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Roger Hicks
03-09-2011, 06:34
...why? Or perhaps, when? Some people seem to be lusting after the X100 as a cheaper or lighter alternative to their existing M system, but when I look at the 'second string' cameras I have for my film Ms, I find I almost never use them. Why should the X100 be different? If I'm worried about risking $7000, I'm sure as hell not going to risk $1200 either, so I'll go for my old Retina IIa or Pen W. Or a cheap digi (not a $1200 one). Who here has 'knockabout' or 'second string' cameras, and when do you carry them as an alternative to your 'best' camera(s)?

The argument is developed at greater length on http://www.rogerandfrances.com/, where there's also a pretty picture of a Nikkormat with a GN-Nikkor. If the Short Schrift has changed by the time you get to the site, just click on the link above the picture for earlier pieces, which will by then include this one.

Cheers,

R.

robin a
03-09-2011, 06:50
My Fed2e,tough and inexpensive.................

Robin

ferider
03-09-2011, 06:52
I do - a beater M4P and since a couple of weeks a Hexar AF. For my motorcycle.

GSNfan
03-09-2011, 07:01
X100 is not a second string and knockabout (or knockout) camera, it is the camera of hope... But in all seriousness, a camera is as good as the eyes behind it, so if someone cannot frame even if their life depended on it, you give them any camera and they'll produce visual boredom.

We should try to be better photographers first and better camera shoppers second.

andredossantos
03-09-2011, 07:18
My backup 35mm film camera is a Canon FT with a 55mm FL f/1.2, a 50mm Macro, and a slow 35mm FL. The body cost $20 off craigslist.

I used to use it more for low light stuff but ever since getting a DSLR that has become my go to camera for low light. I accidentally threw the Canon FT across the dinner table and onto the floor and it was totally fine and didnt miss a beat. Thats a good quality for a back up, i think!

BillBingham2
03-09-2011, 07:38
I went for Bessas as my second string camera for years till my kids got old enough that I did not need to carry them. Then they sat and eventually sold to pay for housing/food.

I am not into second string, but I do believe that there are special purpose cameras that might be confused with a second string by some folks(e.g. Nikonos III). There are types of photos that RFs don't do as well as SLRs and some times nothing can beat LF negatives.

I carry different first string cameras for the occasion. For me it's the style of picture I'm going for more than the danger to the camera. They are just things and things can be replaced.

B2 (;->

250swb
03-09-2011, 07:45
A few times over the last 35 years of photography I have bought a second string camera, something to backup my main camera, and guess what, they also have never been used, or only rarely. I suppose it was insecurity, thinking 'what if' something happened. And of course nothing does happen. I did think about the X100, but thankfully decided this time I'd rather take my M9 with me. I think with the M9 finally the GAS for backups has passed, long may they gather dust.

Steve

swoop
03-09-2011, 07:54
I use the DSLR for rain duty. Otherwise I carry the M.

Dralowid
03-09-2011, 08:04
When I had a back up camera (Ricoh GR1) it became the primary camera and the M6 went into hibernation. I lost the Ricoh and the M6 got used again.

Don't know what this means but the convenience of something tiny overruled all other considerations.

Michael

dogberryjr
03-09-2011, 08:04
XA2! (10 char)

gns
03-09-2011, 08:09
Don't really get the concept.
I've always just bought the camera I wanted to use and then used it.
Never had a camera I wouldn't take anywhere I would go.

Cheers,
Gary

ChipMcD
03-09-2011, 08:10
Leica IIf + Summitar-bought cheap,
Minox GTE,
one of several 6x6 folders, if it looks like MF might be good to have.

All either inexpensive, or in the case of the Minox, well used, mostly depreciated and bought for the purpose in the first place. It also has a very good lens.

pschauss
03-09-2011, 08:13
When I went to Barcelona two summers ago, I took my XA because I could slip it into my pants pocket. (It was too warm to wear a jacket.) When I go into NYC for a conference, I usually take one of my Zorki's, a Zenit, or my $7 Spotmatic . That way I don't have to worry about leaving my backpack in my seat when I go out for a break.

Brian Sweeney
03-09-2011, 08:16
I doubt the M9 will go into the swimming pool with me. I'll use a cheap camera for that.

jsrockit
03-09-2011, 08:20
I don't buy cameras as back-ups, I buy them simply because I like to use different cameras on any given day. Some days the M8 does it for me, some days a film camera, some days a P&S, etc. I like variety. The cameras I use aren't very hard to figure out or get used to.

doolittle
03-09-2011, 08:47
My knockabout camera, if you can call it that, is an M6 and 50mm lens. It has almost exclusively taken over from my dSLR for travel and when out and about. It fits in a coat pocket, or a very small backpack.
My second-string camera is an LX3. It fits in a motorcycle jacket pocket. I tried using an external viewfinder with it, as I don't like using the LCD screen, but found the combination too cumbersome.
I would like a 35mm field of view for sub-sDLR use. I did consider the X100, however I reckon I will go with a 35mm lens for the M6. Easier to carry two lenses than two cameras. I haven't seen it in real life, but from web size comparisons I reckon the X100 will be too big to displace the niche the LX3 has found itself in.

dave lackey
03-09-2011, 08:54
Interesting discussion no doubt. IMO, and that is all it is, a second camera should be no less capable than the first camera. That said, I would love to be able to afford another M to go with my M3. Alas, that simply is not possible without generating income prior to....

