Film rig for travel to South America

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by jakeblues, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. jakeblues

    jakeblues Member

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    Hi guys and gals,

    So I will be travelling to South America with my girlfriend in 2 weeks, and I'm torn as to which rig I should bring down. I currently have 3 (!) systems: Pentax, Minolta, and Canon. The canon is out because I just don't love the rig.

    Here's my dilemma: Minolta for the great lenses, or Pentax for portability?

    Note: My girlfriend will be shooting too, so we'll have 2 camera bodies with us to switch out lenses. Here's what I have to work with:

    2 Minolta X-700s
    MD 24mm 2.8
    MD 35mm 1.8
    MC 58mm 1.2
    MD 85mm 1.7

    Pentax ME Super
    Pentax MX
    SMC Pentax M 20mm 4.0
    SMC Pentax M 35mm 2.0
    SMC Pentax M 50mm 1.7
    SMC Pentax M 50mm 1.4

    Any other suggestions for gear to grab before I head out of town? Which rig would you take?
     
  2. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Hello!
    Could you be so kind as to define "rig", please?

    If you are asking what "gear" or "cameras and lenses" you should bring while travelling, then here is some advice:
    Just bring what you are most comfortable with and know how to use with your eyes closed!
    It is no use to bring a camera that you hardly know or are uncomfortable with. You already discounted your Canon, so which of the 2 systems you have, you feel more at ease, that's the one you should bring. The same for your girlfriend.
    Good shooting kid!
     
  3. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    The Minolta kit looks a little more versatile than the Pentax, with the 85mm and the fast 58mm. If you think you'll need the 20mm, you could dedicate whichever Pentax is more portable to that lens, and bring it along with the complete Minolta kit.
     
  4. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Minolta. And what he ^ said.
     
  5. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    If both of you are gonna shoot, why not use the Pentax for the 20mm and the minolta for the 35/50 and 85mm??
     
  6. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I'd just stick to the Minolta kit and be done with it - as noted already, it's the more versatile of the two outfits. And a 24 is plenty wide for most situations you'll find yourself in, even if you're photographing in cathedrals. Where in South America are you going? I've been to Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Colonia, Uruguay. Even at Iguazu, you can't get a shot of the full span of the falls because it's broken up into sections, so I had no issues with having nothing wider than a 28. The people are worth investing some time photographing, so having those fast 58 and 85 lenses would be a really good idea.
     
  7. Viggi

    Viggi Member

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    Aye, Minolta for the lens choice. Bring both bodies, so if one croaks you can still make use of the good range of lenses you have. While I shoot 50mm quite a bit, I actually enjoy switching between a wide and short tele a lot. You also packing a small digi for backup?
     
  8. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I always take backup equipment. In that sense, I'd be taking both.
     
  9. jakeblues

    jakeblues Member

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    I'd define "rig" as a camera system with lenses. So in my vocabulary, "Minolta Rig" = Minolta camera plus some lenses, and "Pentax Rig" = Pentax Camera plus some lenses.

    I've had each system for 2-3 years now, and I'm equally comfortable with them. Actually, the X700 and ME Super handle very similarly, as I often shoot in aperture priority with exposure compensation.
     
  10. TimmyMac

    TimmyMac Subscriber

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    You've got some seriously nice lenses for the Minolta system. The 24 is incredible, the 58 needs no introduction and the 85 is really nice too. I've had all of them at some point but couldn't justify keeping the 58 and 85 thanks to market prices - now I just have a 50/1.4 and 24/2.8.

    Additionally, it'll be much easier if you can share lenses between you.
     
  11. jakeblues

    jakeblues Member

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    Good reminder. Yes, I have a Lumix Digital PS that I can bring.

    I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but the Minolta with the 58/1.2 is probably twice the size AND twice the weight of the Pentax with the 50/1.7.

    I'd like to bring down just one system and 2 bodies. That way, I can load up BW in one body and color in another or fast film in one body and velvia in another, and still have all the lenses available to me.

    I agree that 24 is a great wide FL, probably my favorite focal length...But again, the X700 with a 24 is probably 60% larger and heavier than Pentax ME Super or MX with the 20mm. I guess I'm asking, has anyone ever been travelling and wished they'd packed lighter? Has anyone ever been travelling and wished they'd packed faster glass?

    Here's a size comparison. ME Super with 50/1.7 and X-700 with 58/1.2:
    _MG_5591.jpg
    And ME Super with 20/4 and X-700 with 24/2.8:
    _MG_5594.jpg
     
  12. jakeblues

    jakeblues Member

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    Nice. If you have the "right" 50/1.4 (MC PG), its supposed to be the sharpest, most consistent lens Minolta ever made.

    I've considered selling the 58 and 85... But they're the best lenses I own, and I want to pass them on to my grandchildren in 50 years.
     
  13. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Ok! Thanks! That is a word no normally seen in Film photography!:smile:
    You have plenty of advice above. Ultimately, it is your trip and your gear.

