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  #1  
Old June 3rd, 2013, 07:33 AM
Bob Rogers Bob Rogers is offline
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Default planning for a trip

My wife and I are taking a trip to the four corners region of the USA. We will be riding a steam engine through the mountains, visiting Mesa Verde and Arches National Parks, and attending a music festival.

Normally I would have a pretty good idea of what to take, but this trip is different because my wife has been expressing a desire to learn photography. She has her own camera. I think it would be a good time for her to get some practice and some experience using the camera beyond yearbook photos.

It is also different because we will be in the desert in the summer with no place to store things besides the rental car (changing hotels sometimes every night). There isn't much photographic gear I would want to store in a rental car in the summer! Therefor everything will need to be carried, and mostly by me.

So we will probably each take a camera body. I have the following lenses to chose from (all Nikkor unless noted):

18-55 AFS vr
18-105 AFS vr
80-200 /2.8 AF
50 /1.4 AIs (MF)
24 /2.8 AIs (MF)
8 (Rokinon fisheye)
10-20 Sigma

I bought the last for the trip; I don't have it yet.

I'm thinking of putting the 18-105 on her camera; the 10-20 on mine (as default lenses, so to speak), and carrying the 80-200 and the 50, and leaving the rest at home. Buying substitute lenses really isn't an option ;-) I'm interested in opinions regarding my plan
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  #2  
Old June 3rd, 2013, 09:30 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Rogers View Post
My wife and I are taking a trip to the four corners region of the USA. We will be riding a steam engine through the mountains, visiting Mesa Verde and Arches National Parks, and attending a music festival.........

So we will probably each take a camera body. I have the following lenses to chose from (all Nikkor unless noted):

18-55 AFS vr
18-105 AFS vr
80-200 /2.8 AF
50 /1.4 AIs (MF)
24 /2.8 AIs (MF)
8 (Rokinon fisheye)
10-20 Sigma

I bought the last for the trip; I don't have it yet.

I'm thinking of putting the 18-105 on her camera; the 10-20 on mine (as default lenses, so to speak), and carrying the 80-200 and the 50, and leaving the rest at home. Buying substitute lenses really isn't an option ;-) I'm interested in opinions regarding my plan

Bob,

This is a great travel plan, sounds like a dream a lot of folk don't get to actually realize! For your wife, I'd use the 24mm prime. That will be perfect for all scenes. For a beginner and having so much scenic palette, that's a perfect lens; also much higher quality! She'll set the focal distance - no big deal and it's lighter. The 10-20 Sigma is just beautiful and perfect for your camera. I'd just then take the 50mm 1.4 as it's fast and great for portraits. I'd really not take that longer lens. You would have to schlepp ist everywhere and hate it! Hardly ever worthwhile! There's almost nothing you'd miss out on on your trip.

I really would guard against the temptation of the longer lens even if it was an f 4.0 and light! It's just to clumsy an extra item. Frankly, your pictures with the sigma will be mind boggling awesome and then the 50 mm is perfect for high resolution landscape and stitching panoramas if you are super ambitious.

I have hardly used my longer lens. my first mistake was schlepping a 300 mm f2.8 to Europe, the second was using a 70-200 2.8 and the third was the 70-200 f4.0, each on separate european trips.

The most useful lens was the 50mm f1.4 as it serves also as a wider angle with overlapping and stitching. The next is a 24-105mm. So if you took either the 24mm or the 18-105mm on her camera and then 10-20 Sigma for yourself with the 50 mm in your pocket you'd be covered. The easiest way to ruin the experience of travel is having extra stuff to carry that you can't readily leave on your train seat or in the hotel/car.

Good luck!

Asher

................ for the concert, take pictures of the crowds or treat yourself to a closer place!
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  #3  
Old June 3rd, 2013, 10:09 AM
Bob Rogers Bob Rogers is offline
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Thanks Asher. I will give thoughtful consideration to your advice. That sounds like a really good travel plan.

I did carry the 80-200 around Disney for a day, and I got some great photos. But Disney is a little easier than high-elevation desert! :-)
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  #4  
Old June 3rd, 2013, 10:50 AM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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I had the same though as Asher. The 80-200/2.8 is not something you want to haul around all day. I have a similar lens, but I only carry it around when I intend to use it.

If you need the focal length and if you can live with a slower lens, then try the Sigma 50-200/4-5.6 OS or even the older 55-200/4-5.6. Both lenses are discontinued, but the former may be still available at some vendors.

I had the older version. It was a cheap lens, but the IQ was very good.

Best regards,
Michael
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  #5  
Old June 3rd, 2013, 01:06 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
For your wife, I'd use the 24mm prime.
Did you notice that the camera is a crop sensor?

