One camera, one lens, on holiday. By Peter | Prosophos

One camera, one lens, one holiday.

by Peter | Prosophos

Hi Steve,

Recently, I had the privilege of visiting the beautiful island of Barbados with my family, for two weeks, for a much needed break from the dreary Toronto winter. As most of your readers can probably relate to, I agonized for a long time about what photographic gear to bring along to capture the moments.

In the end, I decided to follow my own advice about keeping things simple, and packed only my Leica M9 and 50mm Summilux ASPH.

One camera, lens.

It was such a pleasure to head out each day with only my M9 and 50 – no camera bag, no lens changes, no re-adjusting how I “saw” things with different lenses.

Did I miss some shots because of the limited gear?

Probably… but I don’t know for sure because I was too busy making shots to notice.

I hope you and your viewers enjoy the results.




















  1. Magical Images.. This is also illustrative of why worrying about corner sharpness at f1.4 is not REALLY very important, although the summilux IS sharp all the way out to the corners at f1.4. NICE.

  2. Fantastic shots! They all had a nice calming and magical feel to them. I myself prefer the Fuji X100 in my travels. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hey Peter,
    Once again when I see a Prospero photograph…I think quietude
    and a certain understated elegance…hope your well rested!

  4. Fantastic! No doubt more than a few of these will see the wall.

    I am on the Breeze to St. Thomas right now. Before I left I had a major conflict over which system to bring. Because the OMD is newest, she was awarded the trip. But, I must tell you I already miss my M9 and the 50 Summi!

  5. They’re all fantastic. But the second image, the kid by the pool, and then the three kids positioned together on the sofa, those three images are absolutely as good as it gets. It’s hard to pick from those three. The second image is just unbelievable. The three kids looks like something out of a special vacation section in Vogue. But probably better. You’re only getting better and better as a photographer, Peter. Which is kind of scary. 😉

  6. Beautiful people and scenery abound– true holiday photos! This is now my favorite “Daily Inspiration.” 🙂

  7. Going simple with one camera/one lens is often the best thing to do! Kudos to you for taking the leap on such a vacation 🙂 Some of your shots are stunning; and even though, like you said, you may have missed some opportunities, some of these shots were probably made possible because you had this one lens and one way of looking at things – which opens up your mind on how to get the best of it. Good job!

  8. indeed very good captures Peter! you have good eyes in compotition the object, the shadow and the light direction. love the kids pictures so much, especially the one with the swimming suit on the sofa with (GOBO like effect) palm tree shadow.

  9. Hello everybody!

    I wanted to thank you all for your comments and also thank Steve for once again posting my work.

    When you share your images on the ‘net, you always open yourself up to all sorts of comments, so it’s nice to see the generally positive vibe here.


  10. Isn’t it wonderful to limit yourself to just one lens? Ehh, 35? 50? Either one. You will not make a lot of shots that you might have made, if you had just one, or two, or three other lenses with you. But who cares? You’ll be forced to look better, and your images will benefit.

    Having just acquired a D800, and having found out (with a 35) that the B&W images, converted from import into LR4 and then processed a little bit, are amazing, even at 2500 ISO, I’m looking forward to going out with the 50 Makro-Planar screwed on, inspired by Peter’s asceticism. No need for a Monochrom here.

    Great images Peter!

      • I tend to run into situations where a wider lens (like the 28 Distagon I just sold to co-finance the D800) would give me the shot, or where the 85 would give me the portrait. Once you don’t think like that anymore you have freedom. With the lens you have.

        Thanks Peter!

  11. I really like the shot of your son gazing in the distance, your daughter jumping, and the dude with the hat and shades.

    BTW your review of the CV nokton 40mm f1.4 is how I found your website and helped me decide to get it. So far I’m very pleased with how it performs on my R3M.

  12. Great post and I especially like the third shot. I spent a few days in Paris last year with only my M6, ZM 50mm Sonnar, and a few rolls of B&W film. I had my 18 month old daughter in the baby-backpack most of the time, which made it really easy to get up and down the stairs in the Metro compared to a pram, so the one camera one lens setup was ideal. Your post makes me want to plan another trip!

    • The kid in one hand, the camera in the other… sounds familiar ;).

      The one camera-one lens solution was made for people like you and me Rob!

