Saturday, 1 November 2008

Berlin: the equipment

Glass wall, yellow leaves, Berlin, October 2008

On the face of it, not a desperately exciting subject but quite revealing.

On the trip I took 3 cameras: my new EOS 40D with 2 lenses, my Zeiss Ikon with 2 lenses and my Lumix LX3. From typical previous trips like this I would have largely used the big DLSR most of the day, keeping the rangefinder for an afternoon's people watching and them have the small camera in my pocket for other times. I had a Billingham Small Hadley for carrying stuff in (more on that another time).

It didn't quite work out like that. In fact, I shot not one single frame with the 40D. The bulk was done with either the rangefinder or the LX3. In the final analysis, I could have done a lot more with the pocket camera. Here's why.

I'm finding the output from the LX3 is perfectly adequate for this kind of around town photography. Details are nice, colours are good, responsiveness is good. With live histogram I don't go around bracketing everything. This means less frames overall but just as many keepers. The 24mm wide end is fun for photographing people. I can't recall missing a shot due to its response - most of the time I stick to wide end, zooming when I want a bit more detail of a static subject.

To this, the rangefinder is a useful addition for people photography in lower light (e.g. indoors). Not that the LX3 can't do this, I just like the output on film in those conditions.

The implication is that I won't bother with an SLR in the future. I'll also take far more photos with the LX3. My small camera thinking had been predicated on the fact that the average quality of photos isn't very good, so I limit the subjects I shoot. With the LX3 this isn't so. For me, for the kinds of subjects and print sizes I generate from a city trip, the LX3 meets all my needs in a very small package. I'll tag the Zeiss along on some occasions or when the main subjects will be people.


  1. Great to see this. What lenses did you take for the Canon and the Zeiss?

  2. Les, for the Canon (though not wildly important as I didn't use them) the 17-55 f/2.8 & 28 f/2.8.
    For the Zeiss, the Voigtlander 40 f/1.4 Nokton and my shiny new Voigtlander 28 f/2 Ultron.

  3. Thanks. Yes, I try to use a 2 lens setup when travelling (that can also be a 1 lense setup) I also take a smaller point/shoot on my hip (an older G6). The G6 only goes to 35 wide. I used to use a 30D with a 17-85, but wanted something better optically. I bought the 17-55 (and like the quality) but miss the longer end.

  4. one thing I never miss on a city trip is a long lens. I'm finding the 60mm-e of the LX3 quite adequate. The number I take even with the 55mm on a 20D or 40D on such a trip is very low.


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