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10-17-2012, 09:28 AM   #1
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France Study Abroad

Hey everyone,

I'm planning on doing a 1 month study abroad in France this coming summer (late May to late June). The trip is primarily in Angers, with trips to Normandy, Paris and a few other places that I can't remember. There will definitely be photo ops at all locations (and just around Angers I'm sure). I'm looking at renting the DA* 16-50 and 50-135 for wonderful quality walk around lenses and bringing my own K-r.

Any advice when it comes to renting lenses and bringing them abroad, theft, and also particular photo spots to look for?

I'm bringing my small slingbag to carry my camera body and spare lens in. It has a few small pockets on the sides for the lenses, plus a main compartment for the body. Front pocket for batteries, cards, etc. It will always be slung around my shoulder, along with the camera. No valuables in my pockets except maybe a small amount of cash. My credit card/passport will likely be inside my camera bag as well which, again, will never be leaving my shoulder.

I've never been out of the U.S. before and am really looking forward to the trip and visiting France. Any comments or things to look for when in the country?

10-17-2012, 11:45 AM   #2
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You might compare the cost of renting to what it would cost to buy and re-sell the lenses, assuming you have the cash to do it.

Perhaps the lens rental company offers insurance?


Enjoy France. I've only been to Paris and its outskirts, but you should have some nice photo opportunities.
10-17-2012, 11:52 AM   #3
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Unfortunately I dont have the money to buy and resell. If I did I'd just keep them haha
10-17-2012, 12:18 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbuck92 Quote
I'm planning on doing a 1 month study abroad in France this coming summer (late May to late June). The trip is primarily in Angers, with trips to Normandy, Paris and a few other places that I can't remember. There will definitely be photo ops at all locations (and just around Angers I'm sure). I'm looking at renting the DA* 16-50 and 50-135 for wonderful quality walk around lenses and bringing my own K-r.

Any advice when it comes to renting lenses and bringing them abroad, theft, and also particular photo spots to look for?
Get good theft insurance that covers replacement value so you're covered towards the rental company. The two lenses you mentioned should cover 99% of your needs if not all of them.

QuoteQuote:
I'm bringing my small slingbag to carry my camera body and spare lens in. It has a few small pockets on the sides for the lenses, plus a main compartment for the body. Front pocket for batteries, cards, etc. It will always be slung around my shoulder, along with the camera. No valuables in my pockets except maybe a small amount of cash. My credit card/passport will likely be inside my camera bag as well which, again, will never be leaving my shoulder.
That's a big nono, wherever you go! Passport and CC on your body at all times, possible in one of those neckstrap wallets under your shirt. Those are the two things that can get you into trouble. Although you'd insist the bag would never leave your shoulder, it most definitely will (toilet, dinner, check-in/out etc.). France is no different from any other country including the US and other EU-countries - it has its fair share of pickpockets and thieves on scooters that would slice the strap and have your bag before you can say "oh, no!".

QuoteQuote:
I've never been out of the U.S. before and am really looking forward to the trip and visiting France. Any comments or things to look for when in the country?
If that is the case (never been out of the US before) you really do not need things to look for...things will come looking for you. There's a whole world outside of the US, you'd have never guessed but it definitely IS different. Just don't do the "American tourist thing" which is "see Europe in 3 days". Slow down and enjoy wherever you are, sit down and talk/drink/eat with the locals. One month is just enough for the places you mentioned.

The major piece of advise I can give you is walk, walk and then walk some more! Sit on a park bench for an hour to watch passers-by and sniff out the places you are visiting. Don't assume everybody speaks English, they don't. It has gotten much better over the years but the French really appreciate if you bring your "What and how do I say in French". They may laugh at you at first but you are making an effort and breaking the mold of the well-known American tourist that comes blundering through assuming everybody simply has to understand English. You'll get a lot in return.

Eat baquette (the real one, not the fakes stuff you've been eating until now) and drink café au lait with a croissant for breakfast. Don't fuss over wine, house wines will be decent wherever you go. Stay away from KFC, Burger King, MacDonalds and Pizza - you can have all you want when you return home. Eat soup, many different kinds. Drink Cointreau liqueur which is manufactured in Angers (strong stuff!). The region you're in is famous for its goat's cheeses.

