Olympus OM-D E-M1 + 12-40mm, Panasonic GM-5 + 25mm, 9mm BCL, and the Panasonic 35-100mm, f/4-5.6  

I returned Tuesday from my two-week trip in Germany and am now reflecting on how I used the assorted camera equipment I took with me. Once again my Vanquest SKITCH-12 bag served as my transport bag to get all of my equipment on the plane and to Germany. Once there and at my first overnight location, I took the Lowepro Streamline 250 out of my checked bag and it became, as planned, my everyday carry bag. In it I fit my Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the 12-40mm lens, my little Panasonic GM-5 with the Panasonic 25mm, f/1.4, my Olympus Tough TG-Tracker and its grip handle, my Panasonic 35-100mm, f/4-5.6 lens and the 9mm BCL, extra batteries for the two mirrorless bodies, my LolliPod tripod, the HandlePod, and my little, Eagle Creek (red) accessory bag. My iPhone 7 Plus was always in my pocket and I also had my Anker power stick (size of large lipstick container) and a Lighting cable, as well as the ShoulderPod S1 for the iPhone in my Streamline 250. Sometimes I also slipped my iPad Mini 3 in the 250's back pocket. This bag is small but holds a lot. And with all of that I still hadn't unzippered the expansion feature!

E-M1 and Panasonic GM-5. Latter with the Panasonic 35-100mm, f/4-5.6 lens attached. 

I used most of these things at least once. I never pulled out the LolliPod tripod and I only used the the Panasonic 35-100mm, f/4-5.6 lens once in place of my 12-40mm. I switched between the GM-5 and my E-M1. I was always pulling out my iPhone 7 Plus, especially when I needed to take an HDR shot. I used the HDR feature on the E-M1 many times too. So, the majority of my images were shot with either the 12-40mm, f/2.8 or the Panasonic 25mm, f/1.4. Having just offloaded my images today from the trip and importing them into Lightroom, I see, too, that almost 1/3 of all the images I captured were shot with my iPhone!

The TrueHDR app on my iPhone usually did a great job of giving me a decent image at times when the sky was overcast yet bright or when there was bright sky but shadowy streets, such as narrow passages between buildings that are very typical in many of the small towns and villages I visited. And this is where I failed to use equipment I had brought when I should have!  I should have slipped the iPhone into the ShoulderPod S1 and attached the S1 to either the LolliPod or the HandlePod, but I never did! The good news is that many of those 3-shot HDR images still came out pretty well, but several did not because I didn't hold the iPhone steady enough. Dumb! I wish I had experimented more with one setup or the other. I'm doing that now that I'm home, so I don't make the same mistake on my next trip!

On a few occasions I shot a fair amount of video with my iPhone 7 Plus using the FilmicPro app. However, I practically never used my Olympus Tough TG-Tracker camera to record video. I also never unwrapped and used my Panasonic 12-32mm, f/4-5.6 or my Olympus 45mm, f1.8 lens. They remained in my SKITCH-12 bag the whole time, as did my Nissan i40 flash. I did some recording on a tour we took one evening using the Olympus digital recorder, but I never used the Rode VideoMicro mic or the lavelier mics I had with me!

I used my WD Passport Wi-Fi drive every day when I was settled in my room at night. I used it to save any iPhone images shot that day just as I described in my previous post. The little Omar's drive was great to have to transfer videos I captured with the iPhone. It was, in fact, a godsend since video really eats up a smartphone's storage space! Along with the Passport drive, the Omar's drive stayed with my luggage. However, next time I will carry the Omar's drive with me. On the tour we took, I recorded a lot and had to quickly delete a bunch of images (ones I had already saved but hadn't taken off the iPhone) to free up space. Had I had the Omar's drive with me, that wouldn't have been necessary.

GM-5 and the Panasonic 35-100mm, f/4-5.6  

I still want to think about what has to go with me on a trip, but next time we're away, I'm only taking my two camera bodies and lenses I had on them plus the 9mm BCL and the Panasonic 35-100mm, f/4-5.6. And next time I will mount the 35-100mm on my GM-5 instead of the 25mm. The 25mm is nice to have since it's a good, versatile focal length (50mm equivalent in 35mm terms), but especially because of its f/1.4 max aperture! The 35-100mm is a more practical one to mount for walking around so I can use the GM-5 when I need reach and my E-M1 with the 12-40mm for most shooting. The miscellaneous necessities I had will stay, but I need to determine which support system stays in the bag. This was a fairly typical trip for me. That is, I very seldom use a tripod and didn't on this trip, but I see that I do need some way to stabilize my iPhone, particularly when shooting multiple shot HDR images!

Lowepro Streamline 250

In the future I will take only my little Olympus audio recorder and one lavalier mic with a long cable unless I know ahead of time that I'm going to do recording that would be better done with a better mic. Though I didn't use my little flash, I will always take it. It takes up very little room and will be handy to have if I find I do need it. I also need to consolidate all the "just in case" cables and things I bring in my several little bags, as they do take up space.

Hopefully, after I've examined what I didn't use and do a second (or third??) pass on deciding what really is necessary, I will have lessened my load to where my transport bag is also my day bag!