So, I have traded bits and pieces for a like-new Leica R4 and will pick up a 50mm Summicron F2 tomorrow. I have two or three projects lined up that will take a month to complete and hopefully will begin to generate income.

The second camera in this case will offer me the ability to do those things that SLR cameras and long lenses do best at a fraction of the price of another M body plus lenses. It also sets me up for using the 35 Lux and the 80 Lux to do what I have in mind next. (And even if the R4 broke tomorrow, there are many available in town for less than $200....).

Somewhere down the road, I hope to get that M9...what a second-string camera that will be.;)

As far as the X100 goes, meh...I cannot afford to buy something that will not produce anything different than I have. Sure, the X100 is the darling of the market place now, but it offers nothing useful for me. Cameras and all things photographic are only tools for me. If the D40 breaks tomorrow, I will still not be looking for an X100. It just doesn't fit.

dave lackey
03-09-2011, 09:00
really? i mean i appreciate that if you have a camera you have saved for you want to and practically have to make use of it, after all if no other options are available you have to make use of it...but what about a knockabout for use in BAD weather, no sense getting that multi thousand dollar camera all wet in the rain, snow and mud, well unless you dont care or can afford to risk it...

was nice when they started making cameras with seals and weather proofing, they cost a few bob though, not sure everyone could/can afford them


The F5 is perfectly affordable these days... Best/toughest SLR I ever owned.:)

sepiareverb
03-09-2011, 09:11
I've just got smaller cameras for when I want to carry less. The T3 slips into nearly any pocket- the GR1s and GRD2 as well.

Thardy
03-09-2011, 09:14
Canon p&s quite by accident.

Andy Kibber
03-09-2011, 09:19
I've just got smaller cameras for when I want to carry less. The T3 slips into nearly any pocket- the GR1s and GRD2 as well.

I tend to agree. I have big cameras (Nikon F100 and D80) and small cameras (Olympus Stylus Epic and E-P2). Cheaper, crappier versions of my usual cameras don't have any appeal to me.

bob338
03-09-2011, 09:21
But in all seriousness, a camera is as good as the eyes behind it, so if someone cannot frame even if their life depended on it, you give them any camera and they'll produce visual boredom.



Good photographers with bad cameras rarely produce anything worthwhile either.

I think a lot of people hide behind lo-fi (Holga, Lomo, Etc) technology because they don't want to admit that they can't take good pictures. I've had a bunch of them and nothing is more frustrating than taking a really good picture only to see the 'characteristics' of the plastic lensed piece of junk that took it overshadow the image.

As for back-up cameras, in twenty years of active photography I have never reached for one because my camera failed me. I have a closet of niche cameras that I use for specific things but I don't think any of them could be considered a back-up.

My .02.

Bob

gns
03-09-2011, 09:28
really? i mean i appreciate that if you have a camera you have saved for you want to and practically have to make use of it, after all if no other options are available you have to make use of it...but what about a knockabout for use in BAD weather, no sense getting that multi thousand dollar camera all wet in the rain, snow and mud, well unless you dont care or can afford to risk it...

was nice when they started making cameras with seals and weather proofing, they cost a few bob though, not sure everyone could/can afford them

Yes. I've owned some good cameras, but never any that were so valuable that it would be a big financial hit to lose. They aren't necessary. Nor even useful if you can't/won't use them.

Cheers,
Gary

John Lawrence
03-09-2011, 09:50
I just use what I have and don't bother with a second-string or knockabout camera.

Over time though my cameras do tend to end up looking like second-string or knockabout cameras.

John

Ronald M
03-09-2011, 09:57
D40 + 18/135. $475 new.

Rollie 35 with 3.5 tessera. Truly a pocket camera.

Spider67
03-09-2011, 09:59
For me it's the weight. So I´ve used a 35RC or a Bessa R as additional cameras when I had the FM as my prime.
Sometimes weight and size were the arguments to take the second string camera and then I chose the 35 RC

kshapero
03-09-2011, 09:59
I use the M3 for B/W and the Nex 3 for color. My Nikons have been crying in the corner lately especially my fav, the FM3a. But really, my go to second stringer would have to be my iPhone 4.

Roger Hicks
03-09-2011, 10:19
Thanks everyone. Keep 'em coming, please. What always (well, almost always) fascinates me about RFF is how many different viewpoints there are, often from unexpected sources -- though equally, there are always a few predictable responses from predictable sources.

Though most of us seldom change our opinions as the results of others' ideas, sometimes we do, even if only slightly, and in any case, it's always interesting to hear an honest difference of opinion.

I freely confess to conflating 'second string' and 'knockabout' (and the web piece was only about the latter), and yes, you can distinguish the X100 to varying extents from M-digi, but I thought it better to cast the net as wide as possible. Some people's comments on 'niche' cameras (e.g. Nikonos) make me glad I did. On RFF, tangential ideas are often at least as valuable as 'on topic' responses.

Cheers,

R.

monochromeimages
03-09-2011, 10:21
I keep a camera in the car all the time. I don't always have a Leica with me and it's there just in case I see something. It gets frozen in winter and roasted in summer and it might get stolen so it has to be something cheap. For a couple of years I've had an XA2 in there but just bought a Cosina C1s with 35-70, allegedly mint, on ebay for £6.50 which I thought might be a bit more versatile. Waiting for the postie to deliver it. Other than that I always end up using my Leica gear and the other cameras I own are rarely used at all.

