Am I crazy - travel light.

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by raymondc, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. I came back from Malaysia and Brunei which I did a 8 day trip. Only had so much annual leave.
    Coming from a place where it was 12 degrees celcius (53 Fahrenheit) with a summer max usual of 24 degrees (75 Fahrenheit), I got to Asia and it was 35 degrees (95 Fahrenheit), overnight at 28 degrees (82 Fahrenheit) maybe more cos of the heat factor. I had with me a D70 and my 18-200mm VR and my Sigma 10-20mm. I also had a tripod.
    Do you think I am crazy to swap that lens which was optically fine for me, to swap it for a Nikon 18-55mm (non VR) because it weighs less. I have a 18-70mm from my 2nd D70 (2nd hand) that came with the lens but that is still some what heavier. Most of my pictures were stopped down (apeture), some were hand held at night (Petrona Towers) at ISO 800 and to me they were fine too without the restricted tripod. I think I never shot more than 50mm.
    So what about a 18-55mm (non VR) and even possibly a Nikon D40 or a D40x, I travel with compact digital lenses so they will all be AFS compatible.
    Look forward to your opinions.
  2. Ray,
    I'm not going to call you crazy, we all have our reasons for doing as we please. The 18-70mm DX lens is somewhat under rated in my opinion. I too had one with the D70 as a kit lens- after using some higher end Nikkors in the past years I now appreciate that the 18-70mm lens is rather good, esp. in the value for money stakes.
    Having said that; if you think the IQ of the 18-200mm is acceptable then the 18-55mm DX lens is likely to please - however I 've only used the 18-200mm never tried the 18-55mm lens in either guise. If you drop the 18-200mm from your line up, what photo opportunities are you going to miss beyond either 55mm or 70mm ??
    As you already have a tri-pod I'd stick to your current line up of two lenses and one body with that tri-pod. You will be hard pushed to go better than the 18-200mm Nikkor with VR as a one lens does it all for 'traveling light'. By pro grade-lens standards the 18-200mm Nikkor is light in weight.
    Oppressive climatic conditions are all part of the travel experience. If heat and humidity bother you to the point of tossing up wether to swap lenses to save a mere 350 grams in weight (difference between 18-55mm non VR and 18-200mm VR) then I'd say you might want to choose a more agreeable climate to take vacations in.
    You have to decide if you are travelling for the sake of the travel experience or if you are travelling to take photographs.
  3. Thanks, yeah the 18-200's IQ was good enough for me. I don't think I used anything longer than 45mm on my trip. I just checked my Lightroom catalogue for a few shots that I used a longer FL ...
    Yes, climate is an issue for me. I am now back to 12 degrees (53F) and it is great. I can wear layers and a jacket, the cold tingle is enjoyment. Sometimes it may even be 8 celcius (46F). No sweating skin. My underwear does not roll down, the seat does not stick to me. At my hotel room it was set at 16 degrees (60F).
    I am also looking at at a Gitzo traveler + Markins Q3 ballhead. I took with me a Feisol 3402 + Kirks BH3. I left my Gitzo 1228 at home.
    I would put travel more important than photography. Via travels, I don't tend to shoot sunrise and sunset only withou tripod, in the day I leave the tripod in my room and just do snapshots. i do landscapes / cityscapes hence I just handhold it. For my 8 day trip I took under 500 pictures. So I not a volume shooter. I tend to nail a sunrise or a sunset .. sometimes I don't shoot at sunrise because the buildings - they turn the lights off overnight, I tend to nail a couple of iconic shots.
  4. What may even be more impt for me is the reduction of size ... a 52mm filter thread - being my main walking around lens.
  5. I am off to Venezuala next week and leaving my D300 here. I am taking my D70s and my 18-70 because they are lighter and it is still a great combo.
    I looked into lighter cameras but I do not want to buy a D40 and a big P&S would just frustrate me. So I will ung the D70 combo.
  6. A light kit that you carry is better than a heavy one that sits at home.
  7. I started using a D80 and Nikons 18-55mm VR + 55-200mm VR for times I want to cut weight (and risk of theft.) They've worked out fine. You might consider getting a new Nikon D5000 camera. They are much smaller & lighter, and have the sensor of the D300. You can easily shoot them at ISO 800 and even ISO 1600. With the 18-200mm VR you might get away with no tripod because of the two extra stops.
    Kent in SD
  8. I think the difference in weight is minimal. Stick with the 18-200.
  9. Stick with whatever it takes for you to make the best pictures you can. I often travel with one of a number of Nikon DSLRs, the 18-55 2nd version, and a 50/1.8. Works for me. YMMV.
    To Errol, be careful in Venezuela.
  10. I would rather leave the tripod home than going from 18-200 back to 18-55. Hand-held technique and VR can cover a lot of loss of the tripod (except maybe night photos), while extra lenght never really hurts.
    Or maybe even leave the 10-22 at home too, and get the 16-85VR. The two extra millimeters make me grab the 12-24 less and less, but then again, I'm not too much a wide-angle type.
  11. "I think the difference in weight is minimal. Stick with the 18-200."
    It depends on what you're doing. When I was youmg, I trimmed the borders off of maps before I cycled over the Alps. Yes, the weight savings for trimming my map borders was small, but when combined with the savings of shortening and drilling my toothbrush handle . . .
  12. You're not crazy. The 18-55 is lighter than the 18-200, and in the 18-55 range, not counting VR, the 18-55 is optically better and less distorted than the 18-200 - which makes too many compromises for my tastes. The 18-55 doesn't get a lot of respect but it's really quite sharp with minimal flare and CA pretty well controlled, and good contrast and rendering. Combine it with a D40-D60 and you'd have a very light kit.
  13. Worth mentioning you can also get the 18-55 VR pretty cheap too.
    Or hell, the 18-70 like has been said, or 18-105VR... they're all reasonably cheap.
  14. my light combo is a D40 with the 18-70mm and the 35mm DX in my pocket.
    my slightly heavier combo is a D70s with the 18-70mm, the 35mm in my pocket and the 55-200mm VR in a small water bottle carrier or the last two in a small duffle bag.
  15. You're not crazy! Counting grams is right.