Anyway, my advice is:
-18-55 on your wife's camera, 10-20 on yours and exchange them every second day or so.
-toss the 50mm in the bag and add a polarizing filter and a +4 diopter close-up lens for it. Cheap Chinese ones are usually fine.
-get an extra battery and memory card. Maybe also a blower to remove dust from the sensor.
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  #6  
Old June 3rd, 2013, 01:14 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
Did you notice that the camera is a crop sensor?
I thought of that. It means it would work for both landscapes and street. 24mm to 35mm are great single lens focal lengths. It's not so important to have extrem coverage as to have just one lens that the beginner masters.

Bob, doubtless, will be taking all the difficult shots.

I doubt zoom helps a newbie get the hang of framing. One lens is always better to become an extension of one's body. It will be one with here after 2 days of setting distance and focus.

Asher
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  #7  
Old June 3rd, 2013, 02:27 PM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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It was to be expected that Bob would get many different replies. I don't want to make life even more difficult for Bob but I would like to add my opinion as well.

Bob, I have done a similar tour in the Western USA some years ago. I had a crop sensor camera (x1.6) at the time with 2 lenses: 17-40mm f4 and 70-200mm f2.8. I have looked at the statistics of my pictures taken during that tour and this is what I have found out:

- total # of pictures taken: 3100

of which per focal length:
- 17mm: 1500
- 40mm: 260
- all others in between the 17-40mm: 700

-70mm: 300
-200mm: 110
- all others in between 70-200mm: 330

This goes to show that almost 80% of my pictures were taken with the 17-40mm. 17mm shots are almost the 50% of the total. I have used the 17-40mm mostly at the wide end and distributed at other lengths. The shots with the 70-200mm were more equally distributed, although the wider end ones were in the majority. 90% of all shots were shorter than 100mm.

Regarding using prime lenses for learning to compose better, I don't think that this should be the time for your wife to learn. She should enjoy herself and your trip while taking good pictures in the process. This can be done much better with a zoom lens, more so if it has VR. I know from my experience that it wasn't always possible to zoom with one's feet and changing lenses too often was out of the question in order to avoid getting dust on the sensor. So forget about giving primes to your wife. A zoom like 18-105 will give her everything she will need during the trip and she will be happy with her pictures.

Based on all this, I would suggest the following setup for you and your wife.
Bob: 10-20 Sigma (main lens on the camera)
Spouse: 18-105 AFS vr (main lens on the camera)
Exchange the lenses if you want to shoot longer, or just swap the camera body with her.
I would not take a third lens but if you must, take the 50mm.
As Jerome said, take some cleaning materials, extra batteries and memory cards along.
Also a circular polarization filter for the 18-105 might come in handy. Also for the 50mm. Do not bother putting one on the 10-20 since it will be too wide and you will get uneven lighting across the skies.

All together, my suggestion is the same as Jerome's, except for the 18-105mm instead of the 18-55mm.

I hope that this helps.
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  #8  
Old June 4th, 2013, 07:36 AM
Bob Rogers Bob Rogers is offline
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Thanks everyone! The cleaning blower is something I would have forgotten. I'll set that aside. I've got three batteries for my camera, along with a car charger, but only one for hers. Her's does have a pretty good battery life though, and she probably won't take all that many photos. I just ordered a second memory card for my camera (total of two 16's and a 4). We have a batch for her camera because it uses the smaller cards that are the same as our portable recorders and camcorder. Even at my Brother's wedding I didn't fill one 16, so I think I'll be good with two.

I also ordered a walking stick/ monopod. It's mainly for the walking; sometimes I twist my ankle. And an Kangaroo-hide folding hat, but that's getting off topic ;-)

It sounds like there is a good consensus for the 10-20 (which I assumed there would be). We have a decision to make wrt the 18-55 or the 18-108. I'm leaning towards the 108 because I know from the past that my wife seems to notice little things in the distance that she wants photos of. The downside is it weighs a little more. I ordered a neoprene strap for her, and I should encourage her to try carrying the camera on our morning walks with the two lenses to see what she thinks.

I'll take the 50 also. It will probably stay in the bag for the parks, but we will be spending some time in cities and towns in the evenings too. I realize some people find the 50 long for walking around on a crop sensor, but I like it.
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  #9  
Old August 7th, 2013, 08:42 AM
Bob Rogers Bob Rogers is offline
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So we got back from our trip and we had a great time. Taking the two bodies with the two lenses (18-105 and 10-20) worked well.

I could have used the 80-200 in Mesa Verde, and it would have been great for the jazz festival, but it would have been heavy dragging it through Arches. I think we used the 18-105 for about 2/3 the shots. The 50/1.4 got some use at the festival -- it was raining and there wasn't enough light for the 18-105.

I also took the Canon s95 which came in handy a few times when we were in town and I wanted to leave the slrs in the room.

I'm in the process of sorting through stuff now, but I'll post a photo or two this week I hope.
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