Stuart John
03-09-2011, 10:47
I had a Canonet 28 as my beater beach camera. I liked it so much I picked up a Canonet GIII 1.7. After geting great results with both cameras I found myself looking after them more and more and not wanting to damage them. Well they have both developed faults so I just picked up a FED 3 with a 50mm 2.8 lens yesterday. I have not shot a roll with it yet but I already know what will happen. If it turns out to be a good one then it will become more valuable to me and I will be less likely to take it to the beach or out in the snow with the kids and use it in situation where it may get damaged or wet. If it turns out to be a junk then it just won't get used.

I have considered getting a 35mm Nikon underwater camera with a 35mm lens. They should be pretty tough and great for the beach and snow. May actually be a better option.

Contarama
03-09-2011, 10:50
I don't believe in shelf queens or trailer queens so all of my cameras and every hot rod/muscle car I have ever owned have been daily shooters/drivers.

I have a FE with one of those somewhat cheezy hippy style straps that plays the role of the second string camera sort of. Funny but I think I use it the most of all. It's easy to grab it and throw it under the car seat.

Someday I am going to have a M for wide stuff to go along with my F2 for long focal length stuff...a two camera two lens get up. When that day comes I am getting rid of everything else.

nightfly
03-09-2011, 11:01
Wouldn't buy something so valuable that I didn't want to use it. I never really understood the "backup body" particularly with Leica's where you could probably use them to drive nails.

When I don't bring my M, it's because it's bigger and heavier than I want. Usually a Yashica t4 or a Ricoh GR1 meets my weight/smallness needs and one of them replaces the M. If it's black and white or I would have used the 28 on my Leica, it's the Ricoh and if it's color or I'm going somewhere like a beach, the T4. On a rare occasion I take a Pentax MX because I've got a 50 1.4 for it and I don't have that focal length or speed lens for my M. If I bought a 50 Summilux the Pentax would go.

There's also occasions where I just don't bring a camera. Not afraid to let photos go and focus on the experience itself.

Tompas
03-09-2011, 11:12
I have a waterproof Minolta p+s for really bad weather. Other than that I have only cameras I consider best (for their purposes).

oftheherd
03-09-2011, 11:18
I once bought a preset 135 with good optics, telling myself that it would be cool and would be a throw-away if needed. Fact of the matter is if I think it is good I try very hard to take care of it when using it. If it isn't good why use it unless it has some charactoristic I want. Strangely, I never used the preset because I had a Fujinon that I preferred to use, and always took care of it when I did. I am not a pro so I don't have situations where I must deliver no matter, and can afford to throw away a camera or lens.

I have bought cameras for many reasons, including backup (not the same as throw-away to me). Or because they were neat, or for parts, or different, or small, or RFF GAS attacked. I have never bought one as a throw-away. That just isn't my way to use cameras.

MartinP
03-09-2011, 11:22
Accidentally, I have ended up with second bodies (or more) as second-string cameras. This goes for 35mm Contax SLR's, m/f P6 slr's and for M's. The only things requiring thought about the finances were the Leicas, but that was justified by being what I mostly use these days and by being M3 and M6.

For tiny-camera use I have a little Rollei, or occasionally a battered Canon digital p+s. These might also get used for colour if I am carrying only black-and-white film for a larger camera.

The idea of having as-new tools sitting at home while I have to struggle with a less convenient, but 'disposable', something during (for example) climbing up a mountain somewhere does not seem sensible.

dave lackey
03-09-2011, 11:23
...why? Or perhaps, when? Some people seem to be lusting after the X100 as a cheaper or lighter alternative to their existing M system, but when I look at the 'second string' cameras I have for my film Ms, I find I almost never use them. Why should the X100 be different? If I'm worried about risking $7000, I'm sure as hell not going to risk $1200 either, so I'll go for my old Retina IIa or Pen W. Or a cheap digi (not a $1200 one). Who here has 'knockabout' or 'second string' cameras, and when do you carry them as an alternative to your 'best' camera(s)?

The argument is developed at greater length on http://www.rogerandfrances.com/, where there's also a pretty picture of a Nikkormat with a GN-Nikkor. If the Short Schrift has changed by the time you get to the site, just click on the link above the picture for earlier pieces, which will by then include this one.

Cheers,

R.

Nice Nikkormat there, Roger. I have a very nice earlier version FTn that is just about through with it's first roll of color film ... for me. Using the really sharp 50mm 1.8 AF, I am looking forward to the images.:D

One day, maybe I can find a very inexpensive non-AIS lens for it.. The aperture ring is a PITA with the AF lens.:rolleyes:

BillBingham2
03-09-2011, 11:27
I once bought a preset 135 with good optics, telling myself that it would be cool and would be a throw-away if needed. ........

I tried this with two different FSU cameras. I wanted something to take out on the boat and not worry if it became a sinker. Ended up putting too much money into them and they still had issues that impacted, traded and sold and still gave money to fix after I sold the FED2 :bang::bang:

B2 (;->

robbeiflex
03-09-2011, 11:31
I specifically bought a Rollei 35S as a "knockabout" camera. I take it with me snowboarding, biking, and any other time a larger and/or more expensive camera is not a good idea. It's the cheapest "full frame" camera with a Sonnar lens I can think of. I don't truly beat on it, as in throw it around, but I'm not overly protective with it either. I find its own little case and a ski jacket or biking jersey pocket sufficient protection for it, but sometimes it goes into a ziplock bag if its wet out.

