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11-27-2010, 07:07 AM   #1
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Euro trip - kit setup advice?

Hi all

i'm heading off to europe next year (mainly germany), but i am starting to plan my equipment now, in case i need to save a bit both for camera gear and for the trip itself

i suppose the main sorts of photos will include a lot of architecture, streets, maybe a bit of candid, and some landscape.

here is what i have so far:

- pentax k-x

- DA 35mm F2.8 ltd, and a Sig 18-125 F/3.8 - 5.6

- some lenspens and other small misc cleaning stuff

- cards, and 2 sets of rechargeables.

i'm happy to have the 4xAA in the kx, and like the idea of scoring batteries any time i need them. that, and the fact that it's quite good on battery use (i am still using the original lithium batteries that came with it - i just cannot kill them!)

so, as far as the lens situation goes, i was thinking about upping the 18-125 to something a bit faster, for indoors places where i wouldnt be allowed to flash etc.... i've found so far that the 18-125 is pretty comfy as a walkabout. does anybody think there would be an argument to get anything longer?

i'm guessing that the da15 would be the next logical inclusion?

any advice for any other accessories would be much appreciated. i'm also considering a really slim notebook as well, to take care of emptying the memory cards. the notebook wouldnt be carried around during the day of course, it'd just be for storage and light editing of images and the like.

and then, i guess once i have that sorted, what kind of bag to take it all around? i've got a lowepro that is just camera + small accessories pouch for when i want to travel really light, but i wouldnt mind one that carries it all too. so have been looking at the various sling bags? would they make the most sense? also saw the domke f-5xc online, it really looks the goods....

thanks for any suggestions in advance

(PS - mods, please feel free to move this thread if it would make more sense being on a different board, cheers)


Last edited by imaspy; 11-27-2010 at 08:05 AM.
11-27-2010, 07:29 AM   #2
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For me, travel light! One lens, one camera, not much else. (batteries, lens cleaner, maybe a polarizer filter)
When on a fast paced trip, the last thing I want to do is swap lenses every few minutes. So I think you're on the right track with that.

The 18-200 or 18-250 would be nice. Dunno if 18-125 would be long enough for me.
e.g for candids as well as close up detail of architecture, lets say of something above the first floor, I probably want at least 200mm.
Although honestly, I probably would not buy a new lens if you have the 18-125. The small additional reach is not likely worth the cost of a new lens.
Now if you want to go to the new Tamron 18-270, he, he, yeah theres a difference.
I'm saving my pennies for that one for my next trip if the quality turns out to be more than halfway decent.
11-27-2010, 07:56 AM   #3
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I don't think there's a need for anything longer. The DA35Ltd is pretty fast so use that indoors. DA15? Not sure, I have barely missed shots because I did not have something wider than 18mm (FF equivalent focal length 28mm).

So in my opinion you're pretty settled lens wise.

Tripod can be useful for night photography of buildings. Other stuff to consider is stuff to clean your lenses and sensor.

With regards to the bag: first get the gear so you know what to cater for. If you have to carry a tripod around, a sling bag might e.g. not be the right choice.
11-27-2010, 08:04 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by amoringello Quote
For me, travel light! One lens, one camera, not much else. (batteries, lens cleaner, maybe a polarizer filter)
When on a fast paced trip, the last thing I want to do is swap lenses every few minutes. So I think you're on the right track with that.

The 18-200 or 18-250 would be nice. Dunno if 18-125 would be long enough for me.
e.g for candids as well as close up detail of architecture, lets say of something above the first floor, I probably want at least 200mm.
Although honestly, I probably would not buy a new lens if you have the 18-125. The small additional reach is not likely worth the cost of a new lens.
you've got a point there. perhaps the little extra reach of a 200 is much of a muchness. i was just thinking to upgrade to something that was 2.8, in case i use it indoors or during crappy weather. does it seem like a good enough excuse!??

QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
I don't think there's a need for anything longer. The DA35Ltd is pretty fast so use that indoors. DA15? Not sure, I have barely missed shots because I did not have something wider than 18mm (FF equivalent focal length 28mm).

