Hi looking for some travel camera advice!
Im about to set off on the 2nd Nov on a 2 month trip of South america, then 3 months in California. Cali isn't really a concern as I am renting an RV to travel with.
The itinerary is vast, but it is pretty much all backpacking with hostels busses and a few flights but basically I need to carry everything I need with me. I have two bags, both camera bags one day pack which is the Lowepro Photo Hatchback 22L AW which I will use as a carry on and the Lowepro Rover Pro 45L AW for all the rest of my gear. I intend to use the second bag to hike with too as it is a proper outdoor bag with good support. Both have pull out camera compartments.
The trip includes a fair amount of hiking including the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu but after this trip before I fly on to LA I have a 6 day amazon trip so need to ensure I have a lens selection I can get close to wildlife but also wide enough for landscape. I also want to take my 11" Macbook air not only for keeping in contact with my friends and family but to offload images and do a little sorting in the down time. Both bags accommodate the MBA, I also have a twelve south plug bug which adds a full powered 5A USB port for quicker charging, these two together weigh 1.1kg. I also have a usb 3 card reader a 14,000mah external battery for charging on the road and a 2tb external USB 3 for data redundancy I was thinking of adding 2x 128gb USB3 memory sticks for more redundancy.
For redundancy I will keep each in a (laptop/HDD/cards) separate bag incase the worst should happen.
I currently shoot with the 5DMKIII and a range of accessories in my sig. I was going to take this with the 24-105mm, 50mm 1.8 (for low light cheap light not too bothered about it) and the 70-300mm L, 2x32gb 2x16gb CF cards and I am doubling up on the same in SD cards for dual writing, but also for redundancy I will swap out the SD cards for new ones so I always have the originals. This set up is around 3kg.
I also have the Nex5n which is a great camera took it skiing and it performed brilliantly, it has better IQ imo than any of the current APC canon cameras except the 70D possibly but weighs 350g with kit lens. Otherwise I would be looking at the 100D or 700D because I have the 17-55mm F2.8. Really think the 18mp sensor is poor, had it in my 7D and was very disappointed with it.
So basically I'm worried about weight and being very obvious with the gear, as it is massive and is professional grade especially with the white 70-300mm screams steal me. It is also my first trip in to the continent and not sure how gear is seen, europe and america I'm not worried about. I was going to take the 70-300mm DO as it is black but after testing it against the L there is no contest and its not that much smaller and lighter the IQ is worth it.
I was looking at swapping out the MBA for an iPad mini retina. But to get images on and off you need to jail break to get iFile through cydia to use with an external HDD and the lightning cable is USB2 and only one way, so would take twice as long to offload and then backup. Although it is again 1/3 the weight, its capabilities are very limited in terms of editing and sorting. The other idea was to use a windows tablet but again the macbook air is so useful and I already have one.
So my conclusion to the best way to reduce weight is with a different camera choice. I like the sony cameras I have been looking at the A7 and A7R but prefer the A7 because its cheaper, smaller file sizes and has Phase detect AF. I also like the fact you can charge it via USB means less chargers it also shares batteries with my Nex5N and I have the 14,000MAH battery external battery I can use to charge and the plug bug.
It is also a 1/3 the weight of the 5DMKIII. Problems… Lens choice, the Zeiss 24-70 F4 is ok and its IQ is apparently equal to or slightly better than the 24-105, its not the best lens from what I have read and you loose on the long end which is a shame but it is pretty expensive for an F4. Then there is the kit lens 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 looks not far off in IQ but the variable aperture is annoying. There is a 50mm 1.8 but because of price will most probably give it a miss, but there is no lens past 200mm and the 70-200mm G lens is supposed to be ok too but not stellar like the 70-300mm L and weighs 800g which is 250g less than the 70-300mm L and obviously you loose the 100mm, 300 is really the minimum I want to take. Also it only has one card slot, so in camera redundancy isn't possible.
So this got me onto the A6000 the IQ is very good very impressive for an APC sized sensor and edges everything on the market atm. It is lighter than the A7 and R, has 97% AF coverage shoots 12FPS and with the crop of 1.5 makes the 70-200mm F4 a 105-300mm equivalent. The 16-70mm F4 gives equivalent of 24-105mm It also has a rotating screen it would be nice to do a bit of vlogging on my trip too and its video AF is very good too.
Problems, I am spoiled with my 5DMKIII it is the perfect camera imo but for commercial photography not for a trip like this. I love the viewfinder its AF system and the lens selection I already have. I am used to the sony APC sensors and I think they are good enough for the trip, would be nice to go full frame with the A7 but the A6000 seems a better camera? I am also concerned that non of them have the weather sealing even close to the 5DMKIII and the weather sealed lenses. I will be in humid, arid and dusty environments. Also I'm concerned with the EVF I used one in store seemed ok but changing AF point seems a hassle and it was a little bland in colour rendition, but everything else the EVF can do is astounding but a little worried about low light.
I also like the idea of the capture pro camera clip by peak design https://peakdesign.com/store/
to have an accessible mount for the camera and also take the black rapid too. Just means I can attach it to my bag strap for quick access and it doesn't weigh a lot. I don't think this is feasible with the 5DMKIII too big and heavy will pull too much on one shoulder and on a belt will make my trousers fall down!
So this will save me 1.5kgs with the A7/A6000 16-70mm and 70-200mm and it is more discrete (apart from the 70-200mm G). But will cost me £2000 when I already have all the kit apart from the 70-300mm L so either way I'm spending £1000 to get a new lens. Is the weight saving worth it? or am I thinking about it too much?
This is a trip of a lifetime for me and really want to get the best out of it photographically.
What would you do?
Thanks in advance for the opinions.