      By all means, plan another trip… that’s one of the best ways any of us can spend our time.

  13. Peter – I have to admit I’ve revisited this post over two dozen times in the past two days. Your vision is extraordinary and hope to someday capture images similar to yours. The emmotion portrayed in every image is like a short film. Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. Beautiful images Peter! My wife agrees with your one camera one lens philosophy as it does keep lens investment costs to a minimum. And like you Peter I prefer the 50mm for my all around FOV.

    I especially like the photographs of who I assume are complete strangers to you. I’m not very confident in asking those I don’t know if I can take their photo. So I like how you have photographed them.

    Your family shots give us all a little insight into your personal life too. Not something I’m comfortable with as I try to keep the personal side of life to myself. But recently my wife has encouraged me to share some of these images on my blog and Facebook.

    I enjoy your work Peter and follow your blog and want wish you a prosperous year taking photos!

  15. Thanks Peter
    Love the shot of the waiter; a face telling a story, beautiful! That said, I enjoyed them all! I have the 9 and Lux and often think ‘what next’ in the lens department, but I’ve never felt inclined to add. Now more than ever I think perhaps it’s a camera rather than a lens; the RX1 for example, to fill a lens gap? Anyway, enough prattle; thanks for sharing. Love the 9 and that CCD sensor; does it have it’s foibles!!?? Yes, but more often than not I’m blown away by this combo; it’s overall simplicity and wonderful IQ.

  16. Nice, Peter. Kinda bummed not to see any new photos from you we haven’t seen yet. I say that because I like your body of work, won’t take anything away from the set though. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Super démonstration : 50mm is the most versatile lens. And should be a possible choice for a fixed lens camera. Still the dream of a fuji x200 with a 50mm…

    • I would not mind X200 with 50mm (135 format FOV) but with f1.4 aperture and standard black finish. At least this combination is possible with XF 35mm f1.4 R and X-PRO x or X-Ex.

      I like the atmosphere captured in these photographs, well done, Peter.

  18. Always happy to view these again and again Peter. Just to re-iterate, the particular image of your three children in swimming caps is stunning.

    I recently just took a 15mm Heliar out and left any other options behind. Very wide and in some respects unusual lens to do this with though just felt great not think about changing. You make do with what you have and it’s all good for the photographic journey. Really makes you start use that particular focal length.

    PS you would have missed shots with the 50mm if you were changing to the 28 or 90 so it’s swings and roundabouts sometimes!

  19. Very very nice photos. I use zooms quite a bit, but I’m always most joyful heading out with just one prime (often a 28 or 35mm). It’s hard to discribe how lighthearted this makes me feel. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Wonderful shots Peter as always and a wonderful combination too. The limitation of gear sometimes can really makes you focus to create better photographs.


  21. Great shots. My single lens choice has been the 35 fle. I’m planning to have this on MM. You got great shots. Less is always more.

  22. Wonderful work as always.
    Great concept take less and concentrate more on the images rather than the gear.
    I did this on a recent trip to Egypt just taking the M9 and 35 Lux I found it liberating.

  23. Blown skies are a distraction. The M240 probably wouldn’t have helped.

    Wish you’d brought the MM.

    • I think that negativity about blown highlights is overrated. None of these have distracting overblown areas to me.

    • Wow. Monochrome in THIS beautiful light. Much better to have a choice whether to convert to B/W or not. This place screams for subtle, delicate color.

    • I seem to remember that when I created downressed jpegs for my daily inspiration post, it somehow made the clouds look blown on one shot when they weren’t on the original image. That image was also shot on a M9 so I’m wondering if that’s what’s happened with that shot, not blown, but a jpeg artefact.

    • I didn’t even notice a blown sky. I think that they are only a distraction in photo forums (fora?) and photo club competitions where everything has to be technically perfect, bollocks I say. I loved the set, especially 2, 3, and 4. wonderful work.

      On another note, I’ve recently got rid of all my SLR gear for a M6 and 35, I love not having a bag (except for the film…) or changing lenses.

  24. The people shots are amazing – so sensitive and full of atmosphere. Thanks for the inspiration.

  25. Super, Peter – even the shots that might belong to the more holiday-ish sort of a kind really shines on the ‘lux;o) Im’ so much in doubt whether to get the pre-ASPH e46 or this particular one these days and You certainly didn’t make it easier for me since I was actually swaying towards the pre-ASPH…. Aye, caramba – what a pickle to be in;o) – btw its for the Monochrom…. any advice?

