My Super Stripped Down Camera Dream Kit

My wife and I have been talking about a tiny home. 

We’re by no means indulgent or hoarders, and our house is modest for two adults and three children, but it’s still prompting some interesting discussions about how we could live with less, to live with more.

Less outgoings therefore less need to work to earn income, less to clean, maintain and replace, less to fuel and run.

To give us more freedom, more time, and more focus on the important essentials of life. 

Whilst I recently purged my cameras, I couldn’t take this many with me if we went tiny.

So it led to considering what I would choose as my tiny camera kit. 

One DSLR.

Most likely my Pentax K-m, but the K100D or Samsung GX-1S would be equally enjoyable.

Three lenses. 

Pentax-DA 35/2.4 for lightweight, excellent all round auto focus lens.

Super-Takumar 55/1.8 as the luxury option, no lens feels better to use. Fantastic photos too.

Helios 44-2 58/2 for delicious bokeh and the pleasure of preset aperture.

One higher end digital compact. 

My Lumix LX3 is top of the list, fantastic sensor plus Leica designed lens, as well as the brilliant Dynamic B/W mode.

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One super pocketable digital compact. 

Another Lumix, the tiny but very well designed XS-1.

The above would all fit in a smallish shoebox, along with some spare batteries, a couple of chargers/leads and my memory card reader.

If I had to be even more stripped down, the LX3 would probably be the single camera I chose.

It offers super capability in the palm of my hand, with no need for extra lenses, just a couple of batteries, a charger and a memory card reader.

How about you, what would your stripped down camera dream kit look like? 

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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16 thoughts on “My Super Stripped Down Camera Dream Kit”

  1. I’d go with two of my Leica screw mount bodies, my 35/3.5 Nikkor, my 50/2 Summicron, my 65/3.5 Elmar, my 90/4 Elmar, the 200/4 Telyt that I am still looking for, my Visoflex II, and a good tripod.

  2. Frankly I could survive with just one good bridge camera like my Nikon P610. The other gear is fun, but not essential. A lesson learned from owning hundreds of cameras and having to give them up.
    RE the tiny home; don’t do it. Small is good, but they tend to be too small. I’ve just spent two months living in a 20′ camping trailer on my own and it is dreadfully inconvenient and compromising. If there weren’t ten acres of woods around me and a lake out front it would be stifling in the extreme. But that’s not the worst of it. A lot of ‘tiny homes’ are an attempt to squeeze full-size accommodations into trailer-size space, and it doesn’t work. Especially not the ones which are build on trailer chassis (and fail to make it as either homes or trailers, bringing up legal issues depending on the local government). I’ve dealt with a few of these (helping with off-grid power system designs – which never work because they’re too small) and as an engineer I cringe at people piling heavy standard house construction methods on to a chassis that can’t take the weight. Worse if you actually plan to travel around in it. They may look nice and sound like a good idea, but for practical purposes they fail – even if the owners don’t realize it.
    Downsizing can be done without going overboard. We scaled back from a 3 acre plot with over 2,000 sq. ft. of house plus a 2 car garage and separate horse barn to a 1400 sq. ft. rancher and some storage sheds. I could cut back more than that, but the Mrs. is something of a hoarder. Curious side note: our daughter runs a business organizing other people’s spaces for them. I think she was inspired by her Mum’s tendency towards chaotic accumulation.

    1. Thanks for your experiences Marc. I think we (and especially me) like the idea of a tiny home much more than the reality. And with three kids it would be a challenge, it’s more of a young(er) couple thing I suspect. Or older people whose kids have grown and left home.

      We would most certainly look to have extensive outdoor space though, and I can see a feasible option somewhere down the line being a plot somewhere rural with a home for our main living, plus perhaps another building that’s home office/ shed storage, plus enough outdoor space for the kids to play and explore without feeling cramped.

      Over here we have these homes called mobile homes, but they’re not actually mobile, they’re transported on large trailers towed by articulated trucks then set down where their owner wants them, without the intention of moving them again. They look wider and longer than most of the tiny homes you see custom made with a mezzanine and on a chassis with wheels, but usually just have one level. That’d be more a more likely home in the future.

      In practice, for now, we’re trying to take some of the ideas around tiny homes and apply to our own, for example currently working on the garden to move the shed and trampoline (my son’s main hobby) to maximise the space we have.

      1. We have ‘mobile’ homes here. A large number of them in my community, in fact. I’m glad I live in a ‘real’ house as the mobiles are a right pain to work with. We also have a large number of pre-fab houses; brought in on a truck and set down on foundations. Marginally better. This town ‘grew up fast’ and suffers from a surfeit of boring industrial architecture. It’s one reason why I like our cabin; definitely not “cookie-cutter” build!
        With three kids you need more room than a tiny home would provide. We went from 2200 sq. ft. on 3 acres to 1400 on 1 once the kids moved out. It’s still small for her but large for me. 😀

  3. Always good ideal to reduce possessions but a tiny or even smaller house is a not good idea for 5 people, growing to be 5 adults. Dog (55lbs) and I lived 5 months in a 399sqft. house. Was OK., good construction. Real stove/oven. Shower, not tub in bath, 20Gal water heater, pocket door, queen sized bed you could barely walk around to make. 2 Tiny closets. Much bigger than the tiny houses you see on TV. High ceilings so didn’t feel cave like and good windows. One sectional couch to sit on, no dining area, this had an island with storage. There was a loft area but bent over on hands and knees. No place to be alone or to put your wet boots and coat. Two people really compatible could do it but why. Maybe if you lived retired in South of France and spent all days at cafes and museums. No No No

    1. I think to answer the why – having less stuff means less to buy and maintain and work to earn an income to finance. Does anyone really want to be paying a big mortgage and/or rent for half a century of their life? Less physical possessions = more freedom. But there has to be a balance somewhere, not having say only 100 possessions just as an arbitrary number for example. I think most of us – and certainly our family – can be as happy, and in fact happier, with less physical stuff for the reasons I wrote just now and in the main post above.

