Monday, June 2, 2008

Photography: What lens to bring your vacation

As stated before summer is coming up, and some of us like to carry light stuff when going on vacation, specially me. I just bring the minimum stuff i need, when it comes to everything. If i can wash cloths i will pack with less cloths, same goes for camera materials. Now i don't have a host of lenses and battery grips 100filters and all that so i m going to bring my:

Nikon D40x
Charger + spare battery + memory card!

But for those of you with more stuff here is what i have to say on certain issues

This has got to be one of the most important categories if you want to take travel light, you want to choose a lens that think is going to cover your most possible angles and focal lengths. Of course you will have a pretty good idea of where your going on that vacation of yours, thus you should think logically, but if your totally unsure, bring a fast lens (like the 50mm f/1.8) a wide angle anything goes here pretty much, you should be good with about 20mm, of course having lower then that is nice, but you have to compromise. Then a tele-zoom could do you great! A 55-200 for example with VR and it can even save you in low light situations. You have to try to plan ahead. But also think of the amounts of stuff your brining, try to find a equivalence point where weight meets focal lengths so to speak.

These days if your traveling by plane the air companies have cut down so much on the amount of stuff your allowed to check in plus the max weight of your hand luggage, here in Europe i know its about 10kg on the hand luggage (for get it, i m never checking in my camera stuff!). So lets say you have D80 or a 40D with a grip with that some spare batteries a few lenses 3 or 4 and a flash, or two all your equipment pretty much your going to get very close to that 10kg weight limit and you will have to check in stuff. So if you can grab your hand luggage and stand on the weight at home and see how much you weight with the bag and then repeat that without the luggage and subtract, you should get a rough number of how much the bag weights. This is why its important to think about what you plan to shoot. If your going South Africa to the safari's its probably not such a good idea to bring a 35mm prime, its just not going to do much for you there. Your looking at more of maybe a wide angle to capture some nice landscape and a tele to capture those animals from the truck or something. But a note, the prime lenses tend to weight less in my experience and same goes for those "kit" lenses.

Lens Speeds:
Something to take into account as well, if i was going to a vacation where i m going to visit alot of museums, art etc i would bring the fastest lens i would have or a lens with VR/IS so i could hand hold that shot in indoors conditions, in museums flashes are not allowed that often so it might be something to think about. Take into account that you might be shooting at night as well, and if your not going on a photography trip, leave the studio tripod at home and work around that. Maybe get yourself a very stealthy small monopod if your really need to a smaller tripod.

I think i could safely say that the most "all around" lenses, not taking into account price or distortion vignetting etc would be:

For Nikon

For Cannon

Now feel free to post links to your photos as a comment, would be nice to see where everyone has been! I m going to Holland and Spain this summer!

All the best,


user said...

Alex, nice job as usual. It is interesting how you are bringing together the elements of photography. I would like you to discuss composition. How you compose your photo shoots, when I check out your shoots besides the creative and technical aspect of them, they have a nice composition. So, give it a try by discussing the photographs you already took and why and how you chose the particular composition. Tnx.

Alexander Blacker said...


I will do that, its going to be hard to explain it but i will give it a shot!

Thanks for reading!

ice said...

Hey man,

I usually take with me my 18-70 mm lens, its f/3.5-4.5 (so not very fast), but imo its way more versatile than my 50mm f/1.8. I also take the micro nikkor 105 mm f/2.8, even though I bought this lens for macro, I find myself using it more and more as a tele. And yeah, I usually carry around my 50mm f/1.8 as well, its light so .. why not, but I find myself using it on rare occasions now, if at all, even though its light and cozy, the crop factor makes it a bit long for my tastes :)