Saturday, June 24, 2006

Travelling light - Epson RD-1 and Olympus

I have far too much equipment... doesn't everyone who is more than keen on photography? And all too expensive.
The big problem, though, is what to take on a short trip to somewhere such as Venice (a short trip that is if you happen to live near Gatwick Airport like me). I like to travel very light, usually one bag as carry-on luggage, which is a challenge.

Rangefinders, such as the Leica M6, with a selection of sharp lenses are ideal travel cameras, if you have the money, but film can be restrictive. Don't get me wrong, I love a good sharp slide film, such as Fuji's fantastic Provia 100F, but digital is more versatile and, quite frankly, easier and cheaper to handle. Digital v Film? Sorry no arguments here - I use both, I love both and each has its place in the world.

For my Venice trip I decided to take the brilliant Epson RD-1 (a digital Leica M mount rangefinder), 28mm, 50mm and 90mm Leica lenses plus the 28-35-90 tri-elmar. OK, the Epson (right) is only 6 megapixels, but the files are so good that I've extracted images of up to 80mb! Yes, I shoot in RAW and convert to Tiff using photoshop CS2 and Epson's own raw software.

Now I'm going to really annoy the Leica crowd... I left my Leica M6 at home and took the Konica Hexar M- mount film camera with a couple of rolls of Provia 100F for those moments when I felt a bit nostalgic and wanted more tone in the picture. Also stuffed in the bag was an Olympus 500 digital SLR (8 megapixels) and one lightweight zoom lens (36 to 360 mm at 35mm equiv.) for the long shots. This is a nice, compact alternative to my Canon equipment, which would require a separate airplane!

Mustn't forget the tiny Leica D-lux 2 (right) that's always in my pocket. You never know what you'll spot.

Oh, there's just enough room in my luggage for a few clothes...


Jim Price, USA said...

Doesn't the Epson multiply the image so a 28mm lens isn't really that?

Peter Greenhalgh said...

Right, Jim. The Epson's sensor is APS C, so you have to multiply lenses by about 1.5. The 28mm is 42mm in real life. That's not far off a standard lens. I do carry 15mm and 21mm Voigtlander lenses to give a wider angle where necessary. I like these small lenses... which give some more amazing effects on film cameras, but I'm not happy with heavy vignetting on the Epson.

For an explanation of vignetting, see