Optimising utility, cost and weight

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First of all I would like to congratulate most of the user of this forum, they demonstrate respectful, politeness and knowledge (I would like to say the same about LUG, which I have stopped reading).

I got rid of my Canon gear and got into Leica R system by around a year ago. Reasons: 1. I wanted a reliable system. 2. Fully manual. 3. Good quality glass. 4. A system for life

There were no many other options for me, because other brands (Contax, Nikon, Olympus) had betted for autofocus systems and they were almost not producing manual lenses any more, so I thought that Leica was the choice and so far so good. I will not speak about quality, because I have not have many other systems to provide a reliable opinion.

I have tried to build a flexible system which allow me to work on landscape and close-up photography. Once I got what I wanted no more purchasing craving crossed my mind (which seems to be unusual in the photography gadget-word). I do not like to collect items (but I do not have anything against who do it) but I like to use them. Also I try to keep my equipment at a minimum weight, because it has to become part of my mountain gear (tent, sleeping bag, food,). Also I like to grab my little bag containing of my gear knowing that I have everything I need in almost any circumstance.

So I will tell you what my equipment is with the intention that someone out there who thinks that a hell of gear is necessary to be satisfied is not necessary true (I guess that depends on each one):

Leica R6.2 50 mm f2 lens 100 mm f2.8 APO lens Gitzo 1128 Giottos medium ball-head Lee Circular Polariser Lee 0.6 ND filter Cable release Microfibre cloth and brush Shower plastic cap (to protect the camera when raining) small note-pad pencil

if want to go light I just drop the 100mm lens.

You could ask, would you buy more gear if you had more money?, the sincere answer is NO, I would travel more.

Does anyone have a similar experience which could be useful for people that want to get into Leica or any other system?

Kind regards

(apologise for being so long!)

-- Javier (j_perezbarberia@hotmail.com), May 15, 2001

Answers

Javier

You have an optical set up second to none and it would be difficult to improve on it. Many of us feel a need to include a wide-angle too, but equally I remember when I had an SL with 50 and 90mm Summicrons and that was all as being a near perfect combination. I admire your restraint and your logic cannot be faulted. A cheaper option would be to go with the newer Elmarit 90mm as this is pefformance wise very similar to the 100mm APO, but without the macro capability. The 50mm Summicron is a bargain, M or R, and superb. If you included a 2X APO converter you would have an excellent APO f5.6 200mm, which you might find useful for landscapes, although a bit slow for my taste.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), May 15, 2001.


I would add only a 24mm for this type of subject (I like near-far landscape work) and the 2x converter to have that occasional 200mm ability. Some people might opt for a 28mm instead of the 24, for a little less linear distortion. I would probably choose one of these over the 50mm, which I tend to relegate unless nothing else can be done with the subject.

For someone who isn't so much into macro work, a different route might be to wait for the new 21-35 R zoom (jury still out) and combine with the 80-200 R zoom. A simple, flexible combination that forces you to create something with more separation or compression than the middle lenses give you. Fill in with a 50mm Summicron or 60mm Macro Elamrit if you must.

-- Ken Shipman (kennyshipman@aol.com), May 15, 2001.


Javier, I think you're right on the money! I shoot primarily for myself these days, but even when I shot 'pro' I used two or three lenses 90% of the time, and would probably do a lot more renting of the other lenses now. As I've said in another post I dumped 2 OM4 bodies w/drives and 10 lenses plus accessories and now have an R3, 90 F2.0 and 35-70 plus 2X and am completely happy. It does everything I need (except for my rangefinder) and fits in one small bag.

-- Bob Todrick (bobtodrick@yahoo.com), May 15, 2001.

There are a lot of different permutations of a "Leica-R-Lite" kit, but I would *never* go out with only one body. For backpacking I never carried R equipment due not as much to the weight as to the bulk. A couple of M's and 28-50-135 (or nowadays 21-3E-135)take up significantly less room in a backpack than an equivalent R outfit, and can be supported on a lighter tripod as well (the Gitzo 026 is my backpacking pod)because the center of gravity is closer to the yoke.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), May 15, 2001.

I have only the 50/2 for my M2 an feel the same. Just having one lens cut the whole descion making process of and forces you to just do the best (it is supprising whole little this limits you).

-- Mark Wrathall (wrathall@laudaair.com), May 15, 2001.


Javier, I have recently put together a Leica R sytem. I have shot professionally with Nikon and Canon equipment for 20 years and decided it was time to do something for me.

What a joy. There are draw backs in terms of weight and Leica strangeness but the color and quality I get from chromes adds new excitment to my day.

I have the following lenses and I think they are all amazing: 24mm f2.8 35mm f2 100mm Macro (too heavy for much travel) 90mm f2.8 -a wondeful pice of glass that weights nothing and costs very little -one of my all time favorite lenses. 180mm F 2.8 APO 2x APO extender.

Your system is surpurb and only need and available means should direct you back to the market.

Enjoy yourself.

Bob

www.rburgessphoto.com

-- Robert Burgess (bobburgess@earthlink.net), May 15, 2001.


Javier,

For lanscape and close-up photography, your choice of lenses makes good sense to me, although I sometimes like to use a wide angle lens for landscape work.

My lenses are what I could obtain on the used market in Jakarta, Indonesia, which somewhat limited my choice. At first, I bought a 60/2.8 Elmarit (macro) lens, which also serves as my 'standard' lens, and a 90/2.8 Elmarit (late model), mainly for protrait work. I bought these when I bought my first R camera (R7). These are remarkably sharp and contrasty lenses and I would never swap them.

Since I sometimes like to take interior shots, including historical sites such as temples, I felt the need for a 24/2.8 Elmarit (despite its reputation as an "inferior Minolta lens"), so I bought one when it became available. I bought a 35/2 Summicron at the same time, mainly because it was available in mint condition, I knew that the 24 would sometimes be too wide and the 35 'cron has a good reputation. I'm pleased with these lenses, especially the 35, but I would consider trading in the pair of them for a 28mm if one ever surfaces here.

My only other R lens is a 180/4 Elmar, which was the only 180mm I encountered here. It's a fine lens but a bit slow, so I may eventually trade it in for a faster 180mm if I see one for sale. I use it mainly for pictures of beasts at the Safari park, although I've also taken some pleasing portraits with it.

I should mention that these are all 3-cam lenses (i.e. R compatible) and were all in excellent condition for their respective ages. The prices of new R lenses are very high indeed but used bargains are available. It's a great way to save money, as long as you're careful to avoid damaged or fungus-infested lenses.

Regards, Ray

-- Ray Moth (ray_moth@yahoo.com), May 17, 2001.


Well, although I use M's, I agree with a great deal of whatyou say, Javier.

I think one approach is todecide how big a bag you want to be carrying around, and then use that as a limit on your gear.

Personally I use two bodies and three lenses, a small flash and it all fits in a Hadley. More than that I don't need or want.

If I was doing corporate work my approach would probably have to be different though.

Rob.

-- rob appleby (rob@robertappleby.com), May 17, 2001.


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