*The Mirrorless Diet, how to lose weight instantly! Part 1

mirrorless diet

PART 1: Preparing for a trip

Have you ever had to pack for a trip, a hike, climb, vacation or another adventure where you’d be carrying everything on your back or slung over your shoulder?  Gear laid out on the floor the night before leaving for the trip after having unpacked and repacked to see if you could fit everything in less space getting rid of everything you can to save weight.  For those that saw their toothbrushes in half to shave off a few grams, or anyone that could stand to lose a little weight in the camera bag, this series of articles may be useful.  Now, the question is, can we do this, and still carry quality photographic gear with us?

This will be the first part in a three part article focused on capturing images while backpacking and wanting to keep weight down while not compromising image quality.  It is also potentially useful for any travel situation where gear weight may become cumbersome.

I’d like to thank Yukon Trading CompanyMarmotJetBoil, LEKI Trekking Poles43rumors.comExpert Shield screen protectors, and B&H Photo for the continued support, and particularly for much of the stuff provided for me during this trip.  Losing weight isn’t always fast and cheap, but they’ve helped make it sexy.  Throughout these articles, I’ll be mentioning and linking to various products that I use(d) and highly suggest looking into.  Fortunately for me, we got hooked up with companies that put quality at the top of their list.  It doesn’t hurt that they also engineer some of the best, lightest and highest performing gear on the market, so, thanks guys!

Never has weight been more a factor for me than when trying to stuff all my gear into a pack with the realization that I’m going to have to carry all this stuff on my back for days on end, all while climbing, hiking and sliding around in the snow. I will start by disclosing that I am far closer to resembling a photographer than a back country, mountaineering aficionado. I’ve certainly been adventurous throughout my life, spending many nights in the elements, climbing and hiking my way to the next spot so that I may eat dried fruit, ramen and nuts for dinner, or do my best to create aches in areas I was previously unaware my body had by forgoing any type of sleeping pad or pillow. Most of the time, when I travel, or set out on any type of adventure, photography is a very large part of it, and I’ve tended to sacrifice other comforts to enable the room for my camera gear. Since adopting a mirrorless setup, I’ve not had to sacrifice at all…

im on a hike!

Why, hello there. Well, yes, that is a fanny pack (perhaps bum bag for those in the UK) full of camera equipment that I’m wearing, backwards. Wait, why are you laughing at me?

For years, I have been slinging 10-15 pound bags of gear off of my shoulder as I venture through a new city on a business excursion, or on a camping trip, road trip or most anytime I’d leave the house for any period of time. I did this, largely because I didn’t want to compromise a once in a lifetime opportunity with my compact point and shoot camera, or my phone. I may never get back to Venice, or Tokyo, I might never see Denali again and I can almost guarantee I won’t make it back down to the Andes unless I can figure out a way to get paid to do so. I may never catch a sunset as beautiful as the next, so, you get the point, I’ve dragged gear just about everywhere I’ve been in my adult life.  While it may border on an obsessive psychological failing on my part, this has set the tone for me when venturing forth on these adventures, and I’ll be damned if I don’t have a quality camera and lenses with me to capture these locales.

Old vs New

The old vs the new, smaller, lighter equivalents.

A couple of years ago, well into my camera gear geek period, and after many trips of toting around a bag of bricks everywhere I went, I found the micro 4/3 system.  For the non-camera geeks, the micro 4/3 system is a joint venture between Olympus and Panasonic with many other companies providing accessory and optical support.   At the time of its release in 2008, it was pretty revolutionary. By removing the mirror from a traditional SLR setup, it could minimize the distance necessary between the back of the lens and the sensor.  Since the systems birth, it has grown to be a truly mature, fully functional system with wonderful (and many) lenses, camera bodies and various accessories.  The fact that you can also use affordable lens mount adapters to use most any lens ever created on these cameras is a huge bonus as well.  (you can read about using mount converters and other lenses on these cameras HERE if you’re interested)

