View Full Version : Travelling - What to do.
I am about to purchase my first Rangefinder camera, and I have settled on a Bessa for reasons that are obvious.
But the choosing of model is much harder.
I want to go overseas for half a year.
I want to use this camera as my primary, in conjunction with a prosumer digital (has all-in-one lense, v.handy).
Of the photos I plan to take, I would think Landscapes, street shots and the odd portrait would fit in.
I am choosing between a R2, R2A and R3A.
I would like the R2A mostly, but due to its release date being so close to when i leave (the month before), I fear I won't get a proper grip on the camera before I leave.
Now based on assessments of the R3A, i I had to choose between the R3A or R2, what are the pros and cons.
And while we're at it, suggestions for lenses... (Max 3)
How do you feel about auto exposure?
What do you use as a standard focal length?
You will definately benefit from the use of an external viewfinder for wide lenses (28 and wider), but if you plan on using 35mm a lot you should consider the need for 35mm framelines.
Do you think you will be using long fast lenses?
If you need the camera NOW, you may lean towards the R2 which is a known "proven" product. If you can wait to read user reports over the next couple weeks about the R3a that may be worth the wait.
And of course, welcome to the RFF Dath.
i'd hate to buy a new camera right before a trip and have it break down on me.
with the r2, it's a known entity, and less prone to surprises.
i'd recommend the 35/75 combo for the most shots per lens value.
Hello and welcome. I can't comment on which body to select as I have no experience with Bessa bodies. Lens focal length is universal so I can comment. When you say overseas I find a 35mm a good standard lens paired with a wide/ultra wide and a medium telephoto work well for me, you might be able to refine it down to a 28/24 paired to a 75/90 depending on how much you want to carry. Then you have the matter of lens speed. A fast lens is larger and heavier than a normal speed lens so how much speed will you need? I use print film and compensate for the speed issue by using 800 Fuji when needed ie inside museums and churches. This is not much of an option with slide film I believe. There are just so many variables that the choice is ultimately very personal. I'll go out on a limb and say that I would lean towards the 21/35/75 combo in the CV line. I agree with Rover that you should get the camera/ lens combo well before leaving in order to test the equipment and film so that there is less of a chance for surprises. Hope your trip is enjoyable.
Check the galleries for photos from places you might visit and what focal length was used. This might help even more.
Welcome to the forum Dath! :) On my last trip I took a 21, 35, 50 & 90, and the 35 & 90 got by far the most work. The fact that I forgot the 20mm viewfinder didn't help, duh! :( Somewhat agreeing with the above, if you are going CV lenses the 35/75 combo is great. But I think a 35/90 is better, the 90 is a great landscape lens and gives you more compression of the planes than the 75. The CV 75 is a great lens though if you read the reviews here and elsewhere.
I don't own a Bessa but I heartily second the comments above about not taking a brand-new camera on a trip. There has already been a report on this forum about an R3A breaking - you don't want that! It may be that some Bessa owners might be upgrading now that the new R2A & R3A are becoming available. Keep your eyes peeled on this and other forums and eBay and you might find a sweet deal...
I'm pretty much going to echo the folks above on taking an untested camera with you. I'd hate to lose pictures to a technical glitch I was unaware of.
As far as focal length goes, on my last vacation all I took was an Olympus XA (35mm focal length) and I ran into several situations where it would have been nice to use a 75mm or a 90mm lens. My suggestion would be to only take a couple of lenses (either the 35/75 or the 35/90 combo) since you will also have a digital camera to "fill in the gaps", so to speak. I also hate dragging bags filled with camera gear around, so take my advice with a grain of salt. :)
I just returned from 5-6 weeks in Mongolia (people here can tell you I'm a regular traveller to Mongolia and India, and always for long periods at a time). This time I brought 3 cameras: my Leitz Minolta CL, my Bessa R and my Leica M2. The CL and the R saw the most action; the CL because it is small, has its own light meter, and has the wonderful Rokkor 40/2 lens on it; the R because it has a light meter, and simply works te way I want. The M2 didn't see much action because the camera is new to me and also because it doesn't have its own light meter.
