay still in the water. Those things are playful. The stingray I saw wasn't so fast, and neither were the pelicans, but the dolphins would jump out of the water (albeit a bit far away.......too bad I don't have a lens that reaches 200 mm at f/2.8, eh?), and my p&s camera had very little chance to capture this quickly enough. My DSLR would have fared a bit better, although not fast enough anyway.

    I'm sure a trip to Toronto will be a bit different, but I think the ability to shoot very wide would be nice in some situations, like when in the CN tower, or sometimes on Toronto Island. The trendy Beaches and Queen St. areas would be a great time to use your Panasonic p&s, but your fisheye would be good to have. ;)
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #10
    How can you not? It's summertime! Bring 3 pairs of shorts, and 5 t-shirts. You're wearing one of each, so it's really just 2 pairs of shorts and 4 t-shirts. They don't weigh much Better yet, bring 3 quick-dry wicking running t-shirts, since they weigh almost nothing and are easy to wash. Bring a toothbrush, razor, and let the cheap hotel take care of your soap and towel needs. Or just buy this stuff when you're there, and don't take it back home with you.

    Wear a pair of shoes to Toronto (they're big), but pack thongs/flip flops or proper sandals.

    Your D50 + 18-200 mm is all you really need, but I guess packing the extra 10.5 mm fisheye won't put you over the weight limit.
     
  11. ScubaDuc macrumors 6502

    ScubaDuc

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    #11
    I think you are already answering the question. You might be able to find a more versatile P&S then the LX1. The new T1 has a Leica lens with a 10x optical zoom that looks promising. I don't think I ever took more then 50 pictures with the fisheye in over 20 yrs of SRL photography....The reason being that everytime I travelled I was forced to make a lens choice and the fisheye always ended up staying home....:rolleyes:

    I am also having to make the same decision because I am planning a trip to French polynesia and Air Tahiti has a freaking 15 kg limit and my dive equipment is more than that....Sure it would be nice to bring my Nikons but finally, I am just going to travel with a P&S and a fantasea diving housing and try to make the best out of it...
     
  12. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #12
    I think that whatever you decide, you'll be happy.

    If you decide only to take the P and S, then yes, there'll be a few situations where the better gear would've been good to have, but you'll have the advantage of feeling less loaded down with equipment, being more anonymous when shooting, and you will get a lot of great images.

    If you decide to take the better gear, you'll be satisfied that every image you took had the potential to be the best you could make it, but you'll be slightly more bogged down by carrying it around, and perhaps be more noticable to your surroundings in some situations.

    When both options are good, even for different reasons, you'll most likely be happy no matter what you do. This is my mother's theory about anything I've ever had trouble deciding, and I've found it to be the best way of dealing with those impossible choices. :)
     
  13. Chip NoVaMac thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #13
    Thanks to you and all the others that have posted. In the end I was feeling guilt about having a great Nikon kit, and not using it on some of my travels.

    In the end, I will have to weigh each trip and decide on what to bring. For Toronto it looks like the Nikon kit will be the best choice. If I do some European city this month, the LX-1 may be my choice, and that case I will have to live with what I come back with. :)

    To Abstract: You are right about it being summer. My trip on IcelandAir was in February, so my clothing was a little more bulky. Also because of the festival going on in Reykjavik at the time, I felt the need to pack dressier stuff too. A quick jaunt to lets say Amsterdam this summer will require much less IMO.
     
  14. YS2003 macrumors 68020

    YS2003

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    #14
    If there is a weight limitation on carry-on baggage on the airplane, I wonder how the professional photographers are carrying their gear for overseas assignments. Do they pay extra at the time of booking the ticket? Or, do they ship it separately via the freight company? I heard it is not advisable to check the bag which contains the camera gear (or any nice electronic, computer gear) as the airport security now frequently open the checked bags (which raises the concern for theft). At least for the carry-on bag, I can keep an eye on TSA and security officers when they check the bags at the security check point.
     
  15. Cybix macrumors 6502a

    Cybix

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    #15
    Great thread :)

    I recently travelled from Western Australia (where I live) to Hong Kong, with my wife (honeymoon). I bought a new canon 350D and extra lens, used it quickly a few nights before my trip, then packed it in my backpack. I get to the airport, through customs, etc and get the camera out for some 'airport pics' to find the camera is faulty, the images were distorted and black, etc. a write off. I was furious, esp considering this was our honeymoon. I wont go into the details, i did that in another thread to vent.

