I like to take a lot of photos, and generally travel with a 35mm camera, but I've sometimes found myself wishing that I had brought a tripod, and maybe another lens or two. At the same time I don't want to be weighed down with camera equipment. What is the minimum equipment to get the most out of photo opportunities without dragging a lot of unnecessary equipment around?
Its been 10+ years since I traveled with a 35mm SLR. Back then I use to budget a 36 exposure cassette per day which took up a lot of volume in my carry-on. That and the pain of asking for hand examination of my film vs X-Ray. Now it's just a high capacity memory card.
Hi Anita, This time, to Sweden, I'm bringing my 50 mm prime lens. I vacillate with taking my light, cheap 15-55mm also, because others take this type of lens. However, my last trip to the Yorkshire Dales, when I took both, I ended up using the 50mm the bulk of the time and I have no favorite photos from the 15-55mm lens. I've been watching travel photography and street photography videos, and the information is conflicting so I'm going with my gut. I want to make things simple and light. I also don't like to change lenses in the field…want to keep my camera clean. I'll take more than 3 fast memory cards this trip, as I may be enjoying myself largely with photography on some days. I take the charger and two batteries as well. I bought a PocketPosey2 by Kelly Moore for this trip. I've been using it as a purse and carrying my camera everywhere the last several weeks and I like the size and light weight with just the 50mm lens. I'm not bringing a tripod as I'm going to the land of the midnight sun this time, and I never have actually taken one. I only have a Canon Rebel t2i, which is light weight to a full frame DSLR, but I like it.
One of our regular posters is a photographer who recently gave recommendations on another post. Maybe you can find it or she might post here…not sure if we're supposed to name people so I won't here. But you could message me and I'll give you her name so you can read her posts. She, of course, is more experienced than I am. Have fun, Wray
I view myself as an avid photographer but others might not. Have won a couple of minor photography contests. Some people my work is decent. Use carry a lot of equipment - couple lens, SL body, tri-pod, remote release, etc. Then about fifteen years ago or so I a major article from a renown Nat. Geo photographer who had earned many awards for his pictures. Nearly everything he shot was with a range finder camera behind the highest quality lens possible. His main point was too many photographer worry about the equipment and don't focus on the picture. Too busy manipulating the equipment. A couple weeks after the article I saw an ad for a Contax G-2 system with Zeiss lens. It took a while to adjust to the camera but never looked back. FOR ME, a far superior approach. And the quality of my photos increased substantially - that when I won the two prizes.
I only carry a high end point and shoot Canon. I wish the quality of the lens was better but no choice in that area. Also using an older model Canon that uses AA batteries so no need for specialized batteries and a charger. Never run out of juice or forget the charger. Use a very small gorilla tripod. A polarizing filter and that is it. Are the pictures as good as my G-2? No, that was film but I am close enough and more than good enough for travel photography. And the small internal zoom is handy. It works for me and total camera weight is about 2 lbs and rarely obvious until I am using it.
It depends on where you are. Some art museums don't allow a tripod and most (with paintings that will be damaged by thousands of flashes, for example) don't allow flash photography.
I was disappointed to learn that the Musee Orsay (Paris) has changed its rules and no longer allows photography of any kind, even video.
The ultra-small tripods have worked ok for me, in low light conditions.
I take photos of everything that is interesting and photogenic, which is most places in Europe!
Henri Cartier Bresson excelled with one 35 mm rangefinder and a 50 mm lense only supplemented on occasion with a wide angle for landscapes. On the other hand Ansel Adams is known for large format work carrying multiple tens of pounds of photo gear with the assistance of pack animals.
An interesting packing list bring to mind Adam's Moonrise image using car roof as a photo platform:
Newhall narrated Larry Dawson's 1957 film, Ansel Adams, Photographer,
and described Adams's photographic gear:
"...A fine craftsman employs different tools for different purposes.
Item: one 8 x 10 view camera, 20 holders, 4 lenses -- 1 Cooke
Convertible, 1 ten-inch Wide Field Ektar, 1 9-inch Dagor, one
6-3/4-inch Wollensak wide angle. Item: one 7 x 17 special panorama
camera with a Protar 13-1/2-inch lens and five holders. Item: one 4 x
5 view camera, 6 lenses -- 12-inch Collinear, 8-1/2 Apo[chromatic]
Lentar, 9-1/4 Apo[chromatic] Tessar, 4-inch Wide Field Ektar,
Dallmeyer [...] telephoto.