I brought 4 lenses: my CV 25/4, the Rokkor 40/2, my trusty Jupiter-8 50/2 and my Jupiter-9 85/2. I used both the 25 and the 40 the most, followed by the 50. The 85 never left my bag.
So, for me the choice of lenses is different from what you've read before. You'll have to decide for yourself which lenses you'll bring, which cameras you'll use, and how many of each. Cameras or focal lengths that are new to you or which you hardly ever use, will likely see no action and thus are useless to bring.
On your walkabouts bring 2 cameras with different lenses, and 1 extra lens in your coat pocket. That's what I did. The CL + 40 around my neck, the R + 50 in my daypack, and the 25 in my coat pocket (I often use the 25 with adapter on the CL for street shooting as it gives me an even wider margin for error when shooting pre-focused from the hip).
Why the 40 AND the 50? I just love the character of the J-8, especially for those scenes and situations that I want to render with an old-time softness and smoothness. The 40 is just THE best and cheapest Leica lens around with a sharpness and smoothness that I like for regular street shooting and such.
Here is my Mongolia/China gallery http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/showgallery.php/cat/675 .
Thanks... That's helped a lot. So a 35mm plus one other... Hmmm...
I'll need to call about the R2 then...
What film do you guys regularrly use in the bessas when overseas - B&W as well as Colour? That'll be my next dilema.
Like anything other than Tri-X exists?
<G,D & R>
Last trip I took the chromogenic Ilford XP2 because of its wide latitude. It worked well I think.
I have to say, after a recent trip to Kenya I am a BIG convert to the 35/90 combination. Works very very very well. Add the CV 21mm (nice and compact) and you've got the perfect travel kit, IMHO.
For film I take Fuji Velvia 100 and Ilford HP5.
Of course, one man's meat is another man's poison.......
Dath, it's not wise to chance cameras, lenses OR film just before you go on a (once-in-a-lifetime?) experience. Just stick with what you have and know. There are soooo many different films all with different characters that it'll take you quite a while to fully appreciate any of them in particular. Shoot the film you shoot now on a regular basis, and perhaps bring a few rolls of others that you want to experiment with. That way you can only screw up a few experimental rolls (if any) instead of your entire record of your trip. I've been using the same film for the past 2-3 years now. I started out using the same film at iso200 but switched to iso400 after a few years (mainly because I started using a rangefinder, which allowed me to shoot at 1/4 sec handheld, pushing my desire to shoot with ever decreasing levels of light). Sometimes I'm thinking of experimenting with oter films but I never do, simply because I scan my own negs and have almost full control in PSP over how the resulting photo will look like. Furthermore, I shoot colour but many of my shots end up in monochrome; also done in PSP.
I am a Fuji print shooter ( 100asa to 800asa), also Konica Impressa 50 and C41 B&W film. As others have said , it is likely better to stay with what you normally use if you are satisfied with it. Taking a unfamiliar film might be asking for trouble and you do not want to be unpleasantly surprised. Fim choice is a personal matter and your preference may be different than mine.
Dath - i'd want to gain some rangefinder experience before I went on a once in a lifetime trip. If the Bessa is to be your first rangefinder, do you have a lot of experience in SLR's? Would it be better to go with what you know?
I'd say a month with the R2A (as long as it doesn't get delayed) would be enough to put it through it's paces. I'd want to bed it down with at least 10 rolls to ensure you aren't going to have problems, but even then I'd consider backing it up with a M2/M3 or another Bessa body.
Sugesstions for lenses - The high speed lenses aren't really that big or heavy. I'd go for the 35/1.7 and either the 75 or 90. You might also (budget depending) look for something wider - like the 21mm or even the 15. The 15 is a very specialised lens - it took me around 10 rolls before I got used to it. I don't have a Voigtlander 21, but have used the Nikon 20mm - much easier to get reasonable results. I'd also budget for some ND filters for the high speed lenses.
