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Author Topic: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.  (Read 15027 times)

Cory

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Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« on: June 01, 2017, 07:55:40 AM »
     Since my last post I stepped it up a bit with a Canon 6D.  We also changed our upcoming 6 days in Cinque Terre to 3 in Cinque Terre, 3 in Florence and 1 in Lake Como. 
     In the name of traveling light and keeping it simple might a 6D/35 2.0 IS work well most of the time?  I'm considering replacing that with a 16-35 or 24-70, but maybe not.
     Thanks for your insight and experience.
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Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« on: June 01, 2017, 07:55:40 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2017, 08:25:51 AM »
It might work for you, it really depends on what sort of images you want to capture. 

Personally, it wouldn't work for me.  I'll be in Pisa for a few days in September, and I'll be taking the 11-24, 24-70/2.8 II, and TS-E 17 (and possibly the TS-E 24 II and/or 70-300L), along with a tripod, and the M2 (or more likely I'll pick up an M6 before then) and M11-22. 
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privatebydesign

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2017, 08:51:09 AM »
It works for me.

I often travel with just a ff body and a 35 f2 IS, if I augment it I bring the 100 L Macro. I am currently in the Caribbean with the two lenses and don't really want for anything, I own the 11-24 and the 17 TS-E and many others, Neuro's point is bang on, it depends on the images you want, for me it is environmental portraits, stitched landscapes and general travel stuff. If I wanted stock images of the various places I'd have to take the more specicialized lenses and a better tripod. I was traveling in Central America last year with that lightweight kit and it was great, much faster to use, no second guessing gear, just carry it and shoot with it.

Don't underestimate the power of post processing software to get you the image you want with the lens you have, just make sure you get the perspective you want and sort it out back home, for instance my stitched ultra wide angle shots, even handheld, from the 35 f2 IS have much better IQ than a single shot from the 11-24.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2017, 08:59:39 AM »
...it depends on the images you want, for me it is environmental portraits, stitched landscapes and general travel stuff.

Indeed.  For me, it's generally blue hour architecture shots when I travel to Europe.  Given the duration of blue hour, I choose to carry a larger lens like the TS-E 17 for keystone correction and the 11-24 rather than stitching together several shots, each with multiple bracketed exposures running up to 30 s.
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privatebydesign

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2017, 10:12:12 AM »
...it depends on the images you want, for me it is environmental portraits, stitched landscapes and general travel stuff.

Indeed.  For me, it's generally blue hour architecture shots when I travel to Europe.  Given the duration of blue hour, I choose to carry a larger lens like the TS-E 17 for keystone correction and the 11-24 rather than stitching together several shots, each with multiple bracketed exposures running up to 30 s.

Yes there are situations where the stitching is not optimal, blue 'hour' atmospheric being one, and that is the main reason I have the 11-24 and 17TS-E, but I only take them if I know I am after those images, I mainly have them for 'work'. Having seen some of your images in the lens threads it seems you are time constrained on many of your trips and whilst the blue hour is most certainly a beautiful time to shoot it seems that is often the only hour you have!

I do carry a little travel tripod so can cover the long exposures, but have found I prefer the stitched version compared to either of the specialized ultrawides for most images where comparable images can be taken, the projection distortion is much lower, the stitching can give you even wider panoramas (which sell well) and the lens distortions are even lower.

Definitely horses for courses, I just posted because I am somebody who works like the op asked about, though I know there are few of us out there.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

rpiotr01

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2017, 10:22:02 AM »
     Since my last post I stepped it up a bit with a Canon 6D.  We also changed our upcoming 6 days in Cinque Terre to 3 in Cinque Terre, 3 in Florence and 1 in Lake Como. 
     In the name of traveling light and keeping it simple might a 6D/35 2.0 IS work well most of the time?  I'm considering replacing that with a 16-35 or 24-70, but maybe not.
     Thanks for your insight and experience.

When I was in college I did Rome, Florence, Sienna, Cinque Terre and Venice with an old Minolta film camera, a bunch of velvia and a 50 1.7. Man those were the days.

I still travel with just primes. Recently did trips to Armenia, Europe and Kazakhstan with 5DIII, Zeiss 35 2, Zeiss 50 1.4 and Canon 100 2. That's my style though and I'm comfortable with those lenses. I don't even own zooms. In your case, if you have zooms and you're used to using them, you may feel limited by having only the prime. It's really a personal call.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2017, 10:37:05 AM »
Yes there are situations where the stitching is not optimal, blue 'hour' atmospheric being one, and that is the main reason I have the 11-24 and 17TS-E, but I only take them if I know I am after those images, I mainly have them for 'work'. Having seen some of your images in the lens threads it seems you are time constrained on many of your trips and whilst the blue hour is most certainly a beautiful time to shoot it seems that is often the only hour you have!