Here’s a quick, techie description to put the system in relation to that of a standard DSLR system.  Because the sensor is roughly a quarter the physical size of a traditional “full frame” sensor (for reference an APS-C sensor is a bit larger than a third the physical size of a FF sensor, FF=864 sq mm, APS-C=330-370 sq mm, m4/3=225 sq mm) coupled with this reduced flange distance, lenses (and camera bodies) are much smaller, and lighter. Because of the sensor size in relation to a Full Frame sensor, the micro 4/3 cameras produce a 2x crop factor so a lens’ focal length produces a doubling in terms of field of view while an APS-C sensor will produce a 1.5x or 1.6x crop factor (ie: a 50mm lens on the micro 4/3 system would produce the same field of view as a 100mm lens would on a 35mm film or Full Frame digital camera, while an APS-C cam would take that same 50mm and produce closer to a 75mm FF equivalent).  So, with the size and weight reduction in mind, I was curious to see just how much weight and bulk I could lose…  I brought 3 cameras and a total of 5 lenses on a recent backpacking trip on Mount Rainier, which was a little overzealous granted, but that I could, packed into a fanny pack, weighing less than half what a full frame or APS-C DSLR setup would have been was pretty amazing.

IMG_5138 - Version 2

With a few, old velcro dividers from an older photo bag, I fashioned myself a little partition which would fit into the larger compartment of the fanny pack.

IMG_5140 - Version 2

In they go.  Each camera had a lens attached, and there are two lenses in the right compartment of the pack.

IMG_5142 - Version 2

Zipped up without a problem at all.  Three cameras, five lenses, about 4.5 lbs.

As fortune would have it, the love of my life came from an adventurous and photographically gifted family. My brother in law (we will refer to him from here forward as simply, bro-lo) gets paid apparently, to travel around, climb various forms of historical sedimentary accumulation while educating his customers about the gear he uses to do it. It may seem a rough life, but he handles it well.  Anyway, months ago, he set forth on planning and detailing a multi day trek on Mount Rainier’s Wonderland Trail (click here for more info).  Accompanied by my Bro-lo, Father in Law, a couple of his good friends and my friend and resident Italian summer visitor Tommy, we planned out our route.  With a little elbow rubbing and wheel greasing, the trip was sponsored by some pretty awesome gear companies… Below, I’ll outline what I chose to take, how much it weighed, and compare how much a larger system equivalent would have added to the pack. Thank you to Yukon Trading Company, Marmot, JetBoil, LEKI Trekking Poles, 43rumors.com, Expert Shield screen protectors, and B&H Photo for the gear, support and future gear and support 😉  Please feel free to click any of the links throughout the article to check stuff out.  Mention how you found them for a special surprise! (By “special surprise” I mean to say that they’ll probably think you’re a crazy person because they’ll have no idea who I am more than likely, but hey, this is how a lot of networking groundwork is laid…)

Mount Rainier Trail Map

Trail map from the National Park Service website (click here)

For those of us that like to get out into the far reaches of nature, while contemplating the ability to visually capture and document said nature, I’d highly suggest looking into a mirrorless system camera. Every current mirrorless system has a lot going for it, and honestly, i don’t think you can really go wrong. each has its pros and cons. I chose the micro 4/3 system because I feel it was (and is still) the best balance of size reduction and image quality along with having the most mature system in the mirrorless landscape. I also recently acquired a Canon EOS-M compact, mirrorless camera with the 22mm f/2 lens which you’ll see mentioned below as well.  It has an APS-C sensor, and it’s own proprietary mount so it isn’t compatible with the micro 4/3 system, but the prices plummeted and I decided to see how it compared.  In total, I had three cameras, 5 lenses, extra batteries and a circular polarizer filter, all of which fit into my new Marmot fanny pack. Yes, I seriously searched out and wore all this gear in a modified fanny pack the entire time, thanks Bro-Lo!

Here is the gear with total weight listed for each piece, you can click on each red product link to see it at B&H photo.  These links are attached to my affiliate account, and if you do end up purchasing anything at B&H, doing so through these links gives me a small commission which would be greatly appreciated and continue to help me provide free content through the blog 🙂 :

Olympus E-M5

Olympus OMD EM5 camera body: 15 oz (0.94 lbs) / 0.43 kg


Panasonic GX1 camera body: 11.22 oz (0.7 lbs) / 0.32 kg

Canon EOS-M

Canon EOS-M camera body: 9.24 oz (0.58 lbs) / 0.26 kg

Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5

Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye (m4/3 mount, 15mm equivalent field of view): 6.95 oz (0.43 lbs) / 0.2 kg

