WHAT TO PACK

by Tina Manley

When you are planning a photography trip, how do you decide what to pack? There are several things to consider before you decide what to put in your camera bag. What kind of photos do you plan to take? What equipment do you have available? How long will you be gone? How much weight can you carry? Will you have to carry your equipment long distances?   How will you protect everything from loss, theft, and weather?

HONDURAS, EL LIMON:  Martir Lopez fans himself with his hat on a hot day in the mountains of Honduras.  The women of El Limon make pottery and are involved in HPI's Women in Livestock Development projects.

HONDURAS, EL LIMON: Martir Lopez fans himself with his hat on a hot day in the mountains of Honduras. The women of El Limon make pottery and are involved in HPI’s Women in Livestock Development projects.

For over 30 years I worked as a documentary photography for non-governmental organizations in developing countries. I traveled to 67 countries photographing people. The photographs were used by agencies to raise money for self-development projects.

My cameras have always been Leica rangefinders. The cameras are unobtrusive, quiet, durable, and wonderful for low light photography. Since I carried all of my own equipment and stayed with local families, often without electricity, the rangefinders and their fast lenses were perfect.

For most of those years, I would also carry about 300 rolls of film for a two week trip. Now I carry computer equipment, battery chargers, cables, memory cards and hard drives.

I have learned through the years what is essential and what can be left at home. I just returned from a month in Cuba where I took 16,000 photos that I am still editing. All of my equipment fit in a Tamrac backpack and a Travelon purse (guys might want to carry a waist belt or vest). Cuba_3 Here is my packing list:

Here is my packing list:

  • Leica M240
  • Leica Monochrom
  • Leica M9
  • 21 Elmarit
  • 24 Summicron
  • 35 Summilux
  • 35 Summicron
  • 50 Summilux
  • 50 Noctilux
  • 75 Summilux
  • 90 Summicron
  • 2 Leica battery chargers
  • 10 M9/MM batteries
  • 4 M240 batteries
  • Acer Netbook with Lightroom
  • 2 2TB Seagate hard drives (one to store photos, one backup)
  • 10 SD cards – 16, 32, 64 GB

Visible Dust’s Artic Butterfly sensor cleaner 700101_02443-Edit I carried one camera on my shoulder, one in my purse, and one in the backpack. The purse has a steel cable strap and I carried steel retractable cables to secure my backpack.

I’ve never had anything stolen in all of my travels. A rain poncho covered everything, including the backpack, in bad weather. I kept the same lenses on my 3 cameras most of the time. The 35 Summicron was on my M240, the 50 Summilux on my MM, and the 24 Summicron on my M9. For low light conditions I would switch to the Summilux and Noctilux versions.

150208_6659-Edit-2 I love to photograph people and try to hang around long enough that they forget I’m taking photos. I’m very good at disappearing into the background! If I were planning to shoot sports or landscapes, my lens and camera list would be totally different, but for people, the list is perfect for me.

HONDURAS, EL LIMON:  Martir, Kevin Jose and Raquel Lopez in their rural home in the mountains of Honduras.  The women of El Limon make pottery and are involved in HPI's Women in Livestock Development projects.

HONDURAS, EL LIMON: Martir, Kevin Jose and Raquel Lopez in their rural home in the mountains of Honduras. The women of El Limon make pottery and are involved in HPI’s Women in Livestock Development projects.

HONDURAS, GRACIAS A DIOS:  Dr. Frank Strait examines a baby as the community looks on in a remote, rural village in Honduras.   Providence Presbytery and HPI provide health promoter training and medicines for clinics in Honduras.

HONDURAS, GRACIAS A DIOS: Dr. Frank Strait examines a baby as the community looks on in a remote, rural village in Honduras. Providence Presbytery and HPI provide health promoter training and medicines for clinics in Honduras.

 

HONDURAS, OLOAS:  Tiburcio Monueles blesses a breakfast of tortillas and beans with his two youngest children.   Erlinda and Tiburcio Monueles are community leaders who participate in Heifer Project International workshops in their rural farming community in the mountains of Honduras.  The Monueles had 18 children but only 9 are living.

HONDURAS, OLOAS: Tiburcio Monueles blesses a breakfast of tortillas and beans with his two youngest children. Erlinda and Tiburcio Monueles are community leaders who participate in Heifer Project International workshops in their rural farming community in the mountains of Honduras. The Monueles had 18 children but only 9 are living.

