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Technique: How To Shoot It Ask questions about how to take pics, as well as share your own favorite shooting tips.

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Old 05-27-2010   #41
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When I go out and about locally, I carry one body with one lens. I can do that because I know where I'm going and what to expect when I get there. No bag, although if I'm driving I will use a small bag to keep things safe while in the car.

On vacation and other travel that lends itself to walkabouts, I go around with a body and three lenses in a bag. I'm certainly not fond of carrying the stuff, but I'm typically spending times in cities and won't know what I'll be shooting from minute to minute. In that circumstance, I seem to have settled on 3 lenses: the 35/1.2 Nokton, a 50 (either the Zeiss Planar or the Nokton 50/1.5), and the CV 21/4. The 21/4 is so small and light that there's always room for it.

Do I need three lenses? No, but I want three lenses. I'll probably put up with the hassle they entail until I hit a tipping point and decide my trips would be more enjoyable without two of them.
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Old 05-27-2010   #42
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I like to travel with a 35, 50, and 85 or 90. For a day trip, often go out with just a 50. But on an extended trip, going somewhere, the choice of lenses allows more flexibility. Often, I'll pack a fixed-lens RF in place of the 35 or the 50.
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Old 05-27-2010   #43
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Right now I only own 50's I don't find it especially limiting - in 99% of the cases my two foot zoom will suffice.

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Old 05-27-2010   #44
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On weekend I feel good having 25-50 zoom lens, mostly using it at 25 or 50 settings (developer and fixer in one package, so to say).

I agree 45-50 is great for a single-lens adventure. Yes, I like 28mm but if there's mood to go with one lens, it would be 48mm.
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Old 05-27-2010   #45
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My last trip to the netherlands (vacation and to see friends and family) I took the M3, 50mm collapsible 'cron, 90mm collapsible elmar, and an old zeiss folding 645 w/ a 75mm lens. No wide angles.
pictures
Almost everything w/ the leica was shot w/ the 50, and while I always had traveled w/ a wider lens before, I had no real problems. The 50 is my walk around lens most of the time, and is just the most comfortable for how I see. I'd have no trouble traveling with just that.

The problem would be deciding WHICH 50 to bring...!

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Old 05-27-2010   #46
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i spent a week in new york with my old olympus e-420 and the 25mm (50mm ekv.) and was very pleased with the results
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Old 05-27-2010   #47
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Originally Posted by BTMarcais View Post
My last trip to the netherlands (vacation and to see friends and family) I took the M3, 50mm collapsible 'cron, 90mm collapsible elmar, and an old zeiss folding 645 w/ a 75mm lens. No wide angles.
pictures
Almost everything w/ the leica was shot w/ the 50, and while I always had traveled w/ a wider lens before, I had no real problems. The 50 is my walk around lens most of the time, and is just the most comfortable for how I see. I'd have no trouble traveling with just that.

The problem would be deciding WHICH 50 to bring...!

-Brian
There are some really, really amazing shots in there and the collection as a whole is fabulous.

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Old 05-27-2010   #48
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Originally Posted by BTMarcais View Post
My last trip to the netherlands (vacation and to see friends and family) I took the M3, 50mm collapsible 'cron, 90mm collapsible elmar, and an old zeiss folding 645 w/ a 75mm lens. No wide angles.
pictures
Nice to see my country trough 'tourist' perspective, it's beautiful.. opens a new world for me . I'll try to do something with is.
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Old 05-27-2010   #49
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Last summer in New England with only a CV 35/1.4
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Old 05-27-2010   #50
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In '06 I did Paris with an M7 and a 50/2.8 Elmar almost exclusively. Primarily daylight shooting and happy with the results.

If in a big city Id probably opt for something a bit wider, a 35mm, as a walkarpund lens. Makes getting full architecture shots easier (possible) in tight cities. I now enjoy my Zeiss 25mm on my M8 when in Paris as my most used combo.
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Old 05-27-2010   #51
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Wow, over 50 posts in a day! In that case I have to put my two cents in worth too.

For a long time and a lot of short trips I've been shooting with only a 50 and enjoyed it very much, but in big cities I find it a bit tight and plan to try a 35 a.s.a.p.
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Old 05-27-2010   #52
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If I were going on a serious vacation/photo trip, there is no way that I would limit myself to a single lens of any FL. It's one of the appeals of RFs. The lenses are small enough that it requires little extra in the way of weight/packing to toss in an extra lens or two.
There might be days when I'd go out and about with a single lens and camera. But I'd want options. There is a reason we have different focal lengths - a 90mm lens sees the world differently than a 28mm lens.

