© martyn pearce
Olympus Trip 35


The first camera that I bought was an Olympus Trip 35mm film camera, a small camera with a fixed 40mm lens, which I bought in Gibraltar in 1969. I was 'off to see the world' at the time but didn't get much further on that occasion. I now regret not even having a camera when I first set off with two friends the year before. It was a great little camera for traveling because it had a simple automatic exposure control and it didn't need a battery. It cost me about £20, which was almost my weekly wage as a truck while I was in Gibraltar. This camera then went everywhere with me for about 15 years until I bought my first SLR.


Canon 35mm film SLRs

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Canon AE1  -  Canon A1 with motor-drive  -  Canon F1n with power-winder

© martyn pearce
Canon F1n kit. Billingham 335 bag.



My first SLR camera was a Canon AE1 with a 50mm f1.8 lens. Cameras were generally sold with a 'standard' 50mm lens in those days. I added more prime lenses. Later I changed to a Canon A1 and then to a Canon F1n.

Then Canon introduced auto-focus cameras and abandoned their FD lens mount, meaning that none of my lenses would fit a new Canon camera. So I sold everything and changed to Nikon. Their new autofocus cameras and lenses were compatible with their older manual ones.

Nikon 35mm film SLRs

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Nikon FM2n manual SLR and Nikon F80 auto-focus SLR.

I bought a used Nikon FM2n and a new autofocus Nikon F80 and some Nikkor autofocus lenses. In those days people were wary of only having cameras that wouldn't work if the battery went flat. The FM2 didn't need a battery to keep working and it could use any Nikkor lens, so it made a great back-up camera. I loved using this camera and mostly used it with a manual focus Nikkor 50mm f1.4 (which could also be used on the F80). It was a very relaxing camera to use when not in a hurry. I still have it.


© martyn pearce
Nikon D3.

Digital SLRs

When digital SLRs had became more affordable I changed the Nikon F80 body for a Nikon D70 body and continued to use my Nikkor AF lenses. At various times I had a Nikon D300, a D700, a D750 and my final DSLR, a D3.



Compact cameras

When not carrying an SLR or a DSLR, I always took a pocketable fixed-lens film camera of some sort with me. After my original Olympus trip I used an even smaller Olympus XA2 and then an Olympus Mju II. When digital compacts became available I changed to a Nikon Coolpix 775 and then to a Nikon P300.

© martyn pearce   © martyn pearce   © martyn pearce   © martyn pearce

Compact fixed lens cameras - Olympus Xa2 - Olympus Mju II - Nikon Coolpix 775 - Nikon P300

The Nikon 775 was small and chunky with a small rear screen and a tiny viewfinder. It was also slow and had a very small sensor. The Nikon P300 was small and neat and had a larger sensor, but although the rear screen was large I found it hard to see in bright light, so I changed it for a Fujifilm X20 which had an optical viewfinder with a digital exposure readout. The X20 was a really good little camera but later I changed to a Fujifilm X100T which was even better as it had the larger APS-C sensor plus a large bright optical and electronic viewfinder instantly switchable from one to the other by flicking a little lever on the front.

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Compact fixed lens cameras Fujifilm X20 and Fujifilm X100T.


Mirrorless camera system

I was so impressed by the quality and ability of the Fuji fixed lens cameras that I decided to try a Fuji mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. So I bought a used X-pro2 and a short zoom lens. Wow! I was so impressed by what I could do with that camera that I could not do with a DSLR that I decided to stop lugging my heavy Nikon kit around and change to a lighter, more compact Fuji system. I sold my Nikon DSLR gear and bought more Fujinon lenses and a Fujifilm X-E3 as a second body.

I now use a Fuji X-T3 as my main camera. I love that camera because it has external controls to set focus mode, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation, drive mode and exposure mode, without the need to power it up, so I can always be prepared.

My Fuji X-E3 is not as versatile as the X-T3 but it is small and light and with a small prime lens it will fit into a pocket. It is an ideal street camera. I had a Fuji X100V for over a year but I found that I was using the X-E3 more, mainly because I could use my other Fuji lenses on it, so I sold it (for more than I paid for it). The X-E3 with 27mm f2.8 is smaller and lighter than the X100V and only slightly larger with an 18mm f2.


© martyn pearce
X-T3 kit for most eventualities


Out and about with Fuji

If I want to fully cover a wide range of focal lengths I usually take my X-T3 with 10-24mm f4, 16-80mm f4 and 70-300mm f4-5.6, giving me a full 15mm to 450mm equivalent range.

These all fit snugly into my Billingham Hadley Pro. Weight: 3kg including the bag. If I pop a Fuji 1.4x converter into a side pocket I can increase the range from 450mm to 610mm.


© martyn pearce
X-E3 traveling light


If I am traveling light with my man bag I just take my X-T3 with a 16-80mm f4, but if I want to be a bit more discrete I take my X-E3 with a 23mm f2, or perhaps a 35mm f2 and an 18mm f2. They are all great for street use.

Another great street lens is the 60mm f2.4 - it's only a few millimeters longer and a few grams heavier than the 23mm f2.

My best man bag is an original canvas Billingham Hadley, now soft and floppy and without the padded insert so that I still have room for other travel essentials such as a light fleece or waterproof, sun glasses, cap, maps, umbrella, hip flask, etc. Billingham modified it for me so that it is held closed and secure using the buckles and not the usual quick-release holes and studs.

If I am not carrying a bag I will have an X-E3 with the tiny 27mm f2.8 in my jacket pocket. I might pop the little 18mm f2 into another pocket.


Contact me here if you have a question or any advice.


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