Travel Lens Setup

2»

Comments

  • BVSBVS Posts: 440Member
    SDunn said:

    Absoultely agree. Do you have any suggestions on a travel kit for two lenses that covers between 24mm on the short end and 300+ on the long?

    I think I laid out my requirements for a lighter set up, that is more kid and family friendly (meaning kid and family type photos) that requires less lens changes

    For a 'light weight' two lens setup that covers that whole range I think your options are basically:

    Lens 1
    24-85
    24-105 (Sigma)
    24-120

    Lens 2
    70-200 f/4 + TC
    70-300 AF-P (FX)
    100-400 (Tamron)

    And then add primes as needed.

    As a parent myself, I can say that having to frequently change lenses sucks and results in missed shots, particularly after the kids become mobile. For infants, you just get some good portrait lenses, good lighting, make them laugh, and you're good to go. Once they become toddlers though you'll probably want something more versatile.

    My personal travel/outing preference is to carry one primary lens that I think will cover 85-90% of what I expect to need, and then another lens or two for the remaining 10-15% of special situations. Or, just carry one do-all lens if keeping it light and simple is more important.

    Of course, what the primary lens is depends greatly on the situation. Here's a few combinations I currently use. I'm on DX though, so my lens choices are slightly different, and my options are limited by what I own, but you can get the idea:

    Outdoor - Light Weight (e.g. casual walk around)
    Primary: 18-140 only

    Outdoor - Long Range (e.g. zoo)
    Primary: 18-140
    Secondary: 300 PF
    Extra: TC14

    Outdoor - Close Range (e.g. picnic, playground)
    Primary: 12-28 f/4 (Tokina) or 18-140
    Secondary: 50 f/1.8 or 85 f/1.8

    Indoor - Light Weight (e.g. restaurant, mall, shopping, etc.)
    Primary: 35 f/1.8 only

    Indoor - Event (e.g. birthday party)
    Primary: 17-55 f/2.8 or 24-70 f/2.8
    Secondary: 85 f/1.8
    Extra: Flash

    Note: I don't own either 2.8, but I've rented them before and it's what I'd use if I owned them.

    Special - Apple Picking
    Primary: 12-28 f/4 only

    D7100, 85 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 35 1.8G DX, Tokina 12-28 F4, 18-140, 55-200 VR DX
  • HankBHankB Posts: 222Member
    edited February 2018
    For DX, you can also consider the 18-300 f6.3. Every tool has its place, and I have gotten some great shots with it in places and situations where lens swapping was totally out of the question. I am vouching for the Nikon, but I can't speak for the competitors which obviously are more cost effective.

    It is light and compact for what it does, its reproduction ratio is quite good at about 1:3, it is as sharp as the 18-140, and its VR works very well. It is not as sharp as the 16-80 f2.8/4.0 or any of the 70-200s, but neither are other kit lenses including the 18-140.
    Post edited by HankB on
  • BVSBVS Posts: 440Member
    HankB said:

    For DX, you can also consider the 18-300 f6.3. Every tool has its place, and I have gotten some great shots with it in places and situations where lens swapping was totally out of the question. I am vouching for the Nikon, but I can't speak for the competitors which obviously are more cost effective.

    It is light and compact for what it does, its reproduction ratio is quite good at about 1:3, it is as sharp as the 18-140, and its VR works very well. It is not as sharp as the 16-80 f2.8/4.0 or any of the 70-200s, but neither are other kit lenses including the 18-140.

    I did try the 18-300 f/6.3 when it first came out. At the time I was looking for an all-in-one and also something that could go to 300mm. It's a good lens for what it is, and if we're talking travel as in "vacation" then it would certainly be a good choice. However, in the end I ended up passing on it for a few reasons:

    1. At the time of release the 18-300 was $900 (although the price is lower now), and I just didn't feel it was worth that much compared to a refurb 18-140 for only $300. I have a similarly hard time justifying $1,000 for the 16-80 for a gain of less than one stop in speed and a loss of a lot of range.

    2. The AF speed on the 18-300 seemed to be on the slower side and I wasn't confident it would keep up with a child running around.

