vacation plans

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by connealy, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. My wife and I are trying to get organized to make a brief trip to
    Europe in May. We're looking at going to Barcelona, Athens and one of
    the Greek Islands. As we haven't been to any of those places before,
    I would appreciate any thoughts on the itinerary.<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; Of
    course, the biggest problem is to decide which of my cameras to take
    along. With image quality, reliability and compactness as the
    criteria, I've pretty much decided on taking the Vito II and the
    Ikonta 520 with the Tessar. Since those both take up negligible room,
    I'm also looking at throwing in one of the Kodak 6x9 folders. I'm
    also thinking that it would be nice to take along the Spotmatic and
    three lenses, though that certainly means I'll have to tote a camera
    bag. My wife has always liked the Pentax, so I'm thinking I can
    probably talk her into carrying the kit for at least part of the time.
    Any other ideas?<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; I'm going to try to do most of my
    shooting over the next couple of months with whatever kit I decide on.
    Film is also a question at this point. I'm inclined to use C41 as I
    like the speed, fine grain and latitude, and it is nice to let someone
    else deal with the processing if there are a lot of images.
  2. Don't drink the water.
  3. Take all of the cameras you might need. Take a lot more C41 film than you think you will need. You'll thank me later.
  4. It's good you've left room for a pair of socks.
  5. I don't know about counting on your wife to carry a tote bag full of Takumars. LIKING the Spotmatic and wanting to CARRY it on a once-in-a-decade vacation might be different things. ;-)

    I think I'd leave the Kodak at home. You're already bringing the Ikonta (do you mean 521?), so medium format folders are covered.

    Other than that, I'd say just be as minimalist as possible. Take a little more film (XP2 and NPH are my favorites) with you and travel light, you'll probably get better photos.
  6. "It's good you've left room for a pair of socks."

    It should be reasonably warm in Greece in May, so they can wear sandals. That leaves room for another Takumar or two, plus maybe a roll of Kodachrome.

  7. I've had nothing but bad experiences with Spotmatics so I would not trust one unless I had a backup body. I'd take a leaf shutter rangefinder if you have one. And a modern point and shoot as backup.
  8. I am a lover of classic cameras and my collection is approaching 50 in number. However, I would be reluctant to put all my photographic eggs in one or a few 50 year old baskets. Even if film weren't such a hassle in airports. I would take as a backup a digital Canon A95 which uses AA batteries and compact flash cards. The A95 is 5 mega pixels and is not much larger than a pack of cigarettes, and price is about $280 even at a super reliable store like B&H. Added advantage is that you can use it as a light meter for your classics. At max resolution, you can get over 200 photos on a 512 mb card. Think about it.
  9. The Ikonta 520 is a little 6x4.5 shooter similar to the Nettar 515 that Dean Williams showcased a short time ago. If I had to take just one camera, it would be the Ikonta because of it's precision construction, compactness and Tessar quality.<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; Likewise, the Kodak 6x9 folders are extremely compact for what they deliver; my most interesting images from last summer's trip to New England came from a No. 2 Folding Hawkeye with a lens design that came along just past the Civil War.<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; I've had the Pentax Spotmatic for 35 years; it has held up remarkably well and I'm betting it's good for at least one more trip. I do have a second Spotmatic body and it is nice to have quick access to a couple lens sizes, but I'm thinking my wife really is going to start objecting to the weight. Aside from the bulk and weight of the slr kit, it is really nice to have the versatility including the wide-angle and macro capabilities. I've got short trips planned to Albuquerque and Phoenix for the near future; maybe I should take along all of the above to see how it goes.
  10. I've got a Spottie I've owned since the late 1970s. I've never had a bad experience with it. When my Ricoh Singlex II (bought for its advanced features and compatible mount) quit, the Spottie just kept going. The meter works correctly on modern batteries, no mercury cell substitutes needed. Film loading is easy and reliable, as is rewinding, and it's hard to beat the simplicity of a screw thread for a lens mount. The original Super Takumar glass is, simply put, sensational.