Lumix 14mm f/2.5

Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 lens (28mm EFOV)1.94 oz (0.12 lbs) / 0.06 kg

Panasonic Leica 25mm Summilux f/1.4

Panasonic/Leica 25mm f/1.4 Summilux (50mm EFOV)7.05 oz (0.44 lbs) / 0.2 kg

Lumix 100-300mm

Panasonic 100-300mm f/4-5.6 (200-600mm EFOV)18.24 oz (1.14 lbs) / 0.52 kg

Canon EF-M 22mm f/2

Canon EOS-M 22mm f/2 STM (35mm EFOV): 3.7 oz (0.23 lbs) / 0.11 kg

Another handy bonus was that I’ve been able to sell both Bro-Lo and the Pop-in-law on the micro 4/3 system.  Simply, this means, I can get them to carry even more gear that I can then use.

Along for the trip, (which I didn’t carry, but are fine lenses) we also had:

Olympus 12-50mm

Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 (24-100mm EFOV): 7.44 oz (0.47 lbs) / 0.21 kg

Lumix 20mm f/1.7 II

And the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 (40mm EFOV)3.07 oz (0.19 lbs) / 0.09 kg

  • Total weight (less the last two lenses which I didn’t carry): 4.58 lbs / 2.08 kg
  • Focal Range (EFOV, incremental): 15mm fisheye – 600mm

Now, just for reference, my standard Canon kit I’d normally have with me on my previous travels would be as follows:

Canon EOS 5DII: 28.6 oz (1.79 lbs) / 0.81 kg

Canon EOS 5D: 28.85 oz (1.8 lbs) / 0.82 kg

Rokinon 14mm f/2.8: 19.36 oz (1.21 lbs) / 0.55 kg

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4: 20.5 oz (1.28 lbs) / 0.58 kg

Zeiss ZE 85mm f/1.4: 24.64 oz (1.54 lbs) / 0.7 kg

Canon EF 135mm f/2: 26.4 oz (1.65 lbs) / 0.75 kg

Canon EF Extender 1.4x: 7.9 oz (0.5 lbs) / 0.22 kg

  • Total weight: 9.77 lbs / 4.44 kg
  • Focal Range (incremental): 14mm – 189mm (135mm +1.4x extender)

Those with a keen, gear geek eye may have noticed that the Canon EOS-M camera and 22mm f/2 lens (traded to my Father in law) and the Lumix 100-300mm lens (Bro-Lo stole it) do not appear in the gear photos above, replaced instead by the GF1 w/20mm lens, and Oly 75mm lens w/hood respectively.  Please don’t flame me for visually misleading you, and trust that the comparison in size and weight is close enough for these illustrative purposes.  Also, they fit the same in my snazzy fanny pack (you Brits stop giggling, seriously, we call those something different here).

With that disclaimer out of the way, let us move onward and upward.  Of course, one could certainly slim down the choices, not carry three camera bodies and 5 lenses, but even so, the weight difference is pretty amazing especially when taking into account the focal range covered between the two kits.  The lightest, single body + lens combo on the Canon Full Frame side would be 3 lbs, while I could fit one body and all the lenses for the Micro 4/3 system under that same weight designation for comparison’s sake.  If you don’t shoot wide, or have the need to really exploit the telephoto end of the range, you could save even more weight.  In fact, I think that one could carry one camera body with the 12-50mm and then steal the 100-300mm from your loving and remarkably supportive brother in law (as my Bro-Lo did) and be more or less covered really only challenged if wanting to achieve a shallow depth of field in wider shots, or when shooting handheld in low light situations.  The only lens out of the whole bunch above that has optical image stabilization is the Panasonic 100-300mm.  Of course, the Olympus OMD EM5 has in body image stabilization, as do all the Oly bodies (and the recently announced Panasonic GX7) but really so much of what I shot was on the tripod, or from the hip in mid day sun, that image stabilization wasn’t entirely necessary which brings me to my next crucial piece of gear… my travel tripod:

Those without budget restrictions will call out carbon fiber, and by all means, if you can justify it, go for it, but for me, I find that the cost is unnecessary and have chosen to employ the modestly priced SLIK Sprint Mini II for just around $75.  It comes with a decent enough head on it, so it’s ready to go out of the box, but I chose to upgrade the head to a stronger, yet not too much heavier head in the Sirui C10 ball head which has an Arca Swiss style quick release plate and separate panning and ball dials to independently adjust the camera.  The separate panning dial is extremely handy when shooting panoramas (which I will get to in the next part of this series).


