The Best Camera for Adventures?

It was 9PM and my wife and I were frantically packing our bags for our international flight scheduled for 12AM to Lisboa, Portugal.

I haphazardly threw my clothes and toiletries in the small roller luggage.

I took a deep breath and slowed my heart rate down to pack the most essential gear for any trip; my camera equipment.

The holy music of angels sang as I opened the glass display case to my beloved cameras.

I reached in and carefully tucked away my DSLR body, lovingly into my camera bag.

Next, was my 70-200mm f2.8 L lens.  I reached in again for the lens, when suddenly, the harmony of the angels was sharply interrupted by my wife’s partially frantic and partially annoyed voice.

“You’re not taking your big camera and big lens with you on this trip!”

I had promised her that I would pack light as she did not want me lugging around 20 plus pounds of camera equipment on this trip.  I myself, made up my mind to only bring one point and shoot and one film camera.  But in the heat of the moment, my resolve had broken and I had started to pack my DSLR equipment.  My insecurity had gotten the best of me.

Could I really travel to an unknown and new destination without my best gear; the gear that I always travel with streamside and mountainside?

A promise was made and I had to keep my word.

I placed the body and lenses back in their place within the glass case.

This time I packed (1) point and shoot, the Sony RX100 Mark IV (plus charger) and my film, TLR Rolleiflex 3.5.

I included 5 rolls of Kodak portra 160 and my light meter.

I slung the bag on my shoulders and they were immediately grateful for the loss of lbs.

This trip would be a test.  A test of not only my own skills but the capabilities of the point and shoot as well as the film camera in a ‘must perform’ situation.

The small but mighty point and shoot.

Wow! What a beautiful time we live in to be a casual or serious photographer.

The point and shoots were on the brink of extinction with the advent of the smart phones.

However, if you have ever shot with this camera, you would know they’re not going down without a fight.

The small form factor makes it a pleasure to carry and to also be stealthy.  DSLR’s many times warrant unwanted attention from thieves abroad as well as awkward faces from subjects that see the big lens pointed their way.

The p&s punches way above its weight class.  The dynamic range, colors and contrast is outstanding.  The Zeiss lens is sharp and the smaller but powerful sensor can handle low light situations beautifully.

Wait, but it’s close to $1000?

Yes.  Worth every penny, especially if you buy used as I do with all my camera equipment.

What separates this camera from the rest, is the quality of 1080 video.  In its small body, it can shoot 1080 with the best of the DSLR’s.  (It can even shoot 4k but comes with challenges)

Here is the true bonus.  High frame rate for slow motions videos! 120 frames per second in such a small and relatively budget friendly camera is unheard of.

The OG Rolleiflex 3.5 F.

The Rolleiflex is a Twin lens (TLR) medium format, film camera.  To be able to shoot in medium format without the high entry price of digital is the key here.

Sharp lens, amazing contrast, dynamic range and perspective only a medium format can deliver.

The camera is a classic and it looks the part.

These days, most people that see me using the camera don’t know what it is.

You will get a lot of queries and compliments anywhere in the world you use one.

One, young lady stood next to me and waited a few minutes while I waited for the perfect shot.  She peered over my shoulder until I finished; to ask if she can look into the waist level viewfinder.  Such innocence and joy brings a smile to my face.

The Rolleiflex is light and doesn’t need batteries.  It’s quiet and stealthy with its waist level viewfinder.

Finally, there is the satisfaction of cranking, turning, composing.  A process that ends in a concrete result as opposed to pushing a button that creates 0’s and 1’s.

The test results are in and I am happy to say that the cameras and I have passed with flying colors.  I am more confident in travelling with lighter gear for our upcoming adventures.  The RX100 IV also has a bonus of being able to find relatively cheap waterproof cases.  Whereas most DSLR waterproof housing is in the thousands, the Sony RX100IV is in the hundreds.

I can’t wait to test out some underwater footage for the upcoming trout season.

Bon dia from Lisboa!

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