    It's not the only camera I'd take on a major vacation -- but it would absolutely be on the list.
  11. Barcelona is great, though I can't imagine using anything longer than a 28mm in that city, especially in the Gothic quarter. I guess you might want something more photographing the Gaudi buildings - all of which are definitely worth seeing. The park he did up the hill is pretty terrific too. Be prepared for siesta - pretty well everything shuts down between say 2 and 4 or 5. Dinners are late. Reservations are always recommended. Film-wise, price will be the only thing that will drive you to bring your own. Availability, especially of Ilford, is fine - plenty of XP2. I am trying to remember all the streets - I can recommend some photo stores (Grupo Casanova is one) and a really great photography bookstore called Kowasa, as well as restaurants and photo opportunities, but I have to get my travel notes out of one of the twenty boxes sitting just to the left of me. I will do so and send it off list in the next few days. People will warn you about pick pockets. I think like anything this is a bit of truth and a bit of anecdote, but I do think that traveling with multiple lenses increases the risks generally. And that is anywhere. Body + 28mm + 50mm or 90mm and that is about it. Put it all in a non-camera bag (your ugliest backpack with Domke padded inserts) and be aware, happy and have fun. That is what Barcelona is all about.
  12. Comments on the itinerary: It depends on what you mean by brief and what you enjoy in
    life. I personally prefer spending 10-12 days in one place and getting to know the people
    and the place rather than visiting 3 places and never getting a sense for the rhythm or the
    people or a sense of belonging. I like feeling I fit somewhere and recognize something,
    even if only for a week. You're a very sharp photog and a people person, so imagine
    finding a friendly sidewalk cafe and spending 3-4-5 afternoons there watching the light
    and people change and also being able to hit the *all* most popular tourist spots locally
    and in the nearby countryside. (You've listed 3 very different places, as you know.)

    I lived in Barcelona for 2+ years and went back in 1988 and again last November for 9
    days with my 16 year son, and the 9 days just flew by. Parque Guell alone deserves at
    least two full days, one to wander and be amazed and another to return and see
    everything missed the first time. In addition to the tremendously rich architecture and
    culture, BCN can bring you within reach of mountains, beaches, Dali, Montserrat, and even
    Andorra or France if you need another stamp in your passport! (20 words in Spanish or
    Catalan will go a LONG way towards making local friends and people would rather you try
    and butcher the language than not try at all.)

    I took my son to Hong Kong and China twice (my dad took me to Wisconsin once!) and we
    went to one place for an extended time (3 weeks but it was for work) rather than rush
    around. The 2nd trip to HK felt like we were going home, and it was great; that's just my
    style and I don't mean to denigrate other traveling preferences. Nuff said. Planning the
    trip will be a great pleasure, Feel free to contact me for BCN advice but the guidebooks
    tell ya almost everything ya need to know. Also look at the great BCN photos around here.

    FInally, IF there are a lot of images??!? Heh heh heh.
  13. Barcelona is really worth a visit. lots of lovely Gaudi buildings including the Parc that are well worth pointing the lens at. Athens is Ok too - although is a bit dusty ! Was there for the paralympics and really enjoyed my stay.
    Pity you can't find tiime for the West of Scotland. alovelly area of the world but perhaps a little cooler thatn you would like :)
  14. Mike as far as islands go it depends on what you're looking for. For b&w photography it would be tough to beat Santorini (sp?), as the buildings are almost all pure white, and the main town is on a steep hillside which makes for getting some great shadows. If you're looking for ancient greek history go to Crete. if you're looking for something like the Bermuda of the med. sea, go to Corfu. I've been to all three (and more), and those are the three I would choose from if I had to choose one.

