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Minimalist Interchangable-Lens Camera Kit
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Richard May
(richardmay) - M

Locale: Swamplands.
Minimalist Interchangable-Lens Camera Kit on 07/01/2013 09:13:04 MDT Print View

We all select our gear to suit our style, that's a given. I'm curious to know what gear others take and the criteria for choosing it.

I've been a photographer for just over ten years, mostly shot weddings and, thanks to some upheavals in my life, am finding new directions and more frequent returns to nature. Landscape and nature photography is a new avenue for me.

As a photographer I've been through many phases and had serious G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). I own a large format camera, sold a Hasselblad with two lenses and worked with various SLRs. My cameras have gotten smaller over the years.

The UL axiom "The more you know, the less you need" holds true for photography. I think self-knowledge is an important part of the equation. For example, I'm not one to photograph wildlife at 50 yards. So, my odds of actually using that 400mm f2.8 bazooka are pretty minimal. I wouldn't purchase it. I do, however, enjoy landscapes and people in their environment so normal to wide lenses are my choice.

So, my criteria for a minimal kit is a wideish lens for 80% of what I photograph and a short tele for portraits, picking out parts of the landscape and when wildlife is readily photographed. This is my current 'minimal' kit:

- Fuji X-Pro 1 body 525g
- 18mm f2 (28mm FF equiv.) 140g
- 85mm f2 Nikkor with x-mount adapter (Manual focus from the early 80's, 127mm FF equiv.) 425g
- Spare battery 50g
- 32GB SD memory

Total Weight = 1140g / 40.2oz

Without the 85mm, which I'll often leave at home, the kit weighs 715g / 25.2oz

Fuji recently released a 55-200 that I'll look into but I'm partial to primes. The manual focus lens saves weight but as it's made for full-frame it's got more heavy glass... give and take. It's lighter and smaller than it's modern (and amazing) younger siblings plus the longer focus throw makes it easy to focus manually. I would be happy if Fuji released a lens in the 85mm range.

What are your thoughts on a minimalist kit? How did you select it's items?


Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Minimalist Interchangable-Lens Camera Kit on 07/01/2013 18:31:39 MDT Print View

I built a micro 4/3rds system (all lenses have a crop factor of 2)
Currently an
epm-1 9.5 oz
14 mm 1.9 oz
20 mm 3.5 oz
45 mm 4 oz

Plus the kit lens.

Most of the time I take the 45 and either the 14 or 20. For a kit weight of roughly 1lb. I would like a little more reach then the 90mm equivalent I currently have so that will add on about 8 oz.

My desire for a smaller camera was more out of everyday situations. I wanted something that didnt imediately screem tourist. Something that would fit in the glove compartment of a car. As for lens selection I wanted something to provide subject isolation so the 45 1.8 comes along. Then something more for normal use so eithe the 20 or 14 both of which are pancakes so the camera with lens attacthed it fits in my bacpack pocket

Edited by GregF on 07/01/2013 18:40:52 MDT.

Mark Regalia
(markr) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz
Sony Nex on 07/03/2013 13:06:46 MDT Print View

If you want the larger sensor of a dSLR the Sony Nex line is a good choice. They have a number of lighter weight lenses. I have a Nex 6, which is the closest to a dSLR like camera of the line. The electronic viewfinder is not an optical one, but isn't bad once you get use to it. It is the best one available. By contrast the Nikon One series evf is pretty bad.

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
kit on 07/03/2013 16:09:04 MDT Print View

Im no photographer but I carry my little Cannon T2i and a ziess 50 1.2... I want to add a ziess 18 or 28 to my kit but I will have to wait till I can get the extra scratch cause as I said im no photographer so spending the money for the good stuff sometimes has to wait. My other two zoom lenses were stolen so that 50 is all I have now hahah. oh well its my favorite lens any way.

Emily Lisborg
(emilylisborg) - F
fuji on 10/13/2013 19:56:42 MDT Print View

I carry the fuji x-pro as well, but only bring one lens. If possible I usually bounce box the charger. The batteries last me a few weeks if I use it every day. Total weight with battery and memory card and bag is about 31 oz. I'm still looking for ways to cut back but with a camera it's pretty tough. I chose it because of the size and metal parts for durability, and because the image quality is excellent and user features are as similar to a manual film as any at that price.

Edited by emilylisborg on 10/13/2013 19:58:11 MDT.

Michael Ray
Micro 4/3 on 10/18/2013 20:44:46 MDT Print View

About 3 yrs ago I quit doing weddings and events and sold my gripped Nikon d300, tokina 11-16 f/2.8 , Nikon 50 f/1.8, voigtlander 58 f/1.4, Nikon 70-200 f/2.8, flashes, etc.

I bought a Panasonic gf1 and 20mm f/1.7 and have never looked back with regret. I don't shoot as much these days, but when I do it's always just as fun as ever.

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
Another Micro 4/3 user on 10/18/2013 21:13:38 MDT Print View

For the past two years, when going backpacking, I normally carry a micro 4/3 (crop factor 2) Panasonic GX1 camera with the stock 14-42mm/f3.5 lens (18.65oz/529g total) and a Panasonic 14mm/f2.5 pancake lens(2.2oz/63g). I also sometimes carry a generic remote shutter button I bought for $9 (1.87oz/53g).

Edited by Miner on 10/18/2013 21:14:15 MDT.

Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V) - M

Locale: Orlando FL
bridge cameras on 10/23/2013 06:58:50 MDT Print View

I too own the canon APS-C cameras and heavy "white " zooms, owned a M 4/3rd Lumix G2, but after doing the weight math and reading tons of reviews I settled on a bridge camera since the image quality is not appreciably less than the M4/3rds cameras . Keep an open mind on this. The Panasonic Lumix FZ200 has a constant F2.8 lens with a wide to long tele zoom, weighs less than most M4/3 bodies alone. The Nikon P7800 is another newer model with a shallower zoom range but awesome image quality. The key here is good glass on both cameras.

Oh edit: My Lumix FZ200 arrives today !

Edited by Diablo-V on 10/23/2013 06:59:47 MDT.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Minimalist Interchangable-Lens Camera Kit on 10/23/2013 07:10:55 MDT Print View

I went down the route of simplicity when I sold off my Nikon D7000 and various lenses for a Fuji X100. I don't regret that decision one bit. The focal length isn't always ideal for certain shooting situations, but I adapt and get close or step back. It works for me.

With the recent surge in the mirrorless camera market, it has become that much easier to built a quality minimalist kit.
The latest Olympus EM-1 is one such camera that I think fits nicely into the realm of the UL camera kit.

Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V) - M

Locale: Orlando FL
Minimalist cameras on 10/26/2013 19:33:55 MDT Print View

I received my all in one Lumix FZ200 and after getting that sick feeling in my gut I promptly returned it. Here's why: The fantastic F2.8 zoom is totally mismatched by using a 1/2:3 sensor - basically an Iphone5 sized sensor. I did not do my homework on this.
While it is still a fine choice if image quality isn't "everything", it's not for that once -in-a-lifetime shot. I decided I need something that will match my Canon 50D or 60D in image resolution and dynamic range, and sharpness (RAW).
So my search is back on.
Minimum requirement in micro 4/3 sized sensor, preference for APS-C though.
The new Fuji X-E2 so far shows best image quality per ounce, does everything, APS-C, but most importantly -has some really outstanding lenses available.
The OMD-EM1 and the Lumix GH3 are good choices but heavier and you pay dearly for the weather sealed lenses to be able to take advantage of the weather sealed bodies of either.
If an eye level viewfinder is not a requirement then the upcoming Lumix GM-1 will be a winner. It is truly the "most" minimalist by size AND weight with the new kit lens, but has most of the features of the luxury GH3 at 1/3 the price.
And the cute little Canon SL1 is a possibility but the weight shoots way up if I want to use my favorite 17-55 Canon F2.8 lens.
Open to ideas here.

Edited by Diablo-V on 10/27/2013 11:17:44 MDT.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Minimalist Interchangable-Lens Camera Kit on 10/31/2013 08:28:10 MDT Print View

I'm still very happy with my Ricoh GXR kit. No worries about dust getting in when I change lenses, and a backlit C-MOS 10x zoom which weighs less than my APSC 28mm prime. I also acquired the APSC 16MP 24-85 unit which makes stunning photos, but is too bulky for backpacking.

I did miss my old Ricoh GX200 though, so I picked one up off the bay for a low price. A nice little camera, which takes great macro photos. Keep it at ISO 64 and use a mini tripod for great twilight results. That's the one I take for ultralight trips.

Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V) - M

Locale: Orlando FL
Ricoh GR on 11/07/2013 00:34:31 MST Print View

I removed the Fuji X-EM2 and lenses from my Amazon wish list and am thinking of pulling the trigger on a Ricoh GR instead.
Much less money and weight.
I would need to use the lens and filter adapter and wide angle lens accessory.
Since I expect 95 percent of my use would be for landscapes, I would be giving up any zoom or telephoto capability.
This meets my definition of minimalist.
Got my Sirui T025X already yesterday - nice tripod.

Matthew Reese
(Bradktn) - M
ILC on 11/12/2013 05:32:43 MST Print View

I've been saving towards replacing my Canon S95 for a while, and have been looking at several of the options listed above, including the Panasonic LF1, (Nice zoom and rudimentary EVF), Ricoh GR and GRX, (Is the GRX system still available?), the Canon Sl1, the Nikon AW1, (Waterproof, shockproof, etc.), and my current leader, the Lumix GM1, (I already have some M4/3 gear). One of the primary reasons I feel ILC's make more sense than compacts is the ability to physically get to and clean the sensor. My S95 has several noticeable dust spots, and most everyone I talk to who uses a compact camera regularly outdoors ends up with dust on the sensor. Even keeping in a bag, etc., it is almost inevitable, due to the environments we shoot it.

Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V) - M

Locale: Orlando FL
ICL cameras on 11/12/2013 09:28:02 MST Print View

The Ricoh GXR is still available through Amazon although shipped from Japan.
The Lumix GM1 is a great choice if you don't need a viewfinder.
You will want to buy something better than "kit" lenses though
The Fuji X-E2 is my top choice but the cost is high if you want a good lens.
The image quality of the Fuji is astounding when paired with their top-tier lenses.
The Nikon AW1 is a major disappointment based on serious reviews, but you at least have no worries about dust/moisture.
The current top trending ILCs with M4/3 sensors are :
Olympus OMD-EM1
Pan Lumix GH3
Fuji X-E2 (or Xpro-1) (Edited- these are APS-C but as small as M4/3 cameras)

Edited by Diablo-V on 11/13/2013 10:37:32 MST.