gettin' tired of carrying around 100lbs of camera gear.
as the title suggests i have a problem being able to condense my gear when i hit the field. anytime i go somewhere long distance to take photos i end up packing about 9 lenses, 2 bodies, 4 backs and other medium format and 35mm slr equipment. it doesn't help that i'm shooting with contax and hasselblad all metal cameras with big, heavy fast lenses. and everytime i say "i'm just going to take a few lenses and one format" i end up getting slightly annoyed that i'm missing certain shots because i didn't bring everything.
now, i've never used rangefinders before. i don't know many photographers in general that i can borrow their rangefinders and don't have a ton of money to test all the different kinds out there. i've been on countless sites and forums and galleries looking at examples of photos from some of these gems and of course the ones i'm most pleased with come out to thousands of dollars (such as leica, voigtlander, mamiya 6, etc).
now my budget for a rangefinder with a 35 and 50mm lens would be something like $500 and even another wider lens. any suggestions?
i'd also be interested in a 6x6 or 6x9 rangefinder. any suggestions with that?
i shoot almost exclusively black and white and the smallest prints i make is 8x10. i shoot a lot of urban stuff in less-than-desirable lighting conditions most of the time.
thanks in advance for the advice.
Take a look at the Cosina Voigtlander Bessa R series of cameras (R, R2, R2a, R2m, R3a, R3m) and lenses. You are bound to find a body/lens combination to suit your need.
I use an R3M with Nokton 40/1.4, 50/2 and 90/3.5 lenses.
Last edited by Andy K; 07-05-2007 at 03:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Sounds as if the problem is mind over matter! I'm not clear what advantage you would hope for from a rangefinder camera that you wouldn't have by just taking your Contax and 2 lenses. I think if you did buy a rangefinder camera, it would be a good idea to buy one with a fixed lens so that there would be no temptation to make the outfit bigger. Certainly a Voigtländer would also be a good choice, for the total minimal approach why not a screw-thread Leica with a collapsible lens? Fits in the pocket, no bag needed. It certainly sounds as if your present gear is an impediment rather than an asset.
Get a baby jogging stroller to lug your gear around. Cheaper. HA.
It's what I use when shooting Large Format.
The best way to resist the urge to carry more lenses is to make that impossible. Pick up something with a fixed lens, like a Canonet.
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Why do you have a budget of $500? If you buy a MF rangefinder - for example a Mamiya 7 - you can partly finance that by selling one of your MF slr systems since you patently don't want to carry both. This still leaves you with a rangefinder system you could use handheld and in places where an slr makes you overweight and conspicuous, and an slr for when you need precision, or grads.
Incidentally my Bronica outfit with several lenses weighs about 20lb plus tripod. My Mamiya 7ii kit weighs 10lb plus tripod.
Perhaps the answer is not in new gear, but in less gear. Find a body, lens, and back system that you feel you can make the most photographs with and omit everything else. Edward Weston during the Guggenheim years carried 1 camera, lens, darkcloth, meter, tripod, and twelve film holders. And thats it! Some of the most spectacular images ever came out of that very basic set up. Even contemporaries like Michael and Paula work in the same fashion, Just a few more lenses. James Nechtwey, one of the greatest contemporary photojournalists, travels with two cameras (digital and film), a laptop, and a very small assortment of lenses. After the basics are covered more gear will NEVER make better photos.
Cut back to 1 camera, 1 lens, and 1 back. I believe you will become more productive and realize the endless visual possibilities.
I had a problem like that last summer before taking off for summer vacations:
"Do I take LF gear with couple of lenses? Or MF gear with couple of lenses? Or take both systems, each with couple of lenses... Or a Leica and couple of lenses to make the load lighter? But those tiny negs will always be lacking, despite the Leica glass... I want my LF!
Oh, s**t, I just can't make up my mind, could be some photo-ops where I'll miss my longer lens, or my wide lens, or... But I don't want to lug two HEAVY bags around in the tropical heat....."
I ended up deciding on a ONE fixed-lens Rolleiflex and a couple of FILTERS, not lenses That way I intentionally restricted myself to a fixed-lens camera, but it was MF, so I knew I could get some nice stuff - even crop if necessary.
Turned out to be a good decision, some of my best summer shots were taken with that Rolleiflex (plus a cable release and a very light tripod). It also made for a VERY light package and a lot less sweat
I have to agree with Chis. Less is really more when it come to gear in the field. Until recently I had only 1 large format lens I used with two backs and a half darkslide. Worked out great and it helped me to concentrate on seeing and exploring on the groundglass. I have 3 lenses now but rarely take more than 2 with me. Camera, tripod, 2 lenses, 4x5 back, Film holders, meter, couple filters, darkcloth and gaffer's tape works great for me.
I understand your dilemma - I took three cameras (F-100, R2S and D-70) for a weekend wedding trip. Carried four lenses - two for the SLR/DSLR set up and two for the RF. It was overkill; even though I DIDN'T include the Hassey etc.!
What you and I both need to do is learn some discipline - such as Chris and Shawn suggest. We have to learn that just because we have all this gear doesn't mean we need to drag all of it along every time. [BTW: those three cameras are just a small sample of my total arsenal!]
I have resolved (I hope to follow through) with the idea that I just choose one format and one or two lenses for most shooting. Yes, I might "miss the shot of the century" because I didn't have my [________] with me at the time. But that's life!
I'm not a minimalist so cannot get down to just one, fixed-lens, RF - but I do want to get better discipline and not think I have to drag along EVERYTHING!