Traveling with my Leica M-P

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I went to Hong Kong for a short trip earlier this month. It’s more of a relax trip than a photography trip. But of course, whenever I get to travel, I try not to waste the opportunity to snap some pictures as well. And I have decided to add some “stress” to my relaxation… that is to travel with my Leica M-P for the 8 days trip.

Traveling and shooting with a manual focusing camera may seems like a “mission impossible” to many. Yes, of course you are losing the convenience of auto focus, but that doesn’t mean to be the end of the world, or so I thought. So, I was embarked on a journey to find out the answer of whether I can actually survive traveling with a manual focusing camera. At the same time, I would like to see if I can crunch out pictures that are different from what I shot last year in Hong Kong.

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I brought along with me Summicron 35mm ASPH, Zeiss Planar 2/50mm and Tele-Elmarit-M 90mm f2.8. Basically these are my entire lens collection. Along the trip I managed to pick up a Super-Elmar-M 21mm ASPH to complete my lens collection. I traveled through streets, fishing village, hills and mountains and so on. I shot everything that interest me, ranging from streets, people, landscape and etc. with my M-P. I shot from wide open to f16. I shot with all the lenses in my bag. I tried to utilize every skills and knowledge I know about photography to plan and get the shot I want. In the end, I can safely conclude that: Yes, I can live with manual focus, even for oversea trip like this.

Of course there are some shots that are harder to take when you are shooting with manual focusing, unless your lens is set to hyper focal distance where you can literally just point and shoot. It just requires a little more effort from your end to pre-plan and visualize the shot, and wait for the moment to come. I do missed a couple of shots, either due to myself being too slow to react or I have dialled in the wrong setting/adjustment. Well, there’s no one else to blame other than… of course, myself.

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I’m carrying all the stuffs in my trustworthy Billingham Hadley Pro bag. Considering the weight of my setup:

  • M-P – 680g
  • Summicron 35mm ASPH – 255g
  • Zeiss Planar 2/50mm – 230g
  • Tele-Elmarit-M 90mm f2.8 – 225g
  • Super-Elmar-M 21mm ASPH – 260g

The weight of my full setup tops around 1.65kg excluding other accessories such as extra batteries, filters, shutter release and etc., and the fact that I can squeeze everything easily into my bag (there’s still room for water bottle!) has reassured my decision for investing in this system. If I were to bring my Fujifilm’s gear, I’ll probably ended up with the following items:

  • X-T1 – 440g
  • XF10-24 F4 – 410g
  • XF18 F2 – 116g
  • XF23 F1.4 – 300g
  • XF56 F1.2 – 405g

The weight of full setup will be around 1.67kg, similar to what I brought, but the size of the setup can barely squeezed into my bag. Well, end of the day is all about leveraging on compromization. If you want auto focus, versatility of zooms, you’ll lose in size or weight in return. As simple as that. Well, at least now I know that I have built up two very usable systems in my dry cabinet, which can cater to my shooting needs and change accordingly.

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My next trip will be re-visiting to Japan, but this time I’ll be heading to Tokyo instead. So which camera system should I bring along? Hmm… we’ll see 🙂

2 thoughts on “Traveling with my Leica M-P

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