    I'm a Malaysian. At times I leave my D90 kit lens (420g) and bring along the 18-55 VR (265g) instead. I wish I had not sold my non-VR 18-55 (205g), with least distortion among current Nikon kit lenses. The 18-200 is 460g.

    One thing the 18-55 doesn't have is focus override. I use it a lot on the 18-105.

    Just make sure you have the CPL filter ready for outdoor shots. The D90's output seems not vivid enough to me even with CPL and VIVID setting. Or maybe it's just me. Or the damn Malaysian weather. Your D70 may not have that problem though.

    I would avoid the D40 as it's not as good at high ISO and 6 Mpixels is not flexible enough for cropping.
  16. If you like the 18-55 you may want to consider the Tamron 17-50, Is slightly heavier and much more versatile.
  17. The Tamron 17-50 would be excellent, just slightly lower IQ than Nikon's 17-55 monster. Couple it with Nikon 55-200 (255g in a side pocket) & you'll the 18-200 range covered. But the Tamron is still over 430g.

    Heck if you want to go very light, get an Oly E-P1. I'm seriously considering one.
  18. Yes, Ray, you're crazy alright! Don't you know that REAL photographers are required to carry HUGE backpacks full of fast lenses and massive camera bodies? Don't you know that your photos will never be any good unless you shoot every last one of them from a large, heavy tripod? Don't you know that you need to double the weight of a lens with VR if you want to be taken seriously? Don't you know that in addition to cameras and lenses that COOL photographers carry laptops and external hard drives with them? Don't you know that packing light, saving money, and avoiding disk operations are completely out of style? How are you ever going to impress fan boys and gear heads with a single D70? Horrors!
    Yeah, you're crazy, Ray. Crazy like a fox, and I'll bet you've got the pix to prove it (not to mention, you avoided a trip to the chiropractor). Light and fast is almost always superior to bogged down and miserable.
  19. Ramon - that was my last travel combo too, in a single small bag, not much larger than a RF kit - the 18-70 afs, and 35/1.8 dx g afs, etc.
  20. A light kit that you carry is better than a heavy one that sits at home.​
    I agree with Robert B. Unless you seriously need suuuper quality, suuuper sharp images (in which case maybe you should bring a medium format camera), go for a light weight solution on travels. Maybe even a P&S? I tend to leave my D300 and heavy gear more often at home when travelling with my family, and use my old D70 with 18-70 or my Canon G10. For travels, I seriously do not think you can see that much difference between Nikon lenses, unless you pixel peep vigorously.
    I am not a pleasant companion to my family in the evening after dragging the D300 and several lenses with me all day. ;)
  21. I traveled to London with my wife last Fall for a 10 day stay in the city. I carried my Nikon D300 with a Nikon 16-85mm VR zoom lens, as well as a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle zoom. I also carried a small Panasonic point and shoot camera to use during times when I didn't want to drag out the large SLR. I carried the Nikon and lenses in a shoulder bag, and the Panasonic in my pocket. The weight of the shoulder bag didn't bother me so much, it also had my rain shell and a water bottle and a travel book as well. The images I have from that trip are superb, and they enlarge very well to 12x18 inches. I've also printed a 20x30 inch poster which also looks terrific. I really don't feel the need for more camera than the D300, but at the same time, I couldn't go back to something like a D40. The Panasonic is my travel light camera and I often take walks with it in my pocket. It also served as my video camera for that trip.
