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Author Topic: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan  (Read 5913 times)

albron00

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2012, 09:09:14 AM »
I guess you should make a place in your gear bag for Kalashnikov as well  8)

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2012, 09:09:14 AM »

Cosk

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2012, 09:58:30 AM »
You need something very wide, and very fast...  inside the temples and tombs, things are very big, there isn't much space, and there are a lot of people.  If you have the widest lens in the tomb, you get to step in front of everyone and get a shot without any other people, while everyone else with a point and shoot is fighting to back up as much as possible.   

Also flashes are not allowed... so you want fast

I spent a month in Jordan and Egypt, with a sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 on a full-frame, and that focal length worked like a dream.  I did wish it was faster... and I wasn't happy with the build. 

I no longer have that Sigma, and replaced it with the 17-40... which is tougher but not nearly as wide... and every mm of width matters when you're in a tomb.  If I were to do that trip again, I would personally be debating between the 16-35 and the 14/2.8 prime, or even getting that sigma lens again. 
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 10:00:12 AM by Cosk »
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Marsu42

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2012, 10:04:07 AM »
Also flashes are not allowed... so you want fast

But even then, a f2.8 lens (w/o IS) might not be enough for handheld shots because some tombs are *really* dark for the same reason no flashes are allowed. When I was in Egypt it wasn't so crowded and I often had time to do shots with my mini-tropod or simply put the camera onto a towel on some railing or something else. This way, you can also do hdr shots if the lighting is very uneven so the dynamic range of one shot is not enough.

I guess you should make a place in your gear bag for Kalashnikov as well  8)

Absolutely - the locals might put it to good use after they mugged the op :-p !

But really, since the op was asking about real life advice here, I'd like to point out that this a serious matter and taking a stroll with his family (including the woman, maybe in non-compliant clothes) with the camera gear into unprotected, local suburbs to get good shots of real life imho is an extremely stupid idea.

willis

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2012, 11:08:56 AM »
I would personally take:
 -Wide angle (16-35L II or 17-40L)
 -Telezoom (70-200L II or 70-300L)
 -Walk-around (24-105L)
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ender78

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2012, 11:27:58 AM »
I took the Mark II and 24-105 and 17-40 with me when I visited Egypt two years ago.  The 24-105 was likely used for almost all my shots save a few taken with the 17-40.  If you decide to take a camel ride around the pyramids, dont even think of bringing the SLR.  The walk of the camel is about as stable as that of the back of a bucking bronco and you need to need to hold on the the saddle to protect your um .. equipment. 

Dust can be really bad.  We had a sandstorm hit at Sakkara so I was glad to not have the camera with me.

It is very dark in the temples as stated by others.  You'll want to push the ISO as far as you're comfortable and then push it another stop or two.   Failure to comply with flash or tripod regulations may result in confiscation of equipment [and dont expect to get it back, the guard may not actually turn it in but just keep it]. 

AmbientLight

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2012, 11:37:38 AM »
Please note that when I pointed at the opportunity to exit the tourist areas this was not to induce someone to act in any way that would provoke unrest or general unfriendly reactions from locals. Instead I wanted to guide you to some of the really beautiful contemporary spots in Egypt, where locals would hang out. Yes, I have been there several times and I have a good number of Egyptian friends.

Generally your risk of becoming another victim of a terrorist attack drops severely once you have moved outside tourist areas, which are obvious targets. Your second best chance for becoming a victim may be Coptic churches, of which there are plenty. Nevertheless I recommend going there as these are really interesting, if you are into Christian culture.

In case you adapt to reasonable, acceptable behaviour and do not act in a way completely ignorant of local culture you will have a fun time and no trouble whatsoever.

