Traveling Light: A look at some light weight gear

Really Right Stuff BH-25 with Gitzo Traveler Tripod and Leica M8 M9 Review

It has been a year now that I have been using Leica gear. One of the most amazing things is just how small and light this camera system is while not sacrificing any quality. When I shoot assignments I don’t care how much the equipment weighs unless there are circumstances that require I be light and mobile. I use whatever I need to to get the job done. When I am shooting my own projects or event work that needs me to be on my feet all day moving with equipment, I am seriously loving a light set up. I thought I would share this comparison because I just find it eye opening. My main rangefinder kit consists of a Leica M body, a 21, 35, and 75mm lens.

The Leica lenses can fit in my pockets while I use the cameras. Canon lenses require something to hold them. They are huge. Even a 5DmkII and single lens is a large item. I won’t even bother comparing 3 canon L grade prime lenses and body. That is almost silly as it requires a case or bag and will certainly weigh a lot. I will look at an L grade zoom that captures roughly the same views as my three rangefinder lenses. On a Leica M8 these lenses become a 28, 46, and 100mm lens roughly. All three lenses together weigh less than one canon lens, and take up less space together.

Leica M8 / 9 585g
L-bracket 121g
21mm 136g
35mm 134g
75mm 227 grams

Total: 1203g or 2.65 lbs

Canon 5DmkII 811g
L-Bracket 111g
24-105L 670g
24-70 953g

1592g or 3.5lbs w/ 24-105
1875g or 4.13lbs w/ 24-70

The entire Leica kit is 1 – 2lbs lighter overall. The biggest difference however is the space required to carry everything. Splitting the weight amongst three smaller lenses makes it feel as if you are hardly carrying any equipment. You always feel the weight of the larger canon and lens.

I have been using a Gitzo GT1541T Traveler tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH25 lately with the Leica kit. This tripod holds up to small system very well. It folds down to 16″. The BH25 is a fantastic little ballhead. It doesn’t have independent locks for panning and adjustments but it locks and holds as securely as the best out there. It is amazing how well RRS makes these ball heads. The ball head clamps true and doesn’t creep at all. Very nice.

Really Right Stuff BH-25 with Gitzo Traveler Tripod and Leica M8 M9 Review

Really Right Stuff BH-25 with Gitzo Traveler Tripod and Leica M8 M9 Review

Gitzo GT1541T 970g
BH25 w/ clamp 185g
Total: 1155g or 2.54 lbs

Leica Kit + Tripod = 2358g or 5.19lbs

If you have been lugging around a backpack full of gear and a huge heavy tripod, even when photographing for pleasure, you owe it to yourself to really try an M system. Carrying less, or having more room for other essentials is a wonderful thing in the field!


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