  22. Thanks guys, the tripod for me is quite essential, and so I am looking at the Gitzo traveler because it is much smaller folded with the head attached. I have the Feisol compact 3402 but the head needs to be taken off and it still needs to sit diagonal (sort of) in my daypack.
    I do most of my pictures at low light hence the tripod. As an example, I shot one at sunset, the shutter was wide open maybe 4 or so at a 40mm at ISO 800 with VR of course. The shutter was 1/15 I think, zoomed into fullsize in LR was pretty good for me.
    Wide angle quite essential for me, for the iconic shots, but not used much as a walk around lens. Kuala Lumpur twin towers with the water foundtain in front was shot at 10mm stopped down to f/11, ISO 200 at shutter 0.8 seconds.
    Daytime for me is just a handheld grabshot, I don't even take the tripod out no matter how grand the shot is because I know when stopped down, handheld I still have a shutter of excess of 1/500.
    Looking at the weight I may not get the D40, maybe just my D70 and try out the 18-70 but the 18-55 is not much money. I took 5.25kg (10lbs) cargo - tripod, one set of clothes and travel sized toiletries in a daypack, my shoulder bag / hip bag Lowepro was 2.75kg (5.5lbs), so if I cut 100g there and 300g there and it adds to a total of 2kg (4lbs) to me that is quite substantial.
  23. Have a good trip.
  24. Robert, I just came back, next time maybe Shanghai in a more weather friendly place maybe a 16 degrees (60F) - lol. I was waiting for my bus after work in the evening, the shop was closed. The 18-105mm VR is pretty big - diamter wise not tiny and it does stick out a fair bit without its lens zoomed out.
  25. I don't get to travel much theses days - our second child really changed my life! Two is much more difficult because they fight.
  26. I usually travel internationally with my D200, 18-105VR and a bag of batteries and CF cards. This saves me from dust problems which caught me in China while swapping lenses. All of my sky photos, the ones without smog, had a nice UFO right in the middle. No lens change = no UFO. The VR saves me in the darker locations.
    Would I like to have my 50mm, 85mm 1.4 or others? Sure! I trade mobility and ability to capture the moment rather than fiddling with lens changes. YMMV.
  27. We gotta toughen you up, Ray. Sit in a steam room for a couple hours every day for two weeks before you go to the tropics. You won't notice the weight! Cheers, GJ
  28. It is disgusting. I don't enjoy sweat or that if I am sweating I carry on working or walking or just sit down at a restaurant when I am sweating. I also hate the beach. I couldn't wear my blacks and my layers and my coat.
  29. I think that enjoying the day is very important. If you become inactive, stopped shooting or just find yourself miserable because of the weight then it's time to lighten up. It's up to you in what manner you would lighten up. I do not see any reason not to use the 18-55 alone and leave two lenses home for general sightseeing. A mono pod can work well also if you use them correctly. The camera case you are using is also important. You do need to find yourself comfortable with that camera bag. A shoulder bag that also has a waist belt can help. Some people find the single strap backpack bags such as by Tamrac are helpful. Smaller camera's such as the D40x are nice. No reason not to carry one. I wish I had one myself sort of but my lenses are not all AFS so they are out for me.
  30. I've never come back from a vacation trip and thought "I wish I had brought more stuff."
  31. hbs


    I just got back from a three-day business trip to the Munich, Germany area with a few hours of sightseeing thrown in. My D300 and 18-200 VR were the perfect combination. They fit in my carry-on suitcase, and I used the entire 18 to 200 range. The D300 is great because I can shoot at high ISO with minimal noise.

Share This Page