Decision Time………

By November 4, 2013Blog

The time to pack is almost upon me, I’ve read and reread the advice offered in the original post about “what to take” on my trip.

Baring any last minute changes of mind one of the options below will make up my Leica Travel Kit, the gear I take away on my 7 week trip. This is the best I can do, for me, this really does represent keeping things simple!!

Leica Travel Kit Option 1:Option-1

Β Leica Travek Kit – Option 1

  • Leica M Monochrom
  • 21mm Voigtlander Ultron f/1.8 Asph
  • 35mm Summicron f/2 (Pre asph) v.1
  • 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Asph

The thought process behind this setup is really simple – I’ve had satisfying results from all three of these lenses over the last few months, should be nice and easy………yeah right.

Leica Travel Kit Option 2:Option-2

Β Leica Travek Kit – Option 2

  • Leica M Monochrom
  • 21mm Voigtlander Ultron f/1.8 Asph
  • 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph MkII
  • 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Asph

A little heavier due to the size and weight of the 35/1.2 and I suppose it’s a touch more adventurous given that I have not really acquainted myself with this lens.

The Leica Monochrom is the camera I use most, with that in mind it should be the camera I take with me, I’d like to take the M9 and the M6 but it’s not really practical and it’s adding unnecessary complications.

As I only have B&W options here and because I make a point of being as honest as I can on this blog I’ll just elaborate on some finer points…….I will be using the iPhone 5 with VSCO Cam from time to time, more significantly I have made a decision to buy the Sony A7r and could quite possibly pick this up while I’m traveling if I see one available.

Update: My advice is keep it simple and light!! Leica Travel Kit Option 1 was the way to go…..

Cheers, Jason.



    Both kits will I think do well for you. I lean towards option # 2. If the choice were mine.

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Franklin, I agree, both kits are solid.

      I love the 35 Cron v.1 it’s real quality, perhaps my favorite 35mm lens. With that said, the CV 35/1.2 has a great reputation and I’m not yet familiar with it, that also is very tempting, may come down to a coin toss!!!

      Cheers, Jason.

  • andygemmell says:

    Good work…..I like it!

    I think either option is fine. Have fun!!

    • janrzm says:

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with me Andrew, your thoughts and the quality of images you achieved on your own trip have influenced my decision making. Cheers, Jason.

  • Stewart says:

    Jason, If you have not tried the “645 Pro” app on your Iphone I can highly recommend it for your trip….

    • janrzm says:

      Thanks Stewart, I was not familiar with that. I’ve just watched the video and it’s got some excellent features, I will download it and familiarise myself with it.

      Thanks again, great tip. Jason.

  • John Lockwood says:

    You’re spoilt for choice my friend. I would heed the old photographers that came before me; think of your lenses in multiples, like f/stops; 24/50/100mm. I’d take a 24 or 28 and a 50mm. 35 and 50mm are too close. Otherwise, LOVE you’re MM plan πŸ™‚

    • janrzm says:

      Hey John, I am a little….

      I’ve never heard that photographic adage but it makes absolute sense and I think I have subconsciously thought that way at times. I did consider 15/28/50 but whilst I have nothing against my only 28mm option (Voigtlander 28/1.9) I’m just more comfortable at 35mm and 50mm. I’ve aired on the side of caution it would seem!! πŸ™‚ Pleased you like the MM plan.

      Cheers, Jason.

      • I would tend to agree with John.

        A 35 is too much like a 50, which is why I bought a CV 28 1.9, which goes lovely with my CV 50 1.5 LTM on the Leica M-E and M2.

        That aside, I’d sell both in a heart beat for a Monochrom. πŸ™‚


  • Andrew M says:

    Jason, whoa that is a huge decision (leaving behind the M6).
    Just take all 4 lenses. The v1 can fit in your pocket. When your on the road you’ll regret having left it behind. πŸ™‚
    Hope you’re visiting Oz

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Yes, that was quite possibly the hardest part, I just know if I shoot film I’ll get too wrapped up in it all…..we know where that ends up! πŸ˜‰

      I could quite easily do that as you say the v.1 is tiny, if I go with that option, problem solved. If I take both 35’s I know the 35/1.2 won’t really get a look in.

      No plans to visit Oz on this particular trip, maybe next year though. I hope Bali is being kind to you, survival tips welcome on your safe return.

      Take it easy.

