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Lens advice for a long trip
Old 01-11-2018   #1
Bruno Gracia
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Lens advice for a long trip

Hi there!!

Well I'm gonna make this south asia trip next February around Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Bali... for 3 or 4 months, and was wondering which lens would You carry?

I've sold my 35 FLE, 28 Cron ASPH, 50 Lux ASPH and 21 Super elmar (I know super painful but I mostly shot in b&w), and now I have money for travel and buy a couple of small lenses, so the choices are:

-35 Cron IV and 50 Elmar-M II.
-35 and 50 Summarit.
-35 lux pre asph and 50 Sonnar.
-Cron 35 ASPH to rule them all.

Maybe add 21 Super Angulon 3.4 but I think even with 35 is more than enough.

BTW my camera is a Leica MP Black Paint (and I was thinking even in Leica Q or RX1, even a X100F but at the end this is gonna be a unique experience in my life and must be recorded on film).

I also have a Minilux which is my second camera.
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Old 01-11-2018   #2
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Here is the one of the best RFF outgoing pictures on film and with Leica thread.
https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...d.php?t=142226
I don't remember if lens info is often mentioned here. I'm following some of authors on Flickr and ask them where.
Some of the pictures in this thread are great examples how pictures could be taken in the region of your interest with 21 mm Leica lens.

Travel or else doesn't matter. What is matter is how comfortable and creative you are with certain focal length.
HCB covered Asia with 50mm lens. He was dancing in the distance and pictures looks great and close enough.
GW made it with 28 across USA and he has to plow through the crowd.
With 21mm to get decent picture you need to be very, very close.

All four and 21 in the list are small enough and great lens. All of them are very different in rendering as well.

If me, I would look at 35 lux pre asph as great film lens and to match it, same era Lux 50. It is not big lens and build like they don't make them anymore. The reason why this two is the maximum aperture. Indoors, evenings on tight streets and film are less difficult to deal with 1.4 apertures.
And these two lenses are going to be good not only for travel.

But I know one very good photographer who vent from Lux pre ASPH 50 to Jipter-3 for bw film in Leica and not only for travel. He is posting in RFF Gallery periodically. I think his recent ones are from the Turkey trip and taken with J-3 on film Leica.

BTW, don't know it is new, but Minilux cable is now made in China. Lovely and great optics camera. Now, after cable problem is solved, I might get one.
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Old 01-11-2018   #3
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I’ve traveled a fair bit in Asia and found a 21mm very useful. Unless you want a sea of people between you and your subject you have to get close.

My mantra for travel glass, something wide, something long, and something fast in the middle!

With M Leicas I’ve used 21mm SA , 50mm Cron, and 90 TE (the fat one).
Thought a fast 35 would be more use than 50 so bought a 35 Lux but never used it for travel. My wanderings became more off the beaten track so downsized to bare minimum, both size and cost.
For a number of trips Barnacks , 3f & 3g with classic 35, 50, 90 served.

On last trip to India I took my old M4 and 21-50-90. Instead of the 35 Lux I took an X100. What a useful little camera. When tri-X and Fuji 400 wouldn’t be enough in dim light the Fuji cranked up to 3200 iso was fine.


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Old 01-11-2018   #4
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I just got back from a month trip in south east Asia just yesterday actually and what I had brought with me was my M4-P + 35mm Summicron, 50mm Planar and an Olympus XA4. I did also have my M8 but It was redundant.

Looking to get a 50mm Elmar in the future as well.

The Leica obviously being the work horse through out the day and the little Olympus for those quick snaps on busses and close up on the streets. (28mm, 35mm, 50mm) a

Used the 35mm the most.
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Old 01-11-2018   #5
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two cameras, ~ two lenses...

At the moment I am traveling in Japan with an MP and lots of Neopan (100 & 400 from stock). So it's film with a 50mm and color with a Fuji x100t (35 equivalent). ~ also carrying a M-mount 28 as at times the 50 is too long... The Fuji (I would prefer the x100f) for social media updates and the color ; )
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Old 01-11-2018   #6
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I got back from Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago, and my main kit consisted of the M9, Zeiss 21/2.8, Voigtlander 35/1.4, Zeiss 50/1.5 and Leica 50/2.

