Shire, Hobbiton. The land of unknown.
April 27, 2010
Few of my Favorite things ♪
May 2, 2010

Camera Paradox

Juno. witn my No.1 Camera

I admit. I am a photography nerd.

There, I said it.

Every time before I leave somewhere, I thought ‘should I bring these cameras or not?’ Yes. Camera–z

If I take them all, I can take wonderfully high quality photos. But if I take just one small point and shoot camera, I may not get the best one but I can be free from all the weight..



What should I do?


Until just few months ago I was a full mechanical camera user with films. Pentax MX with 3 different angle lenses. It is over two decades old. I have one Minolta, one Yashika and LOMO, a toy camera which is also a film camera. This doesn’t mean that I traveled with a mechanical camera all along. I do have two compact digital cameras, and amazingly, many of my pictures in are taken by these little cameras.

My current major camera is Nikon D90, DSLR. This one is much heavier than any of my previous cameras. You know, these cameras are usually heavier is better.

I changed to digital camera because a) Films are way too expensive right now, b) also developing fee is through the roof, and c) not to mention, it’s convenient.


Now, I think about two questions.

Do I have to drag these heavy equipments to take precious memories even though I get really tired by its weight?

Or just take a shot through eyes and minds and have a light luggage?

Frankly speaking, I was and am too greedy to give up the chance to take amazing pictures, so I took most of my cameras along with me. Even I brought a tripod, a release, all the lenses and more than 10-highly expensive films. Yes, my bag was HEAVY..



However there are always ups and downs.

If I bring only small digital camera or none of those, I can really concentrate the view and the feeling, but there’s a big chance to forget many details about this amazing journey. Because photos are more than just take the perfect shot. It’s a documentation, journal, and memory.

On the other hand even if I get really tired by its volume and weight, there’s always great photo of the view and the memory like what I ate or which soda I bought in local shop and whether I liked it or not. These are always a little trigger to the memory. .



Mt.Cook in New Zealand

Mt.Cook in New Zealand


Like I mentioned before, many of my wonderful pictures were taken by small compact digital camera. I only brought my point and shoot to backpacking trip to New Zealand in 2006. But I like most of the picture I took with this small equipment. Not saying my favourite but good enough. Though, sometimes I look at picture, like mountain Cook or Glaciers, wish if I brought a much nicer camera.

Likewise, from good quality pictures I took in Taipei, I admire good performance of my D90, and thinking how glad I brought this one. However I surely could say I was irritated by the weight.


Still, I don’t have the answer. I keep bouncing back and forth..I

One thing I know as a greedy person myself, I may bring the nicest and the heaviest equipment with me the whole journey. Will I be happy after? Never know..

I think this paradox comply with all the packing. Aren’t we all suffer from that? Those are two opposite ways and you can’t have both.

What is your choice?


Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, a happiness-seeking storyteller. Photographer, writer, and trained mechanical engineer. Life-long nerd. I left the cubic farm to follow my true love: the world. A firm believer of serendipity, astronomy enthusiaster, and living by passion and love in life. Currently, on a quest to discover stories and find the place where I can call 'home'. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Google+ .


  1. ciki says:

    my choice is the Sony digital camera – small, convenient, unobtrusive.. fits into any bag and takes great shots 🙂

  2. Meaghan says:

    My new camera is a small sony digital! And you saw what awesome pictures it took. Not nearly as awesome as yours but my camera’s only slightly bigger than an iphone. Which helps with packing!

    • Juno says:


      Your’s is great. Love your photos 🙂 and it’s beautiful pink! now you can take awesome pictures in Russia too! hehe Mine is awesome but quite big..


  3. simon says:

    Difficult question and not easy to answer… I also had an old Nikomat camera with several different lenses. It was quite heavy, but at that time I didn’t mind that much. I just wished to catch hundreds of pictures to be sure I could capture those very wonderful moments. But in the last years, I changed.

