For most people, packing a camera for a vacation is effortless these days. All they need is their smartphone, which they probably have with them all the time anyway. For a photography and camera enthusiast like me, things are a lot more complicated. In fact, I spend considerable time thinking about which cameras and lenses to bring.
Traveling on planes and keeping a respectably compact setup requires paring things down. For the past several years, and on my 2018 trip to Hawaii, I used the compact Canon G7X Mark II as my snapshot camera. Small, quick, and inconspicuous, it was the perfect size for travel. Except, ultimately, the image quality didn’t live up to my expectations. I’ve come to regret not using a more capable device. My larger but more versatile camera was the Olympus with a few lenses. It was slightly larger but with a noticeable boost in quality.
For this year’s trip to Hawaii, I’ve changed it up. I was upping the quality game, even if it meant a little less convenience. Higher quality usually means larger sensors, which translates directly into larger camera bodies and lenses. How was I going to fit them in the same Tenba Messenger bag I’ve used for years?
I’ve decided to make the Fujifilm X-E3 my primary camera. It would replace my Canon G7X Mark II and the Olympus. Paired with the compact Fuji 15-45mm lens, it was small enough to carry all the time. I used it for family snapshots and for more serious photography. With a larger APS-C sensor, the image quality was superior to the compact Canon and Olympus. I did restrict myself to that one zoom and a small 35mm equivalent prime lens, however. That focal range would cover more than 80% of my needs, and I had to make do without telephoto capabilities.
For my most dedicated photography, I brought the chunky medium format Fujifilm GFX 50R with two lenses. The Fuji 50mm f3.5 and the Canon 35mm f2 IS with an adapter. The obvious but previously unconsidered breakthrough for me was to pack the camera body and lens separately. Thus saving a lot of space. The camera would not be in a readily shootable condition, but the X-E3 would be capable enough to handle most situations.
My two weeks in Hawaii were a photographic success, with a few exceptions, which I’ll talk about later. However — for the most part — it worked well. The X-E3 with the modest kit lens bested my previous cameras. Today’s photo shows the capability of this versatile camera. And though it may not be as compact and quick as the Canon G7X Mark II, its superior image quality made it worthwhile.
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