"Item: One Hasselblad camera outfit with 38, 60, 80, 135, & 200
millimeter lenses. Item: One Koniflex 35 millimeter camera. Item: 2
Polaroid cameras. Item: 3 exposure meters. One SEI, and two Westons --
in case he drops one.
"Item: Filters for each camera. K1, K2, minus blue, G, X1, A, CC in5
&B, F, 85B, 85C, light balancing, series 81 and 82. Two tripods: one
light, one heavy. Lens brush, stopwatch, level, thermometer, focusing
magnifier, focusing cloth, hyperlight strobe portrait outfit, 200 feet
of cable, special storage box for film.
[Ansel's car (a Cadillac) with platform pulls away from camera.]
"Item: One ancient, eight-passenger limousine with 5 x 9-foot camera
platform on top."
Yes, i have the nikon fx dslr w hugh speed excellent glass and all the "goodies" and an excellent backpack to carry all of it.
But, i greatly enjoyed the challenge of focusing on composition while "lugging" only my phone and the results were satisfying.
Some interesting responses so far. Thanks! I'm doing the Venice, Florence, Rome trip in late Sept., early Oct., and the camera I currently have is a Canon Rebel digital (the earliest model, only 10mp). I'm thinking there will be some good opportunities for early evening, or night shots, and the lens that I usually have on it is a 28-80, 58mm. I'm thinking in lower light I might want either a better lens, or a tripod. I've discovered I could upgrade the camera (which I've been thinking of doing) with my air miles points and get either a Cannon Rebel SL 1, or a T5i. Both of these cameras are 18mp, and have a lot more ISO settings, and other options than what I currently have, and both have an 18-55 lens. Or, maybe I should just look for a more versatile lens for the camera I have so I can just go with the one.
You definitely need a decent camera to create great images, however it is the photographer and not the camera. The less equipment I can carry, the better. I am a professional photographer and while I am out for the day I carry a Nikon DSLR with a zoom lens... 18-125. I am always ready to capture an image and never fooling with my camera or changing lenses. It is second nature and lets me concentrate on the most important things... the lighting, the composition and the content of the image. Once in a while I wish I had a wide angle or a 250 zoom, but not enough to make it worth hauling more equipment. In the old days I would have tons of equipment, tripod, film, etc. Now it is so much easier. I can enjoy my trip as well as enjoy taking images. I think rather than buying a bunch of new equipment the best way to enhance your photography is to give yourself some assignments and study composition and lighting of great photographs as well as beautiful paintings.... it's all about light.
Get up early and watch the sunrise in the locations you are visiting. You will get some amazing images before the light comes up and the tourists come out... then you can relax most of the rest of the day knowing you have some great pictures that most people won't make the effort to take.
You certainly can stick with the prime lens only, but if you want a little flexibility, you might try a bridge camera. There are some pros with this approach: you have a wide focal length range at your fingertips, but you don't have to lug around extra lenses to get what you want. For example, I have the Panasonic FZ-200 and it offers both manual and auto capabilities. It's got a wide range (25-600mm) so if you want to get that wide shot you can. This particular model is also good in low light. I've only taken a few low-light photos, but I was quite happy with it and many of the reviews report the same. I do have a gorilla pod, but my current camera is too heavy for it. I may think about getting a heavier-duty tripod for my next trip. However, I found it didn't need it on my last one. We'll see.
Good Luck in your planning ( both for the camera and the trip). :)
I've included a link to my camera if you're interested: http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-DMC-FZ200-Digital-Camera-Optical/dp/B008MB6ZX0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430002521&sr=8-1&keywords=Panasonic+fz200
Used several different camera and lense combos for all types of photography. Most recently my go to has been the small Sony rx100m3. Does about 95% of what I need in a point and shoot size.
...Canon Rebel digital (the earliest model, only 10mp). I'm thinking there will be some good opportunities for early evening, or night shots, and the lens that I usually have on it is a 28-80, 58mm.....
Your Rebel is a DSLR with an APS-C sensor, smaller than a full frame 35mm equivalent sensor. That means your 35 mm equivalent lenses have a 1.6 factor. An APS-C 28 mm lens is equivalent in coverage to a full frame 45mm lens, about a "normal" lens. At 80mm, your zoom will be a short telr, eqiv to 128mm in full frame coverage. You probably will want something wider like 18mm to get a 28mm equivalent wide angle.