  15. Thanks for the thoughtful responses. My wife is going to want to go swimming, so that probably rules out Scotland and maybe even parts of Greece in May. I'm thinking that about anywhere around the Med Sea is going to be interesing. I thought Spain might be nice as I speak Spanish. I'm guessing we'll probably pare down the plan as things progress, but I didn't want to rule out anything in the beginning, being pretty ignorant of the region.
  16. I'm gonna be in Barcelona in May for days, and here is what I'm gonna bring:

    my beat-up Pentax MX (nobody is going to want ot steal that...) with F 28-105mm zoom for typical holiday snaps in color;

    for 'serious' photography: a Bessa L with 25mm lens, and a Bessa R with 50mm lens (and I'll bring along the 35 and 90mm, but I don't want to swap to often); maybe an Iskra for when I need MF quality; all of them are going to be loaded with Neopan 400...
    For the evening/night I will bring something small with a fast lens - maybe the Zorki 6 with Jupiter-8, or the Oly 35RC, or the XA (but that can't take TMax3200...).

    If you see someone running around with that gear, it's gonna be me! ;)

  17. I've got 3 Spotmatics and a host of SMC lenses that I've used for decades without ever having a problem. Meters still work too. Unfortunately I can't use them anymore because I need a corrective diopter along with my glasses and unless I jerryrig something to fit inside the plastic eyepiece, anything that fits outside the eyepiece keeps my eye too far away to see much of the finder. I bought a Leica R8 outfit for cheap because the dealer had it sitting for years unsold, but it's sure a lot heavier and I'm not impressed with the viewscreen. I found a screwmount-to-EOS adaptor and converted my wife's Rebel Ti (with adjustable viewfinder) into a screwmount body and I really like using my SMCs again. I'd go with your 2 Spotmatics and the lenses. Save the MF for an occasional landscape shot.
  18. Hi Mike

    A couple years ago my wife went to Greece. Her prior photographic experience was a P&S and disposables, so I gave her an OM-1 with a 24mm lens loaded with slide film and a Balda-six with a Trioplan loaded with 120 color negative. I also gave her a selenium light meter, a quick tutorial and a dozen rolls of film. Anyway, she came back with some absolutely stellar images from both cameras. It kind of put me to shame.

    Whatever you decide on for your 35mm camera, I think you should plan on having a wide angle lens for touring the ruins. I would also bring that Vigilant for some b&w.

    I hope you have a fun time.
  19. Mike, i know you will have fun in Barcelona, it is a wonderful city. Do beware
    of scamsters, though - one time I was there, consulting a map in a park, a guy
    came up to look at the map - meanwhile an accomplice was circling behind
    us to go thru my girlfriend's handbag,which fortunately had no valuables. A
    strange situation - I literally had the main guy, this little fella, gripped by the
    throat and didn't know what to do but swear at him and let him go. some good
    friends of mine also lost their wallets, when someone poured a foul-smelling
    substance over the wife - a 'friendly bystander' came to help clean her up, and
    of course stole both their wallets. Don't mean to alarm you, as it is a great
    place, just act as you would as if in, say, San Francisco's Tenderloin - carry
    just one camera, and keep your credit cards safe - and you will be fine. Areas
    like the Diagonal, where most of the nice buildings are, are very safe, like
    Oxford St or Chicago's Miracle Mile.<p>
    I can recommend the seafoood Paella at the Hotel Espana on Carre San Pau
    (sp?). It has the most beautiful interior, designed by Domenich Y Montaner, a
    Modernista contemporary of Gaudi (it's not a bad cheap place to stay, either).
    If you like architecture, take the train our to Colonia Guell; there is the most
    beautiful, unfinished church by Jojol, Gaudi's assistant, who improvised
    decorations from broken plates and scrap metal (he also did most of the
    decoration on Parc Guell, mentioned earlier.). there are countless places that
    are great in this city, if you like stunning architecture and amazing food... and
    of course, leave the Tri X at home and just use colour film..
  20. Paul - Good suggestions although the older buildings and squares in Barrio Gotico, Gracia, etc have a charm very different from Diagonal and the Eixample. And there just might be a few places where tri-x could come in handy...! # ^ ) Don

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