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Thread: Another travel kit question

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    Default Another travel kit question

    My DW and I will be on a trip to the Baltics this summer with a 3 day stop in St. Petersburg amongst other stops.

    On leisure trips such as this where the focus is on the travel rather than on photography I don't like to carry a big bag with me. I tend to bring 4-5 lenses in a larger carry bag and then select 2 to carry on a particular day with a shoulder bag. Having decided to invest $'s into some new glass rather than upgrade to the E-5 I now have the dilemma of not knowing what to bring and would appreciate some input hopefully from some folks that may have visited this area (or live there).

    8mm - fun lens but not really practical
    9-18mm - there always seems to be an abundance of wide angle opportunities in urban areas
    14-42mm - original kit lens that was replaced by the 14-54mm
    14-54mm - a good walk around lens but it just feels like this range is overdone with what's above (could bring this instead of the 9-18 though)
    PL25 - seems like a must bring for low light including indoor images
    35mm - seems to have become a dust collector since the purchase of the 50mm
    40-150 - original kit lens but is now a dust collector
    50mm - probably my most used lens by a very wide margin so this is coming by default
    50-200 - seems too big and bulky for a travel lens
    70-300- seems like a better choice for a zoom that has less bulk and weight
    1.4TC - should probably bring this and use with the 50mm for added reach

    I'm leaning towards the PL25, ZD50, 1.4TC and the 9-18 and really unsure what #4 should be other than using a zoom to get some shots of the onion domes.

    So other than the fact I really need to sell some of these what makes the most sense to you if you had to pick 4 lenses to bring with you and why?

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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    I would have taken:
    9-18 mm
    14-54 mm
    70-300 mm

    I do not think you need macro for this trip. Are you takeing a cruise that goes between Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands and St.Patersburg?
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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    I did a different country combination (England & Spain) but I took a similar approach. I took the E-30 with the 9-18mm, 14-54mm and 40-150mm. I also took 1 of my Nikkor shift lenses in case I was really committed to getting some architecture shots. I did not take the 50-200mm - - like you said, too big for lighter travel. I also took my old E-500 as a backup in case something happened with the E-30. I also disassembled and carried in my suitcase a tripod and a monopod.

    I packed all the camera equipment in a medium Lowepro backpack to take on the flights and as storage in the hotel rooms, but each day decided what lenses to carry based on my itinerary for the day and worked out of one of the Olympus shoulder bags, which I had packed in my suitcase to transport with tripod head parts in it. There were a few times when I wished I had the 50-200mm for a little extra reach. Since this was not principally a photo trip, I did not take any primes except one of the shift lenses (28mm).

    All in all, it worked really well. I do not have a 70-300mm but depending on how portable you feel it is, it would be a good substitute for the 40-150mm - - although I have always been impressed with how that lens performs.
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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    I have a different take than most people on travel gear. I'd try to make the most of what you take, and keep it as simple as possible because travel is stressful and annoying enough without having to worry about photo gear.

    If I were you, with your gear, I'd take the 14-54mm and 25mm only. Do pretty much everything with the 14-54mm and the 25mm for low light. Ideal world, I'd use the 11-22mm or 12-60 instead as a main travel lens if I was requiring a DSLR.

    In short, with mFT, I'd take one fast wide prime, and one fast normal prime. They fit in pockets. With a DSLR take one zoom (as said above) to do both wide and normal photos (short tele too if capable), and because the zoom probably isn't that fast, bring a fast normal prime as well.

    It baffles me why people need a telephoto lens for travel, unless the travel is for some specific photographic purpose, such as for wildlife, a sporting event, or a specific subject that you are traveling for the purpose of photographing.
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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    I agree with Mark. My main travel kit has been the 11-22, an 18-180, and the PL-25.
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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    Quote Originally Posted by roger h View Post
    I agree with Mark. My main travel kit has been the 11-22, an 18-180, and the PL-25.
    That's close for me too. I'd not bother with the ultra-zoom, just add the 35 or 50 Macro and 1.4x teleconverter to the 11-22 and 25/1.4 and I'm set.

    (My travel kit for my three week trip in 2008 was an L1 body, EC-14, 11-22, 25/1.4, 25/2.8, and 35 Macro. Looking at the total number of photos made, the 25s made 950, the 11-22 made 450, and the 35mm made 185, after deletion of rejects. I used the EC-14 once, with the 25/2.8.)

