Home · Register · Software · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username  

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Alternative Gear & Lenses | Join Upload & Sell

  

Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M
  
 
Arches
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


After several decades off, I've decided to start backpacking again, by which I mean multiday backcountry hiking trips. I generally shoot with a D800 and 24-120 during my travels but can't imagine having the desire or space to carry that kit while backpacking since the hikes will be very physically challenging. My other camera is an M240 (with just a 50 Summliux). I was thinking about buying a Zeiss 35 f2.8 (which I've heard great things about and is relatively inexpensive) and having that be my compact one lens kit which I can conveniently wear outside my pack. As I've gotten older, I've gotten much less OCD about missing shots because I don't have lenses to cover every situation, so I'm not worried about that (I also don't shoot wildlife). But I am worried about how much of a pain it will be to have to use liveview to shoot with a polarizer, which I shoot with a lot. I also worry about the lack of image stabilization since I'll be shooting stopped down and seriously doubt I'll be bringing a tripod.

What do my fellow backpackers think? Is my proposed set up fine? Am I missing an obvious alternative? I would greatly prefer full frame and not to spend a ton of money (e.g., a Leica Q, which would seem pretty ideal) since I would be backpacking maybe once a year and wouldn't have much use for it otherwise. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!



Aug 06, 2017 at 01:03 PM
CreationBear
Offline

Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


That's a lot of camera to be taking "back of beyond," so I'd hate to see you compromise IQ with too high of an ISO when there are so many light, compact tripods available these days. With the right RRS or Gitzo and, say, Arca-Swiss P0 head, I don't think you'd be adding much more than a couple of pounds to your loadout.


Aug 06, 2017 at 05:10 PM
Steve Spencer
Offline
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


For backpacking you do want to keep things light. I think the M240 and the Zeiss ZM 35 f/2.8 is a great kit. With regard to the polarizer, you don't really need to use live view. It can be nice to view the effect of the polarizer, but you don't need it for framing or exposure. Keep in mind people used polarizer with film for years without live view. So, I wouldn't sweat that problem. A light tripod is nice, but it does add weight and weight to back packing is always a personal decision if it worth the extra weight. If you are going with someone else, there are tripods available that can be constructed from walking poles. If you are using walking poles anyway and you and a person or people could use at least three poles, then these can be an elegant solution that add very little weight or bulk. If not and you don't want the extra weight keep in mind setting the camera on a big rock can often be a suitable substitute for a tripod and may even get you a nice low angle of view.


Aug 06, 2017 at 05:19 PM
Xavier Rival
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


I have this lens (use it on the M9), and it is really great and tiny. This lens with an M240 makes a nice hiking camera. Regarding to the tripod, there are lightweight solutions like the one mentioned by Steve, but also monopods (ok if you are planning on using slowish speeds, but not doing long exposures). I use a GorillaPod, and it covers my needs (long exposures not requiring a long extension).

For hiking, the way you carry your system makes a lot of difference on how you feel. I have done a lot of hiking with a DSLR system heavier than yours (5D + 3 zoom lenses), and got that to work with a bag carried around my waist (ThinkTank Change Up). You could use such a bag but much smaller for the M + 35 + accessories (and even tripod, if you take a solution like a Gorilla).



Aug 06, 2017 at 06:08 PM
davewolfs
Online
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


If you do consider a tripod consider a Q3 traveller and the matching Gitzo legs. They are light and sturdy. I've compared this to the Arca P0 and found it to be more to my liking. Although at that point you might as well bring a 21mm too

I would agree that seeing the results of a polarizer would be important (if I planned to use a polarizer frequently). Why not consider grabbing the EVF for the 240? Although I have no idea how reliable that will be if slinging it along on the side of your pack. Could always grab a used A7II and a Loxia or Zony 35MM. Both would fit the bill.



Aug 06, 2017 at 06:08 PM
Dustin Gent
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


what is the weight of all you camping gear + backpack w/o camera gear? I ask because there could be areas where you could upgrade backpacking gear, and keep the camera gear you have now (unless you want to upgrade ) .

last year i did 2 35+ miles trips into the Wind Rivers just north of here, and all said and done, i was at like 36lbs. Yikes, was eye opening. I have since ditched the D610 and 14-24, and have the A7r, C/Y 35-70 and Voigtlander CVIII 15mm - and i also upgraded some of my backpacking gear. My total weight with tripod/camera gear is 26 lbs and that is with 4-5 days of food.