    Luckily, my wife packed the trusty little sony U-20 p&s... 2 awesome megapixels and a lens smaller than the tip of your little finger, oh joy.

    I snapped hundreds of pics with the P&S. although crap quality, I'll still get a few prints out of it. (we went to disneyland too).. *sigh*.

    I bought a lowepro slingshot 200 backpack, another lens, more memory, and some filters, a batt grip etc whilst in HK..

    Whilst going through the x-ray/bag weigh area, a good tip is to take out your heavy items and hold them. put your camera and heavy'ish lens around your neck. (obviously only if possible).. hold your laptop under your arm, etc.

    The bag weigh folks weigh bag's, all day, every day. They're sometimes blind to what you might be holding. Most airlines allow a camera bag as well as some other carry on bag, but if you rock up with a kick arse pelican case or other massive case, I'm sure you'll be in a spot of trouble haha.

    I pulled my laptop and some camera gear from my bag before weighing, and all was good.

    Guess how fun it was carting a broken camera + acc's to Hong Kong and back.

    Ranting and random rubbish aside.. if it's important to you, you'll take it no matter what, if you get slugged for excess baggage, your going to pay it. (and bitch about it whilst in the air)..

    I have to admit I sometimes like to venture out with just a small P&S. EG my last trip to Bali it rained, rained, and rained (nonstop).. It was easy to whip out the P&S and snap some shots, I'd not want to be standing in the rain with my good gear, tryna change a lens, or compose a shot, whilst getting drowned.

    this post is too long, and the coffee van just arrived, I need a hot chocolate and a choc-chip muffin.

    James
     
  16. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

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    #16
    It certainly can work better sometimes (where social situations prohibit, easy to put P&S in jacket and just have it). Probably doesn't reach the threshold for a crazy idea - just a P&S and no pants: crazy.
     
  17. YS2003 macrumors 68020

    YS2003

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    #17
    What would be the good P&S digital camera for traveling? For domestic traveling in a car, I will take my SLR camera. But, I doubt I will take it with me for the overseas trip because of the weight restriction and extra gear I have to carry. I travel quite a bit by car for business and I was finally able to reduce the number of bags to: 1 computer bags with wheels, carry-on size suitcase, and one sleeve size bag for a tablet pc.
     
  18. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #18
    When you go overseas, can you survive with just a backpack?

    http://www.tamrac.com/welcome3.htm (look at the Adventure 7 or 9)
    http://www.lowepro.com/Products/Backpacks/notebook_camera/CompuRover_AW.aspx


    It carries a laptop, an SLR and several lenses and flash, and it has a general compartment for this and that (change of clothes, a small jacket, bottle of water, etc.

    I bought a Crumpler Sinking Barge recently and it should be coming in the mail tomorrow! :D Same idea as the ones above (ie: a 3 compartment bag), but it's hard to provide a link to that specific bag. I chose the Crumpler even though I don't like the way their stuff looks mainly because you don't even need to take the backpack off to get your gear out. With other backpacks you do.

    This backpack is carry-on size as well.
     
  19. virividox macrumors 601

    virividox

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    #19
    don't leave ur slr behind. i brought my 2 slrs around and it was fine. :)
     
  20. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

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    #20
    To partly answer your question, I've done several business trips to Europe and I've elected to carry just a P&S camera, rather than carrying nothing at all. Around the cities, on various metro/subways and the like, it travelled along either in a jacket pocket, or in a fanny pack. As such, it provided the "Always With You" feature.

    To this end, I've been copying this for some of my personal "to a city" trips and left my SLR at home. For longer personal trips (which generally have included some outside-of-city type stuff), I have taken an SLR and a P&S, and what we've generally found is that the SLR gets faithfully get carried around during the day's itineary, but for the "just going around the corner for dinner", it gets left behind. If anything the P&S will get tucked into a pocket and carried along.

    As such, if I were trying to pack really light for a shorter trip, I'd not worry about the substitution of a P&S for a SLR. I also think that having it in a non-obvious pocket or fanny pack is a nice way to blend in with the locals too.


