The weight of a DSLR is not to be under estimated. A full frame camera plus a couple of lenses, and then chuck in a handful of filters can easy push bag weight over 8 kg. Add to that the significant weight of a good tripod and your shoulders start to twitch in mournful anticipation.

Recently on a trip to Kerala in southern India I had cause to consider if the race to get to full frame and stay there is really the promised land so many photographers think it is. Its 9 am and we have just pulled into the cloud forest of Tata owned tea plantations in southern Munnar. Like a scene from Brave Heart our wild hero Stewart Kenny from Dublin Photography School, struggles to hold back this army of optic laden warriors intent on unleashing a volley of shots across this truly spectacular scene, advising that around the next corner is the scene worthy of 24 hours and 6000 miles. His words do little to quell the Meerkat impressions on every seat on the coach, as lenses are selected and tripods freed from under seat prisons. This is going to be a stampede to best spots. Ok most of that was just me. But I’m sure I was not the only one who could not wait to get off the coach.

Image left, Canon 6d, 24-105L @ F10 ISO 400 1/25 second. Image right Iphone while waiting on the light to come up over the mountain. 

Springing from the coach, as I do. I take flight with the rest of the group through the open gate and into the damp green scrub. Tea in the morning here is not like at home. Tea here smells like cut grass, and tastes like it, if your silly enough to try it (Sorry Steven).  I’m really struggling to carry a bag with a DSLR, 3 lenses, filters and a heavy tripod across uneven terrain. And I’m still sore from doing so yesterday in the heat of Port Kochi. But I assure myself that full frame will produce the best images. All i have to do is find the spot, and one that nobody else is in!

Two hours of running, climbing, falling and dragging a heavy back later and its back to the coach, just in time for the local security to turn up and ask us to come out of the plantation. Be grand! After ridding myself of a couple of inches of muck from a once clean pair of sketchers (not the best footwear choice for the occasion, but it was 38 degrees the day before and 100% humidity) I’m eager to see what everyone else has managed to capture. This is the funny part, they guys with smaller mirrorless cameras are less stressed, not half as sweaty and in not one image did i look and say “well thats a cracker of a shot, but if you had a DSLR the dynamic range would have been better” or “if only you had taken that with a full frame sensor you would have captured more detail”. No the real discussion was the ease to getting to the prize, not just the weight of the gear, but things I had not considered. Like the electronic viewfinder, and how it helped massively to see the final image as you clunked shut the shutter. There maybe more to this mirrorless lark than I thought I muse lighting up my trade mark for the trip King Edward cigar.

Watch this Space !


Manic Photographer