What Lens To Bring

18mm – City lights, Bangkok. Taken from the heights of Lebua Towers.

A photographer has to go through a rigorous task of deciding what equipment to bring when traveling. Should I bring two camera bodies? What lenses should I bring? Do I need a flash? My tripod is quite heavy, can I survive the trip without it?

18mm – Floating Market, Thailand

I’ve travelled a lot and still I always end up undecided on what to bring. I’m a beauty and fashion photographer and I’d like to take photos within my genre as much as I can, but being a photographer, I also don’t want to miss out on capturing beautiful sceneries. The dilemma is that the two photographic genres require different sets of equipment.

The answer is simple: don’t cover everything unless you’re there for work. If you’re commissioned to take travel photos, then there is no excuse not to bring all the necessary equipment. When you’re on a holiday, I don’t see fun in breaking your back with all that gear.

I see a lot of photography hobbyists shifting from DSLR to the compact ones. I think that it’s a clever move especially that the quality of these smaller cameras are so much better than before. You can strap this camera to your body and the size and weight will not bother you and still get professional quality photos.

In the middle of this year, I had the chance to go to Australia. I had two objectives in my visit: one was to conduct a photography workshop, and the other was to see the beautiful sceneries. I already arranged a studio with all the lights I needed, and although it’s a little over what I expected to pay, it was still worth traveling light.

As we spent a lot of time walking the streets of Australia and experience the grand sceneries, I had with me a Fujifilm X-E1 with 18mm lens. The size and weight was never an issue. Although I could have had more options if I had another lens, maybe between 50mm to 200mm, but nevertheless, I tried to work on what I had and I’m happy with my shots.

Last week I was in Bangkok, and this time I tried to bring more equipment just to see what works when traveling. I had two camera bodies with three lenses: 50mm, 18-200mm and 70-300mm.

On the first day, I had all the equipment in my bag. In the days that followed, I decided to work with my 18-200 almost exclusively.

It was still heavy and the better quality you get over the compact cameras is not worth the hassle of handling a regular size DSLR. But like what I’ve said, if this is works, I wouldn’t trade my DSLR with the compact ones. I also had fun with my favorite 50mm lens on the streets.

I’m not sure if there’s a rule on what to bring when traveling. I think it all boils
down to your shooting style. Next time, I’m thinking of working with 35mm and try to compare it with my previous experiences. Keep on shooting, everyone!

Keep on shooting, everyone! www.albertpedrosa.com

Text and photos by Albert Pedrosa 

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