    I'll echo the advice for the Minolta system, even as you have 2 identical bodies. If one fails, you carry on with the other. If you look at my signature, you'll see I have most of my cameras in duplicate, for the same reasons of usability.
    If weight isn't a problem, I would take the Pentax ME Super with the 20mm or the 35mm. In the last case, I'd leave the Minolta 35mm behind.
    I used to have one of those Pentax years ago It is a very light camera and combined with the light short lenses as the 35mm and it is a good system for street photography.
    Have a nice trip! :smile:
     
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  15. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I would just take the Pentax MX with the 50mm 1.4 and share it with your girlfriend.
     
  16. BoxBrownie

    BoxBrownie Member

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    I've done a bit of traveling (inc 3 months South America) and I would suggest taking the lightest setup you can . The ME Super would be ideal with just a 50mm lens, spare batteries and plenty of film. I've found even a mini tripod unnecessary - you can always find something to support your camera meters. Use the self timer instead of cable release as it's one less thing to lose . Travel light - you won't regret it especially if your using public transport and doing any amount of walking.
     
  17. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    It's always tough trying to decide what to take and I usually over pack and then only use half of the things I've bought. I would probably lean more towards the Pentax since you have a 20, 35 and 50. I would wind up using the 35 most of the time and the 50 when out in the country. The 20 will make for some nice interior wide shots.
     
  18. jakeblues

    jakeblues Member

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    Thanks for the advice. My girlfriend will want to carry a camera, and so we can still go light and have 2 lens options. If I were to take the MX as a second camera, which lens would you take between the 20/4 and the 35/2?
     
  19. BoxBrownie

    BoxBrownie Member

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    If it were me I'd take the 20 for large depth of field landscapes and architectural shots.
    The less gear you have the better . There will be so many new things to see and photograph you don't want to spend your time fiddling with lots of gear. Spend that time composing great pics.
     
  20. segedi

    segedi Member

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    Take the two Minolta rigs and have fun!
     
  21. jakeblues

    jakeblues Member

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    Thanks, all for your suggestions.

    Though the force is strong with the Minolta glass, I think I'm going to opt for the Pentax. ME Super and MX bodies, and either the 50 and 20, or all three lenses. The 20 is so small it fits in a jacket pocket easily.

    Again, thanks!
     
  22. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    It is always a tough decision choosing between the Minolta and Pentax but unless there is a reliability consideration, I'd choose your Minolta lens options. Good luck!
     
  23. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    See if you can get hold of a Pentax-M 135mm f3.5 to extend your range a bit, they're tiny, light and sharp and as it was a standard telephoto they're plentiful on ebay. You can find minty ones for not a lot of money so don't pounce on the first you see, I have a near perfect one here which cost me about the same as three rolls of decent film.

    The Pentax-M 100mm f2.8 and 120mm f2.8 are very lovely but rather harder to find (therefore much more expensive). I have the earlier K 120/2.8 which I would never sell, it just feels spot on with my K2.
     
  24. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    I would bring 1 Minolta with 3 lenses: 24, 35 and 85, and 1 Pentax with the 20 and 50, both with colour film, possibly one slide film and one colour negative. Shared in two it's a small weight, and you are going in winter. As a possible addiction the second X-700 for the occasional B&W shot. Holiday trips are the colour domain, generally speaking I would give up B&W and I wouldn't give up the 20.

    The Minolta 58/1.2 is heavy and not really needed on holiday.

    If you can add weight, then it's better 2 X-700 (the second for B&W) and 1 Pentax and to leave the 58/1.2 at home.
     
  25. ath

    ath Member

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    Quite often. Traveling for me is about the experience and not being (technically) prepared for each and every photo opportunity. I would take the Minoltas and get another 50 since the 58 is heavy, big, expensive, hard to replace and 1.2 vs. 1.4 is nearly nothing. Maybe get the 100/2.5 or the 85/2. Personally I would take a 2.8 zoom lens because of the versatility and speed of operation, but that's me on a more modern system (EOS3) with more lens opportunities.

    Very rarely. I've missed a shot or two but so what? Overall I enjoyed the travel.
     
  26. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I'm not one to talk about camera system weight when traveling- I took a 5x7 camera plus tripod, six lenses, and a dozen film holders, plus a 35mm rangefinder with two lenses with me to Argentina. I could have gotten away with only three of those lenses for 85% of my shots, and probably gotten 95% (or equivalent images that I would have been just as happy with in the long run) with just two. But at the point you're hauling a view camera halfway around the world, what's a couple extra lenses? I've also taken the 5x12 to San Francisco before. But it's funny- I don't think I'd feel happy packing a 35mm camera with JUST a 50mm lens, but a 240mm on 5x7 is just fine as a sole optic. The more I work, the more I'm liking the idea of a single focal length prime lens as the one and only lens I've got, because it pushes my creativity and makes me think more about my composition.

    If you're shooting in low light, those faster lenses pay off big time when it comes time to focus. I know I botched a night shot I was taking out in San Francisco because the lens' maximum aperture (this was on a 5x7) was f8. The shots I did with my f4.5 lens were much more accurately focused and stayed tack-sharp.