  4. You minimalists, I swear – LOL

    My girlfriend is a minimalist and she thinks my camera collection is ridiculous until she considers what else I could be spending money on…

    If I had no choice but to strip it all down, I’d quit film altogether and stick with two bodies and four lenses:

    E-M1
    E-M10 Mk II
    M. Zuiko 12-40 f2.8 Pro
    M. Zuiko 17mm f1.8
    M. Zuiko 45mm f1.8
    Panasonic 25mm f1.7

    1. Actually Rob, yes that’s one point I come back to myself. I don’t even spend that much on photography but I have very few (if any) other “disposable income” purchases, and no vices like cigarettes or alcohol that money goes on.

  5. You might be asking too much 🙂 But if I had to move into a tiny home with one shoe box… I have some large feet, so my shoe boxes are large… lol
    Seriously, I could accomplish a lot with just the Pentax K-S1 and the Sigma 30 1.4, and my pictures would probably be better for it because that lens has an absolutely beautiful perspective and I don’t think there’s a subject that it does not suit…
    But since the shoebox is a bit large, I can probably fit the DA*16-50mm f2.8 in there… and my DA 35 2.4 plastic fantastic that turns the camera into something so light I can carry all day… and the SMC-M 100mm f/2.8 so I can shoot my kids sports… and just perhaps I can fit my K200D in there for a lovely CCD sensor? You get the gist of it – when I see it I’m back with quite a bit of equipment.

    1. Chris, you do keep mentioning that Sigma 30/1.4… I think for some people it’s easier to think of what they have and what they like least and could let go of, and others prefer to build from nothing, pick the most essential camera first, then say if they were allowed one more what the next one would be and so on.

      1. Regarding the Sigma, despite the size and weight – which is not huge, but substantial – I find it to be the perfect APS-C lens and a “desert island” lens in that regard. I do sing its praises quite a lot because it is that good. Recently I took some pictures of a colorful bokeh with it and the legendary Pentax DA 35mm f/2.8 Limited and I think I like the Sigma pictures better…
        A former pentaxforums member who I regard extremely highly in terms of photographic knowledge said it’s remarkably close to Leica lenses in terms of how it renders images… and that is true of some Pentax lenses as well.
        With the latest Art version of the Sigma 30 1.4, they basically went with the “Pentax philosophy” of old (before the K-1 era) of not over-correcting the lenses – so not a lot of special glass, it only has one aspherical element at the end just like the better film era Pentax primes. It does have more elements than your typical “normal” prime but it’s basically a wide angle lens due to the type of mount (K-mount) and its distance from the sensor, technically speaking, even though it’s a “normal” field of view on APS-C.
        So it has the “soul” of an older lens (and the purple fringing at f1.4 to prove it) with its beautiful rendering, the amazing bokeh that you get from older lenses – while still being very sharp even at f1.4.
        Still, it did not review well in those photography sites where people use test charts in their basements, as people did not like the purple fringing wide open. I find it’s rarely ever a problem in real world pictures…
        After using the Sigma with the K200D I’m not almost inclined to say that this is now the camera I’d take if I could only have one… you just can’t beat the CCD, and having f1.4 available to keep the ISO low is a win-win situation – you can still use the K200D when there’s not so much light on the scene…
        Finally, regarding the comments on “smaller living”… my wife is what has been keeping me from living out in the country with a lot of land, and she’s slowly turning around on that… we might at some point move to some rural property… who knows? But not to a tiny home, for sure… lol

      2. Is 30mm the 35mm focal length, so it’s 45mm equivalent field of view on APS-C? That could be very useful. I’ll keep an eye out for one!

  6. Comment
    Over the past year, I have built a large collection of Minolta gear—partly in wish fulfillment, partly to experience the development of SLRs overtime (Vintage Minolta Love Project. https://earthsunfilm.com/the-vintage-minolta-love-project-shooting-every-slr-from-the-sr-2-to-the-maxxum-5d/ ). I have developed a clear preference for the Maxxum 7, Maxxum 9, and XD11. Lens-wise, the 100mm AF 2.8 Macro, 50mm 2.8 AF Macro, 28-105mm AF, MD 28-85mm, 50mm MC PG, and either the Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm 2.8-4.0 or Rokkor-X 75-200mm would stay. These lenses are sharp and produce beautiful colors. If I had to, I could live with only the Maxxum 7 and the three AF lenses.

    1. Jerome, Minolta made some amazing glass. Of those you list I had only the Macro 50/2.8 but it was one of the most special lenses I’ve ever had.

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