travel camera decision

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destroya

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finally, i'll be getting my chance to head over to Italy for a few weeks. I'll be heading there by myself, so my goal was to just wonder, take pictures and get my head away from all the bad stuff that life has brought on over the last few years. this is my bad life detox, hence the photo outing. time to free my mind.

I had planned on bringing my mamiya 6 and fuji 645zi as my cameras, one for slides and one for B&W. as usual I always take out my cameras for a little test, just to be safe. well, to my surprise, when I loaded my film in my fuji, I noticed for the first time ever, the LCD flicker, drop half its display. ouch! I was always happy that mine never had an issue. but of course it happened now. I closed the film back and turned off the camera, waited a few minutes, then turned it back on. No LCD issues. huh. shot the roll that day and when it was time to develop I opened the back and took the roll out. LCD blink again. closed the back waited a few minutes and turned it back on, LCD fine. so it seems its the start of the end for the LCD, maybe.

so now my choice. I figure I have 2 and a half choices:

1) bring the fuji, shoot the same ISO film in it as that is the main thing you need the LCD for. This is a risk, but it gives me a larger neg than a 35mm replacement. just hope it gives me the ability I had planned before the LCD dropped, even though its on happening for very short periods of time

2) bring 2 35mm cameras to replace the fuji. so bring 3 cameras, 2 35mm and the mamiya 6

2.5) which 35mm? bring 2 nikons or 2 contax g1's? with either system I would bring 3 lenses, maybe 2. a normal lens, 50mm for nikon the 40 from contax. both, a 28mm. the contax I could also bring the 21mm as there are many narrow small places in italy to take advantage of that lens. and then maybe an 80mm/105mm short tele for nikon 90mm for contax.

2.75) for nikon, which bodies? most likely ill bring 2 of either the F3, fe-2, fm3a, FA of the tiny FG. no place for the F4, F5 or F100 as I want to travel small. If i did bring a larger AF I could bring the 14-24 wide, but thats just to big a set up for street wandering.

3) will there be issues with 1 person bringing in 3 cameras?

just when I thought I had everything figured out, a monkey wrench gets in to my plans, and now its decision, decisions decisions (not that they are bad ones, just some us cameras junkies mull over for way to much time). whenI first got into cameras, I never imagined that I would be considering bringing 2 range finders on my first trip to Europe. how we mature and become open to new things as we get older

so I guess my question really is, 3 cameras or 2, with 1 maybe having tech issues. I asked this question here because Im leaning towards bringing the 2 35mm cameras in place of the fuji. and with less than a month till the trip I dont want to buy a replacement fuji 645 as I much prefer to bring cameras I have used many times and trust. I figured for my film I'll be bringing all my 220 astia I have left, 30 rolls and some provia 400x. for 120 B&W tmax 400 for the best freedom from light issues even though I would prefer a 100 speed film. for 35mm I would bring some astia, provia and maybe some velvia. for B&W tmax 400 and maybe aa 100 speed film the lenses are faster and I can bring a small flash to use if needed

anyway sorry for the long winded post, Thoughts?
 

Robin Guymer

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We recently travelled the west USA in a motor home, hiking many national parks. I took my Nikon FE2 for b&w and the FA for colour film plus a 28mm Leitz (Nikon adapted), 50mm series E and a Nikon 35-135. That was enough weight to stay under our 20kg checked and 7kg carry on allowance. No way could I have taken another camera and I was pleased with this choice after the trip. My only gripe was loosing both eye piece diopters which seem to work their way off whilst hiking.
 

Theo Sulphate

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Bring:

1. Mamiya 6 for medium format and for an alternate film choice.
2. Nikon FM3a, which will work without batteries if necessary.
 

jeffreyg

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Since you want to get away from the hassles of everyday life my suggestion is to bring two identical cameras, a wide angle and long lens. You want to take color and B&W so the lenses would be interchangeable. Also if one camera developed a problem you have a backup that is compatible with the lenses. You won't be weighted down with a lot of equipment or choices. I've been to Italy a number of times and take two Hasselblad bodies, a wide (50mm), 150mm and a 2x. I only take B&W of the same ISO and keep one lens on each body so I don't have to change lenses unless I want to use the 2x with the 150. Use a camera backpack if possible. A tripod is helpful. There is too much to enjoy in Italy to have to make choices every time you want to make a photograph. You will be surprised that keeping it simple will result in better images.

http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
 

mooseontheloose

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I would never travel with only one camera, if something happened unexpectedly (like your Fuji) it would a PITA to replace or get fixed when you don’t the area or people or possibly the language (this happened to me in Paris, wasted a day looking for a replacement for my Nikon FE without any luck). That said, also from experience, 3 might be too much. The best option would be the 2 Nikon 35mm cameras and three lenses, but, understanding the need to shoot MF, was Theo Sufate’s suggestion would be a good second choice.
 

Ste_S

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It sounds as though you're over thinking it. As you've also mention you want to get away from the stresses of day to day life..