Quite true, since most of my travel these days is business related.  Well, I often have blue hour and full night, but shots with a black sky aren't nearly as interesting.  Maybe I should get a Sony so I can push the black sky back up to a nice blue color?   ;)
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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2017, 10:37:05 AM »

mrzero

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2017, 10:48:45 AM »
I travelled to Madagascar with a crop sensor camera and only a 20mm/2.8 (32mm equivalent on full-frame) and a 100mm/2.8 macro.  No regrets at the time, but today I think I'd go with a 16-35 and 70-200/300 combo instead.  As much as I love the look and lighter weight of primes, the current round of zoom lenses are just so good that I enjoy having the flexibility they offer. 

However, there is something to be said for travelling ultralight with a full frame camera.  The 35mm/2IS prime is supposedly fantastic.  I would still consider pairing it with something a little bit longer that you can tuck in a pocket or daybag -- think 85-100-135.  It would be nice for detail shots, closer portraits, or adding some telephoto compression.  Although Canon has not updated their 85mm/1.8 to add IS, the new Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD has been well-received and might be worth a thought.  Or even just a standard mid-range zoom lens like the 24-70/4IS or even the new 24-105/3.5-5.6 - just to have a second option in the backpack.

For carrying in Italy, also consider a Zing body-and-lens wrap.  I used one when we were in France and it was helpful because I could wrap up the camera and they would let me in the "no photography" places without leaving a Camera Bag at the desk.  I don't recall having that issue come up in Italy, but I was travelling with a much more discrete point-and-shoot at the time. 
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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2017, 11:39:46 AM »
Here's my take - it is similar to Neuro's.  If I had to pick only one lens for a travel lens, it might be the 24-70 or even the 24-105, simply for the flexibility.  The 24-70 is certainly the more favorable lens for pixel-peeping and low-light ability.  It gives you most of the focal range you normally would want for travel.  I carry the 16-35 a lot.  While it is nice to have the ultra-wide angle, 35 is a bit limiting on the long end as it isn't very long.  Depending on what types of photography you enjoy, it could be that wide/ultra wide are more appropriate?  A 24 or 35mm prime would do well in either case, for the most part and would remain very light and compact (for the most part). 

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Mikehit

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2017, 12:41:36 PM »
Back in the days of film, before zooms were affordable I travelled for 2 years with SLR plus with a 28mm, 50mm and 180 APO. I never missed a shot.
Nowadays I keep trying to convince myself to do it again, but the convenience of zoom wins out. But even then I take my 24-105 knowing that if I really needed a 200mm lens I just crop appropriately.

For a single zoom, the 16-35 would be way too restricting for me but a said above that is because of the sort of pictures I like to take.

ahsanford

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2017, 12:51:28 PM »
I just got back from vacation in Scandinavia and brought the 24-70 f/4, 16-35 f/4 and 35 f/2 IS.

A few days I only took the 35 f/2 IS out with me, so I'll answer your question based on that experience.  It did remarkably well (crude ratings below), covering all the following non-professional needs:

  • Walkabout:  10/10, I live for 28-35mm FLs for walkabout / environmental portraiture, so YMMV, but this was perfect for me.  Pic below.

  • Landscape:  6/10, it's wonderfully sharp and somewhat wide, but sometimes you can't move your feet far enough in a tight European alley or church interior.  (But that's no fault of the lens so much as a reality of its focal length.)  That said, consider:  in reviewing my shots, I almost never chose the 35 prime for landscapes given the other two lenses I had in my bag. 

  • Food:  8/10, for unlit 'jackass pulling his SLR out without lighting in the middle of a restaurant' sort of idiot-on-vaca shooting, it was surprisingly serviceable.  Pic below.

  • Macro:  6/10, you won't fill the frame with the flower or bug, but some cropping will get you what you need.  Pic below, significantly cropped -- vignetting deliberately added in post due to a low contrast subject on a relatively bright background (a sad but common hack I use as I'm almost always shooting in very tough midday light when I travel).