    3. The heavy focus breathing at close range at 300mm left me a bit disappointed that I wasn't really getting 300mm a lot of the time.

    In the end I decided to go with the 18-140 instead and save the extra money for something else. Honestly, 140 on DX has been enough most of the time for family stuff, although again, for vacation type travel the 18-300 is probably the better choice.

    As for the 300mm solution, I tried or discounted via reviews pretty much all the other 300mm options that were within my price range - 55-300, 70-300 G, 70-300 AF-P DX, 70-300 AF-P FX, etc., but they all left me kind of unsatisfied for one reason or another. Ultimately, I bit the bullet I got a used 300PF which I'm very happy with.
    D7100, 85 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 35 1.8G DX, Tokina 12-28 F4, 18-140, 55-200 VR DX
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,675Member
    I limit my kit to my D850, about 7 or 8 primes and my tripod. 22 lbs. It gives me a workout and even when I add my wife's bag, my wife who is 14 years younger than me cannot keep up.

    Kids? Yeah, I have three. But I am on a photography mission, not a vacation, so I send them to the grandparents.

    In September we are spending 3 weeks in Malta, Sicily and the Greek islands. The kids will go to Hainan with the grandparents and on Chinese New Year we will be going there for 2 weeks. We will retrieve the kids then.

    This is photography, not tiddly winks. One has to keep their priorities straight.
  • HankBHankB Posts: 222Member
    BVS said:

    1. At the time of release the 18-300 was $900 (although the price is lower now), and I just didn't feel it was worth that much compared to a refurb 18-140 for only $300. I have a similarly hard time justifying $1,000 for the 16-80 for a gain of less than one stop in speed and a loss of a lot of range.

    Today, we are looking at $200-300 price spread on Nikons, though Sigma and Tamron probably close the gap. Of course if someone already has an 18-140, it would require a special case to justify then also getting an 18-300 (or Tamron 18-400, if it is comparable quality ?).

    (Not completely relevant here, but I absolutely love the 16-80 f2.8/4.0. It is my most used lens. It fills the role the 24-70 fills for FX).
    BVS said:

    2. The AF speed on the 18-300 seemed to be on the slower side and I wasn't confident it would keep up with a child running around.

    Although I did notice a very slight focus speed difference between the two, I doubt it has practical significance. The 18-140 is no focus speed champ. Canon seems to focus faster with their low end kit lenses like their 18-135 — I guess the new "P" lenses are Nikon effort to catch up with Canon.
    BVS said:

    3. The heavy focus breathing at close range at 300mm left me a bit disappointed that I wasn't really getting 300mm a lot of the time.

    Very true, but a "heavy breathing" 300 will still get you a lot closer than a 140 which I suspect also breaths some — all this with very little size and weight penalty.
    Note though, that the 18-300 has a pretty good max reproduction ratio of about 1:3 in spite of its heavy focus breathing, while still leaving a useable working distance. This is what the marketing people claim is "macro".


    Because I have better alternative lenses I don't use my 18-300 that frequently, but I found it ideal, for example, when on African safari. I am not photo purist enough to swap lenses in jeep-like vehicles bouncing through clouds of dust.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,493Member
    When I was doing all day hikes back in 2013 I would have a D700, D300, 24-70 F2.8, 300mm F4, 16-35mm F4, 105mm prime, in a smallish bag without too much trouble. Also had my Gitzo 5 series tripod in hand or strapped on the bag. The only problem is that camera bags are terrible for transporting other stuff you need for the day, like food, sunscreen/bug spray etc.

    Now days I just take the D750, 24-70 2.8G and 70-200mm F2.8 VRII, 1.4x TC along with the 105 macro. Don’t like mucking around with primes much while traveling since it means I have to clean the sensor more often. If I was doing some heavy duty hiking that required overnight camping I would likely go with my D series primes, since they are small and super light weight compared to the new big and bulky stuff, but it would depend on what I wanted to shoot.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • BVSBVS Posts: 440Member
    edited February 2018
    HankB said:

    (Not completely relevant here, but I absolutely love the 16-80 f2.8/4.0. It is my most used lens. It fills the role the 24-70 fills for FX).

