Travel Photography (budget kit)

MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member
edited January 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
I'm off on holiday to Thailand soon and am stuck as to which lenses would serve me best.  My aim is to do a lot of street photography (Bangkok being an amazing place for this) and also the usual tourist stuff, landscapes etc etc. 

If you could only take two of the following what would they be?

18 - 55mm kit lens (my least used lens, but useful to have the range of focal lengths on holiday)
35mm prime (my favorite lens)
50mm prime (lovely sharp prime but is it too telephoto on the DX for street photography?)
55-200mm tele (useful for wildlife)

Thanks in advance


  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,452Moderator
    edited January 2013
    18-55 kit and 35mm f1.8 for sure.  35 for low light, 18-55 for landscape and portrait shots. Unless it is a safari, where I'd take the 55-200 too.  I know that's three, but the small ones will fit in your purse...

    I think the 18-55 is more useful in the street as it is more flexible on group size or positioning.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • MightyYMightyY Posts: 30Member
    Definitely take the 35mm.  That'll be great for street photography on a DX body.

    After that, I think it's a toss up between the 18-55 and 55-200.  I guess it depends on which situation you think you might get yourself into more often - the need to go wide or long.  Personally, I'd go with the 55-200.  I could totally get by with the 35 for anything I would use the 18-55 for, but it'd be tough not have the reach of 200 when needed.

    Of course, they're all small light lenses.  I don't see why you couldn't sneak in all three.
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member
    Interesting.  I may have to sneak in all three.  I was thinking the 35mm for the street and low light, but it's tough to choose between the  zooms.  18-55 - more practical but I could kick myself if I don't have the 55-200.  I know I did last year when there was so much wildlife just around the hotel gardens.  

    My cabin baggage just gets heavier and heavier!

  • SkimMilkSkimMilk Posts: 5Member
    35mm for street, 18-55 for landscape. Unless you'll be sitting down watching and shooting from far, the 55-200 will rarely be used. 50mm on  the DX is too tight for street. In crowded/ narrow streets, I'm barely able to compose properly. My travel lens is the 18-105, which serves my needs for wide and telephoto range.
  • ChromiumPrimeChromiumPrime Posts: 84Member
    Myself, I would try to travel as light as possible so I'd only take the 35mm and 50mm. 35 will be great for street and landscapes and 50 for nice, more personal portraits. Both will also work very good at night time. If you're only planing on shooting mostly landscapes then I also see where 18-55 could be useful but you also have to balance your needs/wants with weight/ease. As for 55-200, unless you know you'll be in a situation where you'll need it I wouldn't bring it. But this is just me. 
    Way too much gear & way too few photos :-O
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    edited January 2013
    You didn't specify which camera you're taking. If it has decent low light capability you won't "need" either of the primes. Bangkok is pretty well lit at night (at least the places you want to be...) so if you can push ISO there is a 35 stamped on the 18-55 somewhere :-) Yes, DOF will suffer, so you have to decide what's important.
    Post edited by Ironheart on
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member

    It's just a D3100 I'm afraid.  I'm looking at upgrading to the D7000 but that will be after the holiday :(

  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    The D3100 does pretty good on the low light side of things,perhaps even a bit better than the D7000. The main differences are in the controls and ruggedness, not image quality. Its also a great lightweight travel body, especially with the 18-55 on it, which is also lightweight.
  • kanuckkanuck Posts: 1,300Member
    You might be kicking yourself for not having a nice wide lens for your travel shooting needs. Your kit obviously is a DX body so 18-55 is only 28mm wide. This is wide enough for most people but I think you might need to go wider. The catch is with your DX body you are fairly limited in terms of wide angle lenses that would autofocus on your camera body. The D3200 and your D3100 for example needs it's lenses to provide the motor for autofocus so a Tokina 12-24mm would be a manual focus only lens. If you have a D7000 this lens will autofocus because the body provides the motor.
  • sidewayssideways Posts: 54Member
    18-55mm is the essential to get the wide end in the street. I bought the 50mm f/1.4 initially to use on a DX body and it didn't work for me. Too tight for general use and not long enough for portraits. It's good on FX but leave that one at home. My #2 choice would be your other zoom but I would try to sneak in the 35mm prime too. Have fun :-)
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @Michelle: As many have stated already the 35 1.8 is a must. If the others are the zoom lenses are all you have access to, then the 18-55 would be my recommendation. However, if you are willing to rent a lens while on travel, then by all means pickup the 18-200 VR II for a few weeks and take it with you. It will deliver great picture for you.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member
    Wow... So many useful and friendly comments from this forum on both my posts. Thank you everyone.

    I believe I've posted a rather impossible question here and realise its all down to personal preference and what we want to shoot whilst on holiday. However, it's very interesting for me as a beginner to hear opinions of others far more experienced than me.

    My initial thoughts were to take just two lenses but I will take the three now. 35mm, and both zooms.

    @Golf007sd - I wish I had the money for the 18 -200! And, Unfortunately I live in Spain and there is nowhere here to hire such things.

    It will also be interesting to see when I get home, what focal lengths and lenses I use the most.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,452Moderator
    "It will also be interesting to see when I get home, what focal lengths and lenses I use the most."

    What editing software do you use Michelle? If it is Lightroom, you can quickly and easily check the distribution of the focal lengths
    Always learning.
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member

    I use lightroom. Very easy to check the distribution of focal lengths. If I was a betting person I think my money would be on my trusty 35mm! :)
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,452Moderator

    I use lightroom. Very easy to check the distribution of focal lengths. If I was a betting person I think my money would be on my trusty 35mm! :)
    That's easy then - great. To share a recent experience of mine, I just did that exercise myself after a lengthy trip and my pictures showed a real peak towards the wide end (18mm) of my 'walkaround' zoom (18-105). I did take some shots with the 70-300, but I would have been better off leaving it at home (easy to say looking back). Most would have been caught with your 18-55, the rest were shot using my 11-16 Tokina. I did some portraits using my 50mm, but again, if I had only got the 18-105 with me I would have used that.

    It would be interesting to hear how it went when you get back from your trip.

    Always learning.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator must decide....If the body has ISO up to 6400 you might get about anything to work. But, the quality of the lenses is critical. The primes tend to be better, but some zooms are like razor blades. If you long zoom is sharp, take it with the 35mm for low light and street. The disadvantage is interiors with the 18mm is much better than the 35mm which is a "normal" lens on DX or even a slight telephoto.

    Now, I have done some street photography and on FX an 85mm works. But if you like wide...and I do as well, 24mm on FX is good, So, down to your decision the 35mm and a new 105 f/2.8 can find someone to finance this... ;)
    Msmoto, mod
  • MichelleMichelle Posts: 20Member

    I have a DX and don't fancy selling my body in Bangkok to finance a new 105 f/2.8!!!! haha
  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    take both zooms, there's plenty of opportunity to use 200mm in Bangkok and (especially) in surroundings. there are at least 2-3 excellent wildlife destination near bangkok, where 200mm is a must. as for 35/1.8... well, I have a mixed relation with this lens... and if I could take only two lenses I would certainly leave this one at home. zooms are much more practical and there's really a lot of light in bkk.
  • BettyBryantBettyBryant Posts: 0Member
    I just love Costa Rica for photography it is an amazing place and it is rich with scenic beauty and long coastal regions.

    Australia equestrian
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