My gear for a photo trip

EDIT July 2010:
This article is outdated, CLICK HERE to read the updated What’s in the bag?

I always travel light. There’s no point in travelling to the finest landscapes in the world only to be weighed down by so much gear I can’t be bothered to hike that extra kilometer or stay out that extra hour. I once managed to go to Australia checking in only 12 kilos of luggage (no laptop and a lot less photo gear though).

Leaving for Australia tomorrow I am presently packing my gear and I am getting fairly good at it, I know exactly what setup I need. This is what I’m bringing (well this and a t-shirt or two). Click to see large:

FBJ Photo Gear Australia 2008-800pix text

I have my trusty Canon EOS 5D as main camera of course and an old EOS 20D as backup camera (in case my 5D gets eaten by a Kimberley crocodile). I only take 3 lenses, Canon 17-40 f/4.0 L, 24-105mm f/4.0 L and 70-200mm f/4.0 L. All reasonably lightweight L lenses compared to the f/2.8 versions. My Gitzo carbon fibre tripod is only 1,2 kilos with ballhead.

I bring about 40 gigs of compact flash cards, and don’t erase CF cards until I have at least 3 copies. My trusty Asus V6V slim lightweight laptop still works great, I use an external WD drive for backup and I also burn copies of image files to blank DVDs – Murphy Law is universal! In the field where I can’t bring my laptop I backup to a Hyperdrive Colorspace. The Arctic Butterfly keeps my sensors clean and Ipod Touch and Sennheiser headphones keeps my ears grooving! My Moleskine notebooks keeps my brilliant (cough) observations – and everything fits in the build-as-tank and very comfortable Kata R103 laptop+camera backpack that fits as carry-on. Kata makes security gear for special forces and now also camera gear so of course I use their gear. It’ll serve as protection from the crocs I will be battling soon!

It is lightweight and I am happy travelling with this configuration; I know it works great day in and out for months. I will get the Canon 5D mkII when it’s out and a new laptop someday; but for now this is great a travel setup!

18 Comments on “My gear for a photo trip”

  1. About as light as I travel.You really don,t need more than what you are taking,you have all the lens needed for a trip such as this.Have a great trip and don,t forget the mozzie spray.

  2. Hi Tom, thanks. I'm out for a little over a month in Australia, 3½ weeks in Kimberley and Kakadu and then 5 days in Sydney!

    Birte, you're right, this + some Bushman mozzie repellant gets the job done!

  3. FlemmingBo – I'm a Canon DSLR man if I'm travelling by car but its a problem that the better lenses weigh more than the rest put together. My 'always keep with me' is a Canon IXUS '- metal case keeps it safe and wide angle lens means that I get shots in buildings. Enjoy your journey

  4. Thanks ! I wish Canon would do a small rangefinder style compact with the same sensor as the Canon consumer DSLRs. Perfect for backup and street photography. Now that would be a killer product!

  5. Thats a lot of gear, and heres a question i love to ask, why Canon and not Nikon? Personally im more the nikon fan, i know i know, typical, but i feel im getting better results.

  6. I always try and travel lite as well , looks like you have it down to a fine art now mate 🙂
    Have a great trip

  7. Nakedbones, I used Canon because I want a fullframe sensor for my landscape and Nikon only recently got into that game. The Canon 5D has ruled the world for quite a few years and I've owned it for about 2½ years and would never shoot with anything but fullframe.

    I hear fantastic things about the Nikon wideangle lenses though; but for now I have a sizeable investment in Canon gear so I'm on the upgrade path looking for the Canon 5D Mk II.

  8. Hey, you've got the same ballhead as me, and perhaps the same tripod, can't tell.

    I travel with an 80gb epson backup drive and leave the laptop at home. That makes things a bit lighter.

    Have a good trip.

  9. Flemming good luck on your trip, I hope you come back with some great images of the west and Kakadu, I am yet to get up there as I don't yet have a 4WD. I have just done my first overseas trip and looking back at what I took and what I needed, i took way too much gear and it stung me at the airport as I was 8 kilos over and with that info I will look at what I need next time and not take everything I have. Something I am sure you have done after each trip yourself.

  10. Thanks Casey! The trip was a few weeks back though and unfortunately I am already back in Copenhagen again 🙁
    All the new photos on my blog are from the trip so keep reading mate 😀

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