Big changes in my kit bag! Gone mirrorless.

Big changes in my kit bag! Gone mirrorless.

Time for change…

I’ve noticed on some of the hikes I do that my knees are hurting a lot more on the downhill sections than they used to. I know part of this is me not being a young lad anymore but I know the weight I’m carrying doesn’t help either. I carry my camping gear and camera gear so there’s quite a bit to be lugging about. I’ve already reduced the weight of my camping gear to as little as I possibly can, so now it was time to assess the camera gear. I knew there were potential weight savings to be had so it made sense to investigate.

I’d been hearing lots of good things about mirrorless cameras, they’ve moved on from the early models with lacklustre performance. Due to their design, they are a lot lighter than my Nikon set up. So I started looking into making the change from full frame DLSR over to a mirrorless system. Having no experience of mirrorless cameras though, I was worried I’d pick a dud and end up regretting it. So I spent a long time reading up on the masses of options available.

Selling my gear

Once I’d decided on making the change from full frame DSLR over to mirrorless, I knew I’d have to sell my Nikon D800E  and the lenses to fund buying the new camera. How much I sold all the Nikon gear for would dictate the budget for a new mirrorless system. I ended up selling two lenses on an eBay auction, for which I got a good price. Then the D800E and remaining two lenses were sold to a private buyer, also at a good price. I ended up with £1600 to fund the new mirrorless system. That helped narrow down the choices.

The new camera system – Fujifilm X-T3 with 16-80mm lens kit

After a lot of deliberation and scouring for best prices I decided on the Fujifilm X-T3 mirrorless camera with a 16-80mm lens. This was a deal on Amazon. I’d read loads of reviews about it, watched plenty of Youtube video reviews and the specifications looked great on paper. One of the key selling points though was the weight, which is almost half that of my D800E. That for me is great. I was concerned that I’d regret it due to poorer image quality compared to the D800E but that was soon put to bed when I saw the output of this camera.

At the moment I have only the one lens but I’m going to be increasing that in the near future with a fast prime and then a long tele lens. I have to say, shooting with the X-T3 is brilliant, the top dials make for a more immersive experience when taking photos. The build quality is superb, for both the lens and the body. I was blown away with the X-T3 and love it, both in terms of ergonomics and performance. It makes taking photos while on long hikes a pleasure again, something that’s been missing for a while now with my hiking and photography.

Fugifilm X-T3

Didn’t stop there though…

Now I had a smaller and lighter camera system, there were other changes that could be made to my kit that would help reduce the weight and bulk. One of these was the camera bag:

  • The Old Bag: Lowepro Tactic BP 450AW II
  • The New Bag: Manfrotto Offroad Hiker 25l

If I’m brutally honest, the Lowepro bag was uncomfortable to carry on hikes, the padding on the shoulder straps was weak to say the least, the waist belt was useless as it sat too high for me and I just hated this bag. I’d stuck with it though as I could get everything I needed in it. That includes 4 lenses, the D800E, batteries, filters and my waterproof trousers.

Making the change on the camera system though meant I could get away with a smaller bag, one which offered more comfort and support. I saw the Manfrotto bag and decided to go for it. I’ve worn it a few times now and the comfort levels are night and day compared to the Lowepro one.

There is plenty of space in the bag for my X-T3 with lens attached, my filters, the tripod, waterproofs and even some snacks and other bits and bobs. I could carry additional lenses in the top compartment too. So overall, an excellent swap out!

My new photography bag

Over to you...