Of course as Marsu correctly stated if you buy into what some of the western media present about the Arab world :o and go arguing that with local residents :-[ they will not be likely to react friendly any longer. There are limits to what people may put up with.

pardus

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2012, 12:20:19 PM »
Check out this amazing footage shot of Egypt / Lebanon Montage on Vimeo shot by  Khalid Mohtaseb in Egypt and lebanon on a 5D mark ii *edit. video might have embed turned off but click the link above to view.

Inspirational footage to say the least. You didn't indicate that you were shooting video but any of these clips/locations would make a truly fantastic still. He has a few threads up that he talks about his gear and his experience shooting there off the beaten path. Some good advice there and discussion. There was another thread on it too but can't seem to find it in my bookmarks. http://www.cinema5d.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=6205&p=43411#p43411
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 02:21:27 PM by pardus »
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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2012, 12:20:19 PM »

Marsu42

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2012, 12:29:00 PM »
Yes, I have been there several times and I have a good number of Egyptian friends.

Well (*knock on wood*) I hope you're correct for the op's sake - because I remember some situations (well, it was not Egypt but Palestina) where the local youths didn't exactly care if you behave decently or not, apparently being rich (i.e. everyone by their standards) and western was sufficient to make us feel happy once we were out of there.

mrsfotografie

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2012, 12:42:40 PM »
Whatever you do, go weather sealed on your zooms (that would otherwise suck dust in). Invaluable as I discovered recently in Rajasthan India (desert region) where my 24-105 performed beautifully when I got caught in a dust storm.

On a previous trip to Oman and UAE I took my 24-70 L, but to be honest there's little need for an f/2.8 lens in these places with plenty of sunshine. The longer reach of the 24-105 is preferred especially as some people in these countries tend to be a little camera shy.

Take that 40 2.8 STM for indoor/night/soukh (market) use. It's nice and small and with a MkII, f/2.8 will do just fine.

No tele needed, esp if you bring the 24-105.

By the way my 24-105 is definitely sharper than my 24-70.
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CharlieB

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2012, 09:17:46 PM »
Personally....

If I couldn't do it all with the 24-105L with its IS... and a small flash, it probably not worth doing.
Sometimes... just sometimes, you might be in a place that requires a long lens.  But it doesn't sound like that sort of trip.  American West, Africa... wildlife, birds, etc.... sure.  Mideast... unless you're going specifically for the aforementioned.

Bosman

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2012, 10:53:08 PM »
The pyramids deserve the 24LII! The 40 would be perfect for travel you don't give up on image quality but on weight. If you add a third i'd do the 85. Most ranges are covered and the results, god If i could take my 24L there and shoot!
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minim2

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2012, 11:08:40 PM »
Thanks all for your replies, I will split mine in two (camera+lens and egypt)

I am going in mid Jan so I have little more than 2 months.

About camera and lenses :

-> Based on everyone's reply I am not even thinking about 24-70 II... and that means 70% of my problem solved... for some strange itchiness, I think I was bending towards that direction earlier... but it does not make sense to me now.

-> I am currently based out in Hong Kong so BH may not be a good option and refurb lenses it seems are not available here . Over here, used market is pretty active but most of those forums are in chinese and not expat friendly (translation in english )... but I am taking help of local friends.. so hope to find a good deal.

So Far, below is what I am thinking :-

5D II
24-105 (hope it will be upto its reputation once back from canon service)
24 1.4 II or 50 1.4 or both (confusion stays)
17-40 or 16-35 II  (not confusion but I intend to buy used one and whichever comes first.. If 17-40 then I think I will carry my 24 1.4 II, though I am trying to follow 16-35 II ads first)
70-300 -- Not sure about this one.. if 24-105 continue to disappoint me then I will leave that behind and carry this instead... making it look cheap with tape is a good idea indeed :D

430 EX II - wont carry this inside monuments, its not allowed anyways. It's more for other occasions.

S110 or S100 or xyz - gift to my wife (I tried sticking my old trusty 550D+15-85 in her hand earlier...but boy... getting engineering degree was easier...her only interest in photography is how good she looks in a photo :P

* Good suggestions on weather sealing...other than 50 1.4 others are weather sealed with filter so I should be fine I think (if changing lenses kept to minimum).
* I will read some articles and go through videos on cleaning sensors etc.. have never done myself.
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minim2

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #27 on: October 22, 2012, 11:17:48 PM »
The pyramids deserve the 24LII! The 40 would be perfect for travel you don't give up on image quality but on weight. If you add a third i'd do the 85. Most ranges are covered and the results, god If i could take my 24L there and shoot!