    • Hi Klehmann

      These sorts of decisions are personal choice , everyone’s expectations and requirements are different.

      My experience is I just sold the E46 and got the lux and haven’t regretted it for a second. While I found the E46 to be a great lens it was just too soft wide open and I would often look at my images wondering if I had actually miss focused ( I lost count of how many times I zoomed in in Aperture during post processing looking for the focus point ). I also found myself always boosting contrast in PP with it.

      What led to me sell it was on holiday with the lens along with a 28cron asph and I much preferred the results I got from the Cron. Rich , detailed , sharp images. So I sold the E46 and got the lux.

      The first time I used the lux , even before I had chance to load the files into Aperture I knew I had made the right decision. When I loaded them up ….wow…the difference between the two lenses wide open is huge IMHO .

      The E46 produced some great photos for me but Lux has a look that is magical. It’s not considered one of the worlds best 50’s for nothing.

      Can’t comment on the MM ( but I read that people like older lenses on this camera )

      Good luck with you decision.


      • Hi,
        Thanks for Your elaboration! Much appreciated… I obviously agree about Your opening argument re personal choice, taste etc. but ‘needed’ a little qualified input. Everybody says it’s the world’s best 50 out there and that every M-owner at one point or another should own it but that is somehow such a big and absolute statement, no? As it happens my main/basic duo of ‘to-go’ glass these days is actually the 28’cron + 50’cron (1st, type2) but want to tryout a more modern lookin’ trio-kit of 21+28+50; I have mostly been using older or more classic lenses up till now on the MM but the 28’cron still managed to fit in all the same – a little marvel of a lens nomatter ‘whom’ You mix it up with;o). Thanks again and forgot to say: offcourse it wasn’t just Your ‘lux that ‘made up’ the wonderfull images shown here above;o) Thanks for sharing.
        Happy shootin’

      • James

        Very nice images. I really like your portraits. Particularly the image of your son.

        Though, it is funny you should mention soft focus with the earlier lens. That is the impression I had looking at this series; I have viewed this series a couple of times. And I have the feeling that focus is just slightly off. Looking at the image of the women at the beach it appears that the plane of focus might be in front of them (closer to the camera).

        Was this effect intentional, an artifact of down sampling for posting? Or could your range finder be out of adjustment?

        Thanks for the images.

      • I had the pre ash 50 lux twice and asph twice..The asph is a much nicer lens. Don’t believe what you hear about the asph being clinical..It is beautiful and I leant that the hard way finacially!.

    • I have a monochrome and almost exclusively use the 40mm f2 Summicron-C and I love it . It is sharp, small (only about 126gr) and seems to be an ideal focal length. The 40mm focal length fits the 35mm framelines of the Leica perfectly. The frame lines on the monochrom for the 35mm fl are inaccurate, they are too small but strange enough they do match perfectly the 40mm lens. One small issue in using the 40mm lens is that the default framelines are the 50mm instead of the 35mm which don’t match the lens. In order to use this lens I had to modified the little tab that pushes the slide that controls what frame lines should show when the lens is mounted. Once modified the modifications allows the 35mm framelines to come up when the lens is installed. One other thing I have found that is important to get the fullness of the monochrome is to use filters. I always have at least a yellow filter on the lens it really helps with the contrast. Again in seems to be an ideal lens because the 40mm focal length is a normal FL for a 35mm size “film” it seems you are never too close or too far, the lens is sharp, 10 bladed aperture and light weight. Also they can be found and are relatively inexpensive.

      • Hi Darrel,
        Been shootinn’ both the 40mm/2 Minolta (C/CL) and similar Summicron-C years ago as well and know all these ‘issues’ You mention with the framelines – also the almost mandatory or at least highly usefull use of filters on the Monochrom (I’m shootin’ b/w-film as well so no difference there;o) I find ithem great value for the money but not exceptional hence my ‘leaving them behind’…. But as Prosophos said: different tastes – different needs.

  26. Very good photos, i was intrigued and thought the pictures came from a fuji camera, actually it was a Leica 😉 , good work, love the portraits, congratulations.

    Photography is, actually, shooting more and enjoy it more!

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