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10-01-2019, 11:07 AM   #1
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Upcoming trip to Israel

I'm sure this question has been asked many times but I have a first time group trip to Israel coming up and am trying to decide what equipment to take. the trip is focused on 'walking in the footsteps of Jesus' to give you an idea of what we will be seeing although I may be able to take a side trip to Tel Aviv.

I own a K50, 18-135, 55-300plm, a few prime lenses (21mm, 50mm, 43mm), a Ricoh GRii, and a Google Pixel 2

I've been tasked with documenting the trip so want to make sure I do a good job of this. I tend to travel light and have done other trips with just the GRii. However, one combination I've tried that works well is to take the K50 with the 55-300 on a Peak Design sling strap and the GRii in my pocket. This covers pretty much the whole range with no lens changes. The newest version of the Peak Design is fairly comfortable and I've done at least a half day with it with minimal discomfort. Then just a small backpack with essentials, clif bars, and water.

What are your thoughts on this.

Thanks in advance for your input.

10-01-2019, 11:40 AM   #2
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I was in Israel for work back in 1999 and was lucky enough to have enough free time to tour the eastern and southern part of the country and Jerusalem.

There are parts of Jerusalem I didn't visit due to time restrictions and the chaos of a Chihuly exhibit opening and the millennia change, so one of the biggest memories I have about the trip was day time crowds that seemed to disappear in the evenings.

Based on my limited, and some what old/dated experience, I think your kit as you described it would work pretty well in most of the situations you'll run into. This is especially true since it can be very dusty depending on where you are so the zooms are good to minimize lens changes and the potential for dust on the sensor. The 55-300 range is probably good for most of what you'll be doing.

I'd also recommend a fast prime if you plan on visiting the church of the Holy Sepulcher. When I was there the interior was lit primarily with candles and lamps (some artificial lighting but not much back then) so it was dark inside the building. Also, your opportunities for backing up to capture wide angle scenes may be limited by crowds, so a fast wide-angle lens would also help with getting the full view.

Street photography with the 18-135 should work well during the daytime. Some parts of the old city can be dark but my recollection is that I was shooting ISO 400 ektachrome with a 70-210 F4 zoom and thought I got good results, so you should still be okay at lower ISO's. Night times will be different, of course, but the more prominent buildings had exterior lighting which will keep your ISO's down with slower lenses.

If you get out of Jerusalem, the dead sea area was windy and there was a lot of airborne salt, so be careful changing lenses and keep your equipment bundled up when not in use. In the day time the sun can be very hot so be careful with overheating equipment. Evenings would be chilly at times so be ready for a jacket, especially if it's windy. Bethlehem and Nazareth were closed to non-residents when I was there so I can't help you with those locations.

I really enjoyed the time I spent there and everyone was helpful if I had questions.

Hope this helps and that your trip is enjoyable and you have a great time!

Last edited by OldPentaxFan; 10-01-2019 at 11:46 AM.
10-01-2019, 11:46 AM   #3
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GR II and 55-300PLM seems like a good bet to me. Something like a Sigma Art 30 1.4 to use at night might also be useful, though on a budget, the DA 35 2.4 could do the job as well, and is quite a bit lighter. But the GR II would also do a wonderful job at night I think, so no real need for that.

I hope you have a nice trip and I look forward to seeing the pictures
10-01-2019, 12:41 PM   #4
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Wide, fast, and rugged weather resistant lens.



10-01-2019, 12:49 PM   #5
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well,

I have never been there so I cannot offer personal experience

but I can suggest you may want to look into renting equipment you don't currently own

like a wide angle zoom

here is a thread that might be of interest -

Information on Businesses that offer cameras and lenses for rent - PentaxForums.com


I did rent from LensRental and took the lens- the HD 20-40mm Limited, overseas with me

LensRentals.com - Rent Lenses and Cameras from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Leica, and more

I recommend getting the maximum protection plan available
10-01-2019, 05:51 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by OldPentaxFan Quote
I was in Israel for work back in 1999 and was lucky enough to have enough free time to tour the eastern and southern part of the country and Jerusalem.