I would bring one camera and a couple lenses.

I would bring one working camera and one lens. As usual. :smile:

I'd recommend the same 1 camera, 1-2 lenses. Heck, just shoot the same film type while you're there
 

narsuitus

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2.5) which 35mm? bring 2 nikons or 2 contax g1's? with either system I would bring 3 lenses, maybe 2. a normal lens, 50mm for nikon the 40 from contax. both, a 28mm. the contax I could also bring the 21mm as there are many narrow small places in italy to take advantage of that lens. and then maybe an 80mm/105mm short tele for nikon 90mm for contax.

My first choice would be two Contax G1 camera bodies with 45mm f/2, 90mm f/2.8, and 21mm f/2.8 lenses.

My second choice would be two Nikon FM3a bodies with 50mm f/1.4, 28mm f/2.8, and 105mm f/2.8 macro.



Contax Travel Kit by Narsuitus, on Flickr
 

Alan Gales

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Where is Sirius at? He will tell you that is why you buy a Hasselblad. That way you have interchangeable backs for color and b&w. :D

For travel photography, I would take one camera and one lens. Keep it simple and enjoy yourself. I think that the Mamiya Six with 75mm lens would be fun. I've never shot one. :smile: Of course there is nothing wrong with the Contax and the 40mm. I've never shot one of those either but I've always wanted to try a Mamiya Six or Seven.

Anyway, have a great time on your trip. I'm envious!
 

M-88

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My typical go-to setup is: Olympus OM-4 with 28, 50 and 135 mm lenses. All of it weighs a bit above two pounds.

If there's a big event coming, I also add OM-1 as a backup body loaded with different kind of film, 100 mm f/2.8 lens and Varimagni angle finder. However, in this case weight exceeds four pounds, which is far less pleasant to carry around.
 

Paul Howell

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If at all possible take 2 35mm that take the same lens mount, limit your self to 2 or 3 lens, and one flash, if you want to hedge your bet a bit also take a 35mm point and shoot with a few rolls of color 400. I also pack a tripod. My travel kits varies, some are large format, some are medium format, for 35mm I usually take a Minolta 600SI and Minolta 9, 28mm, 50mm and 70 to 200 F4 zoom, if driving my SUV I'll sneak in a 300 or 400 if I think I can get in some wildlife shots.
 

Frank53

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If I remember correctly, you do not need the LCD on the Fuji. There is a trick to put it on the right iso. It is somewhere on the internet, just google for it. Or use Fuji films.
Regards,
Frank
 
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destroya

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thanks guys. now my next question is, is the 20 roll film limit enforced? italy's customs page says max 2 cameras and 10 rolls per camera allowed. that might make me only take 2 cameras, but i would like to take more than 20 rolls of film
 

film_man

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I would for sure bring the Mamiya 6 and then something like the F3 or FM3a with a couple of lenses.

I'm not sure what the restriction you're talking about is however since you're there for a few weeks you could just order some film and get it delivered to the hotel. Never bought film in Italy but I use these guys for all my film: fotoimpex.de. Maybe check with the min advance if they can deliver to an address that is not your card's registered one. Potentially you could buy from Amazon (it does stock film at ok prices) or use Paypal to pay. These may or may not let you use a US card with an address in Europe.

Maybe if you say where you are going someone can point you to a shop.
 

Paul Howell

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Last time I passed through Italian customs in Rome they did count my rolls of film. My wife had my 35mm point and shoot and another 20 rolls of film. I only shoot about 25 rolls so I had overkill.
 

Colin Corneau

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From experience travelling and making these choices - I suggest 2 cameras, one lens each.
As others have noted, the Mamiya 6 and a 35mm.

Less is more. In that it's a creative spur for you. Don't sweat what you'll miss having 2 cameras with 1 lens each (you won't miss anything!), realize instead that you'll miss more fumbling for lenses and making that choice...you'll be less open to what's actually around you.

Don't worry about it. Go light, cover yourself, and truly live this trip. I'm not a betting man but I'm willing to wager if you take this approach, you'll look back on it as a truly satisfying experience, creatively and personally.
 

Down Under

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Last year, after a lifetime of travel with almost every mix of camera equipment you could imagine (in the mid-1980s I went across Indonesia with a Linhof Technika kit, a Rolleifex 2.8 AND a Nikkormat and several lenses, imagine the weight, but I was young and foolish and, well, haven't we all done it?) and on the cusp of turning 70, I decided to go minimalist, and cut my travel kit to the bare bones.

I now go forth to check out the world with two Nikons, one DSLR (D700) and SLR (F65) and two lenses, usually the 28 and the 85. Lens hoods and UV filters plus one KY (yellow) for the 28, 10-20 rolls of film (mostly B&W) in a small plastic container. That's it. The lot travels in a strong canvas backpack when I fly, and usually one camera stays in my hotel room, securely locked in my room safe.

