I am about to leave on a trip to Europe including a week in Germany and another home with friends and family in the UK.

Of course I want to take photos whilst I am there and of course I want to take a film camera; but which one (or two, or three)?

I was thinking about this yesterday and here is my kit list;

  • My Olympus Pen-F digital  and two lenses
  • Voigtläner Vitomatic II
  • A medium format; either Mamiya C330 or Voigtländer Bessa RF
  • plus the little pocket Sony DSC-QX10

Really?  Four cameras?  Do I really need to take them all?  I can justify each and every one of them to myself and feel I really do. But then I think maybe I am deluding myself.

In two weeks am I really going to make excellent use of them or am I just going to give my self a dilemma every time I go out as to which one I take; or potentially worse take them all out every time and end up switching between them depending on the shot.  All of which leads to missed opportunities, and aching back and a less than marvelous experience.

I’m crap at choosing.

So dare I leave the decision making at home and only take one?… ONE!  but then which one?

here are the contenders;

Pen-F this is a great all rounder and I would not miss a single shot.  I love shooting with it and the results are good.  But it’s not film and it’s not weather proof (I’m in Germany and England in February).

Vitomatic It’s a lovely little 35mm range-finder, takes good pictures and reliable.  I am comfortable using it in a range of situations, I have used it a few times recently (Chicago and LA).  It would be kinda cool to take the German Voigtländer home to Germany.  It has only one fixed 50mm lens (don’t think that is a problem).  Kinda want to use a different camera though.

C330 Haven’t used this enough yet and really want to get more familiar with it; it’s a great solid and robust camera; taking a medium format is something I am keen to do.  It is quite bulky though… and heavy.

Bessa – I am getting familiar with this and, as it’s a folder, it’s quite a nice compact medium format so might be ideal for travelling.  Also, as with the Vitomatic, a German camera in Germany might be nice.  It is very old and not sure the weather will be kind to it.

QX10 – it’s just a handy thing to be able to keep in your pocket for touristy or group pictures and better then the phone on it’s own; also great for sharing.  It’s slow to use though and I only really use it when I don’t want to carry a ‘real’ camera.

The Pen is easiest but obvious and then I leave film behind. The Vitomatic would be my next go-to but maybe I need to explore one of my others.  The C330 would be great, can I lug it about though.  The Bessa is a grand old camera, convenient but maybe too fragile for this. The QX-10 is just a handy option and takes up no space so why not? but I wouldn’t take only that as it’s not really a quality shooter.

Part of me thinks; just take a film camera and be daring – but what if….  Also that would mean I can’t post anything here until I get the film back from the developers.

Okay TWO then;

Let try to break this down then.   Lets say that the Pen-F is a given as it’s the most flexible and I am so familiar with it, it’s almost instinctive.

I don’t want to risk the Bessa so that leaves the German 35mm RF or the Japanese 120 TLR…

I guess it has to be the Vitomatic.  It’s small which, if I am carrying two is more convenient.  It’s German. It’s reliable and I am familiar with it.

There will be other opportunities to use the Mamiya I am sure

Okay decision made… right?

[The image above is nothing really to do with this subject (although they could be making their own decision about something), just wanted to share an image – this was taken with the Vitomatic II]