Film - i can't go past tri-x for B&W and I love RMS100/100 for colour slide - although that is discontinued now :mad:. If you are planning on scanning when you get back, you might want to consider just using colour film for the lot and then using Photoshop to convert.
Have a great trip!!
Welcome to RFF. Good group of people, excellent advice, and well, fun to hang around with!
I can't give you much advice on the R3a vs R2. I've used the R2 quite a bit, but not enough with the R3a. However, for lenses, I agree that a 24/35 with a 75/90 is a good combination. It covers so many bases and is light and compact. If I were to augment those two lenses with another, I'm fairly fond of the 21mm, and its also very small and light. My best travel kit was the 21/35/75 and my R2.
I ordered the new R3a because I wanted the ability to use both manual metered, and AE those times where the AE is better able to keep up with changing conditions than I could (street, action). Having it as an option is better than not. I also choose the R3a because I end to like the longer lenses over the wide angles. If it was the other way around, I'd go with the R2a.
If you decide on a R2, I have one for sale on eBay. Its nearly mint, with maybe 10 rolls of film through it. Works perfectly. Rather than go with a new camera and not know how reliable it is, the R2 is proven by many. Pick up a used one, and if you decided to change to the R2a or R3a when you get back, you should be able to resell it with minimal loss. They are discontinued yet still in demand, so resale should be easy especially since new stock is all but dried up.
I don't go oversears till mid-February, so I hope to get it by christmas.
I have been looking a new SLR, and I want my second to be digital. But I think that I don't want to blow my budget before I even leave.
My fuji s7000 is fairly tough, uses generic batteries, and does well enough at macro, as well as basic zoom and it's an all in one camera (less crap to take).
If I buy a SLR now, I'd be forced to buy the canon 300D kit and have to find some okay lenses, which is much harder for digital then film... And doing that is wrong, because I'd much rather a 20D...
And considering B&H sell Canon E1's for chips, ah, it all gets me too agitated!
And then considering that I can get a Maiyma 635E medium format for the same price as the D20... This is all going crazy for a backpacking/photo exploration holiday.
I think simple is best here..
I like the 35mm and 90mm combo (esp. as same mount), and will consider the 21mm (with viewer) for landscapes.. But one question: I can't seem to see any mount adapters for the 21mm for an R2? Is this right?
Yea, I'm lookg for a second hand one. Which is yours? I've checked ebay and am waiting for the final minute rushes...
Originally posted by Dath
But one question: I can't seem to see any mount adapters for the 21mm for an R2? Is this right?
Indeed, there's no adapter that'll bring op 21mm frame lines. IIRC it's because there aren't any Leicas with 21 mm frame lines anyway.
But you'll hardly need to use the viewfinder/rangefinder with a 21mm lens anyway. Just pre-focus (set the approximate distance beforehand), pre-set shutter time and/or f-stop, aim, and shoot. For landscapes you'll simply use the add-on viewfinder, which is even brighter than the R2's own viewfinder.
I meant lense mount adapters..
Isn't the 21mm a screw lense and the R2 is M-Bayonet...
Sorry, I wasn't very clear.
That's exactly what I meant as well. There aren't any adapters for 21mm LTM lenses that will bring up 21mm frame lines. You can use any other adapter (for the 28mm for instance) without any problem, but you'll only get the frame lines that the adapter was designer for (28/90, 50/75 or 35/135).
I use the 28/90 adapter for my CV 25/4 lens. The 28mm frame lines cover quite nearly the 25mm FOV so I can use the viewfinder of my M2, but mostly I use the add-on viewfinder that came with the CV 25/4.
So, any adapter works, it's just a matter of framelines.. Okay.
So, if I get a 21mm, and use one of the seperate rangefinders they sell with framelines, it'll all be sweet and peachy?
