One Journey Two Cameras
I’ve not long been back from a trip which took myself and my family back to the UK via a few other places, this wasn’t a photography trip but I’ve included a few of my favourite images picked up along the way. The are more images along with a more extensive write-up on my blog here – The Reluctant Tourist.
I have no idea how much time I wasted thinking about what gear I should take on this trip, certainly it was too much time. In the end I tried to keep it simple and went with what I’m most comfortable with, the Leica M Monochrom. For lenses I went all Voigtlander – 21/1.8 – 35/1.2 and 50/1.5. I also had a cheap PROST adapter which was all I could get hold of initially.
My gear plans went out of the window when the Sony A7R arrived by courier just a couple of hours before departing for the airport, at that point I really had little choice but to take it as leaving it meant I’d not see it again for 2 months. Obviously any new camera monopolises your attention and it also means a bit of a learning curve, it certainly did with the MM and the Sony A7R was the same just for different reasons.
I had a rocky start with the A7R, whilst I immediately fell in love with the OOC JPG’s I found focusing accurately at wide apertures to be almost impossible without magnification. Yes my eyesight is fine…
Image 1 – Sony A7R – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk II – OOC JPEG
Image 2 – Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Asph
Image 3 – Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Asph
Eventually, I started to get to grips with focusing the A7R utilising the magnifier but for me it’s a little clumsy and I still can’t achieve focus as fast or proficiently as I can with a rangefinder.
Image 4 – Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Asph
Image 5 – Leica M Monochrom – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk II
Touching on my original gear selection and with the benefit of hindsight it was totally flawed. I may prefer B&W but I still needed a colour option, fortunately the A7R filled this void. My biggest mistakes were in lens selection though, this was not a light bag!!! I allowed my curiosity to get the better of me and selected the recently acquired 35/1.2 over my v.1 Summicron. The 35/1.2 is optically superb but it’s huge and consequently heavy, in contrast the v.1 Summicron is tiny, light and optically superb. The 21/1.8 I just didn’t use, another weighty option. Instead I found myself wishing I’d taken the Summicron 90/2 on lots of occasions, a lens I’d been using quite frequently before I left. Now I didn’t carry all this everywhere, each day I’d select a camera and lens, on odd occasions I’d take two lenses but when you’re away for so long size and weight are big issues. The real winner was the Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Asph, I really do love everything about this lens.
Image 6 – Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Asph
Image 7 – Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Asph
Image 8 – Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Asph
You’ll notice the next two images were taken with the Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA, having tried and failed to get my hands on this in NY I managed to get one in the UK. There were a couple of factors that drew me to the Sony A7R initially, one of those was having a FF camera with the ability to autofocus, there are certainly times when I’ve missed this and I’ve missed shots.
Image 9 – Sony A7R – Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA
Image 10 – Sony A7R – Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA
Image 11 – Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Asph
Image 12 – Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Asph
I’m still very much committed to working things out with the Sony A7R, Indeed I’ve just added the Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA to the kit and I’ll be endeavouring to become more proficient with the camera on all levels. For now, well the Leica M Monochrom is still my favourite camera, you can get great B&W’s from other cameras but there is just that bit of something special in the files from the MM, to my eye at least.