Camera Gear

This is a once in a lifetime trip for me. I want to capture as much of this as possible, at least so that I can watch it later, 10-20 years ...

This is a once in a lifetime trip for me. I want to capture as much of this as possible, at least so that I can watch it later, 10-20 years afterwards. I am a half decent photographer, and I take great pride in blaming the camera for the inadequacies of me as a photographer. This list is the camera gear that I will be taking with me. I have been using this gear for a while now, and familiarity is part of the reason why I am continuing with them. Also, I think they are the best tools for this job, in 2015. This is a pretty big list, and yes, it takes a huge amount of space on my already cramped bike.

Main Camera

The goal  of a main camera is to pack the nicest one you can afford and take with you. For some, this is a point and shoot, either a compact or a bridge style camera. These days, even cell phones take very decent photos. I had a Nikon D7000 earlier, which I bought mainly for the weather resistance and the large number of hardware buttons and dials. It is a lovely camera, but it was bulky and huge. It didn't help that my walkaround lens was a 18-105 kit lens which was stupidly large. The whole combo was pushing the 1.2kg mark (3 pounds or so), and would take up almost all the space in my tankbag. It was weather sealed and rugged, but I found myself not taking it out at all for road trips. A year into my camera purchase, I looked at the exif data for all the shots I had taken - 1500 in total, and 180 keepers. This is the lowest I have had for any camera - my cell phone finds more action than this. I decided this camera had to go. One month of listing and renewing craigslist ads, that happened. I took a $500 loss on it, but it had to be done.

For my next camera, the goal was to have something that was not the D7000. An APS-C sensor, since I liked the shallow DoF it can give, but something lighter, compact and more versatile. This meant mirror-less, so my options were micro four-thirds, Sony E-Mount, and the Fujis. Fujis were immediately out. I fell in love with the looks, the dials and the menu system of the Fuji. The people who make it love making cameras and it shows. The lens are top notch, and every time I handle one in a store, I want to get one for the pure joy of it. There is only one thing putting me away from the system and that's the cost. I wish they came out with inexpensive lens in their lineup, while preserving that magic. Oh, and the autofocus system is very slow on the Fujis. And videos suck too.

Ignoring niches like Samsung NX, my choice was basically E-Mount vs M4/3. M4/3 has a stupidly large lens selection. Seriously, Olympus and Panasonic have complete lineups of their own, and combined, there is a lens for every occasion and mood. There are some cheap lens too, but when you compare their equivalent aperture (for DoF) in APS-C terms, Sony's lens cost roughly the same. The bodies aren't cheaper either. Sony's bargain price on a6000 killed the value of the M4/3 bodies. Some of the higher end ones have niceties like a Magnesium construction, and weather sealing. But I can get two a6000s for the price of one Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. At that big of a difference, I'd rather eschew the weather sealing, and replace the a6k body when it dies with another a6k. The Olympus may have in body stabilization, but all the sony lens I am interested in have them, which levels that playing field.

By now, you know which camera I ended up with. It's a Sony a6000. It's small. It's lovely. It had wifi, can post to facebook, do tons of post processing that it makes the Nikon I had look like a dinosaur. The D7000 has the edge when it comes to usability, low light autofocus, and still autofocus in general. But the Sony wins by a country mile in everything else. Even with the faster Sony 18-105 G lens, the camera kit is diminutive when compared to the D7000 with it's kit 18-105.
 I have had it for a while now, and the menus and strange settings take a bit of getting used to, but I love this camera. I can't say that about the D7000.

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