SLIK Sprint Mini II Tripod (weight includes standard head) : 27.52 oz (1.72 lbs) / 0.78 kg

tripod head

Sirui C10 Ball Head: 7.04 oz (0.44 lbs) / 0.2 kg

Now bringing this much camera gear, along with the necessary ice ax, micro spikes, clothing, food, tent, pad and sleeping bag, I looked to slim down in the clothing and gear category.  Much of this stuff is available at various retailers like REI or other, more local outdoor outfitters.  Thank you to Ryan at Yukon Trading in particular for the access to much of this gear, a wealth of knowledge and just for being a great, basketball loving, human being in general. here’s what I carried… (click on images or red links to see this stuff in their respective, native web based habitats)

Marmot Bodega

Marmot Bodega (super cool) Fanny pack: What’s not to love about a waist pack that you can fit three cameras and 5 lenses in, yet weighs only 1 lb, 3 ozs (539g) and isn’t obstructive, even when wearing a back pack?  Okay, people will make fun of you, but they will be asking for your pictures while you laugh all the way to the bank.

Marmot Drakon 45

Marmot Drakon 45 backpack: A 45 Liter, 2750 cu in pack that weighs in at 3 lbs, 4.6 ozs (1492g) More than enough for a multi day trek in varied conditions.  Plenty of space both inside and out to carry axes, spikes, tent, sleeping bag, pad, misc tidbits, clothes and food.  For a smaller, lighter version, check out the Drakon 35.

Marmot Plasma 30

Marmot Plasma 30 sleeping bag: Marmot is known for its down, and now I know why.  This is a 900+ fill, goose down bag weighing in at 1 lb, 6.44 ozs (636g) is rated down to 30 degrees F (-1 C) and I was toasty and comfortable, even on the evenings that we were at altitude and the temp dropped.  I have the long bag because my parents didn’t know about many of the hormones in the meat we ate when I was little, also I have Scandinavian lineage and them’s some tall folk.  This bag packs down into a hilariously small stuff sack.  Wanna be really blown away, look at the  Plasma 40  1 lb, 3.77 oz (572 g) and you can practically pack this into a ziplock sandwich bag.  Nuts.

Marmot Essence Jacket

Marmot Essence Jacket: Completely waterproof AND breathable.  Seriously.  They have some magic gnomes working overtime over there.  Oh, and it weighs a whopping 6 ozs (170.1g) and can pack into a pocket.  Absolutely amazing.  We did end up getting a little moisture the second day, but had beautiful weather the rest of the time, so the added 6 ozs were literally unnoticeable in the pack, yet proved to be worth their weight in gold as I kept myself dry and comfortable.

LEKI Trail Poles

LEKI “Trail” Trekking Poles:  I’ve never backpacked with trekking poles before this trip.  Afterward, I’m really wondering why.  Regardless of any help they provide with weight distribution when navigating a tricky trail, the balance, posture and stability they promote are awesome, especially with a heavy pack considering they weigh next to nothing (1 lbs, 3.4 ozs for the pair).  I will be bringing these on every hike I take from here on out. Now, we just need to convince LEKI to produce a trekking pole with a camera mount on top… wait, they HAVE THOSE!  {personal note: inquire as to why we were not field testing these with Bro-Lo}

Marmot Aura 2P

Marmot Aura 2P Tent: A 4 lb, 12 oz two person tent.  Split that up with one person carrying the poles, and the other the tent and you’re golden.  Killer tent with plenty of room for two large humans while adding very little pack weight.