    Off topic, but have you noticed anything strange with focus accuracy on the 16-80 at 16mm f/2.8 when using the outer focus points on your camera? I rented the 16-80 once and was having a weird issue where the lens kept focusing significantly (i.e. several inches or more) behind the target when using the outer focus points at close range on my D7100, but stopping down even a notch corrected the issue and it focused in the right place. It was much more than a depth of field issue, and the central AF point didn't have the same problem. Wasn't sure if it was a lens issue, a camera issue, or something else.

    Post edited by BVS on
    D7100, 85 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 35 1.8G DX, Tokina 12-28 F4, 18-140, 55-200 VR DX
  • mhedgesmhedges Posts: 2,642Member
    BVS said:



    As for the 300mm solution, I tried or discounted via reviews pretty much all the other 300mm options that were within my price range - 55-300, 70-300 G, 70-300 AF-P DX, 70-300 AF-P FX, etc., but they all left me kind of unsatisfied for one reason or another. Ultimately, I bit the bullet I got a used 300PF which I'm very happy with.

    Can you talk a bit about why you rejected the 70-300 AF-P lenses?
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,182Member
    edited February 2018
    BVS said:

    HankB said:

    (Not completely relevant here, but I absolutely love the 16-80 f2.8/4.0. It is my most used lens. It fills the role the 24-70 fills for FX).

    Off topic, but have you noticed anything strange with focus accuracy on the 16-80 at 16mm f/2.8 when using the outer focus points on your camera? I rented the 16-80 once and was having a weird issue where the lens kept focusing significantly (i.e. several inches or more) behind the target when using the outer focus points at close range on my D7100, but stopping down even a notch corrected the issue and it focused in the right place. It was much more than a depth of field issue, and the central AF point didn't have the same problem. Wasn't sure if it was a lens issue, a camera issue, or something else.

    Interesting.. its probably a property/weakness in the design of the lense...I am quite sure I have heard of theses kinds of properties in lenses.. just cant remember what its called for the moment.. it will probably come back to me later LOL .. old age and all that stuff you know....

    .. had a think on it and.. the property I was meaning has to do with the center disks of the lense having a more acurate focal length than the outer rings so the larger apertures result in a slightly different focal length. However, I am not sure if this accounts for the outer AF sensors having less accurate focus when you use larger apertures, though it probably is a factor.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • BVSBVS Posts: 440Member
    edited February 2018
    mhedges said:

    BVS said:



    As for the 300mm solution, I tried or discounted via reviews pretty much all the other 300mm options that were within my price range - 55-300, 70-300 G, 70-300 AF-P DX, 70-300 AF-P FX, etc., but they all left me kind of unsatisfied for one reason or another. Ultimately, I bit the bullet I got a used 300PF which I'm very happy with.

    Can you talk a bit about why you rejected the 70-300 AF-P lenses?
    70-300 AF-P VR DX
    The 70-300 AF-P VR DX a nice little lens. The build quality is definitely a step up from the previous 55-200 type lenses, it's got a nice sleek design, it focuses super fast, and the focus ring is silky smooth. However, for some reason I had a really hard time getting sharp shots when using it hand held on my D7100, and the ones that were sharp lacked any kind of 'wow' factor.

    Due to how light the lens is it seemed like any little jiggle, vibration, or slight twist of the wrist caused issues with the final image, even with VR turned on. The f/6.3 starting aperture (at 300mm) also made it difficult to keep the shutter speed high enough without having to crank the ISO, thus degrading the image further. It's possible that poor hand holding technique, or the fact that the D7100 is not fully compatible with it could have been part of the problem as well. I did actually rent it a second time along with a D7500 and it did seem to fare a bit better on that body, which is fully compatible and has a less shocking mirror/shutter.

    Under controlled situations - camera in a fixed position, live view, flash blasting the target - it can be a very sharp lens. In fact, at 85mm it was even as sharp as my 85 f/1.8 stopped down to a similar aperture, sharper than my 18-140 at 140, and WAY sharper than my old 55-200 at 200.

    In the end though it just didn't mesh well with the D7100 and the way I shoot, and the results were less than I was hoping for. Still, refurbs can be had now for $250 or less, and the small size would fit well with the smaller D5XXX and D3XXX bodies, so it might be worth a try if you're on a budget or want something small and light.

