Another trip to japan if looming and again the gear issue comes up.
Last trip ended up being very clean. I took an EM5, which promptly became un-trust worthy, reducing me to one camera, the EM1 mk2. This also forced another change in shooting style, making me use a more versatile zoom (12-40).
Adjustments were made and advantages discovered, but it still left me un settled. I felt the bigger camera and lens combo was more obvious, which came at a time of style introspection.
The Japanese are capable of seeming obliviousness to touristy invasions, but the longer I spend there the more averse I am becoming too pushing.
The bigger camera and lens felt too tension filled. Too aggressive in a place lacking aggression.
All of my instincts are leaning towards the kit I have never had the guts to take;
4 EM5’s (use 2 and have 2 as back up, due to their age)
4 prime lenses used in sets of 2 (17/45 and 25/75), depending on working distance.
One EM5 would be “on the hip” with a long strap with a wider lens and the other in my left hand with a long lens or in the bag when things are less photogenic.
This lacks any zooms, any real reach, much width and relies on very solid, but not as reliable AF, but it adds a feeling of familiarity, some work method challenge and offers payback to the gear for the years of service it has given*.
The four lenses are so well proven, that their lack of range, replaced by more versatile extra speed, combined with my preference for primes over zooms, may be filling a creative void I have fallen into lately. A bit of “getting back to where it started” and forcing me to hone technique over convenience.
Many of my favourite images have been taken using the primes. This is not a coincidence. My “eye” changes when composing with a fixed focal length, I think for the better. It frees up a more reactive and reliable compositional eye. I think I compose with a higher and more open minded thinking. I make the most of what is on offer, but also, being limited, think out side the box more. Many of my favourite images have a quality forced on them by a tension of what is versus what could have been.
I found the bigger camera and lens less bag friendly than the smaller EM5’s. The excellent Turnstyle 10 held it and two zooms well enough, but filled it firmly. Two EM5’s and 4 primes would fit with less pressure, especially if one was on a long strap-at the ready.
I am even very tempted to take the Filson bag, which houses this kit ideally, but has not made a trip to Japan so far.
*When I shot Canon, no camera had the chance to wear out. Swapping constantly to better/bigger/newer avoided choices forced by old work horses reaching the end of their lives. Even my 5D mk2, which I had the longest was sold in worn in, not worn out condition (I did find out, that both my ageing 450D’s died recently, but they did a lot of work with their new owners).