Penny for your thoughts on this Travel/Hiking Camera System

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Spencer, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. Spencer

    Spencer TPF Noob!

    Jun 17, 2004
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    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 contax 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.
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2003
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    Welcome to the Forum. :cool:

    You really seem to know what you are doing and have done the research.

    Here is a point that might be worth considering. Do you really need an L lens (or equivalent) for landscapes? Typically you want to maximize your DOF with landscapes. Therefore you don't need F4 on a zoom lens.

    They say that L glass will give better contrast and less chromatic aberration etc. but I'm guessing that you could find some lenses that would be great for landscapes yet don't sacrifice more size & weight for maximum aperture.
  3. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Nov 15, 2003
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    North New Jersey, United States of America
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    Really just wanted to say.. "Welcome to the forum".

    Not much to add and you have certainly done some research.

    If I were in your shoes and very serious in landscape photography, I'd probably look into going medium format. I don't have any experience with medium format but common sense tells me that the larger sized film will capture the details much better than your typical 35mm film. Not to mention the fact that landscape photos look absolutely stunning when blown to very large prints. Large-sized film yield much better results when blown up ( I'm thinking poster size ).

    Since you are already considering Canon's L-lenses the cost for a medium format system will be close. Some of the newer designs of the medium format bodies ( Mamiya and Pentax for example ) are very close in size and weight to that of your pro-line 35mm bodies. In addition to the medium format camera, I'd carry along side a used 35mm body ( Canon Rebels are pretty light weight ) and a single zoom lens with a wide range of focal length for general photography.

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