Aug 07, 2017 at 02:30 AM
arduluth
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


When I go backpacking, I keep things light. I bring a Pedco Ultrapod II, but I never bring a "real" tripod. Works great for an A7 with the lenses I use. None of my lenses are stabilized. Most of what I do is handheld, the tripod is mostly for long exposures. $15 and weighs like 3-4 oz, perfect for backpacking. I've strapped it to trees and hiking poles as a makeshift tripod as well.

I have no issues using a polarizer through live view, but I'm not familiar with the Leica live view is. If it's low quality, I imagine it'd be hard. Worse case, use the shutter speed to figure out how strong of an effect you're getting.

I think I could live with a M240 and the Zeiss 35mm f/2.8. I'd probably add a 90-135mm tele, too. For my last two backpacking trips, I brought a 28mm, 45mm, and 90mm lenses. I may have brought the CV 35mm f/1.7 Ultron VM for close focus, but I'd have to look. Anything wider than 28mm I can stitch. You get more pixels and a better look (IMHO) out of the deal to boot. That wouldn't work for everyone but it works great for me!



Aug 07, 2017 at 03:33 AM
Arches
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


Thanks everyone for all your very useful input. I have upgraded my camping gear from 20 years ago so there's not much weight to save there. Plus, I'm about the size of a 13-year old, so every pound will make a difference.

I will definitely look into the lighter tripods as some have suggested to deal with the lack of IS. I'm so used to using my big tripod with my Nikon kit that it never occurred to me that I can use a much smaller one like a Gorillapod or something similar with my M240 and a prime.

I also just read about people marking up a polarizer rim or using a polarizer with number markings so that they can figure out the desired polarization before putting the polarizer on the lens and then adjusting the polarizer accordingly after putting it on. That may be good enough for me.

Thanks again everyone and certainly keep the ideas coming if you've got them!



Aug 07, 2017 at 02:28 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



uscmatt99
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


I'm haven't backpacked in many years, but I do a lot of day-hiking where weight is a consideration. My favorite lightweight compact set-up is the lens you mentioned, a Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 C-Biogon, paired with a Sony A7 "classic". The native sensor filter stack is not a good match for the lens, but I've had great success with the camera after having the filter stack modified by Kolari. I have vII of their replacement, but there is an even thinner version dubbed UT for ultra-thin, which gets closer to how the lens would perform on a Leica. The A7 can run $700-800, and the modification is $400. But I bet you could get a used modified body for less than that on the forum.

The M240 is a great all-around camera, but is probably a less optimal choice for your needs than the modified A7. The framing is not precise, the depth of field cannot be judged, and the effects of a CPL as you said won't be seen. The M240 is also heavier than the A7.

The A7 allows precise framing and focus at the shooting aperture, and you can see the effects of polarization and exposure settings changes either on the LCD or the EVF. The dynamic range is a bit better. It's downfall is the crummy battery life. Regarding the C-Biogon specifically, it's corner to corner sharp at f/11, and sharp nearly to the corners at f/8. I suspect it's even better with the newest cover glass replacement that Kolari now uses. I use a helicoid adapter for M-lenses which allows for pretty good close-up performance for this lens.

My lightweight kit is the A7, a few batteries, a ZM25/2.8 (excellent), ZM35/2.8, and sometimes a CV90/3.5 for tele stuff. I find a tripod to be invaluable for outdoor photography because there often isn't enough of the best quality light to sustain stopped down shooting without bumping the ISO. One alternative that can work is a small clamp and ballhead, but then you're at the mercy of nature for somewhere to clamp to. I sometimes use an RRS travel clamp kit which is very compact, but heavier than it appears. That coupled with a Platypod and some paracord may be a good substitute for a dedicated tripod.

Good luck with the quest for lightweight and competent kit



Aug 07, 2017 at 02:57 PM
grahamgibson
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


How about a used RX1 or RX1r?


Aug 07, 2017 at 05:06 PM
rscheffler
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


IMO the benefit of the ZM35/2.8 is its size, Zeiss rendering and quite smooth background bokeh/blur when at near focus distances. It's also flare resistant. The CV35/1.7M is sharper across the frame from wider open on the M240 (at least the copy of each I have experience with), shares the 'Leica standard' 46mm filter size and focuses to 50cm (of course uncoupled and benefits from live view). IMO its rendering is also very nice. I've since scaled back my M lens collection a bit; the ZM went and the CV stayed. To be fair, I do shoot a variety of things, indoors and out, and the extra stop of the CV is another reason I kept it. But if I could only have one 35mm M mount lens, from those I've tried, it would be the CV (and I also include the excellent ZM35/1.4 in this consideration). Its downside is size; it's fairly long and vignetting persists on stopping down (but can be fixed in post). IIRC, I coded it as the 35 Cron ASPH, which helped a bit with slight color shift and some of the vignetting.