Enjoy!

[EDIT]Make sure the CC you're bringing is not American Express which is not universally accepted in Europe. Mastercard or VISA would be better.

10-17-2012, 12:23 PM   #5
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Great thanks! I'll grab a bag to keep around my neck under the shirt. My CC is VISA. It's a planned itinerary trip so I don't much control over when/where I will be but I'll definitely take it all in and enjoy each bit!

Thanks for things to do/enjoy!
10-17-2012, 01:21 PM   #6
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Is there room on that credit card to buy the lenses you need secondhand? If you sell them when you get back, it might only cost you one month's interest on the credit card, which will surely be cheaper than hiring them for a month?
10-17-2012, 01:26 PM   #7
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I understand you take extra caution when you are abroad but this is a bit over the top...
You are going to Angers, not the suburbs of Marseille! Pay more attention when you go to big cities, especially Paris (and don't listen to the beggars). I doubt that will go to any dodgy place as a tourist (actually you will, Paris Metro).
Skip the baguette, go for the pain de campagne, or any rustic breads. I wouldn't trust the house wine anywhere you go, yet you won't be far from the Loire valley, so you should have most of the time decent options. When you go to Normandy, try anything apple and lots of cheese.
Soup in late May to late June? No, I don't think so.
If you want to travel in the country side, your best option is to rent a car usually. And don't expect much business to be running on the weekend.
10-17-2012, 02:00 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zav Quote
Soup in late May to late June? No, I don't think so.
Soup is good all year round! I'm a sucker for all kinds of soups and broths, warm or cold, in any country or region. In France, a Soupe Au Pistou (Summer Minestrone with Pesto), Avocado and Cream Chilled Summer Soup, a Vichyssoise (classic cold potato soup that is served during the summer in France) even a summer tomato soup with basil - they're all good for me. Even warm classics like chicken soup or consommé would do the trick for me when it's drop-dead hot.

10-17-2012, 02:17 PM   #9
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Are you particularly dissatisfied with the lenses you've got? At least here in the USA it's hard to find a place to rent Pentax gear, not sure about Europe but most rental places stick to Canon & Nikon. I think the easiest question to ask is, are there really going to be that many shots that you envision only getting with the DA* lenses, compared to the ones you already own? Something tells me you're already going to be spending plenty of money on this trip. Why spend even more on renting lenses when that can be put toward other things?
10-17-2012, 02:28 PM   #10
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I just wanted to rent some top notch glass for the trip to be honest.

Buying the lenses secondhand isn't really an option, unfortunately. It'll be about $400 for the entire trip + a few days grace period.

I didn't realize I was being over the top. I've never travelled abroad before and was just looking for advice when it comes to theft.
10-17-2012, 03:33 PM   #11
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I would add a 12-24 to the list an ultra wide is very useful
10-17-2012, 03:50 PM   #12
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Nice! Enjoy the trip. The 50-135 and 16-50 is a killer combo.
10-17-2012, 05:34 PM   #13
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I would like the 12-24 but can only afford 2 lenses in my budget. The 16-50 was going to act as my pseudo wide angle
10-17-2012, 11:32 PM   #14
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I'm going to throw out a completely different idea here.

I just took a quick look at your Zenfolio gallery. Very nice stuff in there. And, after looking at it and seeing the type of shots you've taken, I like my idea even more.

For the amount you plan to spend on the lens rental, just go out and buy a DA40 Limited, and travel light. You'll love the quality of the images, and you really won't miss the extra weight and bulk of those big lenses, not to mention always trying to keep track of that much stuff. If you must, toss the 55-300 in your suitcase, for occasional long shots.
10-18-2012, 02:33 AM   #15
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Enjoy your trip! newmikey gave good advice. Try to blend in, even when you will not succeed anyway!

You might do well with your current gear. Your 55-300 is a good lens and light to carry, the kit is not bad either.
I visited Croatia recently with only the DAL18-55 for weight reasons, leaving my Sigma EXes and 10 other higher regarded lenses home. I only missed my F70-210 occasionally.
And if you decide that the kit lens is not good enough, maybe the Tamron 17-50 would be a better lens after all?

Seb.
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