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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    Never been to those areas but my past trips to Europe (London, Paris, Holland/Belgium, Italy) I would say 90-95% of my shots tend in the "wide to normal" range. I always carried a longer zoom (either a 50-200 when I was shooting 4/3 and lately a 40-150) but only used them a bit for "detail" shots.
    Going to Ireland next month and seriously considering taking only the EM5 with the 12-50 (GREAT considering all the rain/mist there) and either one or both of the pancakes (14mm & 20mm) for indoors/nighttime because they are both faster and smaller. Could probably get away with just the 14mm because the difference in aperture is not much (2.5 to 1.7), but the 20mm is better IMHO for people pics.
    BTW - remember to enjoy your trip.

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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    I'd bring the 8mm too. Get low and shoot upwards.
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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    Interesting comments thus far, giving me different perspective on this which I appreciate.

    Yes, we will be in Stockholm for 5 days, then 14 day cruise around the Baltic and finish with a day in Normandy, one at Versailles and then a couple more days in Paris.

    Quote Originally Posted by smurf69 View Post
    I would have taken:

    I do not think you need macro for this trip. Are you takeing a cruise that goes between Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands and St.Patersburg?

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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    ...and keep it as simple as possible because travel is stressful and annoying enough without having to worry about photo gear.
    ditto. Nor do you want to annoy your travel companions. Good excuse to get an OMD +12-50.
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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    Having traveled extensively in Europe the last 20 years, I have found that you can get by with only one lens like the 14-54mm; especially when photographing is not the main purpose of the trip.

    But since you have a large set of lenses; I would have brought the same kit wclavey is suggesting - 9-18mm, 14.-4mm and 40-150mm. I usually take a similar kit myself (E-30, Sigma 10-20mm, 14-54mm and 40-150mm). In addition, I bring my E-P1 and a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 for low light situation (ie. in the evening). In your case, I would guess that would be the PL 25mm f/1.4.

    If I am to travel light; I will only take the E-P1, 14mm f/2.5, 20mm f/1.7 and 45mm f/2.8.
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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    That's close for me too. I'd not bother with the ultra-zoom, just add the 35 or 50 Macro and 1.4x teleconverter to the 11-22 and 25/1.4 and I'm set.
    Perhaps surprisingly, I've come to rely heavily on that 18-180 as a travel lens. It has some drawbacks (not quite wide enough or bright enough at the short end for decent interior work) but as a walk-around lens, especially for sight-seeing, it's close to perfect. It's compact and light weight. For me, it's the lens that stays on the camera when I'm traveling. The 11-22 comes out to play when I'm inside buildings, and of course I used the PL-25 when I needed a low-light lens. I've recently switched kits for traveling and I'm using primes again, but that's a different issue.

    Here's an example of a 18-180 "travel' photo:


    sydney harbor by chief1120, on Flickr
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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    Quote Originally Posted by caribbeansun View Post
    My DW and I will be on a trip to the Baltics this summer with a 3 day stop in St. Petersburg amongst other stops.

    On leisure trips such as this where the focus is on the travel rather than on photography I don't like to carry a big bag with me. I tend to bring 4-5 lenses in a larger carry bag and then select 2 to carry on a particular day with a shoulder bag. Having decided to invest $'s into some new glass rather than upgrade to the E-5 I now have the dilemma of not knowing what to bring and would appreciate some input hopefully from some folks that may have visited this area (or live there).

    8mm - fun lens but not really practical
    9-18mm - there always seems to be an abundance of wide angle opportunities in urban areas
    14-42mm - original kit lens that was replaced by the 14-54mm
    14-54mm - a good walk around lens but it just feels like this range is overdone with what's above (could bring this instead of the 9-18 though)
    PL25 - seems like a must bring for low light including indoor images
    35mm - seems to have become a dust collector since the purchase of the 50mm
    40-150 - original kit lens but is now a dust collector
    50mm - probably my most used lens by a very wide margin so this is coming by default
    50-200 - seems too big and bulky for a travel lens
    70-300- seems like a better choice for a zoom that has less bulk and weight
    1.4TC - should probably bring this and use with the 50mm for added reach

    I'm leaning towards the PL25, ZD50, 1.4TC and the 9-18 and really unsure what #4 should be other than using a zoom to get some shots of the onion domes.

