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Thread: What camera(s) to bring to Japan?

  1. #1

    Default What camera(s) to bring to Japan?

    Hi everyone, I'm doing some mockup packing for an upcoming trip to Japan. It's a 3 week sightseeing + photography trip (will post itinerary up for discussion later), and this being my first time in the land of the rising sun, I'm hoping to cover most if not all the bases for the trip in terms of gear.

    As much as I'd love the convenience of a compact DSLR and an all-purpose superzoom, I realize I love film too much not to bring a few film cameras down. After some rationalizing, I've cut down to these gears for your consideration. I intend to shoot landscapes, still life and candid portraits of strangers in available light:

    Nikon D90
    Nikon FM2n
    35mm F2.0D
    50mm F1.4D
    85mm F1.8D
    Fuji Natura Black (24mm F1.9 film compact)
    Hasselblad 500c/m with 80mm 2.8 + sekonic lightmeter

    All these packed into a Kata haversack.

    1) Any gear redundancy? (Esp the primes)

    2) I'm tempted to bring just the D90 with 18-200 +50mm and the Natura Black, would that suffice?

    3) Has anyone brought a MF camera on an extended trip before and found it overly unwieldy? The Hassy is the camera I really want to bring to Japan, but its also the most inconvenient.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2

    Default Re: What camera(s) to bring to Japan?


  3. #3

    Default Re: What camera(s) to bring to Japan?

    I've brought an RB to Vietnam before. Think Laos and India as well. ETRSi for NY because it's a lot lighter. Headed somewhere else in Oct, and it'll be all MF.
    If I were you, I'd bring something 'large' and 'small'. Small would cover the times when taking out the Hassy is just too much of a cow.

  4. #4
    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: What camera(s) to bring to Japan?

    i would leave the FM2n at home..... its a classic workhorse but also a heavy clunker

    i would also leave the ultra zoom at home too.... i just hate their weakness at resolving images well

    I would keep it light and make some hard decisions..... go there shoot and enjoy yourself and not worry about gear .... and also not suffer the weight

    The D90 and the 35 n 85 primes primes would suffice and give you enough fun 'stress' deciding what to use apart from you MF

    Otherwise I'd buy a 10-22 and bring that along with only a 50mm

    just my personal view
    Last edited by ed9119; 16th September 2009 at 07:08 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: What camera(s) to bring to Japan?

    RB to so many places? Rangefinder-fan must have strong shoulders~ Is it usually just one MF body or do you bring something "small" as well like a Leica?

    Ed9119: I did very hard about the wide angle option as there will be lots of scenes where I imagine a UWA will work much better (temples, mountain ranges and lakes). But I'm also afraid that a Nikon 10-24 and a 50mm may not have enough reach in street candids, esp when I do see myself chasing geishas in Gion in the evenings. But if I bring the 85mm, it might be too long for the shoots in between.

    Anyone had experience with photographing geishas in Gion in low light? I heard the sun sets at around 4pm in November-December?

  6. #6

    Default Re: What camera(s) to bring to Japan?

    Haha. You get used to the weight.
    The 'small' camera either Oly OM, or Rollei 35, or Bessa L. Something 'quick' to use. Of course, being manual film cameras, quick is relative..
    I normally pick a focal length and keep it mounted for the whole trip. Too much of a bother to change lenses.

  7. #7
    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: What camera(s) to bring to Japan?

    have more confidence in yourself ...... and improvise......

    having said that, I also have to admit that years ago, when I went on my first o'seas photo shooting trip....... I would literally bring the ENTIRE inventory of lenses and bodies along

    It was heavy, it was tough......... but it was FUN fiddling around with lenses and bodies all day long in a foreign land. Can experiment here and there with so many combos and ideas all day and night in different shooting conditions. Did I say it was Fun ?

    That fun will eventually and gradually give way to pragmatism and together with more travel experience ...... the amount of camera stuff one brings along overseas naturally shrinks and stabilizes normally at a single body with 1 or 2 zooms or even 1 charger, 1 body 1 prime and zero camera bag even .... depending on each person

    So, really, bring along as much as you can possibly carry and enjoy yourself..... the urge to bring along the kitchen sink needs to be satisfied before pragmatism can prevail for future trips .... no short cuts he he he

    p/s at most lock equiptment up in the room safe that you will not likely use on particular days given your itinerary. And its very understandable getting that 'bang balls' feeling when you left something in Singapore you'd dearly want to try out or experiment with overseas.

    enjoy yourself !!

  8. #8
    Member iMac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: What camera(s) to bring to Japan?

    i'm no nikon user but i did what ed9119 said. brought my entire gears to Japan. lasted 3 days and the rest stays in the hotel room till papa is home. and yes there were moment i wish i din left them home. like in Meiji shrine when there was so many wedding procession and i left my 70200 in the hotel(thank God for 135 prime which was with me). now i am going to travel again..i still bring every damn thing...just selectively pick the one i want to go out and shoot.

    and talk abt Medium format. i was at Otaru and saw an old guy abt 50 plus years old...shooting and walking ard with his Mamiya..

    Most impt have FUN!!!!

  9. #9

    Default Re: What camera(s) to bring to Japan?

    Sorry, but I really dont understand the tendency to bring a variety of focal lengths etc on a trip, and then not have them handy when you want to use them.
    I used to bring about 2 lenses with each camera too, then it just got so leh chey to change lenses that I gave up and started carrying different cameras with different focal lengths/films instead. Plus, staying in crappy hotels meant that I was always worried about kit being stolen etc.
    So now its down to my 'big' and 'small' cameras; a MF rig for shots where I have time to set up etc, and a 135 for shots that may get away by the time I pull the mf out of the bag.
    But yeah, thats just how I do it, YMMV.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What camera(s) to bring to Japan?

    for me,

    the trip I made to japan 2 weeks back I brought, D700 with 14-24mm and D5000 with either 50mm or 105mm. I hated the D5000 as its focus is very unreliable with the 50mm afs f1.4. I sold off the D5000.

    But for most of my trips it is always two bodies with a UWA zoom and teleprime so I don't change lens often.

  11. #11

    Default Re: What camera(s) to bring to Japan?

    Thanks all for the replies!

    Decided that ed9119 was really on the spot with the superzoom's weaknesses and took the plunge for a Tokina 11-16mm recently. Really excited about the prospect of shooting with this setup:

    Tokina 11-16mm F2.8
    Nikon 35mm F2
    Nikon 85mm F1.8
    Hassy + 80mm F2.8 + 2 backs + lightmeter
    Natura Black

    Was thinking of swapping the Natura for a Hexar, but decided to keep the compact option more.. erm... compact.

    I think the range is covered? Man, this BBB virus is really bad.

  12. #12

    Default Re: What camera(s) to bring to Japan?

    it would be appropriate to bring a JAPANESE camera to JAPAN...


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