(Of course, I might feel differently if I were hiking for a week and carrying everything on my back.)
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Old 05-27-2010   #53
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YES,YES and YES to a 50

A 50 Rules SUPREME ...
its the PURRfect distance between me & what I see
I LOVE the Intimacy and the size of the Subject with a 50

on occasion a 21 superangulon might be a complimentary companion
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Old 05-27-2010   #54
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For short trips and business travel, I'm a one camera, one lens kinda guy.

But for vacation travel, not so much. I try to balance the enjoyment that comes from the use of camera gear with the pleasure in traveling light and not having "too many" choices. I too shot exclusively with a 50 while living and traveling in Europe for most of the 1970s, but that was mainly b/c I was a starving student and couldn't afford another focal length lens. But that's not the case any longer, and I can now enjoy photography with other lenses, as well as with the venerable 50.

So, I'm with Raid, in that I've found that a 50 and a wide angle makes a very useful kit, and can accommodate different shooting environments. Not too much; not too little. For me, it's been a 50 and a 28, although I just got a 25 Snapshot Skopar that I'll be taking with me on summer vacation travels. The constant is the 50, though: it's the anchor lens. My dilemma is like Brian Marcais': WHICH 50 to bring!
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Old 05-27-2010   #55
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For the longest time all I had was the 50mm so that was my go everywhere do everything lens, I took that and my old M3 on a vacation and it turned out to be all I needed. Perhaps the limits of just the one lens let me just shoot, no choices about what lens to use , just grab and go.
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Old 05-27-2010   #56
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My FM2 kit had exactly one lens (50/1.4 Ais), and it managed three months of 1980's South Africa with no problem. These days, I prefer a 35, but one FL is still mighty attractive.
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Old 05-27-2010   #57
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From 1980 to 2005 I owned one camera with one lens (a 50mm). I never missed the others I didn't have.
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Old 05-27-2010   #58
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Of course it can be done... But I haven't... Closest was a long, several countries trip with a 20mm only... Never wanted any other lens during the trip, and I'm very happy with those rolls; they share the same feeling all the time: being there, space narrative... Had I used a 50 only, the feeling would have been a very different one: more intimacy, distance, isolation of scenes or feelings... You know what you want... If you want to record a visual memory of the places, you'd better go for a 35 at least... For people as individuals, the 50.

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Old 05-27-2010   #59
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Possible, yes. I use a 35/1.4 on my R-D1 and a Summicron DR on my M6. I really like wide angles, though, so when travelling I can't help taking a ultra-wide with me.

After I bought the M6 with a 50mm, I spent from March to July shooting 50mm only. Sometimes I would put a Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim in my pocket for wide angle moments. Went to Paris with that setup and it was fantastic, as the VUWS is amazingly light, amazingly wide (22mm) and despite having a plastic lens it gives beautiful results. And it's so darn cheap...

In July I was going to travel through Italy and Greece, so I decided to get a lens that would allow me to capture those scenes where you look all over and think "wow... if only I could register this whole beauty". So I got a LTM 15mm Heliar. It was pretty useful and it is really cheap and small. I would have it in my pocket all the time.

If I were to take a single lens to a trip, though, I'd take a 35mm instead of a 50mm. It's better to be able to capture wider scenes and sometimes having to crop than missing a scene because you can't frame it, IMHO. But I'm a wide angle fan, so consider that.

For 2 lenses, I'd go 21mm and 50mm. Covers almost all situations you might encounter. And the CV 21/4 is cheap and has a VF with brightlines, much better than the 15's or the 12's. Just leave the wide in your pocket for when it is really needed.

Going back to the OP's question, I agree with what has been said that it depends where the vacation will be.
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Old 05-27-2010   #60
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Surely it is possible. Having only used 50mm lenses, here are my observations:

Confined spaces (narrow streets, building interiors) require something wider (35 or 28 maybe, no way to calculate).

Landscapes, especially mountains, require something longer (every time I've been in the mountains I wish I had a 90-135 lens, which my later calculations support). Anything else, medium sized things (humans) in medium distances, 50mm works fine for me.

Most of these were already mentioned but just wanted to share my experience.
I tend to agree. On my last long trip, maybe 85% of my pics were with a 35, 12% with a 90mm and 3% with a 50, and I only used the 50 for it's speed as it's faster than my other two lenses.

I could quite happily travel with just a 35. But I think I'd probably bring the 90 anyway, as it's small and I really like the perspective and you do just get occasions where you can't walk any closer.