If it had to honestly compete with a Rolleiflex or Leica then I probably wouldn't use it much. For me a second string camera is all about the opportunity to take photos in circumstances when I otherwise would not have a camera with me:

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5137/5417183332_dabcee760e_z.jpg

Cheers,
Rob

dave lackey
03-09-2011, 11:57
Well, been thinking about the Nikons I have and for the money and size, if a Nikon N80 is/was good enough for Galen Rowell...:):):)

PMorenus
03-09-2011, 12:02
About 20 years ago I picked up a GAF L-CM with a 50mm lens at a tag sale for 50 cents. Most of the fake leather covering was missing and it had a few dents.

Back when I was a newspaper photographer, I'd leave it in the trunk of my car with a couple of rolls of film - just in case...

These days I take it when I go out to the beach with my kids. The thing is just so ugly I couldn't imagine anyone stealing it. I'd be far more upset about losing the roll of film than losing the camera.

jsrockit
03-09-2011, 12:24
All this talk of the beach has me dusting off an old Nikon EM w/ 50mm E series lens for use on my vacation that starts this weekend. Thanks for the tip all.

Mackinaw
03-09-2011, 12:29
Well, three knockabouts that I can think of, a Canonet GIII when I want a compact 35mm, an old Mamiya 6 folder when I want a compact medium format camera, and my old Nikonos, when I go kayaking.

Jim B.

Bobfrance
03-09-2011, 12:37
The GR1 has always been my secondary camera. That was until I bought a cheap Yashica-mat. Now I'm beginning to think it's now my M8. :o

We'll you live and learn. And what I've learned is that I don't need to spend £££££s on a backup to my backup's backup! :p

Keith
03-09-2011, 13:06
Who doesn't would be more like it! :p

It's a trap though because it just becomes an excuse for gas realisation. I did this with my OM's ... a mint OM-2 to love and one to drag around, never happened, I coveted them both equally. Same with my OM-1 intil I forced myself to sell the so called user to encourage me to use the nice black one overhauled by Camtech at some expense.

As for my M bodies ... it's a constant rotating mind set where cameras constantly change their level of importance to me ... depending on the position of the stars, who knows!

When I use my Fed-2 I put it in a Luigi case and suddenly it becomes something else aside from the forty five dollar piece of FSU flotsam it actually is ... WTF?

There's no such thing as second string cameras in my rather OCD world ... the ideal cabinet would only have one very large top shelf where they all could live so none of them had to feel inferior in any way, or worry about their place in my pecking order!

:p

wjlapier
03-09-2011, 13:55
Re-read your post and read the article.

Two cameras come to mind if they must be expendible. XA and F3. XA works well enough, but patch is barely there. F3 is a beater but works well. The 50/1.4 SC is squeeky, scratches on the front element, but still captures images fine.

But truth be told, I don't use these cameras anymore. In fact, I'm only using M's these days and Panasonic digitals.

robklurfield
03-09-2011, 14:09
IIIf with a J8 if I'm worried about conditions or with a summitar/summaron if not.

an X100? it would be a waste for me. I'm hoping some folks fall so deeply in love with theirs that they decide to sell some classic user film kits cheaply enough that I can add another M, barnack or even a Nikon S2 to my gear. for now, my M8 is all the digital I need or can afford.

anyway, for some strange reason the M8, which I love, got me to fall back in love with film.

konicaman
03-09-2011, 14:45
None of my rangefinders are in a price range where I have worry too much - mainly FSU gear, Voigtländers and (of course) some Konicas. When hiking I sometimes bring my old faithful 10D - build like a tank, but no sealing, so I have a camera shaped "rain coat" to wrap it in.

Just ordered a 5D Mk II - most expensive camera I have ever owned, and I can't foresee anything more expensive coming my way in the near future. As I do not want to worry about it, I have taken out insurance, that will cover almost anything from theft to hot coffee being poured inside or dropping it from a plane...

hausen
03-09-2011, 15:32
Got my X100 yesterday because I wanted a camera for my briefcase that I could have with me during workdays. At Xmas time I decided I wanted something small and looked at all that was available and then read up on the impending release of X100 and decided to wait for it because of the retro styling that I miss since I sold my M8. It won't replace anything for me. Can't understand why it has to replace something. And I didn't buy mine because I didn't want to risk $7k either, was about to push button on M9 last year but chose a 5D2 and 2 TS-E lens instead for the same money as the M9 body. I bought mine to add to my options and so I have a picture taking device that can take a high quality pic with me at all times.

nikon_sam
03-09-2011, 15:54
If there's a chance of my gear getting beat up I will grab the Nikon F2a...it used to be the carry-all camera that stayed in the car...lately, it's been the Spotmatic or a Nikon F4 w/WLF and Nikkor-Q 135mm...

Brian Sweeney
03-09-2011, 16:08
It was a Nikon Lite-Touch until it went underwater at the beach. Now it is a Leica Mini or an Olympus Epic. The latter was a thrift-store find. It will probably be the next beach camera.