So in my opinion you're pretty settled lens wise.

Tripod can be useful for night photography of buildings. Other stuff to consider is stuff to clean your lenses and sensor.

With regards to the bag: first get the gear so you know what to cater for. If you have to carry a tripod around, a sling bag might e.g. not be the right choice.
mmmm yeah i had thought about a tripod, though i am relatively sure i wont take one. i think the ratio of times i'd lug it around vs times i use it wouldnt make it worthwhile.

oh, i do have some lenspens and the like already too, forgot cheers for the suggestions guys.

further ideas appreciated

EDIT - anybody think maybe a diffuser for the onboard flash might be worth considering? like a gary fong or the like? in case i need to use it indoors?

cheers

andrew.

11-27-2010, 08:20 AM   #5
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You should take a solid supply of a good brand of mustard for the bratwurst. Other than that, take anything you can can carry - you can always select what you want to take on a daily basis and leave the rest in your hotel room.
11-27-2010, 09:22 AM   #6
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If you have the money and the willingness to carry heavier, and possibly multiple, lenses then yeah a 2.8 or better is always "nice". You certainly will not find a f2.8 18-200 lens so you're stuck with multiple lenses. Dunno if you'll find it that useful (or worth the hassle). Just up the ISO two or three stops and you'll still get good images form the K-x. Save the money and get more beer + bratwurst. :-)

I would have to disagree with the storing what you don't need in your hotel room for the only reason that hotel rooms are *very* insecure. Almost anyone can walk into any hotel room. Since the cleaning staff are often unwilling to question a person wanting to get back into their room for "just one more thing I forgot" your stuff is easily lifted. I know people who have done that to test the hotel staff.
Even if you were to trust the staff (making minimum wages at best in a less than rewarding job), it is not hard to get in, get out, and grab a few thousand dollars worth of stuff and be gone.
** At least get a room with a safe, and make sure its bolted to the floor.

A diffuser that is light and folds up super small is always a good idea. Gary Fong diffuser is way to big bulky and way too expensive for what it is and does. Go with something like the Lumiquest UltraBounce. Somewhat cheap, foldable and works well in most cases.

If the camera and lens are not water resistant, bring a grocery bag and a rubber band. Just in case weather turn sour.
Put bag over the camera, rubber band over the end of the lens, and tear out a hole at the end of the lens. I used that for years before the K10D came out. (similar cheap portable methods even worked well on Maid of the Mist at Niagara falls -- a VERY wet place to be taking pictures).
Looks goofy, yes... but works and you get photos while everyone else mopes around feeling sorry they didn't think of it.

Last edited by amoringello; 11-27-2010 at 09:32 AM.
11-27-2010, 09:43 AM   #7
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I've never had any problem with leaving things in a hotel room here in Europe. That's laptop and lenses I wouldn't use that day.
Guess it depends on the kind of hotel.
11-27-2010, 09:45 AM   #8
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Looks like you should be covered lenswise (as you have a nice range in the Sigma and a faster lens in the 35mm for indoor use). Some people advocate a (very) wide angle lens (like the 15mm you are considering) for architecture/landscape/street shots.

A set of lithiums is nice for a backup (these are surprisingly light too). Maybe a UV filter(s) for protection (multicoated like Hoya HMC) and not having the clean the front element itself under less than ideal circumstances, perhaps a CPL too. Also answering a similar question in another thread a Gorillapod was suggested as something that could provide support with maybe a rail or lamppost while fitting in a bag.

Do you have similar electrical outlets BTW (for the charger(s) you might need)?

