Canon Travel Kit for Vietnam

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by andy_fussell, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. I am going to be traveling to Vietnam for 3-4 weeks in about a months time. I am
    looking to add to my portfolio of work and looking to sell also to my current
    libraries etc.

    My current gear that I would consider taking is 5d, 1ds2, 17-40, 24-105 and
    70-200 f4IS.

    Now I want to be open to all opportunities but be able to travel as ightly as
    possible. My thoughts are the 5d over the 1d but my concern is humidity and
    moisture at that time of year.

    I think the long lens is a given for people photography there? but cant decide
    if I take both the 17-40 and the 24-105. I do like wide but I'm thinking I may
    be able to get away with 24mm and I would have I.S. to boot...

    I would love to hear from travel photographers who have been through the same

    I will be taking the gear in a Tamrac Velocity 9 as I think it the most
    comfortable solution for all day carrying.

  2. if you want something light in canon, get yourself a used canon p and the dream 0.95 lens. something alternative and definitely not prone to humidity or moisture as your 5d. other alternative would be to carry a canon g9 compact.
  3. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    If you decide to live with the 24mm as being wide enough, I would not take the 70m to 200 at all, but rather pick up a 20D or 30D and use the efficiencies of the increased FoV, using the 24 to 105, when necessary.

    With that choice you gain system redundancy, should one body fail.

    The 20D 30D (and 40D) series are very similar in functionality to the 5D and use the same main battery.

    Have a look at the weight comparison, (to the 70 to 200F4L IS USM), I think perhaps the body might be lighter?

    To round off the kit, consider a fast prime, for night work, which you could keep mounted on the xxD.

    My passion would be a 24F1.4L, but cheaper (and lighter) options include: the 35F2 and the 50F1.8MkII.

    On another note I use 2 x Powershot 5IS extensively and with that experience I do not think a G9 would be suitable for the outcomes I perceive you require: lack of RAW capture, and thus reliance upon JPEG post production would be one major issue, IMO. And there are others.

    A flim range finder would be nice, but would hardly give the FL coverage you seem to require / desire, and keeping quality film cool and then bringing it up to temperature in hot and humid conditions is problematic, time consuming and the timing of it is an art in itself in my experience. Not to mention latent image decay: that too might be applicable in this particular situation.

  4. William, the Canon G9 has raw capability.
  5. I spent three weeks in Vietnam in early 2007. I only had a 5D, 50/1.4, 28/1.8, and 20/1.8. There were a few times I wished for something a bit longer, but not having a tele wasn't a serious handicap. I ended up leaving the 20/1.8 back in the room most of the time.
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    My experiences were similar to Mike. I went to Vietnam four years ago with nothing longer than a 50 and never felt like I was missing anything.
  7. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Robert: Thank you for the correction. I just rang Canon and they confirmed your statement. (no offence intended).

    Before I wrote that, I did first check here:

    and could not see any mention of RAW, (perhaps I didn`t look closely enough) and that specs page, combined with the G9 being in the Powershot range I `assumed` no RAW.

    However, even with RAW, I still do not think a P&S` is the best option.

  8. I would definitely bring the 70-200m f/4L Is lens because a long lens is sometimes
    the only way to get portraits of people in their natural supproundings and have
    them looking natural. The older Vietnamese I have shot are often shy and self
    conscious about cameras while the younger kids are camera hogs.

    I would bring the 24-105L and leave the 17-40L at home beause, IMO, 24mm is
    sufficiently wide on a full-frame camera. However, I would pick up a fast prime
    such as the 50mm f/1.4 or the 50mm f/1.8 Mark-I (not the nifty-fifty) for night-time
    shots. Saigon (excuse me; Ho Chi Minh City) comes vibrantly alive at night. You
    just MIGHT be able to get away with the 24-105 due to the IS but, a 50mm lens is
    not that big and heavy to carry and is much more suitable for night shots.
  9. I was in China for the last three weeks. My kit consisted of 5D, 17-40, 70-200 2.8, and a 50 1.4. The kit has worked really well for me over the last year or so traveling. I would dump the 24-105 and buy a 50 1.4, mid range prime between your two lenses work really well and the extra couple of stops are extremly handy. While I was in China my swet was even swetting and I didn't have any issues with my 5D or lenses. One other recomendation would be a completely water proof bag or one that has a real good pull out cover. You really never know when the weather is going to go south in the sub tropic areas. I use a Think Tank Airport Accelerator.

    On a side note I do carry a P&S in my pocket. I got the Panosonic LX2, it shoots raw and about 80.00 less than the canon. Plus Leica lenses baby.
  10. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member


    What advantages do you see the EF50F1.8, has over the EF50F1.8MkII?

  11. Well I am not going to put down the 1.8 at all. For the price its a great lens. But the 1.4 has a half stop over the 1.8, while it might not be much on paper I have found it to be a great asset in the field. The build quality is fantastic, the 1.4 hands down beats the 1.8 in this regard. The 1.8 feels cheap and has been considered a throw away lens. The 1.4 feels like it will last the life of your kit. The last two things wich are probably the most important is its a lot sharper and has way better bokeh. I have shot both lenses and I am very satified spending the extra coin. If one was looking for a cheap great lens that they weren't sure if they wanted to keep or care if it got damaged the 1.8 is the way to go. If you want a lens to last the life of your kit get the 1.4. The 200 extra is worth the build quality the upgrade in sharpness and bokeh and the extra half stop.
  12. When I went to Tunisia in January, I chose to leave my 1Ds at home, and just
    take a 40D. I suspect you'd do well to take the 5D instead of the 1-series.
    The weight will be tiresome and the extra attention it will attract unwelcome.

    With the 40D my kit was 10-22, 17-55IS, and 55-250IS. I really enjoyed the
    small size and good reach of the 55-250.