    It’s not only that I prefer to travel lighter but that I now have a different approach. At some time I realized that there where moments when I was more concentrated on my camera than on the surroundings. And that the most vivid pictures – even now, after many years – are the ones fixed in my memories. True, you cannot share these…

    I still bring with me a camera, a digital Sony which is half way to a reflex and has one great thing: Zeiss lenses (which really make a difference, no matter the pixels…). I’m not that great photographer, thus so far I believe it’s enough. And I try to find a balance. At the end of the day, I know I’ve never been able to fully catch with my camera what my eyes did. So I now start by concentrating on my eyes and my heart. Then, if there’s some time left, I bring out my camera…

    • Juno says:


      Excellent point, Simon. I totally agree with you.I felt the same thing. Sure great to have awesome pictures but sometimes I don’t remember how i felt. Now i’m thinking photos that matter is photos of friends, or people I met on the road. Amazing view and scenery is great but if i have camera with me, then i can make memory with friends. every trip my favorite photos, and I make a copy and put in front of my desks are me with bunch of other people.

      Zeiss lense is great. The best quality ever.
      Nowadays, there’s many great but compact cameras so this kind of paradox is not exist anymore, generally.
      Thanks for great comment for it Simon.


  4. Andy Jarosz says:

    Great topic Juno, and really good advice from Simon.
    I am less bothered by carrying a camera with me than I once was, because like Simon has mentioned, I found I missed so many things by thinking about getting the right picture instead of enjoying the moment and absorbing the sights and sounds of a place. You can argue that those great images can often be found on the web in any case, while your experiences are truly unique to you.
    I wrote a post on travelling without a camera (but I don’t think I could do without it completely!)
    Thanks for a good debate Juno

    • Juno says:


      Yes Andy I remember your post. Aurora was on front of article, right? I think this is really classic problem for all of us travellers. on my first backpacking through NZ, I sure took a lot of pictures, but when i was driving through North island, I could not charge my digital camera so i had to take few pictures with my film cameras. so I wrote most about the travel. That helps a lot to remember the detail. Sometimes written memory is better than visual memory. 🙂

      And like i said in Somon’s comment, the photo memorable for me is very unique ones like you said Andy. Not the ‘post card’ view, just really remember ‘my’ travel. people I met on the road, friends, foods.. something like that.

      Thanks for great story and comment, Andy!!


  5. I was considering taking my compact olympus waterproof camera for the everyday shots. And taking my nikon d80 + 2 lenses + associated gear as well. Carry on luggage should be able to handle all my camera gear and laptops and a book to read all under 7kg ~Hopefully.

    • Juno says:


      7kg! that’s a lot.. so you are D80 user, hu? 🙂 Nikoner! yeah, photography enthusiastes must be strong and really patient. all the heavy gears… 🙂 Wish you luch!! 🙂


  6. Ted Nelson says:

    I like to bring a small digital camera with me and when hiking in wilderness I will also bring a 35mm with a zoom lens because I like to take wildlife photos. While hiking in Thailand one time a wild elephant ran up the trail. Because I had a hat on I missed the picture of a lifetime. However, I will never forget that moment.

    • Juno says:


      wild elephant!! Wow that’s amazing. Yes you are right. Some moments just can’t forgotton even if no pictures involved. Memory is like that. ;). Thanks for nice story Ted.


  7. ayngelina says:

    I have a Canon 40D and 3 lenses (50mm1.4, 10-22mm and 17-85mm) with me as well as a point and shoot.

    If Im out drinking or somewhere that I could be robbed I use the point and shoot. I try to only take one lens with me otherwise.

    Yes its a bit of a pain but I love photography and its totally worth it.

    • Juno says:


      Ah you are a Canon girl! I’m a Nikon girl. 🙂 17-85 is so useful, right?
      Yes, we have to worry about getting robbed or something, but luckly none of that happen to me yet.
      And you are so true, it is totally worth it.
      Sometimes getting reallt tired after drag around that heavy thing but after I saw the pictures, I’d say ‘Phew..I’m so glad I dragged around that thing today’.
      We are totally photography buffs!! 🙂

  8. Gray says:

    I can so relate to this. I always bring both my DSLR and my point-and-shoot camera. I start out taking pictures with my DSLR, but once I get sick of the weight, I leave it at my hotel and start just bringing the compact. There’s no doubt the quality of my photos is better with the DSLR. But I do get sick of carrying the weight around after awhile.

