Like most photographers, I would love to have all the lenses and latest cameras but I try to keep my photography gear to a minimum, especially when travelling. Depending on various factors like my destination, the weather, the types of activities, the type of travel and my general mood, I’ll either bring my Fujifilm X100V or the Nikon Z5 with a lens or two. I never carry both systems at the same time.
I have been a long time admirer of the Fujifilm X100 series. Each of its iterations has been the object of my desire. I held off buying one for a single reason: lack of weather sealing. For some, this might be the last criteria when it comes to the purchase of a camera. For me however, it is a critical one. Needless to say, when the X100V was announced, I was ecstatic to learn that Fujifilm had finally decided to incorporate dust and moisture sealing to it (when used in combination of a filter). The X100V is the perfect companion for times when you cannot or don’t want to lug around big cumbersome photography gear but you still want something better than your phone. The V was released in February 2020. A month later I had mine in hand.
The Nikon Z5 is considered to be an entry level full-frame Camera but it checks all the boxes for my needs. I get all that 35mm goodness in a relatively small and solidly built body. Weather sealing is obviously present as well as in-body image stabilization (aka IBIS). For those who care, it also has two memory card slots. Having shot with Nikons for quite a few years, I’m familiar with their system and their image output so it only seemed natural to stay with the brand when transitioning over to mirrorless.
Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2
The small, compact and very light 40mm f/2 is a perfect travel prime lens. It can fit easily in a jacket pocket or a small sling bag. This lens is mostly used as a companion for the 24-200mm (see below). It will come out at night or in situations where the super zoom does not have enough light to operate. Its form factor keeps the kit light as opposed to carrying the 24-200mm and the 50mm f/1.8. The lens is all-plastic and lacks any type of weather sealing but this is to be expected at this price point. The images produced by this little marvel are simply wonderful.
Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S
Ah, the good ol’ nifty fifty. I love the 50mm primes. This is the field of view that is the most comfortable to me. I’ve always had a 50mm equivalent on my Nikon DSLRs as well as Olympus Micro 4/3. It only felt natural to get this one for the Z system. The Z 50mm f/1.8S is an absolute gem of a lens. The images produced from it never disappoint. Weather sealing is present. I do wish it was less chunkier though. Its price is also a bit on the expensive side for a standard 50mm prime. Nevertheless, I would recommend the Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S without hesitation.
Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S
The 85mm f/1.8 S is not so much a compact travel friendly lens. I find it to be rather elongated (even more exaggerated when using the lens hood) and heavy. Visually speaking, it’s not a looker of a lens either. However, what this lens does best is to produce beautiful images and it does this exceptionally well. Most people associate this focal lenght with portrait photography but it can definitely be used in other settings as well. Think landscape and even street photography. It pairs well with the 40mm f/2 lens.
Nikon Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR
The 24-200 covers the vast majority of focal lengths I need without having to swap lenses. It’s weather sealed and fairly light (for a full frame system). Is it good for low light photography? Absolutely not. That’s why the 50mm f/1.8 and 40mm f/1 are there. I’m not a professional photographer so it would make absolutely no sense in spending thousands of dollars to cover all this focal range with f/2.8 glass. Also, I really dislike carrying heavy equipment bags all day.