I pulled the 28/3.5 out of the Lite-Touch. Someday i will find a dead Orion 28mm to transplant the optic.

sreed2006
03-09-2011, 16:10
Encouraged by discussions here on RFF about always having a camera with you, I started carrying one in my briefcase and keeping one in the car. I just cannot imagine always having my best equipment at hand, though, since it is too valuable to me and I kind of obsess over taking good care of my camera equipment - especially the expensive items.

Luckily, the take-everywhere cameras (an Olympus XA in the briefcase and an Olympus OM-2n in the car) are high quality instruments that don't require an insurance policy to protect. I am not a professional photographer though, just someone who enjoys taking pictures. If I were a professional, or a lot better at photography, I'd find a way to always have the very best equipment within easy reach.

el fotografo
03-09-2011, 17:38
My second string camera is actually a beater version of one of my first string cameras; the Leica M5.
I like the idea of having the same camera in different flavors- clean collector model, everyday street cruiser, beach beater.
The look and feel is consistent and all I have to do is think about the image. For me, it is the lens that matters most.
After a winter of record snowstorms in NYC, I bought the mother of all Humvee/ M4 Sherman Tank/ Mack Truck cameras; the Nikonos III with a 35mm lens.
It is a KEH bargain, $80 shipped (the Nikkor 35mm f2.5 lens was $9.00) and built for extremes.

benlees
03-09-2011, 18:11
No second stringers for me; they are all knockabouts! Due to a natural lack of fleetness of hand and foot (and mind!) having expensive gear does not make sense for me. :( I do enjoy good equipment so I tend to buy old and used and cross my fingers!

healyzh
03-09-2011, 18:16
If I was concerned about the safety of where I was going I'd probably either take my old Ricoh 35mm P&S or my Nikon F3HP w/50mm f/1.4.

I tend to be more likely choose which camera I'm taking based on how much gear I want to lug around, or what I'm shooting. Now that I have a pretty good selection of lenses for my M6 TTL, it's getting hard to choose something else. :) If I need good digital & long reach I take my D300. I'm starting to realize a M9 is better suited to my shooting preferences than a D800 (when it's released). :eek: I think I might start saving this year. :eek:

Colin Corneau
03-09-2011, 18:23
In winter or really poor weather, I'll take my FM2 with a Nikkor 35/2 out, rather than my M6/Cron.

I don't doubt the quality or durability of a Leica, I just don't want to risk the extra wear, repair bills, etc. for that versus a Nikon. And, frankly, an FM2 or FM you can hammer nails with and it'll still work.

Roberto V.
03-09-2011, 18:25
When I'm going downtown and I'm going to be out in the street at night, I sure as hell don't bring my BP M4, I just bring one of my Canon A2Es which I bought for $22 (for both, broken, I repaired them). I've never been mugged, but my city isn't the safest one, so I take reasonable care of my Leica and my Contaflex (although I got the latter for $9, but it's a keeper) I've never bought a camera for this purpose though, all of my cameras have been my main users at a given moment. (except my old Kodaks)
Also if I'm going to be at a party, I bring my 10D, I don't wanna get booze all over the Leica.
That said, I use the M4 90% of the time nowadays, I just leave it at home when there's a high probability of my camera getting damaged (my 10D already took a drunken 6ft fall to the ground, only got a bent hotshoe which I fixed with a hammer :D ) or stolen.

dof
03-09-2011, 18:55
I've always brought my "beater" Nikon FM2n out to Burning Man, so in my book it qualifies as both second string and knockabout. Every year it gets subjected to enough heat to gum up the adhesive on the light seals, and enough dust to warrant a full cleaning by one of my trusted techs when I return. I've seen people shooting with Leicas and Hasselblads out on the playa, and certainly many with weather-sealed DSLR bodies. I just can't bring myself to subject the M8 to the conditions out there. And I've always been happy with the results I've brought back from those adventures.

Don't get me wrong: it is a great camera in its own right. I've been using it since purchased new in 1985 and it's served me well. It is however well-worn - so much so that it's simply not worth trying to sell at this point. What passes for brassing on a Leica simply looks like age on a Nikon!

Contarama
03-09-2011, 19:01
I've always brought my "beater" Nikon FM2n out to Burning Man, so in my book it qualifies as both second string and knockabout. Every year it gets subjected to enough heat to gum up the adhesive on the light seals, and enough dust to warrant a full cleaning by one of my trusted techs when I return. I've seen people shooting with Leicas and Hasselblads out on the playa, and certainly many with weather-sealed DSLR bodies. I just can't bring myself to subject the M8 to the conditions out there. And I've always been happy with the results I've brought back from those adventures.

Don't get me wrong: it is a great camera in its own right. I've been using it since purchased new in 1985 and it's served me well. It is however well-worn - so much so that it's simply not worth trying to sell at this point. What passes for brassing on a Leica simply looks like age on a Nikon!

I vote for the FM2n with a 50/1.2 as the best knockabout camera ever made...

dof
03-09-2011, 19:03
I vote for the FM2n with a 50/1.2 as the best knockabout camera ever made...

Substitute the 55 Micro-Nikkor for me!

fuji645
03-09-2011, 20:13
My IIIc and Summaron or Kiev & Jupiter 12 (35 Biogon copy) They're a back up to my M/F cameras. They are quick and easily slipped into a pocket when needed.

Gary E
03-09-2011, 20:37
My knockabout is the Minolta 7s. It was mint when I got it, but now...:(

PlantedTao
03-09-2011, 20:37
Olympus XA4 is my second string and knockabout because it fits in my pocket and is a good "point & shoot". I use it when I just want something small and light; tucked away and ready to use quickly and easily.