And I'd bring my Fuji 690 for a backup with it's approximately 35mm equivalent lens
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Old 05-27-2010   #61
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On my last vacation, I wanted to shoot myself in the head at least daily because I brought a 50mm and left my 35mm at home. I missed a lot of shots in Bruges, were the alleys are very narrow and you need a wide lens to actually get anything inside your frame.
I guess it really depends on where you're going.
I could not agree more. In my hometown I find it very hard to fill 28mm frame. Some other places just crave for wide...
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Old 05-28-2010   #62
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As I once read on a forum " 50mm is the focal of the Sunday amateur". So if your trip is not mainly about photography, that will probably do.
Joke apart, I use a lot more 35mm on trips, it is much more versatile, especially if you want to include buildings or landscapes. And in theory, you can get prety much all 50mm framings by getting a bit closer. Most effective would be probably a two lens combo of 35-75 or 90mm.
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Old 05-28-2010   #63
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I'm sure many serious photographers have taken a trip with only one lens, and survived.
Why just a couple of weeks ago "Sixty Minutes" did a feature on this very topic, so I know it's possible and not just an urban legend.
However, it begs the question why would you want to?
These academic exercises are fine as learning experiences, but a waste of time and good opportunities when one is on a holiday.
Better to have it and not use it, than need it and not have it.
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Old 05-28-2010   #64
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I'm leaving for a week trip tomorrow and bringing only a Rolleiflex with ~50mm equiv. and an SLR with only a 50mm.

The last trip I took I only brought 35mm equivalents.

Multiple focal lengths are not necessary unless you want to bring them! Of course nothing wrong with that, I just prefer to pack light (ie: i'm not forcing myself into an "academic exercise" nor am I trying to teach myself anything).

If this makes me a "Sunday amateur" not serious about photography, whatever! I'm sure I'll be satisfied with what I bring back.
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Old 05-28-2010   #65
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Well, if you do, and want a 50, get a Retina for it. Folds up and does not get in the way. Seems to do well in cold weather.

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Of Course!
Old 05-28-2010   #66
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Of Course!

Quote:
Originally Posted by antiquark View Post
For various reasons, I'd like to go on my next vacation with a single lens: a 50mm equivalent.
Has anyone ever gone on a vacation with a 50mm only? Did you miss many shots? Were you always able to "work around" the angle of view limitations to produce good compositions?

Thanks,
Derek.
Once upon a time almost everybody took photos this way. They used fixed lens cameras way back then!
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Old 05-28-2010   #67
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I'm sure many serious photographers have taken a trip with only one lens, and survived. <snip>
However, it begs the question why would you want to?
These academic exercises are fine as learning experiences, but a waste of time and good opportunities when one is on a holiday.
Better to have it and not use it, than need it and not have it.
Well I am returning to Cuba in a few weeks (third trip) to work on a personal photo project. I will be gone for 12 days shooting full time with one body / one lens. I will have a similar backup in my suitcase just in case of a mechanical failure.

No academic exercise, no learning experience here. I shoot with one lens because that results in me capturing better images. Others differ and I am not trying to convert them. I just use one lens because it works for me.
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Old 05-28-2010   #68
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[quote=Bob Michaels;1336097]Well I am returning to Cuba in a few weeks (third trip) to work on a personal photo project. I will be gone for 12 days shooting full time with one body / one lens. I will have a similar backup in my suitcase just in case of a mechanical failure.

No academic exercise, no learning experience here. I shoot with one lens because that results in me capturing better images. Others differ and I am not trying to convert them. I just use one lens because it works for me.[/quote

Then that's what you should do.
But I normally prowl the streets with focal lengths from around 17 or 21mm up to about 180 or 200mm (depending on whether I'm carrying SLRs or rangefinders), because I find the type of shooting I do works best with the focal length spread, and I capture better images.
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Old 05-28-2010   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
YES,YES and YES to a 50

A 50 Rules SUPREME ...
its the PURRfect distance between me & what I see
I LOVE the Intimacy and the size of the Subject with a 50

on occasion a 21 superangulon might be a complimentary companion
Same here Helen (although it used to be 35mm for me, not 50. things change...).

And now that I have my S.A., that'll probably get tossed in the bag for the next trip too...



Dean and Wiedo- thanks for the comments on my photos.

Wiedo, this was my 3rd visit to your country. My wife is dutch, and we go back every year or two to see my in-laws, family and friends. (This last trip we brought our then 7month old son as well). I'm happiest with the photos from this last trip, although I have some favorites from the first couple adventures as well. (earlier trips I brought a 21/35/90 Contax G2 setup).


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Old 05-29-2010   #70
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Thumbs up

For small rangefinder cameras where the lenses are very compact, I have found a two lens (normal (50) plus a wide angle (28) )combo to be ideal. But one focal length is the primary lens and the other is "in case."

I hate changing lenses - so one lens stays on the camera for almost everything but the other is kept in the bag "just in case" it is REALLY needed for the situation at hand.

On my last trip of 2 1/2 weeks to Belarus, the VC 28/3.5 never came off the camera but the 50 was always there if really needed.