 

For those who will be in NYC for the Leica Meet on June 11, I hope you will be able to stick around for my lecture at the International Center for Photography on June 12. I’ll be showing photos from Cuba and talking more about how to pack. NYLUG’15: PHOTOGRAPHY COLLOQUIUM – information here: http://www.pbase.com/image/160198369 To see my documentary photos: http://tinamanley.smugmug.com/Tina-Manley-Portfolio/ http://tinamanley.smugmug.com/Documentary/Black-and-White/ Photos from Cuba: http://www.pbase.com/tinamanley/cuba&page=all 150214_10655-Edit

Elliott (New Leica Monochrom M246) High ISO Test by Jono Slack

Introduction

Well, I don’t do this sort of thing, but I have been asked, so I thought I’d do a simple (hah!) comparison between different Leica cameras at different ISO values in black and white. I’ve included:

  • Leica M9
  • Leica M Monochrome
  • Leica M-P (typ 240)
  • Leica Monochrom (typ 246)
  • Leica X (typ 113)

I’ve made a real attempt to keep everything as equal as possible. It seemed to be worth including the X, although it’s an APS-C camera, the 16mp at 23mm is very roughly equivalent to the 24mp at 28 mm full frame.

Methodology

All pictures were taken at f8 (except the Leica X which was at f5.6), and with the Leica 28mm Summilux on the M cameras, and with the 23mm lens on the Leica X. The tripod wasn’t moved between shots, and the camera’s white balance was set to daylight.

The DNG files were imported into Lightroom and cropped – there was no revolving of the files to straighten lines, and no adjustments to noise reduction, colour, white balance, exposure or anything else. The X files were cropped to the same area – which gives about the same amount of pixels – the M9 files are slightly smaller because of the lower resolution of the sensor.

Colour files were converted to black and white in Lightroom with no changes to the channel mixer.

The cropped images were exported to Photoshop CC in groups (as 16 bit tiff files) and combined into one file and saved as a jpg with maximum quality.

Of course, there are lots of different ways one could approach this, but this way seemed to give as level a playing field as I could imagine.

I felt that using a 28mm lens at f8 reduced problems with focusing, and I’ve only used the middle of the frame. It has been suggested that diffraction has set in by f8 (thank you Sean). In fact I used f5.6 on the X for this reason, I also realise that the camera is not perfectly straight on to the dresser – however, as I have used the middle of the frame, and the situation was the same for each camera I feel that it’s good enough to give one a pretty good feel for the high ISO characteristics of each camera.

The image used is shown below (sorry it’s a bit untidy). Below that you can see the combined cameras at each ISO value. NB – the image strips are fewer as the cameras run out of available ISO – for the last image there are two MM 246 images.

 

ISO 200……………………………………………….ISO 400

200-400_ISO_Monochrome

ISO 800………………………………………………ISO 1600

800-1600_ISO_Monochrome

ISO 3200………………………………………………ISO 6400

3200-6400_ISO_Monochrome

ISO 10,000………………………………………………ISO 12,500 – 25,000

10000-25000_ISO_Monochrome

Conclusion

Sean Reid at ReidReviews.com and grEGORy Simpson at ultrasomething.com have done lots more thorough comparisons.

On the other hand I do feel that the images here show a pretty clear distinction between the cameras. The new camera seems pretty good at 12,500 ISO and useable in most cases at 25,000.

Just a final note – these pictures were taken in low natural light – I’m never very happy with high ISO tests taken in good lighting. The exposure at f8 at 200 ISO was about 2 seconds.

If you enjoyed this article you might like to make a donation to Cancer Research

My wife, Emma Slack, Is doing the 12th Annual Pink Ladies Tractor Road Run in aid of Cancer Research

It’s worth mentioning that Jonathan Slack does not get paid by anyone for writing these articles, which is great for everyone, and fine by him, however, once in a while he adds a link to a favourite charity.

People have been extraordinarily generous in the past, and this year Emma (my wife) is fund raising again. It would be lovely if you could see your way to making a small donation to what is a wonderful cause.

Here is the link to Emma’s Just Giving page:

https://www.justgiving.com/Emma-Slack5/

and here’s the link to the Ladies Tractor Road Run Page

http://www.ladiestractorroadrun.co.uk/ladiestractorrun/Home.html