  9. LeslieTravel says:

    I am a camera addict too! Great post 🙂

  10. Giulia says:

    Hey girl:-)
    Love this post coz it’s the same question I ask myself everytime I go out: shall I bring my camera?
    It’s heavy and I have a lot of equipment: Nikon D40, 4 lenses (35mm f/1.8, 10-24mm, 18-55mm and 55-200mm). Plus the tripod and the external flash, plus the filters/batteries case.
    Wow that’s a lot of stuff!!! But in the end, the 99% of the times I take everything with me, because “you never know”.
    The only thing is that I don’t use a camera case, I just put everything into my everyday handbag, because I don’t want to show that I have a camera with me. Too scared of getting robbed!!!
    But I should get a compact camera too, because sometimes the risk is too high.
    In the meantime… I’ll go on carrying my handbag pretending it’s very light… but taking great shots:-)

  11. Pia says:

    This was my dilemma a few months ago. I used to own a Nikon D40 but got tired of having to bring it around especially in trips that require a lot of walking. Then I found out about Lumix LX3, takes same quality photos as my DSLR but without the bulkiness. Now, I’m one happy compact cam user. For me, I think what matters
    more is the memory and experience behind the photo than how beautiful it is technically. So, don’t think, just click! Happy Travels Juno! 🙂

  12. Evan says:

    Take a look at some Micro 4/3 mirrorless cameras! Great quality but much less weight than traditional DSLRs.

    • Juno says:

      Yes actually I want to buy a mirrorless one but that means I have to spend more money! 🙂 *Sigh* I really like mirrorless cameras. It’s so cute and great quality! Are you using one now Evan?

  13. Mark Mayo says:

    Tough problem! In my recent few months backpacking around South America, I was concerned about flashing my D80 around, so also bought a Lumux point and shoot. Yes, the D80 is heavy, but it meant for those special shots, I could use my best camera.

    However, it’s worth noting that unlike say, Egypt, which is full of tourists with DSLRs, SA had more backpackers in the areas I was visiting, and carrying a SLR was rare. Very rare.

    Perrsonally however I wouldn’t change my decision, and have the photos to affirm that decision.

    Oh, and I do like your Mt Cook shot – great pic 🙂

  14. John says:

    I also used a Pentax ME Super SLR with a 24 – 50 and 70-250 lenses but switched to a digital compact in 2003. I do look at DSLRs but then think that I couldn’t take them snowboarding and I wouldn’t want to carry them on a hike. It is great to have a camera that pops in my pocket yet will operate in the 25 to 300mm range, take basic wide VGA movies and have enough functions for me to get by.
    Of course I would love to have a more sensitive CCD and RAW capability but I get by.
    I’m just happy to be able to carry a camera around with me most of the time.

    • Juno says:

      I like your photography and glad to share more about photography through #TogChat recently. I used 24mm K, 28mm and 50mm M for Pentax MX. 24mm K was a killer!! I love wide angle lenses.
      I agree with the small camera. D90 is kind of too big for hiking or all the activities that I do. I do have point and shoot but I”m not going to bring it for my next trip. Maybe I should get one that can do underwater photo 🙂

  15. Guy says:

    I am a film holdout. You might say I’m afflicted with a certain passion for the process.

    My kit changes over time, but currently I carry:
    Canon F1 body
    Canon A1 body
    Canon 50mm/f1.8 prime lens
    Canon 24mm/f2.8 prime lens
    Canon 135mm/f3.5 prime lens
    Olympus Stylus Epic 35mm point & shoot OR Lumix LX3 digital point & shoot

    I carry all of this, along with a small tripod, filters, b&w and slide films, and a cleaning kit in a small Click messenger bag.

    Since film gear is cheaper & lighter than digital gear this is all quite manageable.

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