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Old 05-29-2010   #71
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On travels where Im not at liberty to use too much time fiddling around with lens swithching, I use my Konica Hexar RF with a Hexanon 50/2.0 and nothing else, except a lot of Ektar 100 (usually).

If I go abroad and can foresee that I will have the time to look around for better angles, lens switching etc., I bring two lenses: 35 and 90.

Using my regular travel kit - the Hexar RF with 50/2.0 has learnt me a lot about placing yourself relative to the subject you want to capture.
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Old 05-29-2010   #72
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50mm is the best and only lens (in 135 format) for creating the most idiomatic and the most powerful shots imho.
WA and tele can lead to great results but not as only lens.
Otherwise the 50mm can do it all!
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Old 05-29-2010   #73
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Not just a vacation - whole life. My grandfather used his camera with a 50mm lens nearly 50 years before getting just one more lens - a 35mm one. And his photos are awsome. Sometimes I look at my collection of lenses and cameras and wonder - why in the world do I have all this? Doesnt make me any better photographer, just a more confused one, i think. Oh well, it's still nice to have all the toys to play with.....
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Old 10-20-2018   #74
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I love 50s. I did a wedding with my favorite canon lens, the 35L in my canon system and found myself cropping a lot of the photos. I figured, why waste the sensor? Get the 50 and no need for cropping. I oddly found that I love the 50mm on my leicas though, so it wasn’t all that much of a surprise when I wanted one for my canon system.

I liked the 28/50 combo when I was on vacation also.
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Old 10-20-2018   #75
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If I owned only a 50, I would travel with it. One size fits all, problem solved. As it is I have 16 Nikon lenses, so it's a no-deal. I've always found the 35 to be not quite wide enough for my eye and the 50 too limiting for my view of things, so I'd pack a 28.

These days I get about in Asia with a D700, a 28 and 85, hoods, UVs and a (rarely used) polariser. That's it. For many years I shot with a 28-85, but last month it finally rendered up the spirit, and given its advanced age I won't have it repaired or replace it. I'll make do with my two primes.

If I had to take a third lens, it would be a Micro Nikkor 60. A fourth, a 180.

The problem for me with threads such as these, is that most posts raise points/make arguments that make good sense. In the end, it all boils down to what suits the traveler best. Me, it's 28 and 85.

I traveled throughout Southeast Asia with a Nikkormat FT2 and a 50/2 Nikkormat in 1993 and did a repeat journey with this kit in 2006 (the latter was my last entirely film project). During both journeys I shot thousands of color slides - the film I carried with me weighed much more than the camera kit. In the '90s, one could still make good money from stock, and my 'standard lens shots' (largely portraits of Asian women working at traditional occupations) sold enough to pay my airfares. The (very few) landscapes/town scenes I shot have been long forgotten. So if your shooting tend to these, the 50 may not be your best choice. Nowadays, stock has hit rock bottom anyway, so all this is really nostalgia, for what it's worth.

Yes, let's travel with our camera(s), and one (or more) lenses. But enjoy the journey, the new cultures, the experiences. Look, see, learn - and make images along the way, as you go.

An excellent (if somewhat dated) thread, seemingly revived by some divine act, like the return of Lazarus. I somehow missed it in 2010, this time I'll follow with interest.
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Old 10-20-2018   #76
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In 135 format, 85mm and 28mm are my favorite focal lengths, as well. I do the vast majority of my work with these two focal lengths.

As to the OP's original question, I can speak to it in terms of being limited to a single focal length. I have traveled and lived abroad using compact fixed-lens RFs. I simply thought/visualized in terms of the focal length I had and, as such, didn't feel lacking.

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Old 10-20-2018   #77
muser53
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Why not? HCB spent the vast majority of his career shooting with a 50.
Gerry Winogrand rarely saw the need for anything other than a 28 and Ralph Gibson pretty much was a 50 shooter as well. Can't do much better than that!
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Old 10-20-2018   #78
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Heh, 8 year old thread... Interesting topic though

I backpacked through Europe for about 5 months a few years ago and shot basically the whole trip with a Voigtlander Nokton 25mm (50mm equivalent on Micro Four Thirds). Thoroughly enjoyed it and took a lot of photos I'm still very fond of.
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Old 10-21-2018   #79
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If a 35mm lens only yes, why not?

If a 50mm lens only I might leave the camera home.

I am not nostalgic for when I owned but one lens - a 50mm...

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Old 10-21-2018   #80
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This thread started in 2010.
It got restarted today!

It is perfectly fine to travel with only one lens, and it is OK (for myself) to use the 50mm lens then. The classic images from the past often were taken with a 50mm lens. It forces you to think more before creating an image, I think.
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