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11-12-2012, 12:37 PM   #1
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Trip to NY and Montreal — gear & film

So here I turn to knowledgeable people for two tips on travelling.

First off, in 4 days I'll be going to New York (second time) and Montreal (first time ever, woooh! Canada is a childhood dream of mine). The first time around, as far as NY goes, I used a moderate wide-angle (kit lens, in fact) about 90% of the time. I can think of no reason why this time it'd be different, nonetheless I'm wondering whether I should also take along my brand new Tamron 70-200. The reasoning behind this is it's one heck of a good lens, but unfortunately also one heck of a giant one. Hopefully you can see the problem. Given that I'll be doing a lot of walking and sleeping in hostels, would you advise for or against? Any other suggestions as far as gear goes?

Second tip is maybe geared more towards old timers... I OBVIOUSLY plan to visit B&H as they still have a large and exotic stock of 120 film. The question is, how should it be treated at airports (scans, checking...)?

Thanks for your help!

11-12-2012, 12:40 PM   #2
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If you have a nice lens backpack - it's ok to carry that lens around for a while. Any sort of messenger bag or shoulder bag, and I'd advise against it. I used to wander NYC with that lens, but it is a bit long to use on the sidewalk.
11-12-2012, 12:41 PM   #3
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I've never been to Canada, so anything I say applies to New York!

The 70-200 would be nice for long distance candid shots without having to get right on top of someone. Wouldn't be quite as obvious from across the street or a block away as you would with a 35 or 50mm 10 feet away. With that said, considering how much walking you do all throughout the city, it may become a bit of a burden to carry it around the entire time. If you aren't shy about taking a 50mm and shooting a stranger's candid shot just a few feet away then by all means I would just stick with a smaller lens and not break my back carrying around something like the 70-200 all day long.

Just my 2 cents!
11-12-2012, 01:56 PM   #4
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Hi hooverfocus,

Montreal is amazing. I love it here. I would advise carrying something smaller and wider if you're walking around the streets (just to allow you to get close without intimidating anyone with a big piece of glass).

Be sure to try the bagels, poutine and smoked meat! Definitely walk along St. Laurent all the way from the old port to Jean Talon, and you must go to the Atwater Market and Jean Talon Market.

11-12-2012, 05:05 PM   #5
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Make sure your vaccinations, specially tetanus shots are up to date.
Other than that, I would travel light. 18-55 WR kit and 55-300. If you get ripped off, no big loss.
11-12-2012, 05:58 PM   #6
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I agree, light, wide, and nothing too precious. I'd actually make the trip with a kit zoom and (or else) a great wide angle/normal lens. NYC is not as narrow as Europe or even old Montreal, but I usually travel very light. If you take both, I bet you ditch the longer zoom after a day. Digital really makes these choices much easier in my mind.
11-12-2012, 06:44 PM   #7
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And a nice UWA is always handy for shots of the Empire State Building and of the skyline from across the bay on Ellis Island. You can get a great shot of southern Manhatten from Ellis Island.
11-12-2012, 10:19 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by hooverfocus Quote
So here I turn to knowledgeable people for two tips on travelling.

First off, in 4 days I'll be going to New York (second time) and Montreal (first time ever, woooh! Canada is a childhood dream of mine). The first time around, as far as NY goes, I used a moderate wide-angle (kit lens, in fact) about 90% of the time. I can think of no reason why this time it'd be different, nonetheless I'm wondering whether I should also take along my brand new Tamron 70-200. The reasoning behind this is it's one heck of a good lens, but unfortunately also one heck of a giant one. Hopefully you can see the problem. Given that I'll be doing a lot of walking and sleeping in hostels, would you advise for or against? Any other suggestions as far as gear goes?

Second tip is maybe geared more towards old timers... I OBVIOUSLY plan to visit B&H as they still have a large and exotic stock of 120 film. The question is, how should it be treated at airports (scans, checking...)?

Thanks for your help!
For your 120 film purchase get it hand scanned, or buy an x-ray pouch when you're at B&H:

Security Tundra Film Security X-Ray Standard Bag 25T24S B&H

Phil.

11-12-2012, 11:00 PM   #9
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I generally use wide angles when in a city and use them a lot just about everywhere else too. My DA 15 is almost permanently attached. That said, I always bring along a telephoto on a trip and it's rare that it doesn't get used once or twice. That Tammy is a big piece of glass and I can understand your reluctance to bring it. Staying in hostels isn't as secure as a hotel so leaving it around isn't really safe. Are you renting a car? That changes things. I stay in campgrounds a lot but my gear is pretty safe locked up in my truck.
11-13-2012, 02:09 AM   #10
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
If you have a nice lens backpack - it's ok to carry that lens around for a while. Any sort of messenger bag or shoulder bag, and I'd advise against it. I used to wander NYC with that lens, but it is a bit long to use on the sidewalk.
I do have a lens backpack but it's far from nice. Somehow the reinforced bottom sits on my loins, resulting in my back being cut in two after a full day of walking (been there). So I'm thinking of using a messenger bag that has a 2nd strap I can fix across the hips, which means it's actually resting there instead of my back or shoulders. This worked when I had to carry 2 body + lenses and stuff for my thesis, although maybe it won't agree with my coat this time around.

QuoteOriginally posted by hal_a Quote
Montreal is amazing. […]
Be sure to try the bagels, poutine and smoked meat! Definitely walk along St. Laurent all the way from the old port to Jean Talon, and you must go to the Atwater Market and Jean Talon Market.
Bagels!! You got all my attention I LOVE bagels! That aside, thanks a lot for the tips on Montreal, truly appreciated!

