Digital medium format in Kyoto
Having lived in Japan for about 10 years now, I’ve been to Kyoto quite a few times, each time with a camera and set of lenses at hand.
My most recent trip starts this coming Sunday. I’ll be taking a night bus from Shinagawa, departing at around 11 pm, and arriving in Kyoto just before 7 am. I could take a Shinkansen there, but I will be running a half marathon in Yokosuka earlier on Sunday, and taking the bus that night gets me into Kyoto earlier than if i were to catch the shinkansen the next morning. I’m betting that I will be tired enough so that I sleep like a baby during the night bus ride. Just to be sure I will pop a couple of sleeping pills as I board the bus, that way I can hope to get a good nights sleep and arrive feeling relatively refreshed.
On the way back home the following Saturday I will be taking the shinkansen as that is the absolute fastest way to travel, and I will be able to leave Kyoto after sunset and still make it home in time for a late dinner in Yokosuka.
This will be the first time that I will be shooting (digital) medium format in Kyoto. Usually I shoot DSLR or Rangefinder, but this time I decided to trade off my more light weight kit and go for maximum image quality.
Here’s what I plan to bring:
Mamiya ZD back
Mamiya 35mm f3.5
Mamiya 55mm f2.8
Mamiya 80mm f1.9
Mamiya 150mm f3.5
Set of 3 extension tubes for macro work
A sack full of CF cards
While I am there I will also be checking out the used camera shops in Kyoto and Osaka to see if I can find a good deal on a Mamiya 200mm f2.8.
All of this fits nicely into a Lowepro Micro Trekker 200, which is my favorite backpack to use. I may change bags and instead use a Domke wax-wear F2, it depends if it looks like there will be a high likelihood of rain as the Domke is very water resistant.
Since I have not really had time to put the ZD back through its paces yet this should be a good opportunity to really see what it can do.
To date I’ve only used this medium format setup for single day type shooting (6-8 hours at a stretch) so I think I have a pretty good idea about what to expect as far as weight goes. I am still a bit concerned, but I do also know that the results will quickly make me forget about the increase in weight compared to a DSLR kit.
But I do also have a backup plan/sanity check: I will also take along an Olympus E-P1 with a 20mm f1.7 and 14-42 kit zoom. This will serve as my backup in case I don’t feel like carrying so much gear on any particular day. The PEN will also serve as my nighttime low light camera.
Since this is a solo trip, and the only point is to take photos, explore more of Kyoto, and relax, I don’t think I’m going too nuts here with the gear I am bringing.
I just wanted some other people’s perspectives about this plan. Given the same choice of gear, would you do the same thing?
My alternative DSLR setup would be a Nikon D700 with some fast primes: 14/2.8, 35/2, 50/1.4, 85/1.4, and 180/2.8