Jeff here, for the non-photo types this post may be a bit techie. No offense taken if you bailout now.
So while I can select and pack my clothes in a few hours, selecting which camera gear to bring on a trip is a much longer process. A few months before the trip, I’ll go on photo outings to see if I’ll be happy with what I plan to bring. Now here’s the deal, you need to bring only “exactly” what you’ll need. Too little and you’ll curse yourself on the trip for not taking what you needed, too much and you’ll curse yourself after the trip for hauling around all that extra weight. In an effort to reduce the size and weight, I've tried smaller mirrorless systems, but frankly I've never warmed to them and have gone back to taking a DSLR (guess I’m just old-school).
Here’s what I selected for this trip. Given the location, I needed a camera body that didn’t look too professional, but at the same time, I also needed one that worked well in low light conditions as I’ll shooting during the evening hours in the cities and inside building. With that in mind, I’ve selected the Nikon Df. While the Df is a high-end camera, the retro looks (lots of dials) and two tone silver/black look make it appear older. Now while the experienced camera thief will know the difference, the grab and run types are more likely to snatch a soccer moms entry level DSLR before mine. The Df is excellent travel camera. The images are fantastic, it’s great in low light and the file size is reasonable (which makes processing later much faster).
For lenses I’ll be taking the Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR and the Nikon 24-120 f/4 VR. The latter will be the workhorse lens, while the former (wide angle) lens will come in handy for architecture and interior shots. Both lenses are fairly fast (meaning they have a larger apertures which will let in more light in any given situation) and both have Vibration Reduction (or VR) which stabilizes the lens when handholding the camera (which I’ll be doing all the time as I’m not bringing a tripod) at slower shutter speeds.
Unfortunately I couldn't leave well enough alone, and at the last minute I added two other lenses that will stay behind most days. First is a Nikon 50 f/1.8. This is a very small, very fast lens that I’ll use mostly in the evenings. Next is the Nikon 28-300 VR. This is a “do-it-all” lens that will mostly be for backup, but I see using it while we cruise during the day, as it’s a much longer telephoto lens.
Now I know what I said above about mirrorless cameras, but I am taking a specialty one along – my Nikon 1 AW1. The AW1 is a waterproof, crushproof camera. If something happens to the Df, the AW1 is the understudy. If there’s ever a day that a total washout, the AW1 will be there for me and if we visit one of the public bathes, the AW1 is all over that too.
While for some this may seem like a lot, you can trust me when I tell you I took far, far more to Africa and the Galapagos J, and since photography is part of the travel fun for me, I tend to bring more that you really need for documenting your trip. An iPhone can do that just fine. I’ll report how things worked out after the trip.