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Should I bring my pro camera on vacation or just take my phone?

Updated: Nov 14, 2023


Skyline of Tokyo take with ISO 1/250 s f/22 14mm
ISO 1/250 s f/22 14mm

As I prepared for my trip to Japan a few weeks ago, the decision was a significant consideration for me: should I bring my professional camera on vacation or rely on the impressive capabilities of my iPhone?


I'm sure many other professional photographers are asking themselves the same question when embarking on an exciting journey.


Eventually, I decided to bring my camera but faced another dilemma, which lenses to pack? Traveling with photography equipment can be daunting. One must consider potential battery drain, having enough memory cards, and even bringing a memory card reader and laptop for on-the-go editing.

These concerns are exacerbated when you depend on your equipment for your business.

After some consideration, I opted for my trusty Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens, which I knew would be versatile enough for my needs. I knew I also wanted to capture street photography, so I included the RF70-200mm F2.8L portrait lens in my kit.

Jim in Tokyo taken on ISO 100 1/60 s f/4 35mm
ISO 100 1/60 s f/4 35mm

But as we all know, plans can change quickly.

Once I was in Japan, I found myself primarily using my 24-70mm lens. The cumbersome weight of carrying my Canon EOS R5 and multiple lenses became overwhelming when we were walking for miles every day. In addition, I soon realized that I needed a wider lens than my 24-70 to capture the vastness of the gorgeous cityscapes. While in Shibuya, I indulged myself and invested in a Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L lens, which proved to be such a treat to use!


Previously, I had loved my fixed EF14mm f/2.8L lens, but I had to sell it when I parted ways with my 5D Mark IV camera. The RF14-35mm f/2.8L turned out to be even more versatile than I anticipated, allowing me to capture stunning landscapes, and zoom in for portraits.

Jim in Tokyo taken on ISO 100 1/200 s f/11 14mm
ISO 100 1/200 s f/11 14mm

Essentially what this means is that nothing beats a professional camera and the joy of editing a RAW file. Also, sticking with only one versatile lens that you love to shoot with is always a great idea, especially when traveling for leisure. Bringing only one lens simplifies equipment maintenance, and is a nice challenge to test the lens's capabilities under any conditions.


Happy Traveling!

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