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One camera/One lens


Michael Patrick Ryan

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Before airports switched to CRT scanners I often traveled with a Rolleiflex TLR and a bag full of film. Now I am fine with only a Q2M. It depends on the destination. I have accumulated a lot of Leica lenses these 20 years and should sell them off if not for that guilt/sell/regret/buyback syndrome.

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3 hours ago, muskyvibes said:

In all my years of owning camera’s I’ve never owned more than 2 lenses. It’s just too much gear and it gets out of hand. 

Same here. Each camera system involved having a 24-85mm zoom (ish) which spent all its time on the camera and most of the images were taken at the extreme ends of the zoom range. I moved to Leica to reduce the size of the lenses I was carting around. I don’t yet have a 90mm and I’m not sure whether it’s worth getting one as I can’t see me changing lenses when walking around. I might save up to get the 90mm Elmar just in case though. 

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30 minutes ago, ianforber said:

Same here. Each camera system involved having a 24-85mm zoom (ish) which spent all its time on the camera and most of the images were taken at the extreme ends of the zoom range. I moved to Leica to reduce the size of the lenses I was carting around. I don’t yet have a 90mm and I’m not sure whether it’s worth getting one as I can’t see me changing lenses when walking around. I might save up to get the 90mm Elmar just in case though. 

That would be the do it all set  35-50-90. And I wouldn’t get 6 versions of different 50mm lenses. I would just buy Summicrons. Except the 90mm would be the smallest and sharpest I could find. For very occasional use. 

Since I shoot the 10R I just crop 50mm. There’s so much detail there. 

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1 hour ago, Knightspirit said:

Why has no one mentioned a tri-elmar as a one lens solution? inquiring minds would like to know…

Even the later smaller E49 filter size version has too much VF blockage for me. Also when shooting film F4 is too limiting. The whole thing is one big compromise. 

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9 hours ago, Knightspirit said:

Why has no one mentioned a tri-elmar as a one lens solution? inquiring minds would like to know…

The Leica M really dislikes big lenses. I don’t know That I want a 28-35-50 Tri-Elmar attached to my M all the time. It would drive me nuts. 

I can just put on my 50 Cron and the Nokton/Ultron 35&28 are so small I can hold them both in one hand. 

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I have an M11, M11M, SL2 and SL2-S. And too many lenses.

But my camera bag(s) will only accommodate one body with a lens and, at most two other lenses. And that is how I leave the house, I make decision before I go on what lens I expect to use and rarely change it anyway. If I change the lens it’s usually the one that will stay on for the rest of the day. It’s not an exercise in imposing limitations, it’s just the way that works for me. I do like to have the option of different kits with a lot of potential interoperability but I never try to juggle between them on any given day or week.

 

If I had to pick one camera, one lens forever it would be the M11 and a tossup between the 35 APO or 50 Summilux.

 

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My first Leica was an M3 kit I purchased used at a little shop in Juneau Alaska in about 1988. It came with a 35mm Summaron with the goggles and  a 50mm Summicron also with the goggles. I traded a whole bag of Olympus gear for it - two bodies and maybe 3 or 4 lenses plus some cash! I later added a 90 and a 135 and that was my kit in one bag which went with me everywhere. I even bought a 280 and a 500 to use on a visoflex (that was disappointing).

I ended up selling the whole set when digital came around so I am starting all over again. I chose the 28mm Elmarit Asph as my “one” lens set up with the M11 for now, and am still getting used to the look and feel of it. I love that it is super tiny, and weighs nothing. It does not have the clinical sharpness that I am used to with the Nikon Z lenses - but not in a bad way. That may have something to do with the sensor as well? I will undoubtedly end up with 5 or 6 lenses - because I am just wired that way - but am loving my little 28 Elmarit so far!

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2 hours ago, SoarFM said:

I have an M11, M11M, SL2 and SL2-S. And too many lenses.

But my camera bag(s) will only accommodate one body with a lens and, at most two other lenses. And that is how I leave the house, I make decision before I go on what lens I expect to use and rarely change it anyway. If I change the lens it’s usually the one that will stay on for the rest of the day. It’s not an exercise in imposing limitations, it’s just the way that works for me. I do like to have the option of different kits with a lot of potential interoperability but I never try to juggle between them on any given day or week.

 

If I had to pick one camera, one lens forever it would be the M11 and a tossup between the 35 APO or 50 Summilux.

 

I concur.. hard choice nowadays deciding between the two, the apo 35 cron is very versatile lens

life was easier before it

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On 12/17/2023 at 2:44 AM, muskyvibes said:

In all my years of owning camera’s I’ve never owned more than 2 lenses. It’s just too much gear and it gets out of hand. 

I have; my last system was the full fat Fuji GFX 100 and I had the 250, 100-200,45-100 and 30. The bag weighed a tonne and although the images it could make were simply astonishing, with colour to die for, I just could not face lugging it about.

Before than I had several systems including a Leica M7 with 4 or 5 lenses.

Now, I am older and wiser and I am no longer sucked in by the marketers who create the "which lens do I need for x kind of pictures" thinking that is so common across the internet.

