I'm a 35 or 50 shooter in 35mm, so when I'm taking pictures, I usually only carry the lens I'm in the mood for on the body I want that specific day. I have wider and longer lenses, but I realized that they were more for photographs that I plan, rather than for photographs that just happen. I don't feel like carrying a 135mm "just in case" especially because of the weight of all-metal screwmount Takumars, and because I seldom take pictures with that focal. But when I need it, I really need it.
I find that choosing just one lens is like deciding what key you're playing music in. I wake up, I decide: today is a 50mm day. Anything that does not happen within the range of that lens is not a lost shot: it simply DOES NOT exist. Was it Winogrand who said that when he reloads his camera, there are no pictures happening? I feel pretty much the same. If I'm not taking it, it's not a picture.
I agonize over the quality of the pictures I took rather than over the quality of those I missed.
So my best advice to you is: plan ahead what you think you're going to photograph. It doesn't have to be very specific, but if you just "set the key" right from the beginning, you won't even care about missing a great bird photo while you're doing street shots because you didn't bring the 20kg 400mm f/2.8.
If I'm going somewhere, I will bring more equipment than I care to carry on myself, but at the moment of taking picture, I don't want to have more than one camera with a lens attached, and MAYBE a secondary lens, but only if I had planned to use it.
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"One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal
, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
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the more gear i take the less i shoot.so i got an agfa billy record.it is a 6x9 folder.picked it up for 20 bucks with shipping.lens isnt perfect but thats ok.if i like it i will shell out for a refurbished one with a good lens.i like the fact that it will fit in my rear poket or in a cargo pocket.wieght wont be an issue when lugging a 4x5 and when at home i keep it by the door and if the mood strikes i throw it in my pocket.if you do a search here for it you will find a link to a guy who does refurbs on these cameras and everyone says he does an excellent job.you can always crop and a decent 6x9 will rival or beat a great 35mm.just an opinion.good luck.
I'm also in agreement with a number of folks here with the "less is more" theory. Sometimes also called, "addition by subtraction."
In any case, don't think about what you're missing because you didn't bring a particular lens. Instead, look at the world in a new way. Force yourself to go out with just two lenses ... or maybe even one. Challenge your own creativity by limiting your choices.
A few years ago I realised my photographic output (purely amateur) had become almost dormant because everytime I looked at my huge camera bag of 2 slr bodies and multiple lenses, I found excuses not to take it out with me. So I bought a Hexar RF rangefinder and 50mm lens to get back to a simple go with me anywhere system. But life being what it is this soon became a 2 lens outfit, then a 3 lens kit....bottomming out when a Leica M6ttl became a second body and the lenses totalled 6. So right back at square one almost. Solution?. Now unless I'm going away on a motoring trip, I never venture out with more than one body and 2 lenses. Actually it's kind of liberating.
When I added an MF camera to the lot I was undecisive about what to take out shooting. i wanted to do 35mm Macro colorslides and MF B&W landscapes. All I got from carrying both systems was a sour back. I learned to decide what I wanted to shoot and which location to go to for those subjects. When Im after closeups in color I look for those and go B&W landscape blind Concentrate on what you can do not on what you miss.
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My minimalist approach is to carry a Nikon FM with a 50mm F1.8 pancake lens and a Contax T3 which comes with a 35mm F2.8 lens. Contax T3 is, believe or not, a very small and useful computerized rangefinder camera once you get used to it. Then if I need one more lens, I add a Nikkor 35mm F2.8 and/or F2 AiS lens to this kit, and that's all I need.
Leica M3 weighs about the same and takes up about the same amount of space as the FM, but the Nikkor pacake lens weighs far less than an old collapsible Summicron 50mm F2 lens. And Contax T3 is just one of the questest cameras I know besides Leica and other rangefinder cameras from the 60's, but it's far more compact and light weight than those regular rangefinder cameras.
Bet you can find a Contax G2 with a 28mm for around $500. It's not much bigger than a P&S, so folks don't get too alarmed when you wave it around in a crowd.
I think its a lot about mindset and deciding what you're going to shoot. I've got everything from 8x10 to 35mm, and what I want to shoot determines what I bring. If I go out with the 8x10, then I'm only looking for photo opportunities that suit the gear. If I happen to see something that would have only worked with a 35mm slr with a highspeed tele, I just consider it part of living life, rather than a missed photo.
Mind you, I've also come to the conclusion that I don't want to experience things through a viewfinder, espcially on holidays. Some days I deliberately didn't take the camera, but rather just enjoyed the scenery and the memories I took away.
you guys all sound like my girlfriend -haha.
she always says "why do you have to have every possible combination? let me decide what you take!". i haven't let her yet, but maybe i will. however, with her knowledge of photo equipment i might as well put all my equipment in a hat and draw it out. we're going out for a couple days on a hiking today actually. maybe i'll put her to the test.
however, for someone who is interested in getting into medium format and 35mm rangefinders are there any suggestions on a medium-sized budget? i was considering the mamiya 6 for MF, but it might be a little much unless i sell my bronica system. also was thinkin a contax g1 system with the 28,50,90 combo for 35mm.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist