One Camera, One lens… revisited. by Peter | Prosophos.

One Camera, One lens… revisited.
by Peter | Prosophos.

www.Prosophos.com
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Prosophos Open Letter to Leica
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Greetings Steve!

Back in 2013 I submitted a short article to your site describing my experience travelling with just one camera and one lens.

Earlier this month, I went through the same debate for a 7 day vacation to Alberta, but settled again on a “one camera, one lens” solution.

Once more, my camera was the Leica M9, but this time my lens was the Zeiss 25/2.8 ZM (which was a bit of a gamble for me, because I normally photograph with either a 50mm or 35mm lens).
Were these the right choices?

I don’t know for sure but what I’ve been thinking lately is that it probably doesn’t matter. What I mean is that unless there is a specific need (for example, for paid assignments) to capture a specific look/angle/moment, eliminating gear choices seems to free up the mind so that it can concentrate on making other more important decisions (judging light, composition, etc.).

Anyway, here are the images… I hope you enjoy them.

“Watching Lake Louise”

“Floral”

“Descent”

“View from Sulphur Mountain

“View from Mount Norquay”

“View from Mount Norquay, revisited”

“Lake Louise, revisited”

“Portrait in Canmore, in Canadiana Tones”

—Peter.

 

See more of Peter’s work at this site HERE. 

47 Comments

  1. Very interesting article Peter, and great pictures. I understand the minimalistic approach for having no backup, and for me it also the thrilling of knowing “this is the only camera” you have and froced me to enjoy every moment while you can 😀

  2. Very nice contribution and tonal vibe Peter – the one camera + one fixed focal length lens approach is the way to go. Kind of like an old school jazz session where you show up with focus and intent and you’re on. Having the M9 with the Zeiss helps…

    • LOL Dan… “Kind of like an old school jazz session where you show up with focus and intent and you’re on.”

      That’s a great statement and I couldn’t have put it better myself.

  3. As of this time, I believe I’ve responded to everybody (I hope anyway). If you do not see a response to your comment/question, that’s because it is awaiting moderation.

  4. I love pictures one and two. Probably your order of preference too. If I had to use only one lens it would also be a 25mm ( actually 24mm for my camera-Olympus DEM1 ). However, personally, I much prefer a DSLR for framing “very” wide lenses.
    Also, what shoe mount viewfinder did you use?

  5. There is a special quality of spaciousness about your images. I feel I could walk (or swim!) about in them. The colour is superb, and I particularly like the composition in number four (I’ll sit there with them) and the portrait (with its unusual placing and muted lighting). I’ve been doing a lot of shooting with my Zeiss Touit 12mm (18 equiv.) just lately – everything from semi-macro to broad open spaces – and it’s a discovery every time, so I really understand your one-lens outside your normal zone enjoyment.

    • Thank you John.

      I tend to appreciate the look produced by Leica lenses for the “normal” FOVs (35mm, 50mm) but for the wider FOVs (specifically 21mm and 25mm) I like what the Zeiss lenses can do.

  6. Wonderful images.
    The M9 is still a fantastic camera.
    Thanks for sharing your work dear Peter!

    John

  7. Nice colors and nice shots. The Batis 25 is my most used lens. There will always be some shots you can’t get no matter how much gear you bring (can’t change lenses fast enough, zoom not long enough etc…). However, there are always plenty of good shots you CAN get with any chosen single lens. There is too much anxiety about missing a shot. One lens is fun.

      • Oh yes, I almost forgot!… thank you for making the mistake of selling me this lens after I made the mistake of selling it to you in the first place!

        And thanks for getting it to me with less than 24 hours to spare before I embarked on my trip…

  8. Think I remember Steve did a review of the ZM 24 and found it to be a stellar performer and one of his favourite lenses – back some time in the M8 era- ?
    Anyway these are lovely images so kudos to the photographer .

  9. Peter, you don’t post here often enough! Anyway, I love the photos.

    One could argue that an iPhone could be a substitute for this kind of thing – it is, after all, one camera and one lens (well, most models). But as far as I can tell, you aren’t going to be able to enlarge those images as much. And you aren’t going to get a nice, thick file, either, even if you shoot TIFFs.