ChrisN
03-09-2011, 21:25
All my cameras will get exposed to the elements equally when necessary. I consider my Hasselblad kit to be the one to use when I want good negatives to print, when the circumstances allow. The M4 and Summicron 35 are therefore "second-string" in the sense that I'll use that if the Hasselblad would be impractical.

J.M.
03-09-2011, 21:57
Second-string and knockabout cameras......why? Or perhaps, when?

I have various cameras though none are "second string". I don't get the thing with "knockabout" gear.

I use the best gear for the image I want to make. Why would I settle for anything less?


Some people seem to be lusting after the X100 as a cheaper or lighter alternative to their existing M system, but when I look at the 'second string' cameras I have for my film Ms, I find I almost never use them.

Do you sincerely believe that M system film users are "lusting" for a digital compact as a replacement for Leica systems?

If you never use your "second-string cameras then why keep them?


Why should the X100 be different? If I'm worried about risking $7000, I'm sure as hell not going to risk $1200 either, so I'll go for my old Retina IIa or Pen W. Or a cheap digi (not a $1200 one).

So if you don't want to 'risk' your Leica, you'd use a Retina?

Why this contempt for the X100?

jan normandale
03-09-2011, 22:08
Hmmm for 135 I have three I consider to fit the 'expendable' category

1. XA 2
2. GSN
3. Nikonos III (it's indestructible)

I like the lenses in all three of these cameras. The Olympus XA 2 is pocketable, the Yashica GSN has great glass. The Nikonos III has Nikon glass and it is the toughest camera I own.

Roger Hicks
03-09-2011, 23:32
Why this contempt for the X100?

Contempt? Oh boy... No, I just think that I personally wouldn't use one, because I almost never use 'second string' or 'knockabout' cameras with film, so why woud I change with dgital? Some here feel the same way as I about 'second strings' and 'knockabouts'. Others have explained lucidly why and where they use them.

As for why I still have such cameras, (a) most of them aren't worth enough to justify the effort of selling, (b) they sometimes come in handy for illustrating articles and (c) 'almost never' is not the same as 'never'.

The reason for mentioning the X100 was the exact opposite of contempt. When I first handled it at photokina I was well impressed (and still am), but the harder I thought about it, the less I thought it likely I'd use it (by analogy with film cameras).

Sorry to have upset you so much.

Cheers,

R.

delft
03-09-2011, 23:33
I've got 4 types of '2nd shelf-cameras':
- For size and portability: an XA that resides in my little rucksack.
- For it's ruggedness: an EOS 3 that I use not as often as I thought I would.
- As a backup: My 20D that wasn't worth trading in when I upgraded to a 2nd hand 5D.
- As an extra: a spare M645 that came attached to a lens I bought (light-seals are iffy).
All these cameras were bought used, and I must say it gives comfort to know that the first scratches are already there.

Dirk

c.poulton
03-09-2011, 23:56
I have two:

- Olympus XA: which is perfect when I have to travel very light.
- Olympus Trip: for those occasions when I really do have to worry about damaging my gear, such as when I am visiting construction sites for work.

cidereye
03-10-2011, 01:19
Totally agree with your thoughts Roger as to why a Fuji X100 might not get used. I would like a Ricoh GXR but I keep asking why as my Leica M8 is digital weapon of choice and either a Ricoh or the Fuji wouldn't exactly be much smaller/handier to use than an M.

If I go into certain shadier areas where I would not want to risk carrying a Leica I dig out an old Olympus OM2 which is a perfect knockabout camera. Cheap, pocket-able, superb handling and a very fine camera indeed.

J.M.
03-10-2011, 01:40
We are in complete agreement, I always use the best gear for the job, (as you, highlighted below).



Contempt? Oh boy... No, I just think that I personally wouldn't use one, because I almost never use 'second string' or 'knockabout' cameras with film, so why woud I change with dgital?Some here feel the same way as I about 'second strings' and 'knockabouts'. Others have explained lucidly why and where they use them.

As for why I still have such cameras, (a) most of them aren't worth enough to justify the effort of selling, (b) they sometimes come in handy for illustrating articles and (c) 'almost never' is not the same as 'never'.

The reason for mentioning the X100 was the exact opposite of contempt. When I first handled it at photokina I was well impressed (and still am), but the harder I thought about it, the less I thought it likely I'd use it (by analogy with film cameras).



Cheers,

R.

Again I agree, I wouldn't use it at all. (I don't like the 35mm FOV).

thegman
03-10-2011, 01:56
It's a good idea I think to have a camera you don't mind risking damage to, but a $1200 camera is certainly not that to me.

al1966
03-10-2011, 03:04
I have pocket cameras that I put in a pocket (usually in a bag) that I use when I am out getting Fruit and veg. Cameras get used depending on what I feel like or am doing, no camera is second class they just fit a need.

Stuart John
03-10-2011, 06:51
Well the Fed 3 has turned out to be a film eater. It chewed up my roll of Tmax400. Turns out the takeup spool was slipping too easily.

matt352
03-10-2011, 07:09
I didn't want to risk my M bouncing around in the utility/tool truck I worked out of, so I kept a Minolta SRT with a 45mm/f2 attached under my seat. The thing was a brick - just what I need it to be.

