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11-15-2018, 03:53 AM   #1
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Lenses to bring to Israel

Hello,

We’re currently planning for a short trip to Israel mid-December. We will spend 4 days in Jerusalem, with the hope that we can manage the historical area + dead sea, and 2 days in Tel-Aviv. As this will be our 1st time in Israel, I would like to ask whether any of you already been there, and how I should deal with photo equipment? As usual, we’re travelling with low-cost airline + a 3yr girl, so I need to be compact and light.

Current gear set I have:
- Camera: Pentax KP
- DA limited lenses: 15, 21, 40, 70, 20-40 zoom
- Multi-purpose zoom: DA 18-135, Tamron 17-50
- Tele-zoom: DA 55-300 PLM
- Legacy primes: A28, F50, K55
- A small tripod.
- Some filters

The DA limiteds are great and light, but a bit annoying with constant switches on the road. I also heard that Israel can be quite dusty, so still not sure.

The multi-purpose zoom I tries each for at least one trip. The images were a little bit lacking.

Do we have many chances for a telephoto shot in Israel?

Thank you all

11-15-2018, 04:31 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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I'd say take either the 18-135 or 20-40 and just enjoy the time with your kid, who'll be grown up before you realise it.
11-15-2018, 04:55 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I have no first hand knowledge but you may want to try to check to see if any thing or areas are restricted for photography

many countries do not allow photography of certain buildings or structures for security purposes and you wiil want to avoid any misunderstandings,

in some cultures, photography of individuals is not considered proper

continue to do your research before you go

________________

Photography in Israel | Israel Inside Out - An Insider's Guide to Touring Israel

What to Photograph in Israel - Photography Life

Photography restrictions - Israel Forum - TripAdvisor

https://photographylife.com/what-to-photograph-in-israel/3

there may be more relevant info available on the web and by contacting the local Israeli consulate/embassy

_____________________

sounds like a nice trip, have fun

Last edited by aslyfox; 11-15-2018 at 05:09 AM.
11-15-2018, 05:23 AM - 1 Like   #4
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After my trip to Rome with my one year old son I say go with the:
-DA18-135
-DA15
-DA55-300 PLM
-DA70 or F50

The 18-135 (and the 55-300) is WR and there is a lot of sand, so you may need it. You can bring the 18-135 in where you have to put down your bag and it covers the most usful focal length.
The DA15 comes very handy when you need a wide angle for buildings or landscape and it's tiny, I'am shure you can fit it in your bag.
The DA55-300PLM is a good, small and light tele lens, I wouldn't go without a tele, but if I had limited space/weghit for the camera this would be the first lens to leave at home. It's also my sooting style, I like normal focal length more.
I wouldn't go to anywhere without a portrait prime, so the DA70 or the F50 would be a must for me. I prefer the wider FoV.

(I think more then 80% of your images will be taken by the 18-135 with this kit.)

Bring a rocket blower and a lenspen also, you will need to clean your kit.


Last edited by 08amczb; 11-15-2018 at 08:46 AM.
11-15-2018, 05:24 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
Hello,

We’re currently planning for a short trip to Israel mid-December. We will spend 4 days in Jerusalem, with the hope that we can manage the historical area + dead sea, and 2 days in Tel-Aviv. As this will be our 1st time in Israel, I would like to ask whether any of you already been there, and how I should deal with photo equipment? As usual, we’re travelling with low-cost airline + a 3yr girl, so I need to be compact and light.

Current gear set I have:
- Camera: Pentax KP
- DA limited lenses: 15, 21, 40, 70, 20-40 zoom
- Multi-purpose zoom: DA 18-135, Tamron 17-50
- Tele-zoom: DA 55-300 PLM
- Legacy primes: A28, F50, K55
- A small tripod.
- Some filters

The DA limiteds are great and light, but a bit annoying with constant switches on the road. I also heard that Israel can be quite dusty, so still not sure.

The multi-purpose zoom I tries each for at least one trip. The images were a little bit lacking.

Do we have many chances for a telephoto shot in Israel?

Thank you all
I personally feel that the 18-135 is your best and most versatile option. With a 3 year old I don’t think you are going to want to be changing lenses. If you want to add a second lens I would take the 55-300 PLM. Just my 2 cents.
11-15-2018, 06:24 AM - 3 Likes   #6
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I would take the 20-40. Compact, versatile and sharp - just the thing. Can't get much more compact or lighter than that.