JetBoil SUMO Titanium: For boiling water only, but for light weight travel (12 ozs, 345g not including the fuel canister) you’ll only need to rehydrate meals anyway, and this thing is amazing.  Lightweight and it boils water quicker than a modified jet engine at sea level.  Check their other products for more diverse camp cooking tasks at JetBoil.com

Jetboil SUMO Titanium

Very cool stuff.  My last major backpacking trip was in Denali Nat’l Park, was also far less comfortable, and I ate horribly by comparison.  I wasn’t aware of Mountain House freeze dried food pouches  (surprisingly delicious and remarkably light weight, you can find them at most any outdoor, or mega store), and I didn’t have a way to boil water anyway, so it wouldn’t have mattered.  I also had wet feet for much of it and my old pack sucked.  We got tracked by a mamma Grizzly and her two cubs which found us going about a mile out of our way on a wide river wash, wading streams, I spent much of the time on the verge of pissing myself when I realized I was 13 miles away from a limited access dirt road that took about 4 hours to drive to anywhere on, being followed by a giant monster who would probably have gladly ingested the bear mace my cramped hand was gripping onto desperately.  I was also brilliantly hungover because I’m a genius and I had a really hard time figuring out my water filter.  I could go on if you’d like, but I guess my point is that this trip made me realize how big a difference modern, quality gear makes, and I for one will look to invest in some good gear moving forward.  Getting back to brass tacks, my goal for this trip was to not compromise quality photographic gear just to save weight, and all things said and done, I’m happy that I was able to carry as much as I was with relative ease.  This wouldn’t have been the case had I dragged along my full frame Canon gear, and I don’t feel that I missed anything.  Sure, the night shots could have come out cleaner, but that is a trade off that I’m willing to make, plus, if you do need to quickly move away from a particular baby animal, the less weight, the better.

trail head pano

Next up will be capturing our trip through a few different techniques that build our photographic bounty a little further than the single frame snap.  Stay tuned and if you’d like, you can enter your email for automatic notifications in the field at the very top right of this page to receive future posts via email, or follow me on Facebook here, and/or Twitter here.  I like networking, so hit me up and let’s see what we can do.

Stay tuned for some techniques to capture some travel and landscape shots in the next post, regardless of gear, as well as more of the actual shots from the trip which will be coming soon!  Thanks for the read and in the mean time, happy shooting.  Parts 2 and 3 are now finished and linked below.

The Mirrorless Diet, Part 2: Shooting your trip

The Mirrorless Diet, Part 3: Processing your shots



39 thoughts on “*The Mirrorless Diet, how to lose weight instantly! Part 1

  1. Tyson …what a wonderful bag of tricks you have . and it is impressive at that . I was thinking 3 cameras may be overkill…but going into the wilderness having a backup for the backup makes sense . I at times carry an Olympus E-PM2 with a couple lenses and a Nikon 1 V! with a couple lenses , extra batteries , cards and remote shutter release in a small tamrac bag and it weighs very little compared to my D300 and a couple lenses…but what really caught my attention is you wearing a Portland Timbers jersey….I think those fans are some of the best in the world…it always looks like a great atmosphere…rain or shine. Take care


    • Hey Sven,

      I’d be lying if I said that the Timbers jersey wasn’t there for both it’s light weight, moisture wicking capabilities as well as having a little dig at any potential sounders fans I may come across 🙂 My Bro-Lo is also from Seattle, so I do my best to get my digs in whenever possible. I’ve been a season ticket holder for about 11 years now, and have seen the atmosphere grow from a few thousand drunk and mostly joyful fans to the chaos it has become and I have enjoyed every step of it, regardless of our general lack of on field success, so I really appreciate that it kind of translates through and thank you for noticing, I’ll definitely pass this along to our ever growing group and if ever you’re in Portland in the summer time, I will make sure to find you a ticket. Some of the best in the world? Perhaps not, but we are a loyal group and enjoy the community that has grown from our mutual interest. Portland sports fans are desperately loyal and I mean that as both a compliment as well as a criticism. I’ve not come across many of the fair weather variety through my many years following both the Timbers and the Blazers. It’s been rough going for much of that time, but, for some reason, we blindly continue to hope against the ever mounting odds.

      Back to the meat and potatoes, I have really been blow away by the mirrorless systems. In many ways, they’ve caught up to the larger “better” large sensor system cams. Of course, there are functional shortcomings and specific limitations when it comes to situational shooting, but all in all, those trade offs are entirely workable in 95% of the situations I shoot in. Each mirrorless system has it’s pros and cons and the fact that we have as many choices (and competition) that we do in the span of a few years is pretty awesome. Everyone wins when competition for market share prompts innovation and it is only continuing to get better. I really like what the Fuji system has done, The Sony system has also made some pretty substantial steps forward, the Nikon hybrid AF is something that has changed this segment and even Samsung has continued to push the envelope introducing the cross platform communications between devices which is becoming more common as well. Pretty amazing what we get for our money now compared to even 5 years ago, at least in a camera body… Lenses on the other hand!

      Thanks as always, and keep me posted on any future travels to P-town 🙂



  2. Dear Tyson, Thanks for the excellent article, I really enjoyed it. I got into m 4/3 with Oly E PL3 (14-42 kit zoom) as back up for pentax K5 & K7 (+Sigma 17-70 and Sigma 70-200 lenses) on a recent outback trip in Australia. Found many shots were as good and some even better than Pentax. I have since gone almost entirely m 4/3 except for nature where I do like the K7 and Sigma 70-200. (Wonderful continuous AF and high speed shooting). I now have Oly E M5, E PL3. I dropped the 14-42 lens and use Pan 14mm 2.5, 20mm 1.7, Oly 45mm 1.8 and 75mm 1.8. For almost all travel I now use the m 4/3 system. After your article I put my entire camera bag full of gear and it weighed 2.5kg in Australia but 5.5 lbs in your country. In a worst case scenario I take the Oly E M5 with 20mm and 45mm lenses and do just about anything I need. I put this into a Lowepro Event Messenger 150. It is not too heavy and always handy, good for my type of work. I do not do long walks any more and only wish I had this back in the 1970s.

    Thanks again, Look forward to episode 2.

    Best wishes, Donald.


    • Hi Donald,

      5.5lbs including the bag is pretty sweet! I think you’ve nailed one of the largest shortcomings on the head in the continuous AF department. Honestly, until a truly functional hybrid CD/PDAF is developed for the mirrorless systems, it is going to be very difficult to supplant the more traditional imaging tools for applications where tracking, quick, accurate and consistent AF is concerned. I’ve also been using my FF setup for a lot of my work stuff, largely because the optics for particular shoots just aren’t there yet with the mirrorless systems. Not a knock, because it’s amazing how complete the optical offerings are considering that most of these systems didn’t exist 5 years ago. I’m curious to see how it progresses, because if the m4/3, or APS-C mirrorless cameras can truly figure out the hybrid AF with continuous tracking at 9 or 10 fps (more?), and can continue to develop quality optical offerings, I see the benefit to using a full frame setup shrinking up to next to nothing, and APS-C DSLR’s becoming surplus for most shooters.

      What I’m looking forward to are the helium infused camera chassis which will negate the need for tripods, and will eliminate the weight debate 🙂




  3. Awesome read, damn excited to read the next installment. This really makes me want to go on an adventure. I’ll see if my brothers fancy it.

    Great stuff!



  4. Great post ! Looking forward to the next parts ! Wish I was 30 years younger though 🙂
    I added myself to your FB page.

    Best regards,


    • Thanks Ki!

      Age and adventure are merely a state of mind 🙂 I’ve found that with young kiddos, an afternoon spent in the back yard can be both adventurous and photographically diverse. It’s certainly taught me to be more opportunistic when photographic adventures present themselves.



  5. Pretty sneaky getting your bro-lo and pa-in-law to carry some lenses with you! Well researched equipment and very nicely selected. Hope you packed a few extra batteries for the set? I take 4 or 5 and charge them (on overseas trips but clearly not backpack though I guess there are solar chargers). Like that small Slik tripod and the Jetboil is absolutely awesome at heating and cooking quickly. I’ve got to get a little bigger waist pack, though. That Marmot bag would be nice!

    I couldn’t do outdoors without the 45mm Pana-Leica macro and, although it’s nice to have the 100-300, I make do with my 14-140 – just got back from Steens Mtn. in SE Oregon camping wishing I’d had the longer lens and a tripod to capture the pronghorn antelope! Still…

    Looking forward to the pictures from the Ranier trip and techiques used. Love to see more traveling pix.