I'm inspired by Lewis Hine and his work and having 'the brick' on hand, I now have a number of pictures of important work experiences.

jan normandale
03-10-2011, 10:09
I'm curious as to what kind of damage is imagined as being criteria for using a second string camera.
Thoughts?

Risks I run are not imagined. It's usually related to dropped gear and dirt. Climbing, crawling, lowering or swinging cameras into walls, door jams, stairwells.

I still use good stuff despite that, but it's pretty well 'battle scarred'. I buy used and seldom more than $300 for a camera body.

Roger Hicks
03-10-2011, 10:10
I'm curious as to what kind of damage is imagined as being criteria for using a second string camera.
Thoughts?
Dear Shane,

Beaten up by pimps on the Reeperdam?

Hard to think of many others. Which is why I so seldom use 'em...

Cheers,

R.

NickTrop
03-10-2011, 20:34
2nd string? X100? Bah... This isn't "2nd string". That's justification for buying a new toy. You already have cameras - tons of them, but this new one... mahn, it's the cat's pajamas... I just gotsta have it!!! I gots GAZZZZZZZZ!!! Must. Get. Relief. ... for this gazzzzzzz pain! A "second string" camera is a: Minolta Hi Matic AF, Olympus Stylus Epic, a Canonette 28, an XA2, a Konica C35... a fixed lens point-n-shooter you bought in a thrift store... (And kinda like riding a moped, it don't look cool, but it's fun... It's okay. I won't tell your pals... Your secret is safe with me.)

The X100 - very capable shooter. Innovative actually. And the $1200 beater for the Leica crowd.

sykotec
03-11-2011, 14:14
In my case - even though I've got a 50/1.2 AIS - it's the 50/1.8AF-D on the old FM2N most of the time.

Substitute the 55 Micro-Nikkor for me!

graywolf
03-11-2011, 17:48
By second string, I guess you mean substitute cameras.

Never had a substitute camera. I have several but that is because they do different things well. Only when I was a working photographer did I have a, so called, backup camera; but it wasn't really it was just a second body identical to the primary, and it was used for convenience. Different film, different lens, so I would not run out of film at an inopportune time, etc. Identical so I did not have to think about which camera I was using. It did, of course, serve as a back up body, but that was way down on the list of its uses.

Other than my primary 35mm kit, I never had an extra body or camera. Cameras just don't fail all of a sudden for no reason very often. They are not like sync cables, which I would not have gone out the door without a spare of.

kievman
03-12-2011, 22:02
Nikon N8008s and a D200 Both- tough as NUTS!!!!!
Canonet GIIII and a Kiev 4a and a Nikon Underwater camera
All so cheap I never worry about losing any of them!!!!!!!! Pulse it does help to have commerical insurance on all my gear. So no worries Mates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-Kievman

mfunnell
03-14-2011, 02:26
There are many and various reasons I have "go everywhere" or "beater" or "2nd body" cameras.

In general, though, I have lots of different cameras because I like using different cameras. Sometimes just to see what they're good for, sometimes for some different but particular purpose, sometimes just to see what they're like to use and sometimes because it's been cheap for me to acquire some of the great cameras I couldn't afford when I first wanted to take photographs. (I wanted an OM-2, or an FE-2, or an AE1-P, or, or, or - what I could afford ended up being an OM-20.)

Much more recently, I had (well, still have but no longer use) a Canon IXUS 40 as a "go everywhere in my pocket" digital camera. It had a hard life, surviving a substantial dent on the base I can't even recall giving it, a trip in the swimming pool and many lesser injuries. But it did it's job: I always had some form of camera with me - even if the most frequent use was photographing whiteboards, equipment assemblies and the like. But it's functions started failing me (nowdays it will zoom to longer focal lengths, but has to be power-cycled to return to the shorter ones) so it was retired. It's job has been taken over by an IXUS 80 IS, the only caveat being that the new one doesn't have a stainless-steel shell and so goes in a pouch on my belt. I doubt it would stand the abuse it's predecessor survived.

I have an Olympus Stylus Epic that's a "briefcase" camera - not quite as small as the digital but still small and easily able to stand the limited rattling around it's asked to live with. That's there for when I want a "mostly with me" film camera. More for taking "proper" photos than the whiteboards and suchlike that digital is much more suited for.

With SLRs, for my main user systems I usually have two bodies. That has generally come about because I've upgraded to a newer/better model and kept it's predecessor as a 2nd/backup body. Those often get used - one with a long telephoto and one with a wide zoom, for example. So I can switch between widely different focal lengths without having to change lenses (on those occasions I can be bothered carrying that much gear). The backup function has been used as well: on a trip/course photographing in a rainforest, for example, Dad managed to rip the hot shoe from his EOS 300D - he used my "backup" as his primary camera for the rest of the trip.

Sometimes two cameras in the same system can be used in different circumstances - I like the meter display of my FM3a better than my FM-2n in daylight, while the LEDs of the latter are much easier to see in low light.

Or, with some cameras, I just might not want to be without one. Given the lack of repair possibilities, I figure the best way to make sure I'm not without a Hexar RF is to have two of them and use them on alternate outings. That way they both get use but I figure only one is likely to be damaged or fail at any one time.

I have a camera I keep in my car - but it gets hot here in Oz in summer, so I don't want expensive optics or delicate electronics for that purpose. A Zorki 6 does the job there.

And so on. There are lots of reasons...

