The OP seems to be concentrating on the M versions of these cameras. They have mechanical shutters and only need the batteries for TTL metering, so as long as he can get close enough on the exposure with his brain or an external light meter, his cameras will be ready to go.
Originally Posted by elekm
I'd have an R3M myself if they'd introduced it with the original R3A, but I can't complain. The batteries in the C/V Bessas are easy to find, and are also used in my SLRs, so I order some of the best over the internet in quantity at a huge discount over local stores, and always have spares in all my camera bags.
This above line is the sticker for me.
Originally Posted by redmike
If I had a nickel for every pro travel kit that I've read about that eclipse your intended kit by a factor of 5 I'd be a rich man. My feeling is that either you go with the intention of creating images as a pro and for sale or you go as a tourist with something smaller to remind you of the experience. Not everyone can take a trip like this, and if travel method (ship?) can provide you with a place to store stuff I'd personally be taking the kitchen sink along as well. If your backpacking it, that's another story.
Personally if I was taking just one lens, and that would never happen, it would be a top of the line wide to medium telephoto in a 35mm slr system. Something in the 35mm to 120mm FL range or thereabouts. I prefer a wide and a short telephoto lens, you may like normals lenses and longs, who knows, your pick. A body or system choice is the big one. Pro's take bodies and multiple lenses, travelers take a camera. For such a trip I'd have to consider a MF camera although I don't like them. A compromise would be the rangefinder for the documentary work if about the people and a MF camera with a wide (and maybe a medium) for the landscapes. Landscapes are broad subjects and you need to pull detail which a MF camera will give you. It's a hard choice really and much depends on the travel arrangements. Thinking about it for a second, and for a one camera kit, probably a Pentax 645 NII and 3 lenses. The internal metering would do it for me and the lenses top rate. On trips I either go to shoot or go to travel. The choice dictates the kit for me. Luck with your choice.
I spent a wonderful time in China last year shooting editorial and stock images with my Bessa R2, the 35 mm Color Skopar and the 75 mm Color Heliar. I packed a few filters and loads of film and I was set to go. I like to travel light and walking around Beijing with a spare lens and a couple of rolls of film in my pockets is my definition of light. I did contemplate taking the Pentax 645 and a couple of lenses but it did n't fit with what I ultimately wanted to do.
Just for giggles, here's a pic of the gear that I took with me on a 4 week family vacation to England and France (from Canada) this past summer: http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL236.../334150667.jpg
Here's one of the pics I took with the 6x7 camera. It will make a great 16x20 if I choose to do that. http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL236.../334150665.jpg
Now, I was not backpacking. I always had a home base (hotel, apartment, car) to leave gear that I did not feel like carrying on any day. Having said that, I actually did carry around all this gear on almost every day. (It was a big commitment but I'm very committed to photography.)
If you've not already bought the gear, give some though to a MF rangefinder, such as Mamiya 6/7 or Pentax.
6x7 is a lot of negative to work with; and these cameras' lenses are first rate.
[QUOTE=redmike;679692] Not that I can really afford it but a leica would draw a little too much attention and I dont want to be looking over my shoulder the whole trip. The bessa seem a much more discreet camera.
I don't think thieves the world over are looking for Leicas on a regular basis and your concern is more paranoia than not. But any camera can become a target.
I also like the 40mm focal length over 35 or 50 although mine is on a Pentax KX.
Its been great to read everyone's comments, thanks for the interest. To answer a few queries, I will be taking a manual camera as intend to go a bit off the beaten track in places and dont want to worry about the batteries dying on me. I do have an old pentax digital spotmeter which I am considering taking to help me with the metering for landscapes, it has a belt holster and is quite lightweight. Having given it some thought I will be opting for the wider 40mm instead of the 50mm i originally intended taking and will probably go for a 75mm as well depending on how much Ive got left in the kitty.
One more question I would ask you learned fellows is whether you would trust your developing to labs or would you wait and develop the film yourself? I'm not thrilled about the idea of carrying chemicals but if I must so be it. If it makes any difference I will be shooting soley b+w.
One more question I would ask you learned fellows is whether you would trust your developing to labs or would you wait and develop the film yourself? I'm not thrilled about the idea of carrying chemicals but if I must so be it. If it makes any difference I will be shooting soley b+w.[/QUOTE]
Depends on countries you will visiting, how long will be staying at each location, and where you will staying, hotel, hostel, other accomdations, and your budget. Most large 1st and 2nd world cities will have good local labs, you may want to shot 35mm B@W C 41 and have the negatives developed at a mimi lab then either scan or print once you are back home. Developing on the road is doable, you need to tank large enough for the number of rolls you plan to shoot in a day, a changing bag, in some cities distilled water, and a supply of chemicals. I use to carry Dinafine and standard fixer in the quart sizes, a small bottles of photoflow. Buy glass quart beer bottles, (cheap- easy to clean and of course you need make sure the beer does not go to wast) to store the developer and fixer, use at any temp, shoot TriX at 1600, no stop bath. Dump it before I move on along and toss the bottles, meaning more beer. I have not seen Dinafine in quart sizes in a few years, but it does show up on ebay.
I echo the prior comments about the Bessa R4. To me, it seems to be a camera made for the 28mm lens. This lens seems to match perfectly to the viewfinder on the R4. The ability to also use the 21mm on one end of the spectrum and the 50mm on the other, make this an ideal travel camera. That said, the focus accuracy of the rangefinder and the 50mm lens seems to be off, likely because of the viewfinder magnification and the wide open apertures that I often find myself using with this lens (generally for available light portraits). Have a great trip.
If you do get a Leica and want the 40mm range, the Rokkor (CL or CLE version) lens is a wonderful little lens at a very affordable price. Theionly difference between the two is that the Leica (CL) version is single coated and the Minolta (CLE) version is multi-coated. Noticable difference between the two is negligible, with the rational nod going to the CLE lens if you're shooting color. The other difference - the one that creates the price gap - is that one says Leica and one says Minolta. The price difference alone makes it worth getting the Minolta, unless you just "need" to have the word Leica on it. Combine this with the fact it's mult-coated and for me it's a no-brainer.
Originally Posted by redmike
It's not a Summicron by any stretch, but there are times I prefer it to my 50mm, f/2 'Cron.