    • Karim, in fact I sort of cheated in that I did have my iPhone with me and used it once to photograph one of the nicer spots we visited. The image turned out to be better (with respect to composition, timing, etc.) than the corresponding one I made with my Leica, but of course on close inspection it kind of falls apart when trying to process it.

      Because of that, I really don’t have an image I’m happy with for that part of the trip.

      Oh well..

  10. Hey Peter
    Wonderful set – just confirms why the M9/ME and even the M8 has such a strong cult following, sure a few quirks but it’s all about Image Quality for me in natural light and these cameras reign supreme.

    • Thank you Ian.

      Yes, it’s remarkable that the M9/M-E and M8 cameras have so far withstood the test of time. I have an obvious bias for them but I see I’m not alone.

  11. Very Nice Work, man!
    And I really agree with your philosophy : avoid having too many choices in order to concentrate on the important things : creating images with what we have, no matter what in fact… 😉

  12. I go into the streets with one camera and one lens, but when I travel, I have a back up camera. Learned the hard way in Morocco when I had a huge problem there. Had it not been for my friend lending me her camera, I was going to have to buy new there!! Couldnt be there with NO camera!!

    • Yes, I agree… as I mentioned in one of the comments above I also had an iPhone with me (because I wanted to be able to make phone calls 😉 , but I knew it could also serve as a back-up camera if required). Fortunately, the M9 performed without a problem.

  13. Pics are beautiful

    I did Greece & Rome w 1 camera/lens recently. More time composing and making images – less time screwing around with gear. Oly em1 mk2 & 25 1.2 for me

    Thx again for your post and fab images

  14. I am a great fan of your site Peter. Nice to see an article from you here.
    25mm is a very good choice for travel in my opinion. but anything up to 35mm is with the 28mm being my favorite choice. I totally agree that one camera one lens makes photography so much easier and more enjoyable. Shure you dont get some images you might have gotten with a 90mm for example but you do get other pictures from the same place in return. And these might be even better 😉

    • Not having a back up camera when investing in a trip is a bit risky. You can keep a spare body in your rucksack or hotel room, a go still do going around with one camera and one lens, don’t have to hang another camera round your neck.

    • Thank you so much Elderin! One day I will conquer my mental block with the 28mm FOV, which is quite popular as a focal length these days. For some reason, I tend to want to photograph wider when using a 28mm lens, but I don’t feel the same when using a 35mm one.

  15. Wow, “Floral” is stunning… was the water that still or was it a long exposure? (and if so why aren’t the boats blurry?). Great work.

  16. Peter,
    Wonderful images.
    I usually travel with three lenses. But, every morning I stick one on my camera and leave the rest behind. I use that single lens all day.

    There is something liberating about this practice. It forces me to work to get each image. I find I take more time and look at all of the possibilities.

    Regards,
    Sandy
    SandyLavinePhotography.com

    • Yeah “Floral” is my favorite too. Cropped though?
      I´d go for still water or maybe even a polarizing filter?

      • Thank you. The water was still and no polarizing filter was used. No cropping was applied, other than possibly secondary to the horizon having to be leveled (I don’t recall in this case). I generally do not hesitate to crop, however, if necessary.

    • Thank you kindly Sandy.

      I think one additional reason, besides the reasons I’ve listed above, that I tend to use only one lens for a given trip is that it automatically confers a uniformity to the images, as if the “story” is being “narrated” from the same perspective, by the same person.

      (I hope the above doesn’t sound as crazy as it just did to me when I re-read my own words.)

  17. Peter,
    You’ve got some wonderful images here that you wouldn’t have gotten had you used your usual lenses. I really like the feel of these, especially the boats, the telescope, through the window, the family, and the portrait. The feeling of these are unique and wouldn’t have been captured with a 35 or 50. Colors are beautiful as well.
    Really wonderful to have your eyes opened.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you very much Steve!

      I suspect you are correct about the look captured, given the 25mm perspective is very different from 50mm. Even 35mm is very different from the other two.

  18. Hi, Peter,
    You have done an incredible job. The pictures are very nice. I would probably suffer from such a minimalistic setup. My usual kit has three lenses (wide angle, normal and portrait) and a flash, and I struggle to leave any of it behind. You’ve done a really, really good job.

    • Val, so kind of you to say – thank you!

      My minimalistic set-up is not an achievement of discipline per se, but rather is a demand placed by my very simple brain… it can only handle a few variables at a time.

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