11-27-2010, 09:58 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jolepp Quote
Do you have similar electrical outlets BTW (for the charger(s) you might need)?
Nice one
11-27-2010, 11:31 AM   #10
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Jolepp - good point about the gorillapod, I have one attached to my sling bag just in case. It comes in handy now and again, and it does not cost much.
11-27-2010, 12:28 PM   #11
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I would suggest a 12-24, used or new. I don't think you can be too wide. Of course the 15 would be an improvement over the 18-xxx in that regard as well.
11-27-2010, 05:40 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by amoringello Quote
If you have the money and the willingness to carry heavier, and possibly multiple, lenses then yeah a 2.8 or better is always "nice". You certainly will not find a f2.8 18-200 lens so you're stuck with multiple lenses. Dunno if you'll find it that useful (or worth the hassle). Just up the ISO two or three stops and you'll still get good images form the K-x. Save the money and get more beer + bratwurst. :-)

I would have to disagree with the storing what you don't need in your hotel room for the only reason that hotel rooms are *very* insecure. Almost anyone can walk into any hotel room. Since the cleaning staff are often unwilling to question a person wanting to get back into their room for "just one more thing I forgot" your stuff is easily lifted. I know people who have done that to test the hotel staff.
Even if you were to trust the staff (making minimum wages at best in a less than rewarding job), it is not hard to get in, get out, and grab a few thousand dollars worth of stuff and be gone.
** At least get a room with a safe, and make sure its bolted to the floor.

A diffuser that is light and folds up super small is always a good idea. Gary Fong diffuser is way to big bulky and way too expensive for what it is and does. Go with something like the Lumiquest UltraBounce. Somewhat cheap, foldable and works well in most cases.

If the camera and lens are not water resistant, bring a grocery bag and a rubber band. Just in case weather turn sour.
Put bag over the camera, rubber band over the end of the lens, and tear out a hole at the end of the lens. I used that for years before the K10D came out. (similar cheap portable methods even worked well on Maid of the Mist at Niagara falls -- a VERY wet place to be taking pictures).
Looks goofy, yes... but works and you get photos while everyone else mopes around feeling sorry they didn't think of it.
1. yeah fair point. i think i'm just looking for excuses to upgrade to a new pentax 18-135

2. as far as storing in the hotel room bizzo goes, i (we) will actually be staying with friends and relatives the majority of the time, so hopefully shouldn't be too much of a drama.

3. i meant a diffuser for the onboard, something like the puffer from gary fong... am i off track?

4. excellent suggestion too about the bag i couldn't care less how odd it looks, because you're right, much better to have gotten the shot!

cheers for the input


QuoteOriginally posted by jolepp Quote
Looks like you should be covered lenswise (as you have a nice range in the Sigma and a faster lens in the 35mm for indoor use). Some people advocate a (very) wide angle lens (like the 15mm you are considering) for architecture/landscape/street shots.

A set of lithiums is nice for a backup (these are surprisingly light too). Maybe a UV filter(s) for protection (multicoated like Hoya HMC) and not having the clean the front element itself under less than ideal circumstances, perhaps a CPL too. Also answering a similar question in another thread a Gorillapod was suggested as something that could provide support with maybe a rail or lamppost while fitting in a bag.

Do you have similar electrical outlets BTW (for the charger(s) you might need)?
ah-ha, another thing i forgot to mention, i do have filters. thanks though a smaller gorillapod could come in pretty handy though!

australian power points are pretty far removed from the rest of the world, but i do have a couple of adaptors already so thats all good!

QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
I would suggest a 12-24, used or new. I don't think you can be too wide. Of course the 15 would be an improvement over the 18-xxx in that regard as well.
interesting, thanks for the suggestion.... i will have a look around and see what 12-24s could do for me.

thanks heaps all!
11-27-2010, 05:49 PM   #13
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Well, then I think we all agree you *need* the new 18-135. No more excuses! :-)
I was just looking at that one myself...

For the on board flash diffuser, that is probably fine. It certainly couldn't hurt. I prefer items that fold flat for traveling. But it doesn't look like it takes much more space.
11-27-2010, 06:22 PM   #14
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One essential accessory is pants with elastic waist-band, or belt with extra holes for expansion. Them Germans know how to brew beer and make some excellent food..
The DA 12-24 would be on my must have lenses list for the trip Might think about the DA 10-17 also.

Last edited by Ex Finn.; 11-27-2010 at 06:29 PM.
11-27-2010, 06:48 PM   #15
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And, unless you are going back to your old play-grounds, maybe a GPS image tracker thing to stamp your photos.
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