My current camera gear (for New Zealand trip)

I am about to leave on a two week trip to New Zealand with Paula, and thought I would post a quick summary of the camera gear I am taking, which is most of my camera gear (but not my new drone). As I’ve mentioned before, I am very into traveling light, and as usual I managed to fit everything for this trip, including photography gear and clothes, into a single carry on bag (my Tom Bihn Aeronaut). Okay, I cheated slightly in that we are going to a wedding at the end of the trip, and my suit for the wedding is in Paula’s suitcase which she is checking. Though when I went to Japan recently I did manage to fit a suit in my one bag, by wearing the jacket on the plane and packing the trousers.

Anyway, this is a picture of my photo gear (excluding computers, chargers and cables):

Camera gear

The equipment here is:

A Lumix GX8, my main camera, at the top. I love this – it’s at the top end of the Lumix micro four thirds camera range, and I’ve had a great experience with it. It is so much lighter and smaller than the Nikon D7000 I used previously, and has some great features. I will review it in more detail one of these days.

A Lumix 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 lens (28-280mm equivalent) is on the GX8 camera. This is the lens I mainly use for landscape and travel photography, it is very versatile.

An Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro lens with a 1.4x teleconverter (112-420mm equivalent in total) is at the top right. This is my big lens for wildlife photography, and it’s a fantastic lens, the sharpest I have ever owned.

Below this is a Lumix GX7, the predecessor to the GX8, which I still have for backup – it works with all the same lenses, though unfortunately not with the same batteries. In the end I decided not to take this to New Zealand, this is the only thing in the picture that got cut.I have taken the GX8 on quite a few trips now, including two to Iceland and one to Japan, and it hasn’t let me down yet! On this camera is a Lumix 20mm f/1.7 lens, which I don’t use that often but it’s a very fast and sharp lens.

To the left of that is my Lumix LX7 (I’m a Lumix guy!), which is an all in one pocketable camera that is great in low light – its lens is f/1.4 at the widest zoom. This is the only camera that was also on my gear list two years ago. It has lasted really well, but Lumix has some newer cameras in a similar vein that I would look at if I was buying something like this today.

To the left of that is a headlamp for helping out with night photography, and then a Lumix 14mm f/2.5 lens (28mm equivalent), which is the main lens I use for photographing the night sky. Apparently this has now been discontinued by Lumix. It’s an amazingly small and light lens – it weighs just under 2oz, or around 50g.

At the top left is a car cam that I just bought, the iTrue X3 dash cam. The idea of this is to record our road trips. It’s similar to a GoPro in some ways, but less expensive and the big plus is that it will run from an external power supply plugged into the car cigarette lighter, and also it automatically starts and stops when you turn the car ignition on and off. It will record video in a loop, overwriting the oldest files as the card fills up. We did a quick test on our recent trip to Telluride, and found that we will need two 32GB micro SD cards to record a whole day of driving – so we will generate a lot of data for our whole 12 day road trip!

Because of this I am also taking a G-Technology G-Drive 1TB mobile disk drive, which will plug into my MacBook Air via USB. I just got this, but have had good experience with similar G-Technology products in the past.

There is a new GoPro Hero4 Session in the middle near the left, which I just bought and I was very impressed with my initial tests while skiing. It is relatively inexpensive ($199) and has no screen and simple controls, but you can remotely control it and see what the camera sees using your smart phone with a WiFi connection. It is also waterproof without requiring a case. I am taking two connectors for it to New Zealand, one to mount it on a tripod (or selfie stick!), and a larger suction mount that I can use to mount it on a car, boat or helicopter!!

At the bottom right are two neutral density filters, an ND8 and an ND400, which I use for taking long exposures, especially of waterfalls or other water features, plus some spare batteries (three in total for the GX8, two for the LX7).

And finally three tripods, the main one is a MeFoto Backpacker Travel Tripod, made from titanium, which weighs just 2.6 pounds and folds up to be only 12.8″ long. I have been very pleased with this, it works very well for such a small and light tripod. I have two other mini tripods which I will mainly use with the LX7 or the GoPro.

And last but not least, not pictured is my iPhone 6S, which I used to take these pictures. So I will have five cameras in total including the iPhone.

The picture below shows the GX8 in a small packing cube with the three smaller lens – the 14-140mm, 14mm and 20mm. All this together weighs just 2.5 pounds!

IMG_1080

This is incredibly lightweight and compact compared to a traditional DSLR alternative, which is a great attraction of the micro four thirds system. My big lens with the teleconverter weighs 2.25 pounds, and the largest tripod weighs 2.6 pounds as mentioned previously.

My whole carry on bag including all the camera gear, my 11″ MacBook Air and iPad mini, plus all necessary chargers and cables etc, and my clothing, weighs in at 30 pounds. Here it is on my back:

IMG_1086

One final gear note – I decided not to take my Apple Watch on this trip. I’ve been underwhelmed with it in general, and really don’t want to have to recharge it every night when I have lots of other gear that also needs charging, with higher priority!

Instead I decided to take one of my classic watches, and went for this one with four time zones, since I always get confused with Australian and New Zealand times!  Clockwise from top left, the time in Denver, Auckland, Sydney and London.

IMG_1084

All packed now and ready to head out tomorrow – stay tuned for lots of pictures!

 

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