The Olympus E-M5 was the secondary kit, with Oly 17/1.8, 25/1.8 and 45/1.8. I didn't use this kit for much more than video, and only shot images with it about 30% of the time.

Most of my travel photography revolves around capturing scenes, landscapes, interiors and architecture, which is why I use the 21mm Biogon most of the time. At night and for indoors I usually use the 35mm Nokton, and the 50's are for people and details. So I'll shoot buildings and well lit interiors with the 21, museums and temples with the 35, and people with the 50.

You seem to be comfortable with a 35, so I'd suggest a fast 35, the Zeiss Sonnar, and maybe an inexpensive 21 like the Voigtlander 21mm Skopar. The Zeiss will give you enough speed to reasonably compensate for ISO400 film in lower light. Depending on what you shoot, the 21 may be useful for things like exteriors and architecture, large temple interiors, etc.

Your cellphone (assuming it has a reasonable camera) will sub for a video camera in a pinch. For me, video during travel can be just as rewarding as images, as it shows things in motion and captures the sounds of the moment.
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Old 01-11-2018   #7
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i looked at your flickr, and i think you'll be fine with just a 35mm.

look at the zeiss 35/1.4 distagon zm if you want something fast, or the 35mm summicron asph for something smaller.
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Old 01-11-2018   #8
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I live in Japan and and use the 35 mm Summilux pre-ASPH und 21mm Super-Angulon-M a lot as they are a perfect match for BW film and the light conditions here.
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Old 01-11-2018   #9
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I just returned from two and a half weeks in Cork, Ireland and the Isle of Man over the holidays. I carried the Leica M-D and two lenses: Summicron-M 50mm and Summilux 35mm v2. They were enough, and perfect for the job.

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Old 01-11-2018   #10
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The RX1 is a great travel companion provided you have a couple of spare batteries and the EVF (but if you have one you will know this already).
I traveled through Myanmar and Vietnam a while ago and the RX1 was a good choice. RX1 pics from those 2 trips are here:

https://muju.exposure.co/myanmar
https://muju.exposure.co/vietnam

That said, don't bring too much expensive gear, and don't bring too much gear in general because otherwise you'll spend more time being worried about your stuff than taking photos. Keep it minimal and fun with a restricted, reliable set.

Enjoy!
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Old 01-11-2018   #11
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I agree like some here - just take a 35mm. If you have the cash - Summicron 35/2 ASPH. Also, why not a Summaron 35/2.8?
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Old 01-11-2018   #12
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If I were you..I'd bring a superwide 15mm..a super fast 35 and 50 or 75..that are usable wide open..and that's it..
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Old 01-11-2018   #13
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I like having an alternate lens or two along on a trip, but I seem to settle on one lens in the field without changing. In Utah and Colorado last Fall I had a 100mm (80 equiv) along but only used the 35mm (28 equiv). Previously, in Feb, for Cuba I had the M-D with 28 Summicron and never used the 75mm Heliar I also packed. Contrariwise, over Thanksgiving in Hawaii, it was again the M-D with the 35 Summilux left in the bag this time while I only used the 1.8/75mm! Different circumstances, and I am pleased with the shots each time...

If I were to offer advice based on my own usage, I'd suggest a minimal kit, and don't count on being able to pick & choose & change lenses much while out and about!
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Old 01-11-2018   #14
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I stay mindful of pairing lenses so as not to leave a "hole in the middle." So I think to go from 21mm to 35mm is a bridge (lens) too far. I find a 24/35mm pair to be workable. I never leave the 35mm behind. It is the "don't leave home without it" lens. If taking only one lens, it has to be (for me) 35mm. When I'm shooting with my Fuji X100, with its 35mm (only) equivalent, I may not even miss having interchangeable lenses. An exception is when shooting in narrow streets, as in Paris and elsewhere in France, I need wider. A 24 or 25mm has been wide enough for that; but next time maybe I will bring the 21mm, just for variety.