    With a full frame camera, I'd make the 24-105 my workhorse lens.

    I'd sure appreciate something longer than 105, and was thinking about taking my
    135/2.8 SF along if I'd taken my 1Ds to Tunisia, but I don't think the extra
    reach would be that significant. In your case, the 70-200/4 IS would be great,
    but again the size and color might attract unwanted attention. In tight
    quarters and narrow streets, you'll surely appreciate the 17-40 if you can take
    it along as well.

    In short, your kit sounds excellent if you can handle that many lenses, some of
    them large ones, out on the street. If not, leave the rest in a safe place and
    just take the 24-105. I'd think about a backup camera or body of some sort
    also, but probably not a 1-series due to bulk, expense, and unique batteries.
    Might be a job for a G9 digicam!
  13. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    [To Doug`s comment]:

    I too own the 50/F1.4.

    I bought it over the 50F1.8MkII; the 50F2.5CM and the second hand options I had being the 50F1.0L and 50F1.8.

    The 50F1.2L was not released at the time of my purchase.

    I bought the 50F1.4 because of build; its (faster) lens speed; and full time manual focus. I also use the F1.4 wide open.

  14. In your case, the 70-200/4 IS would be great, but again the size and color might attract unwanted attention.
    Unless you look Vietnamese, it's not your camera that will attract attention.
  15. I just counted: Of the 124 Vietnam pictures I have with my agent, 24 were taken with the 70-200mm (2.8 non IS). So, just over 20 percent. A second body as a backup is not a bad idea when it's a trip hard (or expensive) to recreate. It seems the three lenses and two bodies you've chosen is not an overload -- although, you'll be carrying it, not me. I took a 1D2 and a 10D in 2005, with a 17-35L, 28-70L, and the 70-200 mentioned. I went overland Saigon to Hanoi in two weeks. Important is storage and backup, At the time, I burned CDs in duplicate, but now I would take, as I do on all my trips, two of the smaller USB-powered portable hard drives in 250GB versions. You should find people friendly and cooperative. More than 70 percent of the population is under 30, so they have no memory of You-Know-What-War.
  16. I was in VN from December 26, 2007 to January 21, 2008 I brought with me a 40D a 350D/XT, 24-70 f/2.8L and 70-200 f/2.8L IS. I'm sure with your full-frame bodies the 24-105 f/4L should be wide enought for you, but if you want to travel light, leave the 24-105 f/4L home and bring the 17-40 f/4L and 70-200 f/4L IS. I suggest you bring both bodies so you won't have to change lenses Don't worry about the humidity, it's not that bad especially if you're only there for 3 weeks (Just buy some silica gel packs). USB-powered portable hard drives are a must. To be safe go with another person, don't travel alone with your expensive gears. Good luck and have fun
  17. Looking at this guy's work I would not left the 17-40 home. The ultra-wide will give much joy. As pointed earlier by others 17-40, 70-200 and the tiny 50/1.8 mark I will be sufficient to cover all the photographic elements you'll come across in Vietnam without breaking your bones.

    OK, admittedly this is a different story, but as for myself I've been through the same dilemma. In the end I decided to leave all the Canons home, took my Rolleiflex T 6x6 format and some filmrolls type 120 to Vietnam instead and had my films at a Fuji centre in Dalat developed (which they did good). Just got back home last week from that-country-of-delicious-food and after scanning the negs I'm pleased to see the results. The Tessar Carl Zeiss 75mm (which is equal to 45mm in 35mm format) appeared to be enough for the type of photography like the one attached here. It might be a bit too dark for the monitor, but the print came out excellent. Happy Vietnaming :)
  18. I suspect that most of your daytime shots could be made with the 24-105 on the 5D. Take ther 17-40 if you can handle the weight. (Personally, I'd leave it home.)

    But you're a little screwed when the light gets low. Spend $80 on a 50/1.8, and take it and the 24-105 and you should be very happy. Take the 17-40 too and you might be a mite happier, but wearier.

    As for the G9, it's a great little package, but for the same price you could get an Olympus E-420 (body just two ounces more than the G9) *with* the rather decent kit lens.
  19. I did travel cambodia and thailand with a 17-40 and a 100 macro. Using my cameras with film. 80% was shot with 17-40mm.
  20. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    a long lens is sometimes the only way to get portraits of people in their natural supproundings and have them looking natural. The older Vietnamese I have shot are often shy and self conscious about cameras while the younger kids are camera hogs.
    I had no problems like this. I think it depends on how you act when you approach people. I took a note a friend of mine wrote in Vietnamese explaining who I was, since I was unable to learn the language well enough to speak myself. The only thing I ran into was people who laughed because they couldn't figure out why I was taking their photo. I worked very close in and rarely had any "hamming" for the camera.
  21. jrh


    You may already know about this, but the biggest problem I had in Cambodia last
    year with the humidity was moving from an air-conditioned room or office out into
    muggy heat. On a number of occaisions I left my camera in its bag until I wanted
    to shoot, only to find that the lens had fogged up as soon as it came out of the
    bag. I missed a number of early mornig shots while waiting for the bloody thing to

    Either avoid aircon if you can handle the heat, or take your camera out of its bag
    and remove the lenscap as soon as you leave an airconditioned space so that it
    has a chance to defog before you start to take pictures.
  22. Depending on Customs and Excise regulations in your country I'd consider picking
    up some gear in Viet Nam. I go there once or twice a year, and am due there
    again in three weeks (going to Cambodia and Laos first, this time). I picked up
    the Nikkor 70-300 VR in January. Savings vs. many other places ~30%. If you're
    going to Sai Gon you will find ample shopping opportunities in Q1 (distrinct 1).
    Again, your mileage may vary.

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