Anita, like garrisonju, I am extremely happy with my Sony RX100 (though mine is the base model without wifi, etc). It's an excellent mix of compact and capable-it shoots very well in low light situations, shoots RAW and JPEG or both, operates in a few full Auto modes, which I don't use much, as well as aperture or shutter priority and manual, which I do use, it has a 20MP APS sensor. I am able to mount it on a small tripod if I want. It has a version of the "Zeiss" lens that has appeared on several P & S cameras over the last few years.
I hear you saying that you want to have more elaborate equipment when you are there, but that you don't wish to haul it all around. I carry my Nikon DSLR with a 16-85 zoom, my Sony, and my iPhone 4s, and a small tripod. I have been tempted at times to leave the Nikon at home-or in the apartment/hotel-but so far have not. Camera technology continues to advance rapidly; with my Sony I get very satisfactory shots, and that may just be good enough. There are several products out there from Sony, Canon, and Panasonic that could fit the bill and lighten your load.
Thanks for all the great suggestions, that Panasonic camera looks quite interesting, Gretchen. Terry, you are right about the skill of the photographer being just as important as the camera. I am currently working my way through a National Geographic fundamentals of photography course in the hopes of learning at least a few things. You will often find me up before dawn awaiting the sunrise down at the river, and I'm hoping to get the chance to do some similar photos on my trip. Edgar, thanks for the response re: lenses. I think what I might do is check out some camera stores and see if I can find a lens with a bit more range. My camera is old enough now that I can probably find a good used one. I guess I'm just trying to strike a balance between getting the photos I want, and not carrying around a bunch of crap I won't use!
"What is the minimum equipment to get the most out of photo opportunities without dragging a lot of unnecessary equipment around?"
As the replies indicate, there are a lot of opinions on that topic. I'm an avid amateur photographer and for me this would be the bare minimum.....
- DSLR (I currently use a Canon 7D, which is a bit heavy but gets good results)
- 10-22 wide angle Lens
- 24-105 medium range zoom Lens
- Circular Polarizing Filter
- Light travel Tripod (a bit of a nuisance to travel with and I don't take it on every trip, but I've found that having a Tripod allows me to get some good night photos)
- spare memory cards, one spare battery and charger
I don't typically travel with the "bare minimum" and usually pack along one additional lens, a Flash and a few other accessories (rain cover, remote shutter release, etc.). I also take a P&S camera, which is good for snapshots, pictures of menus or food or for taking out in the evenings when I don't want to pack the larger camera.
Photography is a big part of my travels, and while it's somewhat of a "pain" to travel with a DSLR, I've found that's necessary to get the results I want to achieve. If I'm out with only the P&S and spot a good photo op, I miss having the DSLR .
I really enjoy photography, am in several photography clubs and go to lots of lectures about photography and post processing. However, when I go to foreign lands I consider myself a traveler who photographs rather than a photographer who travels. In looking for balance between a decent camera and "travelability" I take 2 cameras with me: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000. Both cameras have bigger sensors than "point and shoot" cameras which give them better low light capacity and other advantages. The Sony fits in my pocket for when I go out to dinner or am taking a walk in the park. It has also come in handy when (the times I take tours) we disembark for a few moments. Also, it serves as a backup camera when needed. I often take a very small travel tripod and the Sony fits on it just fine allowing me night shots etc. The Panasonic has a good lens (with 25-400 optic zoom) and I never have to worry about dust on the sensor etc. I don't take other equipment so the extra batteries, lens cloth, memory card all fit neatly into the camera bag which holds the Panasonic. Another small case also holds the Sony and I have found a small pouch which I have attached to the zipper with holds a spare battery and memory cards for it. Those two cameras have given me a fair amount of shooting options with fairly light weight and aren't all that expensive. I've traveled with just the Sony and with just the Panasonic, but I find the two form a sort of dynamic duo. If I wanted to be more minimalist I would just take the Panasonic. Again, to me sensor size is one of the most overlooked capacities of a camera and I appreciate the larger size in these two.
I'm an avid photographer who always travels solo, which means my trips consist of me walking around taking pictures all day while visiting churches, museums, and the outdoors. It took me a few trips with different equipment before I found my magic combination (one good camera body and a superzoom lens.) I used to bring a Nikon DSLR with an 18-200mm lens, and have always been pleased with the results. I decided after one trip that switching lenses in the field wasn't for me. I know that purists hold their noses at zoom lenses, but I love my travel photos, and in the end, that's what matters.
