What’s In My Bag: Italy

By | 2016-12-18T17:00:45+00:00 November 14th, 2015|10 Comments

I am on the tail-end of a two week trip to Venice, Cinque Terre, and Florence, and wanted to share the gear I brought along with me (and actually used) on my trip. In past travels, I tended to work primarily with two zoom lenses: a 24-70mm and 70-200mm (or their crop-frame equivalents). For this trip, I used the Fuji X-T1 and opted to go with mostly prime lenses, but I did toss in the Fuji 18-55mm to give me some flexibility with landscape photos.

Here’s the breakdown of the gear I brought:

Bags:

  • MindShift Gear Backlight 26L: This is my “carry everything while traveling from point-A to point-B” bag. I also used it on a few landscape-only day trips out to a few of the coastal towns in Cinque Terre, and on a short trek to photograph the Duomo in Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo viewpoint.
  • ONA Bowery Bag: I used this as my everyday walkaround bag. I purchased it just a few weeks before our trip and have been using it as a purse as well. It’s the perfect size for a wallet, iPhone, one or two small lenses, and a few other small accessories (chapstick, batteries, etc.). There has not been a day on this trip that I have not taken this along with me in one form or another. It’s a great bag, but I had to start placing my wallet in it a little more inconspicously (stuffed in the middle of the bag). My wallet was stolen in Venice right out of my bag while at dinner with a group of friends early in my trip. They must have snuck up behind my chair and stuck their fingers inside and under the side flap to get to my wallet. Aside from a few hundred Euros and my credit cards (which I quickly canceled), the only thing of value I lost was my driver’s license.

Click the images below to view them larger and also to see their descriptions:

Cameras & Lenses:

  • Fuji X-Tl (x2): I chose the Fuji for this trip (instead of the Canon) because I wanted a smaller, lighter setup. In fact, I find myself gravitating to the Fuji more and more, even on landscape trips when I’m back home in Portland. I also love mirrorless cameras in general. The ability to see your depth of field, preview images in the viewfinder, and also shoot with different film modes and aspect ratios is a wonderful experience. I did the majority of my “street” work in the B&W mode, which embeds to the JPEG images (but the RAW files still retain their color). It helped me see and approach my photography much more different than I had in the past, which was the whole point of this trip.
  • Zeiss 12mm: For this trip, this lens is one that I could probably leave at home and not miss. If I were on a landscape trip, then I would definitely take it along. However I used it so infrequently that I don’t think I would have even felt the need for it. It’s a great lens, but for this trip the focal length had a very limited use.
  • Fuji 23mm: I was honestly surprised at how much I loved this lens. I don’t use this focal length very often, however once I started to use it I fell in love with it. Also, it is great for low-light conditions and I found it to be sharp even when the aperture wide-open.
  • Zeiss 32mm: This is a great walk-around lens, although I found that I didn’t use it much while in Venice (and only took a few photos with it overall). However it is so small and light that it’s easy to take along, and the few photos I did get with it I really like.
  • Fuji 56mm: I used this lens the most out of all of the lenses I brought. Maybe it’s a comfortable focal length for me, or maybe it’s because it’s the longest focal length I have out of all of the lenses I brought with me. Whatever the case, it’s a keeper.
  • Fuji 18-55mm: I really like this lens. I didn’t use it much on this trip, but I did use it for the majority of my landscape/tripod photos. It’s super small and compact, so it’s easy to take along on any of my trips.

Accessories:

  • Batteries (x4): I think I might have a battery or two hiding back home somewhere (I could have swore that I had more than four), so I was a little worried that four batteries would not be enough. However the battery life held up much better than I anticipated. I really only had to charge my batteries maybe every other day without running low.
  • Battery Grip: I wanted to be able to easily rotate my camera vertically, so I opted for the battery grip on the Venice portion of my trip. I’m so glad I did! It did not add any amount of uncomfortable weight to my setup and was a great addition.
  • Peak Design Straps: I love these straps. They are easy to remove, and are more comfortable than any strap I have ever used.
  • Lee Filter Holder and ND Filters: I knew I might have some opportunity for landscape photography so I brought along my ND filter setup. I used them a few times (photogrpahing the gondolas in Venice and also in Cinque Terre) so it was worth hauling them along.
  • Tripod: I have a small Gitzo travel tripod that I use for these trips where landscape photography is not my main focus. It’s tiny, and works well paired with my RRS Ballhead.
  • Cable Release: I use a small Canon cable release anytime my camera is on a tripod (it plugs into my Fuji and works beautifully).