There are parts of Jerusalem I didn't visit due to time restrictions and the chaos of a Chihuly exhibit opening and the millennia change, so one of the biggest memories I have about the trip was day time crowds that seemed to disappear in the evenings.

Based on my limited, and some what old/dated experience, I think your kit as you described it would work pretty well in most of the situations you'll run into. This is especially true since it can be very dusty depending on where you are so the zooms are good to minimize lens changes and the potential for dust on the sensor. The 55-300 range is probably good for most of what you'll be doing.

I'd also recommend a fast prime if you plan on visiting the church of the Holy Sepulcher. When I was there the interior was lit primarily with candles and lamps (some artificial lighting but not much back then) so it was dark inside the building. Also, your opportunities for backing up to capture wide angle scenes may be limited by crowds, so a fast wide-angle lens would also help with getting the full view.

Street photography with the 18-135 should work well during the daytime. Some parts of the old city can be dark but my recollection is that I was shooting ISO 400 ektachrome with a 70-210 F4 zoom and thought I got good results, so you should still be okay at lower ISO's. Night times will be different, of course, but the more prominent buildings had exterior lighting which will keep your ISO's down with slower lenses.

If you get out of Jerusalem, the dead sea area was windy and there was a lot of airborne salt, so be careful changing lenses and keep your equipment bundled up when not in use. In the day time the sun can be very hot so be careful with overheating equipment. Evenings would be chilly at times so be ready for a jacket, especially if it's windy. Bethlehem and Nazareth were closed to non-residents when I was there so I can't help you with those locations.

I really enjoyed the time I spent there and everyone was helpful if I had questions.

Hope this helps and that your trip is enjoyable and you have a great time!
Thanks so much for your response. This gives me some things to think about.

---------- Post added 10-01-19 at 08:52 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
GR II and 55-300PLM seems like a good bet to me. Something like a Sigma Art 30 1.4 to use at night might also be useful, though on a budget, the DA 35 2.4 could do the job as well, and is quite a bit lighter. But the GR II would also do a wonderful job at night I think, so no real need for that.

I hope you have a nice trip and I look forward to seeing the pictures
Thanks for your thoughts.

---------- Post added 10-01-19 at 08:55 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
well,

I have never been there so I cannot offer personal experience

but I can suggest you may want to look into renting equipment you don't currently own

like a wide angle zoom

here is a thread that might be of interest -

Information on Businesses that offer cameras and lenses for rent - PentaxForums.com


I did rent from LensRental and took the lens- the HD 20-40mm Limited, overseas with me

LensRentals.com - Rent Lenses and Cameras from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Leica, and more

I recommend getting the maximum protection plan available
Something I hadn't thought about. Thanks for the tip.
10-01-2019, 09:12 PM   #7
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You really can be happy to make this trip! I made it about ten years ago and it was great!
I would recommend a wide angle zoom - just as wide as possible - for the cities. If possible it should be a fast lens because there are a lot of churches to visit and inside its quite dark.
The telezoom I think you can leave at home because its usually quite hot and dusty so you wont use it very often.
10-02-2019, 03:29 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by zahnski Quote
You really can be happy to make this trip! I made it about ten years ago and it was great!
I would recommend a wide angle zoom - just as wide as possible - for the cities. If possible it should be a fast lens because there are a lot of churches to visit and inside its quite dark.
The telezoom I think you can leave at home because its usually quite hot and dusty so you wont use it very often.
Thanks. You are the second person to mention a wide angle zoom. I'm now thinking of renting a Pentax HD DA 11-18mm f/2.8 ED DC AW. Then maybe bring the 18-135. And leave the GR home due to all the dust flying around that everyone mentions.

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