21mm, 35 and 90 covering landscapes, street and portraits...
No other suggestions? Or advice?
(And thankyou for all the advice shared/given so far)
You can get a screw to M adaptor that will let you mount the CV 21 on the R2 body. Depending on what adaptor ring you choose it will bring up various frame lines in the viewfinder but NOT for 21mm. That is why the 21mm comes with the seperate viewfinder that sits in the flash shoe. You use the seperate finder to frame the picture and the cameras viewfinder to focus only if that is necessary. The 21mm has so much DOF that you can set Hyperfocal and just frame and shoot. This might help http://www.cameraquest.com/adaptltm.htm . Hope this helps.
I see that I am a little slow on typing.
I just didn't realize that they affect the framelines..
I don't see many portrait shots from rangefinders..
Do the 75mm/90mm lenses perform as well as the wide angles on a rangefinder?
Both the 75 and 90 are excellent lenes and perform well. As the maginification of the finder doesn't change when you change lenses, you will see that the view throught the viewfinder is always the same, the framelines for the longer lenses are just tighter to show the image captured by the lens. This is one of the advantages of a RF camera, you can see what is happening outside the frame of the picture and compose accordingly, or follow a moving target and anticipate better when it will be in the right place for your picture.
I just like my R2 ( I went to play with M6 again today at my local shop, just to make sure I don't want to have one, and it is ! ) R3 should be great but I still don't know much about it. I use my 21/4 a lot for street shooting, 35/1.7 for indoor and low light situation. For me, 35mm is like a "standard/multi purpose" lens for any shot that not need too wide to cover. I'm also looking for 90/3.5 that I would use it for potrait shot plus another 75/2.5 if I could afford one more !
Originally posted by Dath
I just didn't realize that they affect the framelines.. Hi Dath, and I'll add my welcome too! One bit of clarification on the adaptors and framelines... Leica bodies and other M-mount bodies from Konica and the new Zeiss Ikon have their viewfinder framelines automatically selected when the lens is mounted. Of course this is limited to those framelines supplied in the viewfinder, and this will vary among different models.
When a screw-mount lens is used, one having a focal length matching a frameline in your camera body, then it's most convenient to choose one of the three screw-to-bayonet adaptors that will bring up the appropriate framelines. There's no other difference in the adpaptors.
Lenses outside the range of viewfinder framelines will need their own separate accessory viewfinder. Then you use the camera's rangefinder for focus, and switch to the external viewfinder for framing.
You'll note above I didn't include the Voigtlander Bessa models among the cameras, because these bodies have manual switching of the viewfinder framelines, not automatic. There's a switch lever on the top of the camera. So for Bessa R2/R2a/R3a it doesn't really matter which of the three adaptors you get, as they can't affect the framelines. :)
Exactly like Doug said ! And ( to me ) that's another "plus" from Bessa over M.
I agree, PoP, that the convenience is not always welcome! One example that comes to mind is with 40mm lenses, which usually trigger the 50mm framelines rather than the more useful 35mm framelines. Bodies with 40mm framelines substitute 40 for the usual 50.
This is how my Minolta CLE does it, also substituting 28 for 35mm... not sure what the 40/50/90 Leica CL did.
And except the R3a, with its manual frameline switch for 40, 50, and 90mm. Avoids the whole issue, really.
Another way to avoid some of the discrepancies is by getting screw-mount lenses and putting the "wrong" adaptor on it. For instance, if I got a 28mm Summicron (yum!) for my CLE, it would bring up the 90mm framelines, pretty useless. (On the appropriate Leicas, it would show both 28 and 90mm frames). So for my 28mm Skopar, I fitted the 35/135 adaptor, which displays the CLE's 28mm framelines that I want!
Dath, Stephen Gandy at Cameraquest sells a generic adapter for $33. It doesn't bring up any framelines on any camnera - perfect for a Bessa camera on which you select the framelines manually anyway. It'll save you $20-$30 per lens.
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