The 35mm Pre-lux is just fine for black and white, but I find it unusable wide open. Stopped down, I'm just as pleased with it as with any of my pre-ASPH Summicrons. When performance at f/2 and 2.8 matters, the Summicron ASPH goes in the bag.
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Old 01-12-2018   #15
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I just came back from a 3 month trip in South East Asia. I visited Taiwan and Hong Kong. My gear consisted of:

M6 TTL (Tri-X, TMax and Portra 400)
M 240
35mm Summicron ASPH
50mm Summilux Pre-ASPH Type 2

I honestly only used the 50mm a handful of times as the 35 Cron ASPH ended up being my go to lens for both bodies as the focusing tab was a must for quick zone focusing. Don't discount the 35mm Cron ASPH's focusing tab while traveling. I can't tell you how many shots I missed with the 50mm Summilux because the focus throw was so long and it lacked a focusing tab.

And I have to say, that for film, the 35mm Cron ASPH (IMHO) renders the perfect balance of character, contrast, sharpness, bokeh, and feel. It's hands down the best (travel) lens for the Leica M bodies. Also, the plastic hood (Version I ASPH) it comes with, saved the lens a few times from certain mishaps.

For travel, the 35mm Cron ASPH will be the last travel lens you'll ever need.

Have fun and enjoy your travels!

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Old 01-12-2018   #16
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its a rf thread for sure, but in my recent trip to Barcelona, had two mirrorless zooms 15-28mm and 82-315mm + one Sony body. was pretty satisfied the range and rarely missed the normal lengths. light weight helped a lot with the long walks in the city.
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Old 01-12-2018   #17
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Three of four months shooting film, only... Try to plan the logistics keeping in mind that fresh film -especially b&w, is no longer widely available in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.
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Old 01-12-2018   #18
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Many many thanks to You all guys, very helpful.

Now I'm more keen to bring MP and Cron 35 ASPH. and a Minilux.

Other thought that cross my mind was 40 summicron and cheap M like M6 or M4P but I now I will be missing something from my images, I like to take pictures in low light and bar/pubs so Summicron ASPH wide open is gonna be better, just need to push film one or two steps.

Is this or is a RX1 which I don't have and would love to try before!

BTW do You think HP5 is to soft for that light? I like more the trix punch.

Regarding film, with 100 rolls I have more than enough, my way of shooting is really calm.
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Old 01-12-2018   #19
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IMO, 35 and 50 are too close to justify changing lenses in the street (for landscapes, sure). If your choice is definitely between these, I'd suggest the 35 only. I'd be tempted to add a 90, various Elmars and Elmarits are not expensive for Leica lenses. Or add a small SLR with something in the 85 to 105 range. But if tele is not your thing, never mind.
Edit: I see you came to the 35-only-conclusion yourself while I was writing. 40 sounds good to me, too, though. Are you sure the 40 Cron isn't adequate in resolution wide open for 400 ISO film?
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Old 01-12-2018   #20
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I think Cron ASPH will give me more resolution and flare control, even contrast, an ASPH lens "well" used can give even glow or what I call the Leica smooth sharpness.
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Old 01-12-2018   #21
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-Cron 35 ASPH to rule them all.
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Old 01-12-2018   #22
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Simply carry the lens or lens kit that works for you at home. Your photo style does not change regardless of the location or length of trip.

I would question the merits of committing to use a new lens for 3-4 months without being positive you like it. If the rendering difference between a zipdedodagon and a omygoshigon lens is important to you, sort that out at home before you leave.

Absolutely have total redundancy is your equipment if photography is going to be an important part of your trip. Nothing worse than being on unfamiliar turf and realizing you have an equipment problem that forces you to use something other than your first choice.
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Old 01-12-2018   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno Gracia View Post
BTW do You think HP5 is to soft for that light? I like more the trix punch.
Push it to 800, it will result in a contrastier look. The extra speed doesn't hurt either. HP5 is too flat for my old glass, I always push it.
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Old 01-12-2018   #24
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The correct answer of what to take is the lens you use the most, and the lens you use the second most.
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Old 01-12-2018   #25
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Some folks like to travel with a lot of glass. Somehow i've come around to reverting to minimalism. When I was a student, i only had a rollei 35. I've travelled in the Alps on foot with just a a Rolleiflex or a Leica with a 35mm. It works for me. You just have to to decide what works for you.
In my opinion, having minimal baggage, especially on a long trip sure makes moving around easier & I extend this to photographing. Less worries about leaving things, less worry about theft...
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Old 01-12-2018   #26
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Carry less not more!
In place of Minilux, grab your Rollei 35, you do amazing with!
A 28mm or 35mm, the 50mm.
All the best!
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Old 01-12-2018   #27
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If you have only one film camera in M mount, consider getting a cheap and light Bessa T or similar camera as a second camera for the second lens, if you choose to use two lenses.

