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Author Topic: Travel advice - which lenses?  (Read 3569 times)

sjp010

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Travel advice - which lenses?
« on: December 27, 2011, 11:22:36 PM »
Hello, this is probably a silly question that nobody can answer but myself.  Even though I know that, looking for perspective from others with more experience.  I'm relocating to Australia for 5 months starting in a week - will be an academic sabbatical, so I'm doing research but will have a good amount of time for traveling.  Lots of photos of my kids, both in the house and out in the bush, plus some travel photography of scenery, cityscapes, wildlife (hopefully).

I'm bringing my 5D classic, and definitely my 28/1.8 and 85/1.8 - my can't-live-without lenses.  I will also have a S95 with me.  Other things I could bring:
EF 20-35 (f/3.5-4.5 version)
EF 28-135
EF 50/1.4
40D
EF-S 55-250
430 EX II flash

If I stick it all in my big bag, it's insanely heavy (at least by my standards).  I don't really want to carry such a thing on the plane - and I assume it is not advisable to check photographic equipment unless you have a hard-sided case of some sort. 

There's something nice about the 5D/28/85 combo and I can handle a lot of different situations with that setup.  Downsides are i can't photograph dramatic vistas at 20mm, can't photo anything far away (like kangaroos and whatnot), and lack the versatility of the 28-135 (although the S95 really takes care of that for the most part).

Anyway, I'm aware that this is an unanswerable question - just looking for any advice people are willing to offer.  :)

SJP

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Travel advice - which lenses?
« on: December 27, 2011, 11:22:36 PM »

92101media

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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2011, 12:16:14 AM »
Part depends on your personal shooting style, part depends on what gear you think you'll use while there, and part depends on getting it there.
 
 As far as getting it there, one suggestion would be to put the 5Dc + 28 + 50 + 85 + flash + S95 in your carry on.

And then if you think you'll use it, and willing to take a bit of a risk, you could consider putting some or all of the rest of your less valuable gear wrapped up in a bunch of towels or clothes or even a soft padded camera case right in the middle of a big suitcase not containing any other hard objects, so that the suitcase effectively acts like a large well padded case. Depending on how many checked bags you are taking & how soft/hard their contents are, you could consider splitting your gear and putting one piece of your less valuable equipment padded in the middle of each suitcase, so that if by chance one particular bag takes a hard knock, all of your spare gear is not necessarily at risk.

Vistas you could take care of by stitching photos from your 28mm lens together, if necessary. You don't really have any telephoto coverage though, and a used 55-250mm lens is not a very valuable lens, so you may want to consider taking that, if you think you'll use it, even if you have to just pack it in a suitcase. If it does end up getting damaged, you could always pick up another used one fairly cheaply on craigslist or the like.

Or you could decide that the just the 5Dc + primes + flash is good enough for the majority of the better quality photos, with the S95 filling in when a more pocketable option is desired.

wickidwombat

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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2011, 12:26:21 AM »
definately add the 50f1.4 it weighs next to nothing and takes very little space, those 3 primes will cover alot, just lots of swapping lenses is all, take the flash too if it will fit. I'd probably leave the other stuff unless you want a second body then the 40D might be good too.

Where in Oz are you headed to?
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Hillsilly

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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2011, 01:08:47 AM »
Its a pity that the 55-250 is an EF-S lens (which means also bringing the 40D) as it might be handy and doesn't weigh too much.  But you'll be surprised how close you can get to kangaroos and an 85mm will work fine a lot of the time. 
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bobthebrick

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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2011, 01:39:44 AM »
I'd take everything bar the 20-35, and maybe the 50, depending on how much rooms available. The 28-135 is a must, and you'll want a spare battery for your S95; you'll be surprised how much you use it. And make sure you have a waterproof or waterproofish camera bag, the whether in Australia can cycle through all four seasons in about twenty minutes, and in the mountains, rainforests and Canberra especially. Hope you have a great trip here, if you need tourist info and help, feel free to message me.

