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12-02-2007, 12:59 AM   #1
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Trip Report

Hi people,
I offer this in the spirit of helping others who maybe puzzled by the perennial question of what gear to pack/carry on a trip.
First the trip: China & HongKong, so it was all flying, airports, taxis and public transport...AND crowds!!....no rental cars. I say this because it is an important part of your planning.

The bag: Tamron Velocity 8X, gets top marks, big enough to carry my DS; Pentax 18-55; Sigma 24mm; Tamron 70-300 plus room enough for a pullover and other bits & pieces needed for a 9 hour flight as carry on.

The Lenses: Pentax 18-55 was the most used lens being on the camera some 50% of the time.
Sigma 24mm f1.7 was used a hell of a lot, 45% of the time. I found myself going to this lens a lot more than I thought as the light was not good due to smog and the number of indoor situations where flash was often prohibited. Great results from this much under rated, if not a bit bulky, lens.
Tamron 70-300 .....well I hardly used it, I guess due to to the lack of wildlife and the light not being good meant that I generally opted for one of the aforementioned two.

Lenses I left behind (and never will again): My trusty Sigma 18-125, I took it out of the bag at the last moment and replaced it with the 18-55. A mistake, as I missed the reach it afforded and I gained little in IQ or light capability. I should point out here that my wife was going to carry her DL with the 18-55 but decided against doing so at the last moment (dont ya love 'em), opting for the Casio QVR 61(apologies) instead...it must be said this little camera performed very well and its 8mm - 24 mm lens was very handy.
Pentax DFA 100mm f2.8: I was actually contemplating only taking the Sig 24f1.7 & this lens at one stage...and that would have worked quite well as the f2.8 would have come into its own in the available light.

Batteries: Started off with a set of Energiser lithiums in the DS, which I had in the bag for some 18 months (maybe longer) and had two sets of spares. After some 1200 shots I am still on the second set only. Casio runs on two AA's and is also on its 2nd set, but only took 500 or 600 shots.
Cards: 4 Toshiba 2g. 1 Toshiba 1g. 1 Sandisk 1g. 1 Danelec 1g. 1 Kodak 1g...no problems.
Took the the tripod, which was a waste of time, and the monopod which got a lot of use.

Thoughts on photographing in China: the smog is a real issue, so much so that the rest of this planet will choke if the Chinese do not get their act together very quickly, thus the light is 'messy' and quite a challenge. Crowds are constantly heavy and do not do you any favours when it comes to getting 'that' shot. Often the best you can hope for is a quick snap. Also be prepared in rural areas to 'charged' for taking a shot, albeit a few yuan, but annoying nonetheless. I got sick of it in the end and would refuse to take photos if people were around or in the shot, it got me into a couple of verbal confontations, but I did not want the lady and her water buffalo in the shot...she was a bit miffed but got the message eventually.

Dont get me wrong here, I am happy to 'pay' if I want to take the shot with people, buffalo, ducks or whatever, but these people now put themselves in the shot and then put their hand out.

All in all a great time was had by all and the experience was certainly worth the effort and is reccommended.

Sorry for the ramble, hope you can get something out of it.
Cheers
Grant

12-02-2007, 03:11 AM   #2
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Onya Grant, just need to see some Pics next..
Cheers
12-02-2007, 04:10 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by GWP Quote
..., but these people now put themselves in the shot and then put their hand out. ...
Sounds like clever business skill?
12-02-2007, 09:24 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ddhytz Quote
Sounds like clever business skill?
lol....yep, they got that bit right.

12-03-2007, 02:40 PM   #5
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Thanks for the trip report. I always find these an interesting read, since I agonize over what to bring on my travels.
12-03-2007, 03:55 PM   #6
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Good ramble - I like reading ramblings. Do your comments indicate you spoke the language!

I got the hands-out thing when IU went to Albania a few years back but it wasn't for taking their picture. Add a few pairs of children's sad eyes... I only had my Mavica for that trip but suffice to say that the begging ruined the trip.

Glad you enjoyed the trip.
12-03-2007, 06:19 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by JCSullivan Quote
Good ramble - I like reading ramblings. Do your comments indicate you spoke the language!

I got the hands-out thing when IU went to Albania a few years back but it wasn't for taking their picture. Add a few pairs of children's sad eyes... I only had my Mavica for that trip but suffice to say that the begging ruined the trip.

Glad you enjoyed the trip.
Hi JC,
No, absolutley hopeless at languages....other than my version of English. However my wife picks up these things very quickly and taught herself a few of the basics like, Hello, Goodbye, toilet/bathroom/ go away/ ATM/ etc etc. so we were able to get around ok.

We always take a card or something from our accommodation in the local language so if worse comes to worse (and it often does ) we can cab it back.
12-03-2007, 09:23 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by GWP Quote
Hi people,
I offer this in the spirit of helping others who maybe puzzled by the perennial question of what gear to pack/carry on a trip.
First the trip: China & HongKong
Awesome post Grant.

I am heading to Hong Kong over Christmas so your list is helpful. I really think I should get a new bag for the trip. I was pondering a Lowepro Fastpac 100 or similar. Anyway will check out what you used and compare a few.

As for lenses, I was going to drop my 18-55 but you have convinced me otherwise . I also have a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 making it's way across the water as I type which is hopefully going to live on the camera the most.

I did China/Tibet/Nepal in 2004 however that was pre-DSLR for me. I found the same thing as you mentioned about being harrassed for money when taking photos especially in Nepal (Kathmandu is painful for this sort of thing). Amazingly Lhasa (Tibet) locals are pretty cool with photography. Maybe they haven't cottoned on yet

12-03-2007, 10:27 PM   #9
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Hi Troy,
Whereas I do not have the 28-75 f2.8 its reputation precedes it and I imagine it will spend alot of time on your camera.

Do you plan to do any camera shopping in HK? I got some prices on 31ltd, 77ltd, 50-135 etc as a starter for you... if your interested.

First time to Hong Kong?
12-03-2007, 11:13 PM   #10
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Are they much cheaper than USA?
12-03-2007, 11:35 PM   #11
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The DA* 50-135 was $7890hkd & the 31 Ltd $6480hkd.
I looked around in Wan Chai & Mongkok and there did not appear to be a lot of difference.
12-04-2007, 02:19 AM   #12
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Thanks for the story GWP! It's always fun reading someones experiences!

@JCSullivan - I live in Albania and understand what you mean. We have a campaign going on against giving money to these young beggars. Giving money to them it is worse than one might think as it keeps them on the streets and not at school where they should be.

If anyone is planning to visit Albania, please PM me as I'd be glad to meet a fellow pentaxian .
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