Last summer, I was on a business trip to Scotland only a month after recovering from a back injury, so I was very worried about camera weight. (Also, who am I kidding?--I was inventing an excuse to buy a new camera!) I wanted to go for a mirrorless, and I insisted on weather-sealed because I missed out on some photos in Iceland after my camera became hopelessly fogged up in the driving rain. I ended up with a Fujifilm mirrorless camera that was only a few ounces lighter than my normal kit, and only a cm or two smaller. I love that camera, and got great results with it in a wide variety of light and subject conditions. I can crop my photos if I want to get closer to the subject, so I don't worry about zoom capacity too much. In my "normal life" I'm a scenic & costume designer for the theater, so low-light capability is my main priority in a camera, and since photography is both my hobby and something that helps my business, I splurge on equipment. I've never traveled with a tripod, embracing instead the adventure of stabilizing my camera on nearby bridges, walls, and rocks or myself. I've never missed a shot due to a lack of tripod, and so far, have never wanted one. I do take two extra batteries, a charger, and several memory cards. Good Luck!
Check out this web site for some pragmatic guidance about selecting cameras.
Or go here for generic and fairly unbiased info on cameras. You can use the camera compare function to look at cameras side-by-side. They also have periodic (search the website) reviews on "best" cameras (e.g., waterproof, travel, etc.)
I enjoy photography and am actively trying to work on my skills (which are decent but not great). I'm nowhere near as avid as some others in this thread, so take this for what it's worth...
I take an entry level DSLR (Nikon D3300). For walking around and general touring, I leave a 24-120 f/4 on. I find it covers most general situations. I don't like changing lenses on general tourist days, and I tend to shoot architecture and street scenes. The f4 is helpful for medium-low light (inside churches), especially if I can stabilize on a bench. When I first got my camera I just used the kit lens, which was an 18-55 f3.5/5.6 and I got some good shots but the 5.6 was a limitation. The f4 is much better. In some ideal world I'd like both the option of a bigger zoom and a wider angle, but the aperture piece is more important to me. I also pack a 35mm f1.8 lens which I use in specific situations (mainly at night or very low light) . If I'm going somewhere very landscape-y, I will borrow and bring a very wide angle lens (14mm or something), but I don't own one. At times, it would be useful, but there are trade offs and it doesn't quite make the cut. I don't want to carry around a huge, heavy camera bag but I want good photos. It's a tough balance.
I have a canon powershot that I bring as well. I don't even know the model number, it's fairly basic and was under $200. It's a good point and shoot that I use as backup. There are times the big camera will call attention to itself or simply won't fit in a given space, so this can be handy.
So a camera, 2 or 3 lenses, case, lens cleaner, memory cards, and... that's it.
On a trip to Italy last March, I decided to leave my dSLR at home and carried just a Panasonic LX-7 and my iPhone. It worked great as a light weight, no-hassle solution. ( If I were buying today, I would most likely choose the Panasonic LX100. I hear great things about the Sony RX100's as well. )
Before another trip to Italy last October, I bought an Olympus OMD EM-10 (micro 4/3 system), with a couple of kit zooms and a couple of fast primes. The M4/3 setup gave me more flexibility, especially in low light and wide angles, with a minimal weight penalty. (I also carried my LX7 as a backup, but I wound up loaning it to a travel companion whose camera broke during the trip.)
By the time I returned to Venice for Carnevale in February, I had acquired more lenses for the Olympus ... and I took all of them, including an f2.8 zoom. It was a little heavy on the plane, although everything still fit easily under the seat in front of me. For walking around, I would generally carry the camera with one lens mounted, and a flash and spare lens in my pockets. The flash was essential for the type of shooting I was doing on that particular trip and so I have no regrets about bringing it, but I don't think I would take the flash for most trips. In hindsight, I carried more than I needed. I will probably scale things back somewhat before the next trip.
So .... if you really want to scale back, take a look at the high-end compacts. If you still want to fiddle with changing lenses and such, take a look at a Micro 4/3 system, which gives you a lot of the flexibility of a dSLR at about half the weight.
