I've been shooting only with the latest Nikon cameras for the past five years: D3X and now a D3S that has just replaced my gloriously performing D3. And mostly with zoom lenses. The 24-70 is what stays on my bodies most of the time. In my "small" bag are also a 14-24, a 70-200, a 28 f1,4, and a 85 f1,4. That's it. Nothing compared to the years of 3 bodies-12 lenses in a back-breaking Temba bag. And I have no nostalgia for film: D3X is producing images that are better then Velvia while D3S is shooting in a darkness where even 3200ASA would make it impossible to see. Plus, and is not little problem for the travel photographer, I go through airports with no fear of X-ray machines and load problems.
Yet I keep having nostalgia of my Leicas sitting at home for years. Bodies and lenses that were with me in the most memorable trips, in the most difficult situations. Film bodies (M6 and M7), not digital. Too complicated to use them in such mixed works as a several month "trip" requires.
But what is that make the "Leica difference"? No, not quality: Nikon fixed lenses have nothing to envy to the German counterparts. It's the way of approaching photography that is completely different: the need to think twice to overcome the optical "rigidity"; the need to interact with your subject rather then the technical ability to "steal" an image; the lightness of a small body that makes you look inconspicuous..
So, last week in Phnom Penh I decided to give Nikon a Leica try.. I put my (very old) 28 on the D3S and decided that that would be the only lens for the whole reportage. It was a good experience: the need to think twice is a good exercise for the eye.. And I think I'll repeat it..
You can see the Phnom Penh story on my website, and make an opinion for yourself.. Keeping in mind that what really matters is your eye and vision, your idea, last and least your camera!