Hope this helps,
Thomas.

Flake

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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2011, 03:49:19 AM »
I'd suggest the Sigma 50 - 500mm  It should work well with the 5D MkI not fantastically fast but it's big advantage is that huge zoom range, and Aus isn't exactly known for it's overcast miserable weather like the UK is.  I'd also advise a 17 - 40mm L to go with it, and a set of graduated filters to balance the sky.  This means just two lenses, but if you want to take the advice of others and a bagful of lenses changed every other second, take a high end sensor cleaning kit, you'll need it!

PeterJ

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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2011, 05:33:33 AM »
The wildlife one is tricky, in some areas for example kangaroos are quite used to people and you might get quite close. In areas where they are used to getting shot at or don't see people often they are very timid, you might be lucky to get within a 100 meters of one sitting still in the open. More likely if you're close you'll startle one that will move very quickly so I'd go for a fairly fast lens like your 50/1.4 or 85/1.8 over a zoom, they'll often run quickly past you on walking tracks for example.

Other animals like wombats and koalas are nocturnal so if you're lucky enough to spot many of them I'd use the flash and fast lens also. Not worth travelling with but buy a decent flashlight while you're here so you can 'spotlight' them as well, most pause with a light on them and it'll give you something to focus on. It sounds like you'll have a few 'assistants'  :).

What area are you travelling to? I've noticed quite a few other Aussies here so someone might have more advice on locations and gear depending on the specific area, it's quite a diverse country and conditions can be anywhere from an arid to tropical to moderate climate depending on where you'll be and how far you want to travel.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 05:38:30 AM by PeterJ »

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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2011, 05:33:33 AM »

elflord

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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2011, 06:17:26 AM »
Hello, this is probably a silly question that nobody can answer but myself.  Even though I know that, looking for perspective from others with more experience.  I'm relocating to Australia for 5 months starting in a week - will be an academic sabbatical, so I'm doing research but will have a good amount of time for traveling.  Lots of photos of my kids, both in the house and out in the bush, plus some travel photography of scenery, cityscapes, wildlife (hopefully).

I'm bringing my 5D classic, and definitely my 28/1.8 and 85/1.8 - my can't-live-without lenses.  I will also have a S95 with me.  Other things I could bring:
EF 20-35 (f/3.5-4.5 version)
EF 28-135
EF 50/1.4
40D
EF-S 55-250
430 EX II flash

If I stick it all in my big bag, it's insanely heavy (at least by my standards).  I don't really want to carry such a thing on the plane - and I assume it is not advisable to check photographic equipment unless you have a hard-sided case of some sort. 

There's something nice about the 5D/28/85 combo and I can handle a lot of different situations with that setup.  Downsides are i can't photograph dramatic vistas at 20mm, can't photo anything far away (like kangaroos and whatnot), and lack the versatility of the 28-135 (although the S95 really takes care of that for the most part).

Anyway, I'm aware that this is an unanswerable question - just looking for any advice people are willing to offer.  :)

SJP

On a recent trip to Australia (visiting family), I just took the 50mm f/1.4 (with a 5D Mark II). I decided I wanted to keep it simple, enjoy the time with my family and bring a lens that would let me capture that.

If you really want to photograph wildlife, you will probably find 135mm isn't long enough and as you mention the P&S comes close to covering that anyway. You will want to find a way to buy or rent a longer lens if you're photographing wildlife.

Out of what you have, I would stick with the two primes (28 and 85), maybe add the 50. The 28 is already quite wide and you can stitch if necessary.

smirkypants

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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2011, 06:58:27 AM »
You NEED a long lens, it's as simple as that. The 85mm is a great lens for a lot of things, but when you're traveling you need flexibility. I would leave that at home and seriously consider buying the 70-300 L, and taking the 28mm and that's it. I used to use the 70-300 DO for traveling. It's very small, light and has a good focal range, and while the optics aren't up to the L standard, they are pretty good for a lens that's smaller than you're 28-135 (though a bit heavier).