I have found that the Apo 35 Summicron is perfect for an enormous majority of what I shoot. Usually I cannot be bothered changing lenses in the field unless there is a very good reason to do it. What I would really like is a second M11 that I can stick a 75 on and carry both so I can make the choice without wasting the time changing lenses on one body.

That was a long way round to say that I entirely agree with you - for most photographers, too much choice in gear has a detrimental effect on producing actual work. If you agonise over lens choice etc instead of observing the world around you and shooting with what you have to hand, you'll miss shots and opportunities.

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On 12/16/2023 at 12:38 AM, IkarusJohn said:

 

Hmm, you’ve been a member of the forum for 6 days. 

Ha ha . . . nice spot!  But 47 posts in 6 days is pretty good going.  That will be about 2,500 per year if he/she keeps it up.  Could rival Steven unless he/she gets banned 😂

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43 minutes ago, Kiwimac said:

That was a long way round to say that I entirely agree with you - for most photographers, too much choice in gear has a detrimental effect on producing actual work. If you agonise over lens choice etc instead of observing the world around you and shooting with what you have to hand, you'll miss shots and opportunities.

Yes. For me I’ve had to learn how I see and how I like to put things in a frame. So you get the lens that helps you do that. And usually it’s just that one lens and a companion. For me is a 50 and a 35. In terms of being practical I love f2 lenses. The size, weight, usefulness. They’re the best workhorse lenses, so I love the Summicrons. 

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35mm is indeed a sweet spot. But with the rangefinder you can't get close enough without having the new APO and using liveview. Not an option for the M-D.

So I stick to my 50.

Often I crop to 75mm; no problem even with 'just' 24MP ...

Other times I stitch 4 frames together to 28mm-ish for landscapes. (Well 5 frames actually as I shoot a backup for the central area).

That's my one camera one lens in practice ...

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My decision for a 1 camera, 1 lens selection is first determined by where I’m going. On a recent land-trip European vacation (London & Paris) I took only a M11, a 28 Lux and APO 50. However, each day I only took the M11 and 1 lens. This was perfect as I was exclusively in the city environment. My next vacation is S.E. Asia. Hot, Dusty, Rainy and Humid. I will be in cities, countryside, small boats, cruise ships, restaurants, and dusty roadbeds. I’m taking 1 camera and 1 lens each day, but with more choices.  (SL2 weather/dust protection, SL24-90 to cover the bases, APO M 50 2.0 to keep it small, APO SL 28 instead of my M 28 Lux (easier and weather sealed). I carry everything on the plane (with room to spare) with a Thinktank Airport Advantage and my daily walkaround with 1 camera, 1 lens in a Wotancraft Pilot Bag 7L. I love the fact that I can use M lenses on my SL2. I almost was only going to take mostly M lenses on this next trip to help keep it lighter, but I know the SL 24-90 will come in handy a few times. The APO M 50 makes for a much smaller, almost M-like setup, for close quarters and street photography and the APO SL 28 is just easier than the M 28 Lux, although using M lenses on the SL2 is very easy.

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Fascinating thread - for a guy who has seven lenses from 15mm to 135mm! However, I rarely go out with more than the Apo 35, 50 Lux and 90 Cron. The rest stay in the car/hotel room etc and get out when I see a particular reason to need them. I'm off to Southern Africa soon and I'll take one body with the 35 for general use and the other with the 135 (which I love because I "see" long) for wildlife. The 21, 50 and 90 will be in the bag but not often with me.

Having said that, my most used lens is the Apo 35 and if I could only take one, that would be it.

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On 11/30/2023 at 1:52 AM, Michael Patrick Ryan said:

I have really been contemplating downsizing to one camera and one lens. Has anybody ever considered that here? I have a Leica M11 as my main camera and a plethora of various Leica lenses. I’m 66 years old and my back and shoulder is not what it used to be and when I go out my bag is so full of lenses that it gets very uncomfortable after a very short time. Aside from the physical discomfort, I almost go into mental anguish, trying to decide what lens to use! When I pack for a photo outing, I spend more time trying to figure out what lenses to bring that I do packing! It’s almost unsettling at times. I have looked through decades of photos And my most predominantly used lens is the 28 mm 2.8 Elmarit. It is the sweet spot for me. I am purely a hobbyist and don’t do this for money. I am just really looking to simplify my life and was very seriously considering doing this. I am going to Egypt spring of 2024 and I can’t imagine the conundrum that awaits, trying to figure out what lenses to bring, and what lenses to use when I am there. If I had one camera one lens, it would be very freeing I think. With the very generous resolution given with the M 11, I found cropping to give you many lenses in one. Also, with topaz upscaling it seems to be a home run. I am anxious to hear anybody’s thoughts or comments on this. Thank you all very much for any attention given this. 

Go for it Michael – or have you gone for it already...

Am using the M exclusively with a 28 Summicron. I assume you always carry a smartphone with you, just for backup shots? Their quality cannot be underestimated. Just in case...

As for the 1 camera, 1 lens setup: it's all I need, and yes am doing assignments now and then, of the journalistic kind.

28mm render a great perspective, to me closest to what the human eye sees. 35 is already too tele, 21 requires stricter composition and dealing with distortion.

Of course, there are some pros and those who have all the gear who claim you cannot shoot a portrait with a 28, bla bla. The only limit to one's shooting is one's own mind.

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