I haven't done multi-day hikes with the M240. Rather, car camping with long day hikes or canoeing trips. I really like using it in these situations and that I can carry it and a 4-5 lens kit in about the same size as a DSLR body and small prime. Its greatest downside here is it's heavy. But if used wisely, battery life is amazing. I've recently started using polarizers more often with it and shoot with the EVF to judge the effect. This definitely takes a considerable toll on battery life. I'm wondering if it might be worth buying two identical filters and using one simply in the hand as a reference for the desired effect, then transferring its rotation to the one on the lens (assuming they're identically assembled, though this could also be 'calibrated' with your own markings). A benefit to this approach would be having a spare should you drop one off a cliff, in a lake, etc. I would recommend getting the new 'high transmission' polarizer type available from all the popular brands. You'll only lose around a stop, maybe slightly more.



Aug 08, 2017 at 01:40 AM
Arches
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


Thanks everyone for your advice. I thought I'd follow up and share what I ended up doing now that I just got back from my backpacking trip. I ultimately decided to go with my Leica M240 and the Zeiss ZM 35 f2.8 Biogon. It ended up working great. I don't feel I compromised an iota in terms of image quality (the Zeiss really is as good as everyone says it is) and was able to wear the kit slung around my neck and shoulder for instant access. While there were times I would have liked a zoom in instances where I couldn't step forward or backward, I had my iPhone handy for those rare instances as well as for panos.

I also found the use of a polarizer pretty hassle-free. I'd just check the proper degree of polarization using Live View and then bring the camera to my face for focusing (although that wasn't always necessary as I was focused to infinity most of the time).

I also decided not to bring a tripod but found that plopping my camera on top of my huge backpack worked just fine when it was needed. While OIS would have been nice, I found I was able to keep my shutter speed high enough where it didn't impact image quality or I used my makeshift "tripod." Plus, I've found I can get away with lower shutter speeds with my Leica than with my D800.



Sep 13, 2017 at 01:56 AM
rscheffler
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


Glad it worked out. No doubts on my end that it would. I'll always prefer my M over DSLRs for this kind of outing. For me it's always a balance of camera performance vs. carry convenience and being able to enjoy the experience of being wherever I am.

There are some really great, small lenses available for the M system that would make a very compact 2-3 lens kit, such as 21SEM, 28/2.8 ASPH, ZM35/2.8 or 35 cron ASPH, 50/2.5 Summarit, 90 Macro Elmar or if the length is ok, the ZM85/4. Just pick your poison.

Stop by the Leica images thread with some from your hike!



Sep 13, 2017 at 02:09 AM
DavidBM
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


Arches wrote:
Thanks everyone for your advice. I thought I'd follow up and share what I ended up doing now that I just got back from my backpacking trip. I ultimately decided to go with my Leica M240 and the Zeiss ZM 35 f2.8 Biogon. It ended up working great. I don't feel I compromised an iota in terms of image quality (the Zeiss really is as good as everyone says it is) and was able to wear the kit slung around my neck and shoulder for instant access. While there were times I would have liked a zoom in instances where
...Show more

Should work nicely.
I switched to the Sony A7 series largely because I wanted a single system, rather than M43 for hiking and an FF DSLR at other times.

An A7rII and Sony 2.8/35 would give you perhaps even better results and less weight than what you went with (and you could add some other light stuff too) but perhaps you prefer the haptics of Leica.

I'd consider adding the ZM 4/85 to your kit. There's no lighter way of getting this focal length. And it's very very good. Or else perhaps a 2.5/75 Summarit which can sometime be had at a great price, and its surprisingly one of the best Leica lenses. (I posted a critique of the sperhochromatism recently, but it's not a huge deal, and it's no worse than current APO leica lenses)



Sep 13, 2017 at 02:22 AM
rscheffler
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Backpacking/Landscapes with Leica M


The 90/4 Macro Elmar is ~1cm shorter, collapses, and is lighter by ~70g than the ZM85/4. I also thought it was sharper at infinity than the ZM, both on the M240, when I compared a copy of each, though it does have some CA. The tradeoff is the roughly 4x higher retail price for those potentially marginal real-world gains.


Sep 13, 2017 at 03:35 AM







FM Forums | Alternative Gear & Lenses | Join Upload & Sell

    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username     Reset password