...Mike

Ronny
03-14-2011, 04:11
I agree with Roger.

J.M.
03-17-2011, 05:28
... and (c) 'almost never' is not the same as 'never'.

I understand that, but do you?

I find it a better idea to carry my ‘real’ camera(s) with me, rather than rely on a ‘knockabout’ camera which, to be honest, I never use. (http://www.rogerandfrances.com/short/z%20short%20schrift%20archive.html)

Is that "almost honest" or "almost never"?


Sorry to have upset you so much.


I'm not upset at all.

MC JC86
03-17-2011, 08:33
When entering a dangerous environment, one should leave their Hermes MP in the presentation case and bring only their normal, a la carte MP.

jsrockit
03-17-2011, 08:46
When entering a dangerous environment, one should leave their Hermes MP in the presentation case and bring only their normal, a la carte MP.

I use a similar philosophy. I'm a digital user, so when I am going to photograph on the wrong side of the tracks, I use my regular M9 instead of my Titanium M9.

FrankS
03-17-2011, 08:48
Leica bashing aside,

If you have several/many cameras, it is natural to choose the camera most appropriate for the task, which also includes consideration of the possible damage risk.

MC JC86
03-17-2011, 09:06
Leica bashing aside,

If you have several/many cameras, it is natural to choose the camera most appropriate for the task, which also includes consideration of the possible damage risk.


I guess I should've used some sort of emoticon... It was hardly "Leica bashing" I love Leica cameras, and even saved for a LONG time to buy an MP.

haempe
03-17-2011, 09:25
Who here has 'knockabout' or 'second string' cameras, and when do you carry them as an alternative to your 'best' camera(s)?

Ok, I´m late.
I have a Bessa as alternative for the MP.
I use to carry the Bessa in "dangerous enviroment". This means, I take the camera for a enviroment, where is a chance to end the evening drunk. :cool:

Steve M.
03-17-2011, 09:46
The X100 is a digital camera? Sorry, I'm not real up on the newest digital stuff.

If it is, it certainly isn't a replacement for a film camera. How could it be? It's apparently (and again, I have not much info on this thing) the newest digital toy.

As far as value, I sold one of the best street shooters you could get recently, a Bessa R2a w/ a CLA'd Summar. Guess I had about 600 bucks in that. Since I sold it, I've been looking at second, second string 35mm cameras. There's no way that I expect them to image like that one did, but they might be good enough. $600, to me, is an expensive camera, and I never worried about taking it or any camera wherever I went. A camera that I'm nervous about using is useless.

Dave Jenkins
03-17-2011, 10:03
I no longer shoot film, and I have learned from years of bitter experience and the investment of a good deal of money that I am much better with an SLR than with a rangefinder camera.

My knockabout camera is a Canon 20D – a classic in its own time – with a 24-85mm f3.5-4.5 EF lens. It’s tough, reliable, and precise, and the whole kit is replaceable for $400 or so.

jsrockit
03-17-2011, 10:05
The X100 is a digital camera? Sorry, I'm not real up on the newest digital stuff.

If it is, it certainly isn't a replacement for a film camera. How could it be?

Well, they both make photographs.

NickTrop
03-17-2011, 10:32
How 'bout a Minolta Hi Matic 35 AF2? $10. Nice sharp 38/2.8. To me this is the quintessential "beater" 2nd-string camera. I've been shooting this one a lot lately. It's the only camera - film or digital, that I own that I couldn't care less if it was destroyed, lost, or (LOL) "stolen" (fat chance of that happening... :) Know what? It's still a better photographic tool than I am photographer... Know something else? Its no-name stone simple Minolta lens - probably some kind of simple Tessar design, is pretty darned good too! In its day (early-80's) I think these went for around $200 US street price, so this would be a camera that would be over $400 in today's money. Not pro gear but not "cheap".

Some of these "beaters" we sometimes laugh at aren't bad or incompetent photographic tools... They just didn't hold their value for reasons that have nothing to do with their capabilities... They're not "collector items" (a bizillion of these were sold), they're "lowly point and shooters"... not "cool" rangefinders or "Lomography-approved" gear... etc. Hence, sellers are happy to get a fiver or a ten-er for them...

Yet - I find this camera kinda endearing...

nosmok
03-17-2011, 11:18
My MF stuff is sadly neglected these days, as is my digital. My carry-arounds rule. If I had to pick the ultimate, it would be the Ricoh FF1. Tiny, closes up on itself, meters better than I do most of the time, and SHARP. Plus it's cheap. For when I want even less of my motor neurons involved, the Fuji Silvi is the P+S I've always been looking for. My previous carryaround was an Oly XA, which I still love, but...

--nosmok

NickTrop
03-17-2011, 11:24
My MF stuff is sadly neglected these days, as is my digital. My carry-arounds rule. If I had to pick the ultimate, it would be the Ricoh FF1. Tiny, closes up on itself, meters better than I do most of the time, and SHARP. Plus it's cheap. For when I want even less of my motor neurons involved, the Fuji Silvi is the P+S I've always been looking for. My previous carryaround was an Oly XA, which I still love, but...

--nosmok

Agreed about your tendency toward small...

Point-n-Shoots.

"Full Frame in your pocket"(c) (...and for pennies)

Chris101
03-19-2011, 21:01
I dunno about second string, but I keep my FG with a 43-86 lens on it in the car. Just in case.