Am I crazy to travel with Mamiya C220?
Going to Europe for the first time. My wife and I are spending 4 nights in London, 4 nights in Paris, and 7 nights in Germany. We plan on renting a car for the Germany leg of the trip. Otherwise train.
I'm torn on which camera outfit to bring!! I've ruled out my 4x5 setup for sure ;-). I'm trying to decide between my manual-focus Minolta 35mm SLR setup or my Mamiya C220. I'll be focusing on B&W and I'd obviously much prefer printing the 6x6 negatives rather than 35mm!
Has anyone traveled with a C220 before? Obviously it is heavier and bulkier, and slower to take a picture. I figure C220 + 2 lenses is probably 4-4.5 pounds. Minolta 35mm + 3 primes is probably half the weight.
I plan on packing my carbon-fiber tripod at least for the Germany part of the trip. In Paris and London I expect to be mostly hand-held.
Would appreciate any thoughts!
If I decide on the Mamiya C220, I plan on buying that 55mm wide-angle I've been eying up for awhile...then I would pack that and the 135mm, and possibly the 80mm (although that might be unnecessary).
If the pictures are one of your primary reason for going, take what makes the best pictures regardless of weight. That said, I've travelled some with the C220 and found it disappointing in the city - New Orleans, Toronto, San Antonio. Large, closely built cities with relatively tall buildings - over 4 stories - on narrow streets are amazingly dark at street level even on sunny days. Trying to preserve shadow detail with slow lens apertures of the 220 - I think the 55mm is 4.5? - puts you at shutter speeds that require luck and some forethought to shoot handheld. The other consideration is your wife. Mine is generally happy to hang out, help spot shooting angles, and generally take in the scenery while I'm fiddling with the technical stuff. If your's isn't, the 35mm may make your happier for speed and ease of use.
Just last year I spent some time in France with my family, on a kind of sabbatical leave. I took my old Minolta X-700 Analog Rebel rather than either of my Mamiyas (645 and c330f) because I'd learned during a previous trip about the relative lack of versatility of the medium format gear compared to the 35mm.
I took a monopod and mostly used my zoom lens. Since much travel in new regions presents some fine unexpected photo opportunities, the quick access/more given-to-spontaneity 35mm allowed me to get some of my best pics.
Since we have no idea what you like photographing, how can we say one way or another?
If you like street portraits use the C220.
If you like to shoot like a photo-journalist use the 35mm.
If you like only architecture use your 4x5.
Only you know.
Are you on a stop and gawk tour? If so take the 35mm enjoy the trip and scout out the places you would like to come back to and spend some time in.
If you can take your time, take the MF. I took a Fotoman 617 last year, and the results were well worth the effort.
I think the perfect travel camera would be something like a Mamiya 7.
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It very much depends on the purpose of the trip and your photographic goals/intent. Is the trip primarily a photo outing? or, is photography only a distraction?
Where do you envision making most of your photos? In the city? Photos of buildings/ architecture and interiors? or people? Landscapes?
Are you travelling alone or with a "tour group"? If with a group, forget trying to do anything fancy, the others in the group will likely not tolerate it (for long).
Personally, I'd definitely go with the Mamiya but, I'd also defintiely pass on the 55mm lens. The 65mm is far better.
The waist level finder will turn out to be very useful in the city. Very few people will know what you're doing looking down...hold a 35mm body up to your face and the whole world knows what you're up to...it can be a problem these days.
Another .02, that makes .04...
On the other hand, if you really want to meet the locals, take the TLR.
"What the heck is THAT you're shooting?" "Is that a camera?!"...
Have a great trip!
I envision taking mostly building pictures and landscapes. I love taking pictures of city streetlife. I'm not big on taking people portraits because I feel funny doing so.
Originally Posted by BradS
The trip is not primarily a photo trip, but my wife is pretty patient and generally helps me find photos to take. We are *not* with a tour group. The goal of the trip is to see and experience Europe. But photography is obviously one of my big hobbies (why else would I be on apug
Why do you recommend the 65mm instead of 55mm?
Taking a 55mm and 135mm lens pair may give you too much of a jump between them. 65/135 is a little easier. On the other hand, the 55mm will give you enough angle of view to provide some psuedo-rise for buildings.
The maximum aperture does not really come into it, in my view. You will be working 5.6 or smaller for these subjects.
I look at it this way:
If the primary reason for travel is visual/photography, take the largest format you can carry for the type of travel you plan. It is always good if you can carry it everywhere you go when you are travelling a lot.
If the primary reason in non-photographic, such as business, or a structured tour, go with portablity and flexibility. I often forgo multiple lenses in favour of a rangefinder camera.
Either way, it is wise to have a basic backup in your bag as well. Whatever tou choose to take, embrace the decision and work to the strengths of the format to make pictures.
I feel, therefore I photograph.
I went to NYC with my RB67. I kept it on one o' those fancy OP/TECH straps and it didn't slow me down in the slightest.