For general photography, the 35/1.4 Lux will be suitable in almost any situation you will could encounter.

For a wide angle look in most of your street images, a 28mm or 24mm lens would work well.

For a challenging very wide angle look in your images, go with a 15mm-21mm lens.

For a classical combo to cover "all", I would use a 35mm/1.4 (slightly wide and fast) plus a short tele that is not heavy. If your wide lens is wider than 35mm, then your second lens could be a 50/1.4 or so.

For simplicity, use 35/1.4 and that's it.
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Old 01-12-2018   #28
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While in Europe I used a 35 constantly on my M camera. There were times I wish I had something wider for interiors, like the Zeiss ZM 25mm I use today. Did not use the 50mm Summicron much at all. I shot more with a 75 Summarit than the 50mm.

Of course, it's what you are comfortable with. Good luck on your travels.
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Old 01-12-2018   #29
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Hi,

I don't know what version of the minilux you have but, if it's the zoom, then it reminds me that I have been very happy taking two compact cameras with a decent zoom lens on long holidays. It gives you a back up and many compact cameras have good lenses that you can squeeze a lot out of and usable - if minimal - controls.

Also you can easily carry them anywhere and shoot away without worrying people. Large cameras seem to frighten people imo and they sometimes overreact. Plus you don't need to carry a separate flash and extra batteries for the flash and so on. If the zoom was about 28 to 85 or 90mm it would cover a lot of situations on a long holiday without becoming a major worry at times.

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Old 01-12-2018   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno Gracia View Post
Many many thanks to You all guys, very helpful.

Now I'm more keen to bring MP and Cron 35 ASPH. and a Minilux.

Other thought that cross my mind was 40 summicron and cheap M like M6 or M4P but I now I will be missing something from my images, I like to take pictures in low light and bar/pubs so Summicron ASPH wide open is gonna be better, just need to push film one or two steps.

Is this or is a RX1 which I don't have and would love to try before!

BTW do You think HP5 is to soft for that light? I like more the trix punch.

Regarding film, with 100 rolls I have more than enough, my way of shooting is really calm.


You newer know what is going to happen with 100 rolls or even half of it calm shooting, just purchased used and old film M and 40mm lens which doesn't match any frame line. Worst combination, dare I say...

I sold 40mm lens because on film M it was not good without external VF.
You already have best possible 40mm in Minilux, or is it zoom version?

Regarding low light and pub&bars. In really low light it doesn't matter how sharp wide open f2 lens is. What is matter is how steady you could hold camera at 1/8 and how moderate you are for motion blur.
And if it is low light we are talking 1/8, f2, plus pushing. Pushing and sharpens are not exists together. Especially with HP5+ or TRIX. But maybe with Delta 400 or TMAX400.

This is low light (after sunset, dark street) with f2.5 (Leica ASPH lens), 1/8 and HP5+ has to be pushed @3200 to get enough light and have this shutter speed at f2.5. Print:




This is totally dark area with light coming from inside, with open to f1.5 non Leica, not even shimmed for Leica, not ASPH lens and shutter speed faster than 1/8 (can't tell exactly, it was impossible to see shutter dial and aperture ring, too dark). Also HP5+ @3200. Scan:

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Old 01-12-2018   #31
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Nice images - steady hands for 1/8th second!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post


You newer know what is going to happen with 100 rolls or even half of it calm shooting, just purchased used and old film M and 40mm lens which doesn't match any frame line. Worst combination, dare I say...

I sold 40mm lens because on film M it was not good without external VF.
You already have best possible 40mm in Minilux, or is it zoom version?

Regarding low light and pub&bars. In really low light it doesn't matter how sharp wide open f2 lens is. What is matter is how steady you could hold camera at 1/8 and how moderate you are for motion blur.
And if it is low light we are talking 1/8, f2, plus pushing. Pushing and sharpens are not exists together. Especially with HP5+ or TRIX. But maybe with Delta 400 or TMAX400.