The essentials, I think:
* spare batteries
* memory cards
* polarizing filter
For lenses, the most important thing to cover is the mid-range focal length --- more or less a 28-70 FF equivalent. A wide angle and a fast prime and maybe a mild telephoto are nice to add on, if you are willing to deal with the extra weight.
And one more thing .... I usually set a weight budget. For me, it's 5 pounds, including the camera bag/day pack, which usually weighs about 2 pounds. I set the weight limit by walking around locally for several hours with my gear. If I am tired and achy at the end of two hours, I go home an rethink my choices. If I can make it for two hours with the weight, then I am usually good to go all day.
Such great advice here! I finally went into a couple of camera shops and took a look at the Canon SL 1 and T5i. I don't like the size of the SL1, it's too small in my hands, and I think I would be constantly pressing the buttons by accident. The T5i is nice, and the camera pros at both shops recommended it over the SL1. It seems like the really big improvement over my old one will be the software and sensors. Pricing out a better lens for the old one it seems like to get something decent I would have to spend a few hundred dollars. Might be best to just upgrade the camera, then see about adding another lens.
I am a photo-a-holic! I empathize with all of the posters on this topic who bring their DSLR, several lens, back up cameras, etc. (but the tripod stays home). I am you.
I am proud of my OCD, because I return from my trips with a lot of phenomenal images that are beyond the capabilities of an iPhone (I own) and a P&S (I own). The extra weight is my burden. To my l knowledge it does not interfere with my fellow travelers and/or others' tour experience. I linger at the back of the "pack" when on walking tours so I can take images as I choose without holding up the guides and my fellow tour buddies.
I am always amused on the first walking tour to see who the photographers are in the group. Typically we/they slide to the back of the "pack". We know why :-)
If I have learned one thing from RS through the years is to carry my camera and lens in a back pack….not a camera bag. The RS civita bag works great for me.
You have to make your own camera choice. What are you using your images for? Facebook, instagram, twitter……then an iPhone is perfect! If you want to go beyond just posting images on social media…..then you do need to upgrade to higher end equipment……..and be prepared for a bulkier back pack :-)
FWIW…..I always share a lot of my images with my travel buddies after I "process" them……especially pictures of the tour members.
Hope this helps!
Incidentally, the Sony RX-100, recommended or mentioned four times in this thread (the RX-100 is the base model) is $398 at B & H right now, after $100 instant savings, with free shipping. I paid $500 two or three years ago. I love this camera! Oddly enough I first heard of it from RS, who was using it at the time. I go to RS for advice on a wide range of topics-not clothes-such as travel and cameras!
No less than Hasselblad has gussied this body up and put their name on it, at about twice the price.
Atlhough that's a good price for the Sony RX-100, unfortunately that would only be the beginning, as adding Lenses and other accessories will inevitably increase the price substantially. I tend to look at interchangeable lens camera purchases as an investment in a camera system. Of course, that's not a concern with P&S Cameras. I bought a Panasonic ZS-30 a few years ago and really happy with the results I've been getting from it.
Ken, the RX-100 is not an interchangeable lens system, just the one lowly Zeiss product that takes lovely photos :-)
Having said that, an almost necessary aftermarket grip for it is a big help and makes one-handed shooting easier.
I often take my tripod. I particularly take it if I am going walk and anticipate taking some landscapes with moving water. And since I go to Scotland there is lots of water. :) The first tripod that I got was too heavy and I tended not to want to carry it so it was useless. I bought a light weight Slik. I've had it a while, but it's something like this. I know all the arguments about the need for a sturdy one, but if you don't use it what is the point! I also use a combo wide-angle/long zoom lens 35-200. I have tried not using the zoom, but I really miss it when I don't have it.
I have struggled with point and shoots. They seem to die on me and inconvenient times. And they are not cheap. I've tried Nikon and Canon. The latest problem was with the Canon battery. Sigh. I like having both with me when I travel as I want to leave the DSLR in the hotel at night, but if I don't have a camera I feel naked. The phone may replace it ultimately.
Anita, simple is good. These days I travel with just an obsolete (by today's standards) Nikon D5000 and an 18-105 mm lens. No other lenses and no flash, tripod or beanbag, not even a camera bag. In order to be as inconspicuous as possible, I carry the camera in an old Swiss Army-style messenger bag when not shooting.
I used to carry around a lot more and had fun using different cameras, lenses, film and equipment. But it was a lot to haul around, and my pictures were not any better than they are with my current equipment. The last thing I gave up was the 300 mm lens, but most of the time it was just deadweight.