    70-300 AF-P FX
    The 70-300 AF-P FX is a very nice lens, and I felt it was the best of the 300mm zooms by far. It's sharp at 300mm (unlike the previous 70-300 G), the build quality is good for a consumer (non-gold ring) lens, and it focuses fast like the DX version. It's somewhat bigger and heavier than the DX, but still totally hand-holdable and still fit inside my small camera bag. I actually felt the larger size and weight felt better in the hand and it balanced better than the DX on the D7100.

    Image quality wise it's very good. I didn't have any problem getting sharp shots like I did with the DX, and the images had more 'wow' to them - brighter, more colorful, more pop. In fact, it's actually pretty close to the 300PF. I rented them both at the same time and spent a few days switching back and forth trying to pick between them, and it was a very hard decision. The 300PF had slightly better IQ, but the 70-300 was only about 1/3 of the cost and was potentially more flexible since it could zoom.

    In the end though I went with the 300PF for several reasons:

    1. Slightly better image quality.
    2. Since I was rarely at ISO100 the faster f/4 aperture meant that I could drop the ISO by a stop, further boosting image quality.
    3. I found that I always wanted to use the 70-300 at 300, so it was like I was carrying around a 300mm f/5.6 and the zoom benefit was lost.
    4. At the last moment I found out that I could buy the 300PF for only $1,500 which lessened the sticker shock.
    5. There was just something about the 300PF that made it more of a joy to use, something that just made me happier whenever I pulled it out of the bag. I'm not totally sure how to describe the feeling though.

    However, if you're looking for a 300mm lens and will make good use of the zoom range the 70-300 AF-P FX should definitely be on your short list.
    Post edited by BVS on
    D7100, 85 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 35 1.8G DX, Tokina 12-28 F4, 18-140, 55-200 VR DX
  • mhedgesmhedges Posts: 2,642Member
    BVS said:



    70-300 AF-P VR DX
    The 70-300 AF-P VR DX a nice little lens. The build quality is definitely a step up from the previous 55-200 type lenses, it's got a nice sleek design, it focuses super fast, and the focus ring is silky smooth. However, for some reason I had a really hard time getting sharp shots when using it hand held on my D7100, and the ones that were sharp lacked any kind of 'wow' factor.

    Due to how light the lens is it seemed like any little jiggle, vibration, or slight twist of the wrist caused issues with the final image, even with VR turned on. The f/6.3 starting aperture (at 300mm) also made it difficult to keep the shutter speed high enough without having to crank the ISO, thus degrading the image further. It's possible that poor hand holding technique, or the fact that the D7100 is not fully compatible with it could have been part of the problem as well. I did actually rent it a second time along with a D7500 and it did seem to fare a bit better on that body, which is fully compatible and has a less shocking mirror/shutter.

    Under controlled situations - camera in a fixed position, live view, flash blasting the target - it can be a very sharp lens. In fact, at 85mm it was even as sharp as my 85 f/1.8 stopped down to a similar aperture, sharper than my 18-140 at 140, and WAY sharper than my old 55-200 at 200.

    In the end though it just didn't mesh well with the D7100 and the way I shoot, and the results were less than I was hoping for. Still, refurbs can be had now for $250 or less, and the small size would fit well with the smaller D5XXX and D3XXX bodies, so it might be worth a try if you're on a budget or want something small and light.

    70-300 AF-P FX
    The 70-300 AF-P FX is a very nice lens, and I felt it was the best of the 300mm zooms by far. It's sharp at 300mm (unlike the previous 70-300 G), the build quality is good for a consumer (non-gold ring) lens, and it focuses fast like the DX version. It's somewhat bigger and heavier than the DX, but still totally hand-holdable and still fit inside my small camera bag. I actually felt the larger size and weight felt better in the hand and it balanced better than the DX on the D7100.

    Image quality wise it's very good. I didn't have any problem getting sharp shots like I did with the DX, and the images had more 'wow' to them - brighter, more colorful, more pop. In fact, it's actually pretty close to the 300PF. I rented them both at the same time and spent a few days switching back and forth trying to pick between them, and it was a very hard decision. The 300PF had slightly better IQ, but the 70-300 was only about 1/3 of the cost and was potentially more flexible since it could zoom.

