On this trip to Thailand, I thought it would be a good idea to keep the gear I brought with me to an absolute minimum. While this has been for the most part a brilliant idea since I only brought my Nikon D610, Tamron 24-70 ƒ/2.8 and a circular polarizer for the Tamron, I kind of wish I’d given my choice of gear more thought.
The Tamron 24-70 is an awesome and extremely versatile lens. I would even go so far as to say that this is the only 24-70 you need to actually consider (unless you need lightning fast AF – this is fast but Nikon’s and Canon’s offerings are faster). The image stabilizing system is nothing short of brilliant, the quality of the lens itself is fantastic and it’s relatively compact. The only problem that I have with this lens, and this is true of most all fast zoom lenses, is the weight. There are definitely times where I would much rather prefer having a simple prime like my 35mm ƒ/2.0 or my 50mm ƒ/1.8 for when I just want to walk around with the camera and I know I won’t need to shoot too wide or too tight.
The extra stop of light that a lightweight prime can offer is also a nice thing to have. While the image stabilization that the Tamron has certainly helps, sometimes you want that shallower depth of field or want a faster shutter speed (and you’ve already maxed out ISO).
If I had brought an additional lens with me, I probably would have packed the 35mm into my bag. The lens isn’t as tack sharp, in my opinion, as the 50mm but it’s still a great lens and one that I often have mounted on my camera.
I also brought my Rollei 35T and while traveling with film this time hasn’t been too much of an issue, I wish I’d brought something with a more reliable meter. I fear that I greatly overexposed half the roll while shooting in Bangkok by relying on the meter but we’ll see (I didn’t think to test it against my D610’s meter – it was hot and my brain was a bit fried). If I had brought my Nikon FE, I also would have had an excuse to bring a prime with me to mount on both cameras (or bringing the prime would have been an excuse for the FE) and the FE is not a large or heavy camera at all. The nice thing about the Rollei is its size – it is simply so small that if you master the hyperfocal scale on the lens, you can get images so much faster than any other camera. But then the hyperfocal scale can also make things a bit more difficult if you’re shooting at a wider aperture and don’t have quite so much flexibility with your depth of field.
I actually spent a lot of time thinking about what to bring with me to Thailand. I hemmed and hawed back and forth between my options constantly in the days (and hours!) before leaving for the airport. While I am not unhappy with what I brought, I think I could have made my life a bit easier by bringing just one or two more additional pieces to give me more flexibility (and in the analog case peace of mind) in my own shooting.
Have I missed any shots because of the gear that I didn’t bring with me, though? Not at all. You have to work within the confines of what is available and I still have a number of great images to show for the trip that I’ll be printing and framing.