For me the benefits have been excellent. I shoot less and better, I plan my photo outings and treks with greater care, and I sow down and take more time to enjoy the places and the people I meet. I have a mental list of subjects I no longer shoot (or seldom shoot, nowadays only if the location/site is exceptional) - truly, how many more rice field shots does the world need?

During my last trip (to Sarawak and Sabah, Malaysia) in April, I shot slightly more film than digital.

Shooting film is a personal preference, I've done it since the 1960s and I enjoy it and the processing (not so the scanning when I return home which is a right royal PITA). Film is still available in places like Singapore (not so Malaysia, excepting one or two shops in Kuala Lumpur with mosty overpriced 35mm consumer color neg) and even Jakarta. I've found I can even get B&W processed in the former, one or two small labs there do it. Alas, not E6, now all but vanished from the Asian photo scene. In Surabaya where I stay, not a roll of any sort of film is to be had for love, money or Indo corruption, but a small Chinese toko in Malang (a charming small city in the mountains of East Java) has a small but varied stock of outdated (refrigerated) B&W films, and I occasionally stock up there with a few rolls of TMX or FP4 when I'm passing by. BTW Malang is the only place in Asia I've been to where I go out shooting with my Rollei T and someone passing by says, oh, you still shoot with a Rolleiflex?

Eventually age will weary me even more and I will be traveling (if I still can) with a smaller/lighter kit. For now I visit and revisit Asian destinations (I prefer the less discovered ones and those more off the beaten tourist track). The idea of a (D) Fuji or Olympus rangefinder and one of my beloved (definitely F) Rolleiflex Ts appeals, which suits my way of shooting. I get more keepers from the Rolleis than all the other film formats I have. Of course all this is entirely a personal choice, and when we travel this is what it should always be about, what suits you best.
 
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mshchem

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FM 3A and 1 lens. or Mamiya 6 and 1 lens. Get a pocket sized folding tripod and bring a cable release. If you are trying to leave frustration behind, do!

HAVE FUN!
 

quixotic

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If you're shooting slide and b&w, why not take two bodies of the same ilk (perhaps your G1s), and a few lenses that you can swap between them? I'm doing much the same thing with an Oly OM4-ti and a Sony A7s with an Oly adapter.
 

mooseontheloose

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thanks guys. now my next question is, is the 20 roll film limit enforced? italy's customs page says max 2 cameras and 10 rolls per camera allowed. that might make me only take 2 cameras, but i would like to take more than 20 rolls of film

I went to Italy 3 years ago, through Milan, had 4 cameras with me (which was overkill) and over 100 rolls of film (mostly 120). Bought more when I was there because I was running out, returned back to Japan with 130 rolls. My baggage was never inspected so had no issues with the number of rolls. The biggest issue actually, was not having enough space for my cameras, lenses, and all the film in my carry-on luggage (2 of the cheaper cameras went in checked baggage). Luckily I went through with a clerk who didn't seem that concerned (but that doesn't always happen, some are very strict on bag and weight limits).
 

wfw

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Keep It Simple Sherlock

Fewer cameras to bring means fewer cameras to get lost, stolen or broken.

Speaking for myself, my first pick is my Rolleiflex for b&w with a Rollei 35 for color or as a backup.
But I still have my old Olympus Stylus Epic DLX which is great as a backup camera as it's very small and lightweight and doesn't represent a large financial investment. But that's just me...
 
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removed account4

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fewer cameras and lenses make picture taking a lot less of a hassle
1 lens for whatever you bring ( 1 35+1mf ) if you need 2.
sounds like a nice and well deserved restorative trip !
have fun no matter what you bring.
 
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destroya

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doing a sample walk today, heading up to san francisco for a few hours to walk around and see if the mamiya and 1 contax works. mamiya on the shoulder, contax in my pocket (thanks to cargo pants. not a fashiopn statement, but very useful with many pockets!). lots of film stashed in my pockets, so I will look like a real tourist! hoping its not to much stuff
 

etn

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thanks guys. now my next question is, is the 20 roll film limit enforced? italy's customs page says max 2 cameras and 10 rolls per camera allowed. that might make me only take 2 cameras, but i would like to take more than 20 rolls of film
I went several times in Italy with many, many rolls of film. Never had a problem. Never even heard of that 20 roll film limit rule.
I think this rule might date from an time long gone, to prevent people making business out of smuggling films. Who does that in the present time? I'd expect customs now look at expensive digital cameras or cell phones (etc.). The resale value of film cameras is, for the "general public" (so to speak), virtually zero. It will not be on any custom officer's radar screen.
You can also have rolls shipped to you from a local vendor. I know only the German ones (Fotoimpex, Macodirect, etc.), they should ship to Italy. Italian shops might exist too.

About the camera: if you take 2 bodies for color and BW, I suggest to take 2 bodies of the same brand so as to save weight on lenses. No need to carry 2 lenses of the same focal length.
Take a wide angle for Italian towns. Have fun :smile:

Etienne
 
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