And then I would add the 55-300, just in case. Telephotos have lots of uses, they can do more than just reaching out to something far away. You might want to pick out an interesting detail in a landscape, for instance.
11-15-2018, 06:44 AM   #7
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What Wasp said.
11-15-2018, 10:39 AM - 1 Like   #8
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When I was there for work a few times several years ago I basically used my old screw mount S-M-C 28mm f/3.5, S-M-C 55mm f/1.8, and vivitar 200mm f/3.5 lenses almost exclusively. I did get a shot of Dome of the Rock from on top of Mount of Olives and used my shitty 2x telephoto converter with the 200mm lens which produced reasonable results but other than that one time I didn't use anything larger than 200mm. This was with my Spotmatic F so full frame. There were only a handful of shots where I really wanted to go wider than 28mm mostly when I went to Caesarea and looking back wish I had my 17mm fisheye then. I was in Haifa for work so know that city better than others and tried to make as much use of my free time as I could.

Outside it is bright, like really bright if you are not use to it there so a slower lens works great but inside it is always dark as they have tiny windows there. Stopping a lens down to get better IQ isn't a concern when outside.

Some places worth going to that aren't on your list, it is a small country so it doesn't take long to get places, are the Baha'i Gardens in Acco and Haifa, I would also suggest doing the Stella Maris Monastery (Cave of Elijah) in Haifa. Since you are doing the old city there is a lot to see and do there and expect to go through metal detectors from time to time. The church of the Holy Sepulchre will be packed all the time and try to steer clear of the the people trying to sell you an olive branch near the Garden of Gethsemane.

Of note if you are staying at one of the Dan hotels they often have free guided tours that you can sign up for at the front desk. The tours are on Friday or Saturdays (I forget which) and they spend half to 3/4 of a day on them and they have a set of various ones they rotate through. As an added bonus they are usually pretty small groups and not rushed.

When I was there a few of us paid for a private tour of the old city. It worked out to $140/person but we got picked up at our hotel at 8 AM and didn't get back until 9 PM and got to go at our own pace and see what we wanted to. One guy was a very devout Catholic so we did the stations of the cross, all of them, even the non catholic ones. We saw most of the major sites and got a lot out of it. The next day is when the very devout Catholic and I went down to the Stella Maris as he wanted to get the olive wood cross he bought and touched to all the holy sites and stations of the cross blessed by the head brother there we ended up getting a luck break private tour by him as it was a slow quiet day and we happened to be there at just the right time. Haifa, Acco, and Caesarea are all fairly close to Tel-Aviv so doing one of those one of the afternoons would be doable.

Other than that, my only advise is to drink from the firehose of life while there. Eat falafel, shawarma, tabouli, and kebabs (different from shish-kebabs), and if you want a good burger stop in at a Moses (their logo looks like this).

11-15-2018, 11:42 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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I wrote a somewhat detailed report of a 3-week trip to Israel/Palestine/Jordan in January 2014 HERE. Your 18-135mm will cover most everything, and if you're at all taking pics like me, for a second lens you will want wider rather than longer. I used a Sigma 10-20 on that trip, but I've since acquired a DA 10-17 Fisheye which is much lighter and encourages more creative shots. Among your lenses, I would think taking the 15mm and the 18-135mm would have you covered for just about everything. You may also want to bring the 21mm just because it's small and light and somewhat faster. I use the 21mm or the 35mm for museum shots.
Since that trip, I've moved up to a K-3 and a 16-85, and in similar kinds of trips, I've rarely needed more than the 85mm at the long end. Add the 10-17 and throw in the 21mm and the tiny 40XS, and I'm good to go. Enjoy your trip!
11-15-2018, 03:02 PM - 1 Like   #10
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You didn't say if this is an organized trip with tour guides and buses for transport or a self-guided tour. My wife took one guided trip to Israel and just took a small point & shoot which worked out OK for her. She stated there were others with dSLR's who were missing some shots while changing lenses and trying to keep up with the tour guides. Also, as others have said, it can be very dusty and a WR lens would be recommended. You will probably be taking a backpack for water & snacks, try to keep the weight down. There is a lot of walking.

I have made three trips to India (mission trips), which is a similar environment to where you are going. The first trip I left my dSLR home and took a small point & shoot. For most of the time, this worked out OK. On the second trip, I took a K-5 & 18-135 WR and one prime lens. Most of the photos were with the 18-135, but in reviewing the photos almost all were taken in the 18-50mm range. On the last trip I took the KP with the 18-135 WR and 20-40 WR. Almost all of my photos were with the 20-40.

If I take another trip I will take only the 20-40 and either my 55* 1.4 lens, which is also WR or 50mm 1.8 lens with is smaller but not WR. There were some portrait type shots that would have been better with a fast lens in the 50mm range.
During the last trip, I did take a tripod but never used it. If I need something wider than 20mm, I can take panoramas and stitch them up when I get home.