      • Andrew M says:

        I took an MP and a 50/2 … some Ektar 100, Neopan 400, Tri-X 400 and some of the Cinestill 800T. Oh … and a roll of Fuji 1600 color. It’s hot a humid here. The MP is as much of a camera as it is for protection πŸ˜‰

        • andygemmell says:

          Great stuff Andrew M… are a film nut and committed 100% which is inspiring….Hope your trip all going well. ….

        • janrzm says:

          Haha, be interesting to know how many rolls you shoot and how many keepers you have, I bet it’s a better ratio then digital.

          • Andrew M says:

            I took an M3 and the Hex to Tokyo last time. Lost my VCII light-meter midway through the trip. I found that some of my favourite images happened with that combo and the beautiful afternoon light of Tokyo. Good luck with the trip, MM is a wonderful choice. I must remember to take mine out for a play.

          • janrzm says:

            That’s good to know because I haven’t used the Hex with film yet, something for when I return. Bummer about the light-meter because they aren’t cheap and they work so very well. Maybe we should all meet up in Tokyo at some point….there’s an idea!! πŸ™‚


    Jason, IMHO the only way to get familiar with any lens is to use it. This trip gives you that opportunity. Add that to the good reputation and you have a taker! Good luck with your picks, have a great trip.

    • janrzm says:

      Too right Franklin, the 35/1.2 has that in it’s favour at the moment, I’m very familiar with the Cron 50/2 v.1 now. Thanks

  • I would go with option 2 as I like fast glass. Are you going to make it to Tokyo?

    • janrzm says:

      Hey Dave, I would have picked you for Option 2 πŸ˜‰ I tried to book exactly the same trip as we initially planned however because we are now traveling over Christmas and the New Year, whilst I was able to get flights from Rome to Tokyo I couldn’t get flights out of Tokyo to Auckland. I will get to Tokyo myself and you’ll definitely be the first to know when I have something in place, looking forward to my Shoot-Tokyo photo walk πŸ™‚

  • Darrin says:

    Hi Jason, 7 weeks you lucky sod, I hope you will running a Blog so I have something to read at night as I’m working in the Ukraine until Dec. I’m going to do Thorsten Overgaard’s workshop in Seoul in December I might take the M9, MM, 50mm/35mm F1.4 summilux’s, 50mm F.95 noctilux and mainly shoot the MM. I’m sure whatever combo you take we will all be astounded by your work.

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Darrin.

      Indeed, not particularly looking forward to all the traveling though….mustn’t grumble.

      I think I may get myself in to too much trouble if I try to maintain this blog and take photographs on the trip……I’d be fascinated to hear about your experiences in the Ukraine as it’s a place that really interests me. You will enjoy the workshop I’m sure, I very nearly attended the NZ one but it clashed with other travel plans. In your shoe’s I’d take all the same equipment, I’ll maybe trade in my Hex 60/1.2 one day for a Noct……haha, maybe. Hopefully I’ll get some keepers.

      Thanks again and safe travels in the Ukraine.

      Cheers, Jason.

  • Peter Mayer says:

    Dear Jason,

    both options are valuable. The Cron 35 is more for landscape and the 35 1,2 Nokton more for action under low light. I d’ rather like to suggest a 90 mm lens, either a Summarit 2,5 90 mm or the 90 mm 3,5 Color Lanthar from Voigtlander for Landscapes and for (bokehlious) portraits.

    With best wishes


    • janrzm says:

      Hi Peter

      The v.1 Cron would give me at least one vintage glass option for the Monochrom, but yes I’d agree with your thinking. I thought long and hard about a 90mm, the 90/2 Summicron has given me quite a lot of keepers lately and I’m really in to the focal length now, however it would have to go in place of the 21/1.8 as I am determined to take no more than three lenses. Ultimately I think I’ll use the 21/1.8 more.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  • Nasir Hamid says:

    I don’t understand how adding one film body to the mix is complicating things. Shoot mono with this and colour film with the other, easy. For many years I used to travel with two Nikon FM2 bodies and 3 lenses, I’d shoot b&w film in one and colour transparency film in the other. Flicking through some of those old slides is such a joy and when you see the colours and wonderful light on your trip, especially in San Francisco, b&w images aren’t going to quite cut it.

    Yes, you’ll be shooting digital colour images, I get that, but as you know it’s not as exciting as film πŸ™‚

    • janrzm says:

      Hey Nasir,

      Some formalities first, if anyone reading this has not seen Nasir’s BLOG then you must visit it because it’s simply brilliant……

      Over recent months I’ve been managing quite well with 2-3 bodies and 3-4 lenses but I keep wondering if I’d do better with less equipment, there are certainly lots that adopt this approach. There are going to be situations where I wish I’d got a film option and probably a colour digital option although I have built in my little caveat regarding the A7r. You’re the second person to raise the film camera issue………trusty M6….Mmmmmmm.