Thanks. I am leaning towards 24 1.4 II... I have started to think this way ... Which one I may miss/regret more.
esp due to
inside monuments where flash is not allowed
sound and light shows in pyramids, abu simbel and luxor
overnight stays in deserts and night sky..
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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #27 on: October 22, 2012, 11:17:48 PM »

minim2

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #28 on: October 22, 2012, 11:58:31 PM »

Since there are some interesting feedbacks and comments on egypt travel, I thought I will try to summarize what I intend to do in egypt… please feel free to comment as that will help me in planning if I have not taken that into consideration

* I have two separate tickets booked.. one return ticket to Amman from HK and then second one is Amman to egypt cities and return.
This way if something unforeseen happens in egypt, I will cancel my second phase and will book myself to turkey or some other place close by… on in worst case enjoy wadi rum and jordan more.

* I have good travel insurance covering egypt trip cancellation due to unrest or if govt raises the warning level to egypt etc. + All my bookings can be cancelled without any penalty if cancelled before 48 hours including air tickets (well for air ticket I will be losing around 1100 HKD which is 100 sh USD.. which should be fine and even easier to claim from travel insurance).

* I was reading forums for last three months and it seems most of issues happens around demonstration which happens after fridays prayers. I am not staying in cairo on any of fridays and other than that obviously will be avoid any kind of demonstration, other than that it seems life is as usual in Egypt (as per their standards).

* I generally try to rough things out but this time I am making an exception… cannot take chances esp with family. After spending lot of time on tripadvisor, I have found some highly recommended guides for cairo and luxor (those who does not cost an arm and a leg).
Hopefully this will save me from some hassle and from touts as well.

* Yes I want to do nile cruise, luxor temples, cairo, abu simbel etc… but one place I am really looking forward to is
White Desert, Black Desert, Sea of Sand … I am planning 4 nights in this area… this is the only off beaten track I am willing to take.
More I read about these places, more I want to go there… Most of problems in remote areas are happening around Sinai (which is western side) and these areas are on eastern desert so hope this should be fine… still trying to figure it out though.

We always wanted to go to Egypt and planned and cancelled it few times earlier.. hope things will work out this time.
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akclimber

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #29 on: October 23, 2012, 12:09:06 AM »
Is it too off base to suggest renting, borrowing or maybe even buying an M4/3s or other smallish, high quality combo that will attract less attention, be easier to carry and produce really nice images?  I'm only suggesting this because I'm struggling with much the same  issue with a non photo centric trip to Iceland/Belgium in the spring and I keep thinking I don't want to lug my 5D3 or D800 with me.  An M4/3s or similar system is an attractive travel option.

Anyway, if you're set on taking the 5D2, I'd take my 24-105 or rent a 28-300L and call it good.  It seems the 24-105 has some serious copy/expectation variation.  I love mine on the 5D2 and 5D3 but others hate it or are kinda unimpressed.  Go figure.  The 28-300L would be a do it all lens that could stay on your body and not let dust in but it's heavy and would attract attention.  That said, I'd suggest that carrying a DLSR and changing lenses would also attract attention.  :)  I guess another thought is to take your 24 and 85 and call it a day.  That'd be a light, useful and manageable combo as well.

Good luck, be safe & have fun on your trip!

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Re: Lens suggestions for 3 weeks trip to Egypt and Jordan
« Reply #29 on: October 23, 2012, 12:09:06 AM »