    • Yeah, he made me carry fuel for the jetboil in return 🙂 Having other system users on a trek though is great. Getting to switch out gear helps everyone. I have a shot that I’ll be posting in one of the next installments from the 100-300 where you can pick out teams of climbers summiting which is pretty cool, and is one of the few times that lens was out of the bag, and not on Bro-lo’s camera 🙂

      I still would love the PL45 macro, and perhaps one day I will spring for it. I’m very curious to see the PL42.5/1.2 as well though… I need to start selling prints or something!

      Thanks as always Terry.

      All the best,


  6. I certainly feel the weight of those decisions you have to make. Being out on the trail, you have few resources and fewer safe stops. Does it rain in Oregon any more? I can imagine having to deal with non-weather resistant equipment in the rain, though I barely have any.

    How do you make it when you have no choices? I’d be in trouble. You have my admiration.

    I was just in San Jose and San Francisco, California with one bag containing my Olympus E-5, 50-200mm, 14-35mm, GH3, 35-100mm, 45-200mm. Climbing the hills of San Fran may not seem daunting, but that bag was cutting into my sunburnt shoulder. Thankfully, I didn’t take the backpack with the computer, E-1, 50mm macro, Leica/Panasonic 25mm, etc. etc. because that’s enough that my passenger seat tells me to use the seat belt on it.


    • Rain? Oregon? Nah. Oh wait, yes, yes lots.

      Oddly, most of my gear has either been limitedly sealed, or not sealed at all and I’ve been okay (knock on wood). Rarely does it rain so hard that I can’t figure out a workaround, and I’ve also not been too worried about getting even my “non sealed” gear just a little wet. The bigger issue to me is transitioning from cold and wet back indoor to warm/humid, and this is where I think seals are very important. Nothing a large ziplock and a little time to acclimate won’t sort though.

      Funny you mention the seat belt! I’ve gotten to adjusting my shoulder strap on the bag to be short enough to hang from the headrest when I use the passenger seat for the same reason! Although, seatbelting the gear in provides both physical and mental security 🙂


      • Having lived in Florida for 11 years and photographing 3 hurricanes, the dust and the water were constant. I rarely take the non-sealed equipment out anywhere and that’s a shame because the Four-Thirds Leica/Panasonic 25mm is great but I have two sealed zooms for the normal range.

        I haven’t been to Oregon since my grandpa’s funeral, so I’m not sure how it is. I was freezing in September, though.


  7. What a great read, boy do I wish I had been there. Wait, I WAS there! Ha! I too can’t wait for Edition # 2. I know, I was there, but for some reason it’s so much fun reading about it afterward from another perspective. The highest compliment I could pay is that, although being a sometimes opinionated person, I couldn’t disagree with anything you said. As much as I love and look forward to growing old with my 5D II, I must admit it is not for all things, especially when weight and steepness looms high. Your gear appraisals are accurate and appealing from my perspective, and not just because I am a Marmot fan. Did I ever mention the fantastic Marmot Customer Service from my own personal experience? I know, no. But I was impressed, mightily impressed.

    Well, what’s more to be said. I eagerly look forward to reading what I already know in the next installment, which, from a philosophical standpoint, doesn’t make sense. Or does it? Keep up the good work and I will continue to envy your perspective and writing abilities on now not only photographic issues but issues of how to get that photographic stuff to where it can take stunning photographs. Or, rather, how to get the photographer there. Thanks.

    P.S. Don’t hesitate to talk more about that great inexpensive, ideally suitable, backpacking tripod from you know who, er, I mean, Slik. Ha again!!



    • It has been awesome going through the shots from this trip having been able to have such an epic adventure with you guys! I need to get some shots to you which reminds me that I need to get a gallery going on the website so that we can download them next week!

      Had it not been for you, I’d probably still be lugging my land anchor of a tripod around on treks, so for that I, and my muscular and skeletal systems are eternally grateful 🙂

      Hope you guys have been having fun, I’m missing the fam immensely, although I’ve finally had time to get through a lot of these images and articles, so I’m taking advantage to the best of my ability.

      See ya soon!


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  9. Hey Tyson, really a fantastic write up! I love that selfie, it put a smile on my face until I noticed the jersey…I kid, I kid, it’s sort of a friendly rivalry =). I can’t wait to see some pics from the adventure. As always man, you do some of the best quality real world write ups!