I hope some of this will help with the planning and have a great time.
11-15-2018, 04:10 PM   #11
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I have been to Tel Aviv and Eilat on the Red Sea. Humid and dusty in Tel Aviv and dry and dusty in Eilat.

The 18-135 WR would be my top choice—emphasis on WR. I own it and my 2nd vote is my DA 10-17 and DA 21 is my 3rd choice. I pack my 55-300 if I am driving somewhere but can’t remember the last time I really used it right-seeing. The first three lenses above are very light-weight and packable.

I did not have any issues taking pictures anywhere. I was generally taking pictures of buildings or the beach scenery. By the way, they may ask to see the pictures on your camera at airport security, but this is just to confirm that you were where you said you were visiting—not because they are worried about what you were taking pictures of. The airport security wants to track where you went and who you talked to—don’t expect privacy with regards to their airport security people... just answer their questions and you’ll be fine.

The old cities are absolutely beautiful, plus the local cafes and restaurants were a treat!
11-16-2018, 09:01 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MaineNative Quote
The airport security wants to track where you went and who you talked to—don’t expect privacy with regards to their airport security people... just answer their questions and you’ll be fine.
Also when going through their airport security expect lots of little questions and small security checks. They start before you exit the taxi. I had them ask about my camera once after getting my bags x-rayed and they had me go over to a different area. They asked several questions that were really pointless and redundant but they are looking to see if you stutter or stammer so just be honest. They don't care about your camera or gear they are trying to see if you are a terrorist who can't keep their story straight. Also when they ask if you have kept your bags with you since you packed them the answer is always yes and only yes. One of my coworkers said no because they were the the trunk of the taxi (he normally doesn't travel) and that got him hauled in back for a long questioning.
11-16-2018, 09:19 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote
Also when going through their airport security expect lots of little questions and small security checks. They start before you exit the taxi. I had them ask about my camera once after getting my bags x-rayed and they had me go over to a different area. They asked several questions that were really pointless and redundant but they are looking to see if you stutter or stammer so just be honest. They don't care about your camera or gear they are trying to see if you are a terrorist who can't keep their story straight. Also when they ask if you have kept your bags with you since you packed them the answer is always yes and only yes. One of my coworkers said no because they were the the trunk of the taxi (he normally doesn't travel) and that got him hauled in back for a long questioning.
My wife visited with her a mother a few years back.I can't think of a person less likely to cause trouble than my late mother in law,lovely,tiny,old dear.Yet she was given the third degree at passport control,she was asked what my wife's birth date was,why ,if she was her daughter,they had different family names(?!) ,etc all of which flustered her completely.I'm surprised she wasn't dragged off for a "Marigold moment"(and I don't mean in the fashion sense)

Last edited by timb64; 11-20-2018 at 06:59 AM.
11-20-2018, 05:54 AM   #14
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A lot of great advices! Especially about the places and the airport things. We do not have a lot of time, and we don't expect to move a lot. I decided not to rent a car this time, to focus on exploring Jerusalem, with the exception of Dead Sea where we would need a bus. My wife is christian and she has been longing for traveling to Jerusalem.

On gear side, I think I'm definitely bringing the 21mm for night walkaround, and the 70mm for portrait and short tete. I'm just wondering whether I need the 55-300. It has been always like this: when I did bring it, I rarely took it out, sometimes it came back from a trip untouch in the bag, but when I didn't bring it, there was shots I wish I had it. Just not sure if Jerusalem and Dead Sea would present many chances for a telephoto shot.

If I decide to let the 55-00 stay at home I will bring both the 18-135 and 20-40. The 20-40 is sometimes frustratingly too short/long, but its photos always have more pop to it.

Oh, an this is an entirely a self-booked, self-discovered trip :-)

Have a great day everyone.
11-20-2018, 01:31 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
... On gear side, I think I'm definitely bringing the 21mm for night walkaround, and the 70mm for portrait and short tete. I'm just wondering whether I need the 55-300. It has been always like this: when I did bring it, I rarely took it out, sometimes it came back from a trip untouch in the bag, but when I didn't bring it, there was shots I wish I had it. Just not sure if Jerusalem and Dead Sea would present many chances for a telephoto shot.

If I decide to let the 55-00 stay at home I will bring both the 18-135 and 20-40. The 20-40 is sometimes frustratingly too short/long, but its photos always have more pop to it.
I think if you take the 18-135, you won't need the 55-300 very often. It sounds like you will have enough to carry without it. Enjoy!
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