Over time, I went back to my early training as a photojournalist with a manual rangefinder; for instance, any solid vertical or horizontal surface can substitute for a tripod in a low-light situation, such as a church interior, a street at night or a landscape at sunrise or sunset. In the end, all a photographer needs for good pictures is a decent-quality camera and lens, a good eye and a good brain.
Thanks for the correction. I'm not too familiar with Sony models and did mistake that for the interchangeable lens version. I was in a hurry to go for lunch so I didn't double-check.
For those few folks (like me) that have stuck with their point-and-shoots and haven't upgraded to an SLR--a Europe trip is a good excuse to splurge on an SLR. The prices seem to have come down in the last year or so. Just think of the better photos you'll get in the low light conditions in dark churches and in museums that don't allow flash photography.
I finally got one today.
Now if I can just figure out how to operate it.
Fifteen years ago, you would have found me lugging around an SLR camera bag (first with film Canon Elan and then a digital Canon Rebel with zoom and a prime 50 mm) flash, spare batteries, film, tripod, a camcorder bag and a diaper bag all looped on the handles of an umbrella stroller. My toddler had to be sitting in the stroller to keep it from flipping backwards from all the weight. It is next to impossible to reconcile packing light and lugging around a bunch of near-professional grade photography equipment.
The last 5-10 years I have been limiting myself to just a little Canon SD600. It does not even have image stabilization. I can take more and better pictures because the little camera is so convenient. I don't need to fumble with lens caps or camera bags etc. Using a big SLR, I found that I never bothered to use the manual settings anyways because of the time it took to fiddle with all the settings, switching lens and setting up a tripod etc.
IMO, taking a decent photo is usually a combination of opportunity and technique and that technical specs are secondary. My little camera's sweet spot is at the widest setting, zooming in caused the images to be more fuzzy. I learned to zoom with my feet and to move around to get to a position to compose a better photo.
Also, I learned to just brace my little camera to avoid camera shake and to take sharper images in very low light settings., eg bracing it against the the tops of a church pew or garbage can or the sides of a wall or stone column. People are often amazed how sharp some of my photos are even when taken in a dark church without a flash. Want to take an awesome photo of a ceiling? Set the 2 second timer, lay your phone on the floor, push the button and step back.
I just updated to an up to date Canon S120 using Airmiles. Finally have image stabilization, slightly bigger sensor, more megapixels, more zoom and higher rated IQ. In testing it out, the new camera does help with camera shake and I can push the ISO bit more than before. But in the low light interiors and very slow shutter situations, I will still need to use the bracing technique. Looking forward to using new camera in Italy. Only thing that I added was to buy a high capacity SD card and an extra battery. I exect to take several hundred photos a day. Leaving in 2 days.
Since the RX100 has a couple of fans (besides myself) I'll add one other nice thing about it. Because it is light the tripod I take will hold it up but not my larger Panasonic. The RX100 is the size of a PS (but with a larger sensor.) So the tripod weights about 3 oz. and extends about 6 inches. It is great for shots of moving water and night shots. I can set the ISO low and still get a nice shot. When wandering a city at night the combo can't be beat for picture quality and "travelability" (IMHO.) I used to take a larger travel tripod with me but it just isn't worth the weight for me. And of course, the camera shoots RAW files.
I'd like to second what Funpig posted above.
I'm an avid photographer and own the whole kit: full-frame DSLR, all the glass, filters, etc. What camera am I bringing on my first trip to Europe? A Canon S110. It's cheap, so if it's stolen, I'm not out $5k. It's light and comes with IS, which should be good for one stop.
The best thing, 'tho, is that it shoots RAW. Post-processing RAW images in Lightroom is a breeze and will recover all but the worst over-and-under exposure situations. Yes, RAW images take up more space, but with huge memory cards being incredibly cheap now, there's almost no reason to shoot JPEG.
"Now if I can just figure out how to operate it."
I'd suggest packing along the owner's manual (I do). I spend some time during the flight re-familiarizing myself with some of the lesser used features and also changing the clock for European time. That way I'm up to speed and ready to take pictures when I touch down in Europe.
Hopefully you also bought a spare battery and an adequate supply of memory cards.
You can also try putting your make/model into the search function on YouTube and see what videos come up for it. There may be some short videos to watch on how to operate your new camera.