This is low light (after sunset, dark street) with f2.5 (Leica ASPH lens), 1/8 and HP5+ has to be pushed @3200 to get enough light and have this shutter speed at f2.5. Print:

This is totally dark area with light coming from inside, with open to f1.5 non Leica, not even shimmed for Leica, not ASPH lens and shutter speed faster than 1/8 (can't tell exactly, it was impossible to see shutter dial and aperture ring, too dark). Also HP5+ @3200. Scan:
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Old 01-12-2018   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno Gracia View Post
Hi there!!

Well I'm gonna make this south asia trip next February around Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Bali... for 3 or 4 months, and was wondering which lens would You carry?

I've sold my 35 FLE, 28 Cron ASPH, 50 Lux ASPH and 21 Super elmar (I know super painful but I mostly shot in b&w), and now I have money for travel and buy a couple of small lenses, so the choices are:

-35 Cron IV and 50 Elmar-M II.
-35 and 50 Summarit.
-35 lux pre asph and 50 Sonnar.
-Cron 35 ASPH to rule them all.

Maybe add 21 Super Angulon 3.4 but I think even with 35 is more than enough.

BTW my camera is a Leica MP Black Paint (and I was thinking even in Leica Q or RX1, even a X100F but at the end this is gonna be a unique experience in my life and must be recorded on film).

I also have a Minilux which is my second camera.
You sold the two I'd take, the 35 Summilux FLE and 21mm Super Elmar.

I don't sell lenses.....
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Old 01-12-2018   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
i looked at your flickr, and i think you'll be fine with just a 35mm.

look at the zeiss 35/1.4 distagon zm if you want something fast, or the 35mm summicron asph for something smaller.
I'm primarily a 35mm shooter as well. I love collecting lenses as much as the next guy, but honestly, a 35mm can do just about anything. I have a 35mm cron v IV that is just about perfect.. especially on black and white. that or a 35 1.4 would be my vote.

If you need something that your 35mm can't deliver, use your phone. 28mm equivalent, so a little wider when needed. If you need wider still, take a pano. If you need to get closer than your film setup will allow, it'll do that too.

At the end of the day, you'll get the best pics if you shoot what you are most comfortable with.
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Old 01-12-2018   #34
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I am 50. Get the best lenses for the best price

All the other stuff can be panoed or cropped today
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Old 01-12-2018   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muju79 View Post
The RX1 is a great travel companion provided you have a couple of spare batteries and the EVF (but if you have one you will know this already).
I traveled through Myanmar and Vietnam a while ago and the RX1 was a good choice. RX1 pics from those 2 trips are here:

https://muju.exposure.co/myanmar
https://muju.exposure.co/vietnam

That said, don't bring too much expensive gear, and don't bring too much gear in general because otherwise you'll spend more time being worried about your stuff than taking photos. Keep it minimal and fun with a restricted, reliable set.

Enjoy!
Just wanted to say, I really enjoyed those links. Thank you for sharing!
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Old 01-12-2018   #36
ptpdprinter
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Which focal length do you prefer to shoot with? The guys giving advice about which lens(es) to take are not going on your trip.
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Old 01-12-2018   #37
ktmrider
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If you want fast then 35f11.2 or 50f1.1. The money you will save over the marginal improvement (if any) of Leica branded lenses will allow more film or wider travel. We all get wrapped around equipment but I don't see lens data published for the most famous or best photos taken by anyone. All I see is the photo.
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Old 01-12-2018   #38
Axel100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktmrider View Post
...All I see is the photo.
All that everybody sees is - the photo.

Agree
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Old 01-13-2018   #39
Bruno Gracia
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thanks everyone!!!

Now I’m just hesitating if old school lenses (mandler) vs new ones. I think being Leica is all I can ask for. I’ll go with 35mm, it’s decided. ASPH or IV.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-13-2018   #40
Richard G
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I went to France, Paris and Nice, with a Leica Monochrom, a black 1980 tabbed Summicron 50, which I used, a lot, and the 28 Elmarit ASPH which I needed, a lot, in the narrow streets of the old city of Nice. For colour I had the Fuji X100. It was a very light kit and covered everything. Maybe I could have managed without the 50, but I never go without a 50. The same trip with film I would push Tri-X two stops and expose at 1250 for dark streets, interiors etc.

I would hate to use anything unfamiliar on a trip, especially a new digital.

Brilliant answer from Ko.Fe to link to the Hanoi thread.
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