  • On the go shooting:  8/10, I actually carried the 35 f/2 IS on a BR strap on a cycling tour through the city and was shooting through the VF while I biked (in low speeds in very predictable cycling conditions, far safer than I am making it sound).  The lens was light and wasn't banging around on my hip, the AF was quick and accurate and the 35mm FL was fine for some on-the-fly environmental portraiture of my wife with the city as a backdrop.  I worried it would be a trainwreck/nuisance, but it ended up being a wonderful decision.

  • Museums/church interiors:  No grade -- I always chose the 16-35 f/4 IS for this as I was never sure how much room I'd have to work inside.

If I had to pick one FL for an entire trip, it would be 28 or 35mm.  But you don't have to pick one, of course.  I often defaulted to my 24-70 on 'I'm not sure what we'll shoot' days and and the 16-35 on dedicated 'big view of the city' or days with a lot of interiors.  It's always good to have an option.

Top tip:  Presuming you are insured at a minimum from your basic homeowners/renters policies, just leave lenses you don't want to lug around in your hotel room's safe.  I've done so for years without any fuss.  That gives you the option to go big with a lot of glass on heavy shooting / touristy days or go light for impromptu walkabout shooting.

- A
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 12:59:24 PM by ahsanford »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2017, 01:19:54 PM »
Top tip:  Presuming you are insured at a minimum from your basic homeowners/renters policies, just leave lenses you don't want to lug around in your hotel room's safe.  I've done so for years without any fuss.  That gives you the option to go big with a lot of glass on heavy shooting / touristy days or go light for impromptu walkabout shooting.

+1

In my case, on a business trip that means leaving the whole kit in the hotel room while I'm attending the conference or meetings.  It's too much for those little hotel safes (which often won't hold even my 17" MB Pro), those safes are good for passports, though.  ;)

I just put the loaded photo backpack in my luggage, and close and lock that.  It's certainly not going to help with a determined thief, but I've never had an issue (and if I do, that's why have insurance for my gear). 

Depending on gear value, a standard homeowners/renters policy may not cover it - check with your insurance provider.  The basic policy certainly won't cover my gear!  But most insurers will write a rider or a separate policy for increased coverage, and it's not terribly expensive as long as the gear is for personal use only (I pay $7.60 annually per $1000 gear, full replacement coverage with no deductible).
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ahsanford

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2017, 01:25:43 PM »
Depending on gear value, a standard homeowners/renters policy may not cover it - check with your insurance provider.  The basic policy certainly won't cover my gear!  But most insurers will write a rider or a separate policy for increased coverage, and it's not terribly expensive as long as the gear is for personal use only (I pay $7.60 annually per $1000 gear, full replacement coverage with no deductible).

Neuro is spot on -- policies vary and you should sweat the details. 

My homeowners' general policy only covers individual items up to $1500 each, which generally covers everything I own except for my 5D3 and 70-200 f/2.8L IS II.  I've kicked around the added cost of an itemized policy (similar to what you might do for a wedding ring or other valuable) but have never pulled the trigger on it.

If I owned a big white, Otus or 1-series body, zero question I'd pursue additional coverage over my default homeowner's policy (or find another homeowner's policy with higher default coverage).

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2017, 01:25:43 PM »

ahsanford

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2017, 01:29:24 PM »
In my case, on a business trip that means leaving the whole kit in the hotel room while I'm attending the conference or meetings.  It's too much for those little hotel safes (which often won't hold even my 17" MB Pro), those safes are good for passports, though.  ;)

Yep.  Bigger gear is SOL for in-room safe use.  This past trip in two different hotels, I managed to get...

Passports
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5D3 + the three lenses I listed above

...into the safe without much trouble.  In prior travels, my 70-200 2.8 would also fit if not attached to the body.  I'm guessing a 100-400L II would probably fit, but anything bigger would probably not.

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2017, 01:46:35 PM »
...it depends on the images you want, for me it is environmental portraits, stitched landscapes and general travel stuff.

Indeed.  For me, it's generally blue hour architecture shots when I travel to Europe.

Yes there are situations where the stitching is not optimal, blue 'hour' atmospheric being one,


I presume you're referring to vehicle lights moving ? Not an issue if you are doing a vertical "portrait" stitch ! ( I know, it's not exactly wider, I'm only joking!).

I'm with PBD on this one, I got sick of lugging heavy "pro" zooms around on the camera ages ago. I find using just a standard or moderate wide angle - mine too is now the 35 f/2 IS, and a short telephoto in a Lowepro belt case, very rewarding. Throw in a very lightweight but stable tripod and the resolution of the 5Ds and you have many options !

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Re: Travel With One Prime Only? Italy Approaches.
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2017, 01:46:35 PM »