14th July 2022

Before you leave home, decide on what you will photograph and only bring the lenses suited to that. I think it’s okay to have a large lens kit, but if your camera bag can be used for weight training, don’t let FOMO paralyse you.

Maybe it's age, but I've reduced my lens "kit" to just a few lenses but I want to add more lenses. I don't like swapping out lenses when I'm out and about. Part of the reason is that carrying too many lenses, especially zoom lenses and small aperture fixed focal length lenses, adds weight to the camera bag. I usually decide what I want to do before I leave the house. I got a smaller camera bag to force myself not to carry more than two lenses.

I recently used this YouTube video to advise another photographer who was a having challenge deciding on which of his many lenses to bring to an event. I have had that challenge in the past when gear-based FOMO takes over, and I suffered from the tyranny of choice.

I have a Minolta XD-11 35mm film camera and three Minolta lenses; the MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7, the MD Rokkor-X 45mmF2 and MD Rokkor-X 28mmF2.8 . The XD-11 body weighs 560g. The MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7, MD Rokkor-X 45mmF2 and MD Rokkor-X 28mmF2.8 lenses weigh 165g, 125g and 265g, respectively. The three-lens film kit weighs about just over 1 kilogram. The Rokkor-X 45mm and Rokkor-X 50mm are pretty close in focal length, so often, I will choose one to put in the camera bag along with the Rokkor-X 28mm. However, unless I know I will be making wide-angle photographs, I’ll usually choose to bring the Rokkor-X 45mm only.

This 35m film lens kit is all I need to capture the images I want with the Minolta XD-11. The 35mm film kit is my hobby within a hobby.

When it comes to my Fuji X-T3 lens kit, I am taking a different perspective.

Actually, all amateurs needed to do (with primes) was a.) figure out the main normal that was most comfortable for them; b.) figure out if they wanted to augment that with a wide angle, and, if so, which one; and c.) ditto with a short tele. The last step, d.), was to decide if a longer tele was wanted or not. ~ Mike Johnston at The Online Photographer

The X-T3 body weighs 539g, slightly lighter than the Minolta XD-11 body. I have two Fujinon lenses; the Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 R WR (41mm-e1) and XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR (24.5-84mm-e) lenses for the X-T3. The XF16-55mm is my choice for landscapes and cityscapes (short end), portraits (long end), and everything in between (groups, events). But it's a heavy lens. The XF-16-55mm weighs 655g; 116g heavier than the camera body. I don’t fancy carrying nearly 1.2 kilograms around while on holiday or when out for street photography.

The XF27mm is compact and weighs just 84g, I usually leave it attached to the X-T3 body, almost like a body cap. To me, it’s the perfect "photographer about town" camera and just 1mm shy of being a "perfect normal" lens for the X-T3’s APS-C sensor. Using the original definition of the photographic term, the Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 R WR is my prime lens.

I rarely use the middle of the range on the XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR. Most photographs taken with that lens are either at the wide end (landscapes) or the long end (portraits). I think I may be better off splitting the weight and range of that lens into two lighter lenses; the XF16mmF2.8 R WR (24mm-e) for landscapes and the XF56mmF1.2 R (85mm-e) lens for portraits. The XF16mmF2.8 R WR weighs just 155g, and the XF56mmF1.2 R weighs 405g. The only other lens I want is the XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR for bird/wildlife photography. That lens weighs 1605g, and with the X-T3 camera body, this minimalist wildlife kit would weigh over 2 kilograms. It’s heavy but changing it out in the field is not something I would need to do.

The 16mm, 27mm, and 56mm focal lengths would cover the field of views I use most, covering landscapes, portraits and everyday photography. For the rest, I can zoom with my feet or crop.

Choose your lens kit based on the kinds of photographs you like to make. Before you leave home, decide on what you will photograph and only bring the lenses suited to that. I think it’s okay to have a large lens kit, but if your camera bag can be used for weight training, don’t let gear-based FOMO paralyse you.

  1. The "-e" indicates the full-frame equivalent focal length. I am borrowing this trick from The Online Photographer website. 

No more FOMO

There is always someone better. There is always someone with better gear, more free time, and more experience. Before Instagram, we didn’t really know about these people. But now we do and we get it rubbed in our jealous little noses on a daily basis. There are days where I’m sitting in my pjs staring out of the window at an uninspiring landscape of the small Canadian air force town that I am currently living in and a really amazing image of a sunset and hot air balloons comes into my feed and for a minute I feel bad. I start searching my Lightroom catalog for something equally as cool from the past 8 years, and come up empty handed. I waste a lot of time on this behaviour and it’s gotta go!Lisa Bethany

I know what she's talking about. I've been stuck in this trap for a while. I want out.