Penny for your thoughts on this Travel/Hiking Camera System

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Spencer Douglas, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. Hi. I've been researching for quite a while now trying to find the
    perfect balance between quality, size, weight, and price in selecting
    a system that I can travel or hike with that still will produce top
    quality. I was looking into the Canon L glass first. I love what
    I've heard on the 17-40 f/4L lens and the 70-300 Diffractive Optic has
    piqued my interest (though I have reservations about the $1300 price
    and of reports of some very odd Bokeh). However, to complement the
    70-300 I would need the 24-70 F.28L (my travel/hiking system would
    consist of usually those two lenses unless specifically intending to
    shoot landscape). Now I don't know if you've seen this lens, but it
    is a beast. It's has a large diameter and is aproximately 5 inches
    long, and it weighs in at slighty more than 2 lbs. It also costs a
    mint. I've looked for other zooms in canon's lineup, and I just am
    not impressed with the quality of any other alternatives in that focal

    So I looked outside of Canon. I checked Nikon, but they didn't
    seem to fit the bill, so I looked into a Contax - Zeiss Lens system.
    I was initially warry because I've heard how outrageosly expensive
    Zeiss glass can be, and in many of their lenses that is indeed the
    case. However, I've seen a Vario-Sonnar T* 24-85mm F3.5-4.5 available
    for $920 used (E+ condition) and a Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 70-200mm
    f3.5-4.5 available for $685 after rebate. The 24-85 is just 1.41 lbs
    and 2.8 inches long and 3.4 inches in diameter. The 70-200 is just
    1.38 lbs and 4.2 inches long and 3.1 inches in diameter. Both look
    good on the MTF charts and users report the superb contrast and
    sharpness typical of Zeiss glass. I've thought of paring these two
    lenses with a Contax N1 that I've seen available used (E+ condition)
    for $684, it also weighs in light for a pro body at only 1.75 lbs.

    I still have an old rebel 2000 body that I was considering getting
    the 17-40 F/4L lens for and using it primarily as a dedicated
    landscape camera. So how does this sound? A Contax N1 Body with 2
    Zeiss lenses covering a 24-200 focal range as a travel/hiking/all
    around use camera with an Rebel 2000 (lets just say light box) with a
    17-40 L glass ultra-wide for Landscape. All of this equipment should
    come in at about $3000, under $2300 for the conax system.

    Is my thinking here sound? I would welcome any other viewpoints
    or suggestions in selecting a high quality system with a broad focal
    range that is relatively compact and not obsurdly heavy that I could
    travel and hike with.
    Spencer Douglas, Jun 17, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  2. Spencer Douglas

    Bowzre Guest

    That's some heavy glass for hiking. FWIW, I hike with an XPan and three
    lenses. Light, nice quality, and the option of panos. The other option to
    save weight is digital. One of the new 8MP ZLRs might be nice.
    Bowzre, Jun 17, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  3. The Contax System is somewhat heavy, total weight being about 5 pounds
    for the body and two lenses, though it weighs in at far less than an
    equivalent Canon system. I of course am jelous that you have an XPAN.
    However, the camera body costs almost 2 grand, and the three lenses
    would cost a total of about 4 thousand, bringing the body plus 3
    primes to about 6 thousand dollars. External viewfinders if needed are
    several hundred extra as well. I would no doubt drool over owning an
    XPAN system, but my budget is about half of what that total purchase
    would cost. Also, though the XPAN has good wide angle, excellent in
    panoramic, I wouldn't have the extra 90-200mm telephoto focal range
    provided with the Contax system. In regards to digital, I find that
    the current 5, 6, and 8 megapixel Digicams with at most 2/3" sensors
    are too noisy above ISO 100/200. ISO 400 is very grainy and ISO 800
    is just unuseable. I know noise ninja can compensate, but I feel that
    constant need for touchup would detract from truly enjoying my hobby.
    Digital SLRs are of course even heavier, and the affordable ones have
    a FOV crop of 1.5/1.6 so there goes your wide angle. The full frame
    ones are excellent, such as the Canon 1Ds, though they cost several
    thousand dollars for the body alone.
    Spencer Douglas, Jun 18, 2004
  4. A quick follup. Looked over the specs for the XPAN Body and the three
    lenses, and the combined weight totals about 3.6 pounds. That's 72%
    of the weight of the Contax N1 body plus 2 zoom lens system.
    Spencer Douglas, Jun 18, 2004
  5. Spencer Douglas

    Bruce Graham Guest

    I'm still lusting after the 17-40 f4 L (have been since its release) but
    I think you should spend a few hundred bucks extra and at least buy an
    EOS30(V)/Elan7E(N) body for it (even less 2nd hand). Also, if you get a
    70-210 f4 L with a 1.4TC and possibly a 50 f1.4 or 85 f1.8 (I have
    these two) you will have a useful selection for travel. Don't buy the
    consumer 100-300 (I did) or the similar 75-300. I'm assuming you would
    pick and choose a selection according to the needs for each trip.
    Personally I usually travel just with the 28-105 3.5-4.5 and keep it f8
    or below. Its OK.

    All this stuff will still be useful when you buy a digital body.
    Bruce Graham, Jun 18, 2004
  6. How about a lightweight Leica system. Pretty expensive, but the glass is
    great, and it isn´t to heavy...

    Venlig hilsen/best regards

    René Ernst Nielsen

    +45 66122111
    +45 28722962
    René Ernst Nielsen, Jun 18, 2004
  7. Go for a rangefinder (Leica, Voigtländer/Cosina or Soviet): Tiny & light
    Unless you need long teles (and that means carrying them) or want to do
    macro work, a SLR is superfluous on a hike.

    I often also take a Soviet MF folding camera (6x6 or 6x9) which is the
    lightest & most compact way to do MF.

    Chris Loffredo, Jun 18, 2004
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.