Art and Photography

Lens advice for travelling with carry on only

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[OP]
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Nov 3, 2003
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Lens advice for travelling with carry on only

I'll be bringing the Nikon D5300 to visit the Rockies for a 7 day trip. I have access to the following lenses:

Nikon 35 1.8
Nikon 18-200 VR
Nikon 70-300 VR
Sigma 10-20
Sigma 18-50 2.8 VR
Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR

Which lens(es) would you recommend to cover my bases yet be still manageable while travelling with only carry on luggage? (I realize that the 18-200 would be the easiest solution.) Thanks.
13 replies
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May 31, 2005
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Mississauga
what type of photography you want to do? landscape? wildlife? I'd bring the 10-20, 18-50 & 70-300.
[OP]
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Actually, exactly that - wildlife and landscapes. I'd also like to try some sunrise/sunset type photos as well. I'm considering bringing a small tripod.
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May 31, 2005
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Mississauga
I just got back from a trip to Alaska/Banff/Jasper, brought 4 lenses with me, here is a breakdown of # of shots taken with each lens.

14mm 1522
24-70mm 2821
70-200mm 636
150-600mm 1761

by focal length

14mm 1522
24mm 1220
70mm 692
150mm 163
200mm 185
600mm 1189

also brought the tripod, but didn't use it much cuz it's too heavy, should leave it at home.
you can just bump up the ISO a bit for sunrise/sunset shots. a tripod is not a must unless you want to do timelapes/nightscape.

definitely pack your UWA 10-20, you want to fit a lot in the frame, lake, mountain, reflection, etc.
18-50 would be good for walk around. 70-300 for wildlife, although 300mm is a bit short for wildlife, even 600mm is not long enough!
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Jul 20, 2002
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I would say just bring the 10-20 and the 18-200, unless are want to do a lot of macro or wildlife work. Chances are you won't want to be constantly changing lenses and less weight is better. I agree about ditching the tripod unless you are doing time lapse or night time shots. And I would highly suggest bringing a CPL filter if you are doing landscapes.
[OP]
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Thanks for the replies. I may just take the 10-20 and 18-200 if 300 is not good enough for wildlife. Any suggestions on where to take good photos on overcast/rainy days?
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May 31, 2005
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taking photos on a overcast day is a challenge, everything looks flat, but the soft lighting is good for photographing wildflower, waterfall and wildlife. I won't use CPL on a UWA, it causes an uneven/artificial looking sky. I'll probably pack some GND filters for landscape shots, but I find them too much hassle. it's a lot easier to just take multiple exposures and merge them later.
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aximrocks wrote: taking photos on a overcast day is a challenge, everything looks flat, but the soft lighting is good for photographing wildflower, waterfall and wildlife. I won't use CPL on a UWA, it causes an uneven/artificial looking sky. I'll probably pack some GND filters for landscape shots, but I find them too much hassle. it's a lot easier to just take multiple exposures and merge them later.
You will need a tripod if you are going to HDR or photo stack. The reason I recommend a CPL is to bring out the definitions in clouds, it's just a matter of preference, you can adjust the degree of polarization to get the look you want and I also find it useful when I'm shooting near water. A CPL is light enough and doesn't take much space to always have around.
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Jul 13, 2008
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I went few years back, def bring the 10-20 and 70-300 if your focus is wildlife / landscape.

300mm on crop sensor is a decent reach, plus the 24mp sensor you can pretty much keep cropping.

You also want long tele for some landscape shots, especially winding roads with mountains behind it. You'll need the compression effect form the tele lens to get the effect you want.


For reference I brought 12-24mm, 31 1.8, 77 1.8 and 70-300. My favorite shots ended up to be mostly from the 70-300.
[OP]
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AzureD wrote: I went few years back, def bring the 10-20 and 70-300 if your focus is wildlife / landscape.
Would I be missing the 20-70 range at all?
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Sep 28, 2009
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My light travel pack is a 24-70 and a 70 -300. I am using a full frame Nikon. Sometimes I take a 70-200 F4 as I like that lens better. Much as l like the 150-600 it is a lot to take. I think your 70-200 2.8 would make for a heavy travel pack.

My wife has a D5100 and uses an 18-270 as her main (really only) lens. It performs well in most situations.

A few years ago we did a driving trip to the Atlantic provinces. I took every lens I owned. I was surprised at the end of the trip how few I actually used. It allowed me to cut down on what I take now.
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Oct 8, 2007
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This is a very interesting question.

We just did a group photowalk for a full day onto beautiful island 8 km around, so we had a lot of walking, and a lot of variety on what photographers choose.

As it was daylight, I just took a 18-140 , left my 70-300 & 35mm home, and was glad I did. Other photographers took 3+ lenses, and suffered thru heat. I recently acquired the 18-140 as a travel lens , and it has been working out well.

If I was doing your trip with carry on, I would be tempted to take the either the 18-200 or Sigma 18-50 2.8 VR ( think you mean 17-50 ), and maybe the 35mm prime.

PS. If you don't take the 18-200 on a trip like this, you might think about selling it, because, if you don't use it for travel, why keep it?
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Aug 28, 2005
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It may really depend on what type of photos you like to shoot. Nowadays, I find that I essentially take three lenses for my travels/trips:

Ultra-wide zoom (14-28mm in 35mm terms)
Fast normal prime (40mm or 50mm in 35mm terms)
Telephoto zoom (90-400mm 35mm terms)

Now, I shoot with the m4/3 system, so this is a very manageable package to go hiking with.

With a larger format system, I would probably leave the telephoto lens at home unless I knew I wanted to shoot something that would warrant its use. (But this is a personal preference - I like to use ultra-wide as opposed to telephoto, others may feel different).

Even so though, I'd imagine that DX lenses of these focal lengths should also be manageable, as long as you aren't using the f/2.8 constant versions of the zooms... (this is why I brought the fast prime, so that at least it's an option for me to use in lower-light if needed).

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