QuoteOriginally posted by jbuck92 Quote
And a nice UWA is always handy for shots of the Empire State Building and of the skyline from across the bay on Ellis Island. You can get a great shot of southern Manhatten from Ellis Island.
Wish I had a UWA, it's next on my list, but it'll be a while before I can afford one. I just bought the Tammy... Right now I have to make do with the kit lens and a Sigma 24mm f2.8 as far as wide(ish) angles go.

QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
I generally use wide angles when in a city and use them a lot just about everywhere else too. My DA 15 is almost permanently attached. That said, I always bring along a telephoto on a trip and it's rare that it doesn't get used once or twice. That Tammy is a big piece of glass and I can understand your reluctance to bring it. Staying in hostels isn't as secure as a hotel so leaving it around isn't really safe. Are you renting a car? That changes things. I stay in campgrounds a lot but my gear is pretty safe locked up in my truck.
I'd love to try wider than 18mm (and also better quality), my all-purpose walk around lens has always been a 28-75mm but lately I've been using the kit lens a lot. For teles, I do have an alternative Tokina I could use instead, so maybe I'll take that one instead, although you can't beat the quality of the Tammy! The fact we'll be staying in hostels is precisely the reason why I'm not too keen on taking it along (as well as the bulk), I can afford to keep the camera on me at all times, but big lenses? If we go out to dinner, I'll have to book for three And no, I won't be renting a car, we'll move from NY to Montreal and back via Greyhound (thaaat will be interesting...), although once in Montreal we'll be staying at my friend's brother's.

QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
For your 120 film purchase get it hand scanned, or buy an x-ray pouch when you're at B&H:
Security Tundra Film Security X-Ray Standard Bag 25T24S B&H
Phil.
Thanks a lot for the heads up, guess I'll pick up one of those as well!

Generally speaking, thanks a lot everyone for your tips! Hopefully I'll have a blast!
11-13-2012, 06:08 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by hooverfocus Quote
Canada is a childhood dream of mine
Then why stop at Montréal? The most beautiful city is just a bit north of there

QuoteOriginally posted by hooverfocus Quote
Given that I'll be doing a lot of walking and sleeping in hostels, would you advise for or against? Any other suggestions as far as gear goes?
I think it really reepends on your stamina and the type of bag you use.

QuoteOriginally posted by hal_a Quote
Montreal is amazing. I love it here. I
Chauvinism aside, that's true

QuoteOriginally posted by Jacquot Quote
I agree, light, wide, and nothing too precious.
I sort of agree, but it depends. I also think it's a shame to buy expensive lenses and then leave them at home.

While in New York, I took some of my most memorable shots at 210 mm (Vivitar series 1 70-210 at the time). Especially in Central Park and when taking a boat tour.

In Montréal, wide is nice for the street views, but again for candids and architecture details a tele can be good. If that,s your style, you'll use the tele more often.

If you came to Quebec city, I'd say wide all the way, Montréal's old town is smaller and less spectacular.

One thing is sure, while in Quebec robbery should not be a problem if you take basic precautions. We're friendly and all. :P
11-13-2012, 08:23 AM   #12
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Robbery in New York would be the same as Quebec then. Both times I've visited I haven't felt threatened at all. Just be safe and use common sense. Don't walk around at 2 AM with all your gear. I would say between 8am-9:30/10pm it's crowded enough where nothing serious would happen. You do have to watch for bag slashers (Never had any experience with that) but I would think that's an issue in any large city. Again, just use common sense and if you feel uneasy, go somewhere else!

Oh, and walks through Central Park, Greenwich Village and Soho can give some pretty good pictures!
11-13-2012, 09:06 AM   #13
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I hope you can find an express bus for the NY - Montreal ride. Otherwise, it stops in every town along the way. If you bring a mirror, you can pass the time watching your hair turn gray. The Amtrak train is the travel mode of choice by people who live here. People often visit either city for a day of shopping or entertainment.
11-13-2012, 01:02 PM   #14
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I personally don't mind carrying several lenses around when I travel, but I try not to get too bogged down with camera gear where it's a burden. I've got a nice small Domke F-5XC bag that with a little customization by adding dividers from other camera bags I've got lying around will hold a body with small lens attached, plus 3 other lenses with various other odds & ends that one might carry while out & about traveling. That Tamron 70-200 is a beast and I don't think I'd want to lug it around with me everywhere I go.

Looking at your list of lenses I would start with your Pentax 18-55 since that wide angle really helps with getting a lot of a cityscape into the frame, and the Tokina 70-210/4.5 as it'll give you AF and reach on the long end in much more manageable size than the big Tamron 70-200.

I usually like to have an AF portrait lens with me so I can flip a couple settings and hand the camera to other people while still getting good results. In my case that's my FA 50/1.4 but since you've got the 77 Limited I'd take that.

The Tamron 28-75 is on the fence for me for your situation. You could carry it to have a nicer option in the middle focal length range than the 18-55, but I feel like it's more optional than the 18-55 since you'll definitely get use out of the wide end of the 18-55.

That Sigma 24/2.8 could be a good option for bringing with you to indoor things. Small & light enough, plus decently wide for getting people in the frame.
11-13-2012, 01:21 PM   #15
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I went to NYC with 70 being the longest focal length. Only a handful of times (boat-tour vantage point) did I wish I had a longer lens. The wider the better :-).
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