Mathieu Stern has a great YouTube channel where he explores affordable and overlooked vintage lenses that may not be in the photographic community's zeitgeist quite yet. His latest video follows that same pattern but adds a small twist.
Stern decided to travel to Spain with one lens in his arsenal. It's the Konica Hexanon AR 35mm f/2 lens. It's a lens that seems to be in limited supply on a major secondary market like eBay and commands a higher price than his usual "cheap" finds and oddities. I've come across this lens once in the wild in my hunts and it sold fairly fast when I put it up for sale. I didn't really get a chance to use it so I don't have a lot to say about it's performance, but Stern has us covered there and it looks to bne another vintage film lens that performs quite well on today's digital sensors.
But the part of this video that intrigues me more is his use of it as a single lens for a trip. I haven't been traveling as much as I used to when I lived in Europe, but I have some trips planned in the upcoming months and I'm starting to ponder what gear to bring. It's that usual feeling of dread mixed with excitement. Should I bring a full kit with a vast focal range of options or pare it down to the must haves? Do I bring a film kit along with my digital stuff? And, even going so far as to bring one camera and lens and be done with it?
After watching his video, I'm definitely leaning into the one camera and one lens setup. I'm confident and know what I like to shoot. I've been through the process of this before and as is often the case, each trip has its own needs.
When I went to Iceland last year, I took everything. And it was worth it as the landscape is amazing and I needed so many options. A telephoto zoom, a normal zoom, an ultra-wide, and a fast prime. My film kit was simpler as I just took my trusty X-T2 and use it for some interesting panoramas. I also had the luxury of having a rental car so carrying a few bags of gear wasn't a problem.
As a side note, go to Iceland. Just do it. And rent a car and drive yourself around. Do it in the winter and spend at least 10 days there. It's an amazing place and the photographic opportunities are near limitless. I can't recommend this enough.
So, for my next excursion, I don't need a crazy, complex group of gear. I think I'm going to ditch my large setup and embrace a one lens, one camera solution. It makes sense and I'm going to do it.
But maybe one extra lens won't hurt. And a film camera too. Yeah, that's the ticket. Just a couple of small options...