Ever since the a7r, I’ve been obsessed with Sony cameras and traveling light. Now the new MacBook Air, peripherals like a tiny SSD, and featherweight prime lenses have finally caught up with Sony’s mirrorless promise.
Photographers are able to carry more power and capacity with far less weight than ever before.
Last fall and over the winter, I flew to Paris, Austin, Maui, and back to Seattle. I carried the a9, a set of Sigma lenses, the new MacBook Air and a rugged SSD. That setup worked marvelously well. I packed the gear in a Mission Workshop bag.
In a few short years, Cloud services have also improved exponentially. It used to take a weekend to set up a new PC. Now, it’s an hour max for an MBA and by utilizing cloud services, including my own, I offloaded storage and use the G-Tech R for backup. Along with me I bring either a Capture One session or access a working library via Adobe’s creative cloud.
Even after configuring the MacBook Air with the lowest amount of storage, I never ran out of space. Note that my work is not video heavy.
If it were, perhaps I’d want to carry a MacBook Pro. Even then, I’d just wait until I was back in my office to render video than accept the weight penalty of a larger and heavier MacBook Pro. While I’m not specifically used the G-Tech R for 4K, it’s spec’d to do it.
Traveling light used to involve compromises but not anymore. The latest MacBook Air and a camera like the a9 or even an a7 III means you’ve got more than enough of everything (from the camera and computer) to get the shoot done. And, especially when you rely on a service like iCloud to offload space-hogging documents. My travel kit ever since the MacBook Air was released is
- MacBook Air Retina with 250G drive—$1147 on Amazon
- G-Tech Rugged, 500G—$120 on Amazon
- Sony Alpha a9—$4498 on Amazon
- Various Sigma lenses—on Adorama
- Mission Workshop bag—$185 for the Fraction on Amazon.
That’s about $6K, plus or minus a hundred dollars for your choice of bag. The grand total is a couple grand less if you bought the a7 III. And, I recommend you do.
The Mirrorless Benefit
One of the reasons I originally started shooting with mirrorless was weight reduction—I most often take photos when I’m traveling on assignment for Bike Hugger, a cycling lifestyle outlet.
When it launched, this is what we said about the a7r.
This sort of technological jump is massive because the amount of fun had on a bike ride is inversely proportional to the weight of camera gear transported by the rider.
My fun has exponentially increased with the MacBook Air, lenses like the Sigma primes and wide angles, and the G-Tech R.
Also published on Medium.