    In the end though I went with the 300PF for several reasons:

    1. Slightly better image quality.
    2. Since I was rarely at ISO100 the faster f/4 aperture meant that I could drop the ISO by a stop, further boosting image quality.
    3. I found that I always wanted to use the 70-300 at 300, so it was like I was carrying around a 300mm f/5.6 and the zoom benefit was lost.
    4. At the last moment I found out that I could buy the 300PF for only $1,500 which lessened the sticker shock.
    5. There was just something about the 300PF that made it more of a joy to use, something that just made me happier whenever I pulled it out of the bag. I'm not totally sure how to describe the feeling though.

    However, if you're looking for a 300mm lens and will make good use of the zoom range the 70-300 AF-P FX should definitely be on your short list.

    Thanks for the very informative response. I actually already picked up a cheap white box DX 70-300. I needed something long with fast focus for kids soccer pics, and that fit in the budget. I haven't used it much, and basically none at all handheld. I'll be getting a chance to use it soon - spring soccer is starting up.

  • HankBHankB Posts: 222Member
    BVS said:

    HankB said:

    (Not completely relevant here, but I absolutely love the 16-80 f2.8/4.0. It is my most used lens. It fills the role the 24-70 fills for FX).

    Off topic, but have you noticed anything strange with focus accuracy on the 16-80 at 16mm f/2.8 when using the outer focus points on your camera? I rented the 16-80 once and was having a weird issue where the lens kept focusing significantly (i.e. several inches or more) behind the target when using the outer focus points at close range on my D7100, but stopping down even a notch corrected the issue and it focused in the right place. It was much more than a depth of field issue, and the central AF point didn't have the same problem. Wasn't sure if it was a lens issue, a camera issue, or something else.

    Yes, again apologies for being off topic — I really only use back button focus and the central focus point so I can't answer your question. I wonder though, were you getting any flare in your composition?
  • HankBHankB Posts: 222Member


    .. had a think on it and.. the property I was meaning has to do with the center disks of the lense having a more acurate focal length than the outer rings so the larger apertures result in a slightly different focal length. However, I am not sure if this accounts for the outer AF sensors having less accurate focus when you use larger apertures, though it probably is a factor.

    Is that "spherical aberration"? If so, the lens wouldn't be as sharp as it is when wide open.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,182Member
    HankB said:


    .. had a think on it and.. the property I was meaning has to do with the center disks of the lense having a more acurate focal length than the outer rings so the larger apertures result in a slightly different focal length. However, I am not sure if this accounts for the outer AF sensors having less accurate focus when you use larger apertures, though it probably is a factor.

    Is that "spherical aberration"? If so, the lens wouldn't be as sharp as it is when wide open.
    Yeah thats spherical aberation..

    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • BamBamBambrickBamBamBambrick Posts: 13Member
    I take tons of baby photos. I use the 14-24, 35mm art, 55mm otus and the 70-200 vrii - this is also my travel kit. Covers everything. I usually walk with the 35mm and change if needed and for a reason.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,247Member
    I do most of my photography with my D7000 and 18-135mm and 35mm 1.8. The combination fits inside my Lowepro bag. I have a 105mm macro and a 70-300 FX VR as well, but then it gets heavy real quick. For travel my 2 lens kit works quite well because it fits inside my backpack and I can carry other stuff too. Last time I went to HK that combo worked well, and then I carry a Sony RX100 on my belt pouch.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    edited March 2018
    On occasion, I have opted for my D850 and only the 24-70mm f/2.8. Sometimes I also bring the 70-200mm f/2.8, and then I also bring a TC 1.4, so I have a bit more reach if I need it...
    Post edited by Killerbob on
  • DenverShooterDenverShooter Posts: 403Member
    Just got back from the east coast (three days late) and used just about everything I had in the bag. Nikon zoom trinity with the 70/200 subbed out with the 80/400.

    Denver Shooter
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,182Member
    Sounds like a fun trip
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

Sign In or Register to comment.