      Maybe I crib a few hours in Oxford on my trip and you can give me the opportunity to pick up some film tips…… πŸ˜‰

      Cheers, Jason.

      • Nasir Hamid says:

        That sounds like fun. Just let me know when you have a date in mind so that I can clear some time πŸ™‚
        Surely an M6 won’t take up too much extra space and you won’t have to worry about batteries or charger etc.

        • janrzm says:

          Awesome, I’ll drop you a line in the next week, we’re stopping with the in-laws (Loughborough) for a week so that will be less of a drive for me.

          Maybe I should take the M6 under the guise of my wife using it…..haha

          • Nasir Hamid says:

            That sounds great. Maybe your wife can help carry your M6, that would lighten your load a little and give you no reason not to take it πŸ™‚

          • janrzm says:

            You’re making a very good case for taking the M6 πŸ˜‰ Also it’s going to be a touch embarrassing meeting up if I’m only packing a digital camera…..

  • Darrin says:

    Cheers Jason, the Ukraine has a lot of corruption going on. You have the very rich and the very poor. We are building a wind farm in a rural area and you see some of the very poor. They say if a sports stadium costs 1 billion to build, it would actually cost 2 billion with all the bribes. The guys had a big night in town to blow off some steam, one of them was taken to the police station for 2hrs. When they let him go, he was given his wallet back(now empty) he asked for his gold bracket and watch and they said “What bracket?, What watch?”..
    I will not complain about the roads in OZ any more, Some or the roads have more potholes than road. When the Russians left, so the road maintenance stopped.
    Okay I’ll be happy when you return to give us a short essay on your trip.
    The best moments on your travel are usually the unexpected and unplanned ones. Enjoy πŸ˜‰

    • janrzm says:

      That is very much what I expected, I’ve been to Bulgaria several times and it’s much the same, probably more layers of corruption than it will ever be possible to remove. I guess if you’re going in to town for a blow out, take nothing of value…. πŸ˜‰ The place interests me a lot though, maybe if I go I’ll take the Zorki 4b and Jupiter 12 to be safe!

      You’re very right, the best travel moments come when you least expect it. In light of your comments above, take extra care on yours.

      All the best.

  • Hilmar says:

    Jason, you didn’t ask for an advice in this regard but I would in any case take a second camera body with me. Imagine the MM lets you down…

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Hilmar,

      That is a very good point, I think if I was going somewhere more remote (like next year….) πŸ™‚ I’d definitely take another body. I’m not being as brave as it sounds though as I am fully expecting to get my hands on a Sony A7r within the first week of being away…haha

      If my Monochrom fails I’d pick up a Fuji X100, something I’m familiar and happy with.

      Thanks and best wishes. Jason.

  • Luiz Paulo says:

    Hi Jason,

    I can understand your doubts…

    If I may, that’s what I would do:

    Monochrom only with the 21 and 50mm lenses.

    M9 only with one of the 35mm β€” probably the summicron as it’s so lightweight.

    Monochrom for the elaborated pictures β€” and you can think better which lens to use.

    M9 for the colour pictures that you can’t miss, the 35mm will cover almost any given situation.

    Not the more elaborated suggestion, but that’s my try. πŸ™‚


    Luiz Paulo

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Luiz,

      That’s a very considered approach, I’m resigned to leaving the M9 behind though as I hope to pick up the A7r…..I say hope.

      That said, I’m slowly being convinced to sneak my M6 in to the suitcase though and maybe a dozen rolls of colour film, various types……

      Take care of yourself, all the best.


  • Hilmar says:

    I’m really looking forward to your photos taken with the Sony A7r. I’m considering this camera as a backup for my beloved M9.

    • janrzm says:

      Yes me too, that’s my thinking. It makes an ideal backup to the M9 and gives you that autofocus option (something we all need from time to time) that said, I’m not going to rush into any of the Sony lenses yet until I see what else they are releasing.

  • Edward says:

    Not sure if you’ve left but take the M6! πŸ˜›
    Both options are great. Would love to see how the VC 50mm 1.5 turns out

  • […] Decision Time……. – Packing a camera bag can be more difficult than it sounds and I certainly make it more difficult than it needs to be. Reflecting on the decisions I made and with the benefit of hindsight I’d do a couple of things differently. A very quick overview below. […]

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