Leaving the gear at home

Took my first long (2 week) summer holiday in quite a few years earlier this year and did my packing in the usual way.  Tickets, passport, documents, money etc a few days in advance (and slightly compulsively regularly checked thereafter), then lots of major angst about what camera gear to bring before doing all the boring clothing stuff at the last minute.  I don’t think I’m the only person who thinks they’ve got a plan about what to take (and possibly even buys some new stuff for the trip along the way), changes their mind a few times about what can’t be left at home, lays it all out and has a shock about quite how much they thought was “essential”, and….. in my case put it all away apart from a compact (Fuji X30), spare battery (hardly needed as Fuji finally saw sense and packed a battery with decent life with this latest version of the camera) and charger.

Didn’t regret it for a moment.

The trip (a cruise around the Baltic since you ask, which I thought was quite brave given that only a few days previously I’d adamantly said there’s no way you’d get me on one of those hideous boats full of too many people you can’t escape from) was about enjoying the moment, being with Elena and taking in the sights.  I’m rather glad I didn’t turn into one of those people who spend so much time taking photographs of everything that they forgot to simply stop and look.

I got some photographs I’m happy with – the one at the top of this article being one (farmer’s market in St Petersburg), the one below being another:


And the photo above was much easier to take with a small camera (and articulated screen) than it ever would have been with a dSLR too.

Sure the camera has its restrictions (not so much control over depth of field, things get noisy in shadow areas when you head up the ISO scale, and let’s not talk about the panorama function which I will never bother to use again because of all the stitching errors) but there are some workarounds (including some of the various “modes” such as “pro low light” which on this occasion I tried indoors in museums).  The other thing I did is something I’ve not done in years;  I used the camera in JPEG only (I wanted to give the Fuji film simulations a try).


So lesson learned; good compact cameras nowadays are good enough for many purposes unless you really are going to obsess at pixel-level or make large prints.  The Fuji is so good that I’ve rethought my gear.  All the micro Four Thirds stuff has been sold because the X30 is good enough to replace it for most social and informal occasions, and I’ve kept a foot in the dSLR camp with a camera with a much larger sensor (full frame) and a few nice prime lenses for when the need arises. A few more photographs from the summer below for people who want to try and work out where I went:



By Jon Schick

Hertfordshire-based, I work for the National Health Service but try and fit in some photography on a regular basis. Not so much during the recent lockdown era, but here's hoping things can only get better in 2021....

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