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    • Thanks Henrik,

      I’ve just had a quick look at your blog and will be taking some time to read through soon. Lots of great stuff on there.

      The weight really is cut in half and any quality gap is going to go unnoticed in most any shooting scenario between a micro 4/3 setup and a larger sensor system camera. It’s an exciting time to be into photography.




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  15. Out of interest why the canon? it would seem to make more sense to have got the Olympus 17mm f1.8. (although hardly a criticism as I have a full m4/3 set up and a fuji xe1!!)

    are you going to look at the new GX7? more gearlust?


    • At the time, the Canon was $299 with the 22 f/2 lens. Having played around with it for a few weeks before trading it off, I will say that the sensor in the Canon is better than the micro 4/3 sensors when shooting in RAW to my eye, but the system just isn’t there. I’d seen it as a low cost risk with a high reward possibility. The idea of potentially investing in an EF lens converter was also appealing, but in the end, I just didn’t connect with the camera. It was not for lack of quality, but it just wasn’t a very inspiring piece of equipment to me. Regarding the Oly 17mm, I still think I’d go for the Pana 20mm for size and lens speed at this point. I actually traded the EOS-M and 22mm back for my old GF1 + 20mm combo and I’m enjoying that again. It is a great combo, even if it really struggles above ISO 800.

      As for the GX7, I think it could quite possibly prove to be the best all around micro 4/3 camera for my type of need. I’m not needing the DSLR-like external functionality of the GH3 or new OMD necessarily as I also like to keep these cameras small, but it has all the direct access I want and need. It has added the IBIS, has a great viewfinder, the second adjustment wheel around the shutter button, but has also kept the form factor very small. I think it will replace my OMD EM5. We shall see… 🙂

      Thanks Pete!



    • Hi Todd,

      I’ve actually been making them myself, using high end yachting line with a continuously spliced core of dyneema/spectra (the thinner white line attached to the camera). the thicker line (the black/white, green/white and red/white rope) is a combo of dyneema and cordura which has a very soft, almost spongy feel to it. The dyneema is rated at 15 times the strength of steel by weight and has great abrasion properties. The 2mm line I’ve used for these has a break strength rating of over 800 lbs, which is probably overkill. I’ve thought about potentially selling them as I’ve started to distribute yachting line in the states for a friend’s company out of Portugal, and while practicing my splicing and tapering, I decided to build myself some handstraps 🙂

      Where are you at? I could probably get you one for a nominal fee 😉 Let me know.


      • I received my wrist strap a week ago. I immediately attached it to my OM-D E-M5, and it is a perfect fit. The green and white looks wonderful. The material is very soft and comfortable on my wrist. I have used the camera every day on walks and a couple of short day trips without any discomfort or irritation.

        As Tyson pointed out in his post, the strap is incredibly strong. No worry of it breaking like some of the thread-thin commercial wrist straps made for point-and-shoot cameras.

        The length of the strap is about 10″ and that works well for me. I can completely manipulate the camera without removing the strap, including changing lenses. I originally used the neck strap that came with the camera, but it felt big on this small camera and constantly got in my way, especially when trying to shoot low using the tilt screen. This wrist strap never gets in the way.

        I have small hands and the strap fits somewhat loosely around my hand. It is easy to slip on and off, but I have to cup the strap with my fingers when walking to keep it from falling off my wrist. That is a natural, comfortable grip, so it really isn’t a problem, but I am a little paranoid it could slip off some time if I am not careful. Tyson said he had some ideas for a cinch that would help.

        Overall, I love the strap. It looks and feels great on the camera. It certainly is the best strap I have seen for this or any other small camera. I am even considering using one of these straps on my DSLR as well.


  16. Ahh man, id totally dig a black and red one.if only I lived in the country! Definitely think it may be worth selling some though mate! Theyre cool and damn strong by the sounds of things


    • Hopefully I have a solution for you Chris… A friend of mine from Italy was visiting this summer and he should be able to provide these to those on that side of the pond. I need to coordinate with him, get him all the raw material, etc and then he should be able to produce them on a custom order basis too. 🙂 I guess the time frame depends a bit on interest and ultimately demand, but I’ll try to get it going and get him the materials, or at least set it up for pre-orders before the holidays.



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