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Traveling without my DSLR

Drbee

Naperville, US
5927 posts

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Drbee Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Aug 2004
Mon 03-Oct-11 02:24 AM | edited Mon 03-Oct-11 02:44 AM by Drbee

My wife and I just finished a somewhat rigorous two weeks in Italy on a Rick Steves hosted tour of Venice, Florence and Rome. Because of all the walking, standing and lugging of luggage involved, we decided to limit the camera gear to a Fujifilm X100 and a Lumix LX-3.

Both are quite capable cameras, but in the weeks preceding the trip I really concentrated on the X100. It turned out to be all the camera I hoped it would be. The sensor and lens make this camera special. We used the zoom capabilities of the LX-3 to add some interest to the portfolio. The fact that the X100 does not sport a zoom adds significantly to it's imaging capability and footprint convenience. That is if you put some premium on having a completely useful viewfinder.

I could spew a lot of hyperbole, but I thought that I'd let the camera talk for itself. My D700 would have delivered better images in many instances, but I would have had to bear up under it's load for a very intensive (for us) walking tour of Renaissance art in the heart of Italy. There are images in this gallery that were taken stealthy in venues where photography was not permitted and there are images here where even the D700 could not have done better (e.g. 1/7s f/2 ISO3200) - you can identify those because the combination of hand-hold only and too many cappuccinos have resulted in some motion blur. However these are our memorable travel photos and I think somewhat indicative of what others might expect under these circumstances.

The library of these images can be found at http://snappix.smugmug.com/Travel/2011-Venice-Florence-Rome

All the following images were hand-held and RAW. Processing was with LR3. The EXIF data in included. The first image one of the few that were not taken under photon-challenged situations.

Click on image to view larger version


The images even survive operator error pretty well. This one was mistakenly taken at ISO1600

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One of the clandestine images. Again a bit of operator error - I apparently bumped the aperture (e.g. f/5.6 in this very dim church) and the resultant shutter speed was 1/8 second. I typically shot at f/2 if conditions demanded it although there is a bit better lens performance at f/2.8 or smaller. I was being jostled by a large crowd here and that may have been part of the reason I twisted the dial wrong. I was also trying not to look at the camera in these situations just so I could grab an image to help us remember what we saw where. I used the camera strap around my neck to help stabilize the camera (aiming in the general direction of the subject) and found an old Leica soft release that helped squeeze off the shutter.

Click on image to view larger version


This is a portion of a tapestry hanging in the Vatican museum. The crowds were so dense here you were literally trapped in a sea of humanity. Stopping to take any kind of image was almost impossible. Of course flash photography was verboten here. Shutter speed was 1/17 second. The lens stabilization is excellent. You really don't know it's operating just that you can do this kind of stuff.

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Sadly this masterpiece is now behind glass. Getting a reasonable image is a challenge and the very fast shutter of a DSLR might help because you have to shoot between other folk's strobes. I set the camera here for manual focus to minimize any delays. Another versatile aspect of the camera.

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The X100 has a built in Pano mode. This is an example of a 120 degree image. Pano images revert to jpg, but in general the jpg engine is really all that's needed.

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A little bit of night magic at the forum. Guess I need to do some work in PS5 to take out the fence.

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We were there too, but they didn't notice. Fun.

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At the edge of the Spanish Steps in Rome. Rome at night is a wonderful training ground for learning to use this camera.

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I started over a year ago planning my photographic attack for this trip. Originally we planned to take a D700, 24-120mm f/4 and 17-35mm f/4 plus the LX3. After many test drives in US urban situations, we decided that the DSLR was just too much of an addition for a trip that required that we travel light and be able to carry all of our own luggage, manage everything in hotels without elevators and on public transportation. This alternative x100 and LX3 kit was nearly perfect. We missed a lot of opportunities, but I've very happy with the memories and this record.

Best Regards,
Roger

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