If you would like to read a little bit more about my trip (particularly the Venice portion), please take a look at my blog post, Departure, from earlier this week.

Here is a small gallery of a handful of the photos from my trip (you can also see some of these over on Instagram). Click the images below to view them larger and also to see their descriptions.

About the Author:

My name is Nicole and I'm a photographer, author, & educator living in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. When I'm not making photos I'm writing books and tutorials for my online store, Learn more about me and my story here.

10 Comments

  1. Jon November 18, 2015 at 5:39 am - Reply

    Seems I’m going the other way. I recently swapped my X-T1 kit for a Nikon D750. I enjoyed my X-T1, but after a few years of mostly mirrorless only as my main camera, I came back to what ultimately made me most comfortable.

    • MikeInMI November 29, 2015 at 6:40 am - Reply

      I’m with you, Jon. I use my mirrorless periodically and like the light weight. But when the weight isn’t going to be too much of an issue, I really prefer my DSLR (Nikon D7000).

  2. Dawn Hester November 19, 2015 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    After so many years (30+) of working and/or carrying DSLR’s (Nikon for work, Canon for personal), I decided early spring to swap out for the Fujifilm X-T1. I really love and enjoy this camera – I shoot more than ever. Lucky for me my prints (30×20) are great. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Alastair Cochrane November 24, 2015 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    Love your Italy images – not what I usually expect to see from you! Is there a book here perhaps? Technical note: I changed from Canon to Fuji a year ago and have no regrets producing some of my best images ever.

  4. Rick Browne November 24, 2015 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    Right after I bought my X-T1, I traveled to London. I took the 18-55, the 55-200, and the 14. I didn’t use the 14 at all, used the 18-55 for most everything (even low-light indoors), and the 55-200 for a few things. In terms of sharpness and exposure the results were fantastic! These days I’d take the 18-135 and leave the 18-55 at home. All-in-all so much lighter than my Canon gear for travel. Although I use my Fuji for just about everything, I hang onto my Canon gear for sports and shooting with flash – not Fuji’s strengths.

  5. Robbin January 21, 2016 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Now I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have gotten the X-T1 instead of the GX8. I am changing from the D7000 as I simply wasn’t carrying it around because of the weight. :-/

    I’ve bought the food photography book and will keep coming here for M43 inspiration as the format change is making me nervous!

    • Nicole S. Young January 21, 2016 at 6:48 pm - Reply

      I’ve heard good things about the Panasonic series. I’ve never used one myself, but if you’re looking for lightweight then that’s a good place to go!

  6. fannymichele January 24, 2016 at 3:22 am - Reply

    I recently bought your book and been loving your blog since then.
    Your pictures are amazing and an inspiration for everyone.
    Thanks for sharing your passion.
    – Fanny

  7. SunDo September 19, 2016 at 7:26 am - Reply

    Awesome blog, photos and great tips! I love your Instagram post too. Visiting Italy is in my bucket list. I own XF 16mm, 23mm, 56mm, and 18-135mm. If you loved 23mm, you might want to give 16mm a try. I rarely use 23mm now because of 16mm. It’s a magical lens.

  8. Two Black Dogs January 5, 2017 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Stunning images. I especially like the long exposure of the gondolas and the view of Manarola in Cinque Terre. I lugged my Nikon D750 and 24-70mm lens around Italy in 2015, am seriously considering a move to mirrorless and something from the Fuji range but not sure whether to go the whole hog and make a complete swap.

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