Short lenses on hikes = boring pictures.

katwil

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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2011, 10:18:01 AM »
I'd take everything bar the 20-35, and maybe the 50, depending on how much rooms available. The 28-135 is a must, and you'll want a spare battery for your S95; you'll be surprised how much you use it. And make sure you have a waterproof or waterproofish camera bag, the whether in Australia can cycle through all four seasons in about twenty minutes, and in the mountains, rainforests and Canberra especially. Hope you have a great trip here, if you need tourist info and help, feel free to message me.

Hope this helps,
Thomas.

I would agree with this post.  In six months’ time you’re likely to encounter a need for many of these lenses.  I’m not sure which would be worse, finding yourself in a situation where the perfect lens for your shot is at home, or having to buy a lens during your trip that you already have at home.

I’ve travelled many times with lenses checked and bodies in my carry-on.  As long as the lenses are well protected (in a waterproof bag, too) in the center of a tightly packed bag, they should be fine.

The only other thing I would suggest would be to have a plan for image storage, i.e., where to store the thousands of images you’re likely to take.  I can’t speak to Australia specifically, but it’s generally much cheaper to buy CF cards and external hard drives when you don’t need them immediately than when you do.

branden

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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2011, 12:41:44 PM »
I, for myself, would only bring what you've said so far. 5D + 28 + 85. If there's anything missing from that combination, it's an ultra-wide.

This is just my shooting style -- like you said, the only person who can really answer this question is you :)

sjp010

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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2011, 02:30:14 PM »
Wow, lots of great advice.  Thanks everyone.  I'm going to be in Newcastle, NSW.  For my friends in my Chicago hometown, I've described Newcastle as "the Milwaukee of Sydney."  It's a smaller city about 2 hrs north along the shore from the big city - just like Milwaukee!  Remains to be seen how much they like beer, cheese, and sausage in Newcastle, however.

Yes, I know I need a longer EF lens.  To this point, I've used the 40D and 55-250 to deal with just that issue.  It was a great solution to the problem.... until now.  But I've decided not to buy any new lenses - I want to work with what I have.  I'm either going to bring the 40D/55-250 or I'm going to do without.  Another advantage to bringing the 40D is it can act as a backup to my 5D, which is now quite aged.

Packing in the center of large checked luggage sounds like a nice solution.  I think I will pursue that, assuming we have enough space!

Thanks again everyone!

SJP

Hillsilly

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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2011, 02:23:13 AM »
Don't worry - we've got plenty of beer over here.  Plus Newcastle is near one of our big wine regions, the Hunter Valley.   Its not a common tourist destination, but it will be a nice place to be based for five months, especially if you enjoy a bit of driving on weekends.  Its got some nice beaches and is surrounded by some great national parks.  I'm sure you'll like it.  Being a Queenslander, I can't really help with the best places to go around Newcastle (plus, as everyone knows, the best places are in Queensland, anyway!).  But post a new topic is you're ever visiting Northern NSW or South-East Queensland and after some suggestions.
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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2011, 02:23:13 AM »

Caps18

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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2011, 03:10:13 AM »
Quote
I'm bringing my 5D classic, and definitely my 28/1.8 and 85/1.8 - my can't-live-without lenses.  I will also have a S95 with me.  Other things I could bring:
EF 20-35 (f/3.5-4.5 version)
EF 50/1.4
430 EX II flash

+300mm f/4

I have the 85 f/1.8, but I would put it on the bottom of the list with the 50 f/1.4 if you wanted to go really light weight.  Not that the 300mm f/4 is light either. 

I think I would take the 20-35mm over the 28 f/1.8.  Although the 20mm f/2.8, 24mm f/2.8 or some other wide angle lens would be my pick just for the focal length.
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Re: Travel advice - which lenses?
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2011, 03:10:13 AM »