    So other than the fact I really need to sell some of these what makes the most sense to you if you had to pick 4 lenses to bring with you and why?


    just going slightly off the subject , ive done this trip a few years ago and last year a norway fjords trip, take a bit too wrap up in as if you spend a bit of time at the front of the ship then there is loads of whales to be found and dolphins to see so you will need a big lens for this and lots of memory cards.

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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    Quote Originally Posted by roger h View Post
    Perhaps surprisingly, I've come to rely heavily on that 18-180 as a travel lens. It has some drawbacks (not quite wide enough or bright enough at the short end for decent interior work) but as a walk-around lens, especially for sight-seeing, it's close to perfect. It's compact and light weight. For me, it's the lens that stays on the camera when I'm traveling. The 11-22 comes out to play when I'm inside buildings, and of course I used the PL-25 when I needed a low-light lens. I've recently switched kits for traveling and I'm using primes again, but that's a different issue.

    Here's an example of a 18-180 "travel' photo: ...
    Nice shot of Harbor Bridge! Been a while since I visited Sydney (late August 2001...): I stayed in Manley Beach and spent my free time riding the ferries around the harbor and wandering the downtown areas. It was a business trip but I somehow had a ton of free time anyway. :-)

    I suspect my photographic interests are not in this vein, however. I can go for weeks with nothing but a modestly quick wide or normal prime lens and never think I need anything more. Despite having a brace of excellent camera gear, I'm thinking of adding a Leica X2 simply because it's smaller and lighter, has an even simpler set of controls and an excelled non-interchangeable lens.

    Less has become more in my kit—went to the first event that I carried only the iPhone 4S over the weekend and never felt any lack for picture taking.

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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    I agree with Smurf - 9-18, 14-54 and 70-300.

    I think the 14-54 is so much more useful than the 50, although it is a little slower. I tend to use a telephoto quite a bit when traveling, but that is likely just my shooting style. If I were to add anything else to this kit, I would add the TC-1.4.

    My problem these days is my latest acquisition, the 35-100. The quality of this lens is so beyond anything else I have, I keep finding myself needing to bring it! In addition to the 35-100, I have the 14-54, 50 Macro, 9-18, 50-200, EX-25 and TC-1.4. I just came back from a cross-country trip to a family wedding, and I had the 35-100, 14-54, 9-18, TC-1.4 and 50-200 with me. The 35-100 was on the camera approximately 80% of the time, the 14-54 and the 9-18 about 8% each, and the 50-200 only 4%. Too much weight. It wasn't much of a sightseeing trip, but I think next time I will leave the 50-200 home, unless it is a sightseeing trip. If so, I will simply have to suffer without the 35-100.

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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    Nice shot of Harbor Bridge! Been a while since I visited Sydney (late August 2001...): I stayed in Manley Beach and spent my free time riding the ferries around the harbor and wandering the downtown areas. It was a business trip but I somehow had a ton of free time anyway. :-)

    Less has become more in my kit—went to the first event that I carried only the iPhone 4S over the weekend and never felt any lack for picture taking.
    Thanks, Godfrey. Sydney is a beautiful city. It's almost hard to take a bad photo there. Now, my question about the iPhone is... how do you answer the phone while you're shooting? Hmmm?

    Quote Originally Posted by bmiller025 View Post

    My problem these days is my latest acquisition, the 35-100. The quality of this lens is so beyond anything else I have, I keep finding myself needing to bring it!
    I have to agree with this statement. Frankly, the 35-100 is what keeps me in the game with Olympus. In the forty years I've been shooting professionally and semi-professionally, I've never had a lens like it. I don't use it as a travel lens, but it is, without a doubt, the ONLY game in town for portraits, sports, or anywhere else that a large aperture is required to separate the subject from the background.
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    Default Re: Another travel kit question

    Bring a zoom then, a lots of details to grab in Stockholm, spec. in Stockholms Old Town.
    Do also take a walk on "Södermalm" and the side streests there (not the crouded Götgatan), and you will find a lot of nice buildings too shoot.
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