    6 kilos? Egads, my briefcase w/laptop often weighs that much!

    We just had to pack light for our Africa (Tanzania) trip, which was a 15kg/person budget, which eventually sorted itself out to 10kg/me + 10kg/wife + 10kg/cameras.

    For our 10kg/person worth of non-camera stuff, I'd say that the biggest weight factors were:

    - "miscellaneous" (not clothing) stuff...suntan lotion, toiletries, etc.
    - the bag itself
    - shoes

    I usually try to go carry-on for my international business trips to Europe, which generally puts me on an airline that doesn't weigh your carry-on bags. I generally get by with a softsided carry-on that's ~25lbs and a ~15lb briefcase.

    For a personal trip with a 6kg carry-on limit, I'd probably just check a bag. If that's not really an option, then I'd probably split my carry-on into two ~6kg bags if that is allowed under a "one bag plus briefcase or purse" rule. I'd also avoid nickle & diming it up with my paperback book, bottle of water, etc, etc...ie, all of those things you don't want in a checked bag.

    I'd say that my regrets have been pretty minor. Yes, I would have liked to have had something really wide for the Eiffel Tower, but not having that forced me to be creative when up close, and when at medium distance (since I didn't trust photo stitching to be faithful), to walk another city block further away.

    FWIW, I was worried that low light would be a source of headaches, but in any city, there's thousands of walls, railings and light posts with which you can quickly brace a P&S and get a stabilized photo at night.


    Hope this helps,

    -hh
     
  21. Chip NoVaMac thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #21
    This was sort of my feeling.

    This sort of what I found on my Iceland/London trip, though on at least one day when the weather was really lousy, I went with just the P&S during the day. And found it liberating. My LowePro bag is not huge, but in tighter situations can be a bother. My REI sling bag is just the right size for tighter travel IMO.

    As I said in when I was in London, my Nikon kit (D50/18-200VR/10.5) got quite a workout. The key may be finding a mid-sized messager bag that I could customize it for photo use, and all the little stuff that one picks up along the way, or carries as one self-caters their way through the day.

    Got to love IcelandAir on that rule. :) I wanted to say something that many bags themselves EMPTY weigh like two pounds. But thought better of pushing the point.

    Just looked at United, and they seem not to have a weight restriction. And British Air seems to have changed their carry-on weight limits to:

    The concern I have, is that I really like IcelandAir. Good service, and great fares. I was probably too concerned on my trip over to Iceland. That was my first stop for 3 days. I was concerned about delayed baggage on the trip back from London to US. I mean how could they loose luggage when KEF is their only hub? :)

    Thanks it does.

    I guess I am one of those in the "purist camp" that would prefer an APS-C sized sensor for the lower noise. I would do almost anything for something like the "old" Pentax 35mm P&S that featured a 24-120 (IIRC) zoom. It would not have to be truly pocketable. (The old 35mm P&S's were really not that pocketable.) Just something small that fit in a fanny pack or a small sling bag. And weighed about under a pound (perhaps a pound and half). Give me RAW capabilities. Along with P/A/S/M exposure capabilities.
    With the "right" lens quality, I might be willing to $700 to $1000US for such a combination of features.
     
  22. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

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    #22

    $700 to $1K? Hmmm...

    Let me ask my wife if she's willing to sell you her 35mm Nikon Lite*Touch P&S :)

    FWIW, the digital P&S that replaced this camera was the Canon Powershot A80. Its only 4MP, but in looking through Canon's current offerings, it looks like I'll have to give up both the Compact Flash format and AA batteries if I want a new dP&S. Probably time to buy a refurb of something "good but discontinued" before they all disappear.


    -hh
     
  23. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #23
    I've done a lot of travel in Europe, including several flights between the US and Europe, on various airlines (including Iceland Air) and have never once had my carry-on bags weighed. I guess I've been lucky, because they tend to be HEAVY.

    I really like the look of the Lowel Pro combo bag for SLR and 17" laptop that Abstract posted a link to. Do any of you have any experience with that one, especially reasons you would not recommend it? I'm going to China in a month and need my Power Book and want to take my dSLR, and I want to be able to take them easily with me as carry on and walk around freely (and fairly discretely) with them when there.
     

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