I recently posted that I would be departing soon for a trip with two destinations: Paris and Kwazulu-Natal (South Africa). In that post, I described the very different photographic requirements that each of these diverse locations might require. I pondered the question: which camera to bring?
Well, I’m headed out tomorrow and so wanted to let you know my decision. Before doing so, however, I thought I would describe a recent dialogue with Ed. In it, I mentioned that I was still contemplating the pros and cons of the various options and he smartly replied: “don’t over-think it”. I promptly responded: “have you met me?”
So, without further delay, here’s the result of a great deal of over-thinking it…
First, here are the primary motivators (in descending order) as I ruminated all this:
- I’m unlikely to get back to Africa and maybe France. Both are rich in visual possibilities and I’d like to capitalize. So, image quality is tantamount.
- This one surprised me: although I cited the benefits of traveling light and keeping to one system in my earlier post, I ended up favoring having two distinct cameras. The reasons? Redundancy is good. If a camera goes down for any reason, I don’t want to be left in a once-in-a-lifetime situation without any image-making device other than my Blackberry… which isn’t much of an image-making device. Also, all the experts say that in the dusty environs of the safari-lands, changing lenses is a bad idea. Finally, the experts also say that you’ll want a long lens for the prancing cheetah cubs far, far off in the distance and a moderately wide one for the time the rhino makes an unexpected appearance right by your range rover.
- OK, so with #2 on the list, I still wanted to travel lean if possible. At least one of the cameras had to be an ultra-light.
Survey says: the Fujifilm X100s and a Nikon D7100.
Why did I decide against the Fujifilm X-E1? It’s a landscape photographer’s dream machine and image quality excels. But AF, even with the latest and highly touted firmware update, still isn’t up to snuff. Also, there are no long lens possibilities for the X mount and so I’m going to have to bring something else for that anyways.
Why did I go against m4/3? Image quality just isn’t there with APS-C or full frame. Some won’t like hearing that but it’s what I’ve seen while looking at and working with the files in Aperture and Lightroom.
Why not Sony NEX? The interface just doesn’t cut it for me. All around, it’s a practical and capable system and it’s only getting better. If they were to put the Alpha series menus on there and tweak the button layout…
Why not full frame Nikon? Wildlife is one of those situations where the 1.5x factor helps. I’m renting a Nikon 70-300VR which will extend to 450mm equivalent natively and up to 600mm with the built-in crop factor capability. Plus, I’ve shot with the D7100 and like the fact that its AF points extend across the frame (in a way that the D600’s doesn’t).
So, there it is. I’ll be walking passing through Paris with the X100s and shooting wildlife with the D7100 (but the X100s will be at the ready for closer photo ops).
I don’t know if I’ll have much internet access (or time) to post while I’m away. Also, I’ll have only my iPad with me, so I won’t be able to handle proper post-processing… but I’ll try to post a few trip reports. If I can’t, I’ll be sure to let you know how it all worked out when I return. Talk to you soon…