Enough, but not too much, gear to bring? (Turkey & environs)

Discussion in 'Travel' started by tripp_frasch, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. My wife and I will be heading to Turkey in the end of May for nearly a month. Though not backpackers, we do travel independently, usually overland on local transport (e.g. busses, trains, etc.), so striking a good balance between bringing enough but not too much is important to us. We will be in Istanbul for a week, but the remainder of our itinerary is still developing (no pun intended), but may include visits to eastern Anatolia as well as neighboring countries.
    On a trip like this, we both generally shoot a broad mix of "travel" type photos, ranging from people to landscapes to architecture, including some indoor & nighttime shots (lighting & stabilization permitting).
    My wife typically shoots digital and will primarily use and carry her Nikon D3100 with the 18-55 kit lens.
    I shoot film primarily and need some advice on what to bring and, perhaps more importantly, what not to bother to bring with us. I'll shoot a mix of black & white (Tri-X, maybe some of my remaining Efke 25) and color (Velvia 50 for slides, Portra 400 for prints). I'll end up carrying much of whatever I choose to bring. I've got the following to select from:
    Camera bodies:
    Nikon F3 w/MD-4, Nikon F4s, Nikon F5, Leica IIIf​
    Manual Focus Nikon: 50mm f2.0 AI, 50mm f1.4 AIS, 80-200 f4 AIS
    AF Nikon: 20-35 f2.8D with hood, 50mm f1.8, 70-210 f4, with hood
    Leica: 50mm f1.5 Summarit w/XOONS hood, 9cm f4 Elmar​
    iPhone 3GS to use the Pocket LightMeter app.
    VIOOH viewfinder for the Leica IIIf
    Miscellaneous gear including Nikon SB-20 flash, cable release, various black & white contrast filters.​
    I'm thinking for bringing the following, but I worry that this may be MUCH more than I really need:
    Nikon F4s primarily with the 20-35 mounted, Nikon F5 primarily with the 70-210 mounted, the AF Nikon 50mm to toss in my pocket for lower light situations, and the IIIf with the 50mm & 90mm and VIOOH.
    What would you suggest?
  2. Do you need two lenses in the 70-200
    and two 50's? That's a lot to haul
    around. I'm big on backups but if you
    have to keep it all with you it'll get old
    quickly. If you have a safe place to stow
    some of it life will be easier.

    Rick H.
  3. I doubt that I'll have anywhere to stow anything - it will be with me all the time. I see your point about the two 50's and the cross over with the 90mm & the 70-210. Leaving the Leica (and it's associated 50 & 90mm lenses and viewfinder) at home does simplify things. Plus I won't need to worry about metering...
    Do you think I'm better off with both the Nikon F4s & F5, or perhaps just the F5 and switching lenses as needed? Pros: less weight, less hassle; Cons: no backup (though both cameras are in good working order), need to swap lenses, less flexibility with film choices at any given point.
    Thank you for your thoughts & input!
    Tripp F.
  4. Nikon F4s primarily with the 20-35 mounted, Nikon F5 primarily with the 70-210 mounted, the AF Nikon 50mm to toss in my pocket for lower light situations, and the IIIf with the 50mm & 90mm and VIOOH.​
    My wife and I have traveled a lot. Never to Turkey, but among the nearby countries, we've been to Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Greece, Italy and Israel, where we took buses and boats and trains as well as airplanes. We've walked a lot with all our luggage and sometimes used transportation that offered standing room only. There is nothing better than focusing on the experience because your luggage is no burden and nothing worse than being distracted because you're carrying too much. Take the F5, your Nikon AF lenses, and extra memory for your wife's D3100. If the F5 breaks down, you can ask her to share her camera. Have a wonderful trip.
  5. That's a lot of weight, for a travel kit, but I guess you like your pro grade Nikons. An F5 weighs 51 oz with the batteries and an F4 with the small grip and batteries is 42 oz. (I had to look that up.) The most Nikon I ever traveled with was an F100 (31 oz) plus D7000 (27 oz). I think I'd take one of the large Nikons, and pick up an N75 (about 14 oz), or one large Nikon and the Leica. Do you really want to carry three cameras in another country?
  6. Different tools for different jobs. The F4 and F5 are great cameras but they merely extend capability, they don't create great images on their own. If I were concerned about weight I'd go with 3 N70, 75, or 80 bodies, an SB-600 flash, and three lenses; 28, 50, and 70-210 or equivalent. I'd also make sure one (even better if all three had it) of the bodies has a date back. Even if you use it once a day to mark the start of your day and never again, it'll be handy years down the road. If you do take that piece of advice please take one more - date backs are notorious for keeping time and display perfectly fine on the back, while lacking sufficient power to actually imprint the date and time on the film. So be sure you have fresh batteries in them.
  7. If it were me, I'd definitely trim down the kit to only two main 35mm bodies, and a leaner mix of lenses. Then I, personally, would throw in a Rollei 35 or similar compact camera, just in case.
    But if you've done this sort of thing before, maybe you know better what you need than we do.
  8. Thank you for the thoughtful responses thus far! I think I'll leave the Leica at home since (1) the lenses that I have for it are redundant, (2) though lovely, it is a bit 'fussier' to shoot with than a camera with some automation, and (3) should something unfortunate happen, it would be challenging to replace it.
    I appreciate Patrick S.'s specific remarks about the N70, 75, or 80 bodies, but I already own the F4s & F5. Buying additional film camera bodies world not sit well at home! :) Your comments about the dateback are intriguing - I had never considered one. Budget considering, I may look into either an MF-23 for the F4s or the MF-28 for the F5 as they print in-between the frames as opposed to on the image.
    So, thoughts on this:

    Option 1:
    F5 with the 20-35, 50, and 70-210: weighs less, but need to swap lenses and limited to one type of film at a time
    Option 2:
    F4s & F5 with the 20-35, 50, and 70-210: less lens swapping, can have B&W film in one (probably the F4s) and color in the other, more to carry though.
  9. I think you have the right idea concerning what lenses to take (20-35, 50, 70-210), but used consumer grade film bodies are real cheap, and getting a N70, 75 or N80 should cost no more than about $50. Its really up to you how much weight you want to carry around on vacation for a month.
  10. I'd take the MD4 off, take the F3 body, and buy an Olympus MJU-II as back-up. Add 20-35 and 70-210.
  11. I like option 2. Sounds like what I carry
    regularly or close to it for lenses.
    Bodies are most times a pair of F4's or
    D200's depending on the job.

    Rick H.
  12. I would go with Option #2 and add a flash unit. This is most likely a trip of a life time for you and as such you should not risk missing "the shot of a lifetime" because you didn't have the proper equipment. If you are still concerned about weight, spend some time before your trip to get in proper fitness level to carry the extra pounds or kilograms. It would be very interesting to determine how many people actually had their trip ruined by taking too much camera gear with them. I know many worry about it but how much of a problem is it really? I have never had a problem and can remember when that extra piece of gear came in very handy.
  13. Sorry for double post - the Internet Gods must be angry.
  14. What would you suggest?
    Seeing a good mental health professional--you may have Stage III Gearheadedness, which is not invariably fatal, but can cause major complications if not treated. I speak from my own experience with Stage II. Every family vacation required three cameras or so, an SLR (35mm then digital) with multiple lenses, a point-and-shoot (same), and either an underwater 35mm or an underwater housing for the point-and-shoot digital.
    To avoid the Geadheadedness DT's, maybe start by framing the immediate issue within the comfortable (to you) confines of the Nikon 35mm SLR system, and asking yourself: how many truly worthwhile shots am I likely to either miss outright or seriously compromise if I confine myself to, say, an N80 and a 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 (either older one or the new VR), plus a 50mm f/1.8?
    Hopefully with such an approach this trip can put you on the path to beating the disease. One day you might even find yourself considering such heresies as: SD cards carry a lot more images, with a lot fewer worries about x-rays and extreme heat, with a lot less space and weight, than do rolls of 35mm film; modern CMOS sensors (even modestly-sized ones) can give you cleaner images at ISO 6400 than color film could at ISO 1600; and a well-chosen digital of surprisingly compact dimensions can nevertheless be a very capable photographic tool. I know that on our last family vacation, the DSLR got left in the room and the compact digital got taken almost everywhere. The latter is a Canon SX230 HS that cost $219 a year or two ago, gives you full manual control, offers raw capture (to DNG, through the CHDK hack), and produces surprisingly good images, even in low light. Were I planning a special trip, I'd look long and hard at the Sony RX-100, the Sony NEX-6 / 16-50mm stabilized pancake zoom lens bundle, and a couple of the Micro-Four-Thirds options. And I'd be confident that, since I don't carry a tripod on vacation, my picture quality would not suffer that much.
    For whatever the perspective means to you, I say all of this as someone who shot his family's Christmas evening get-together with a Mamiya M645 1000s, the 80mm f/2.8 and 150mm f/3.5, a Sunpak 383, an L-grip, and Tri-X.
  15. I'm sure you won't take this advice. But I'd take a small to medium size bag with 1 body - 2 lenses maybe your flash and filters and all the film you need to carry for a day trip. Keeping the rest of the film in your luggage. I'd take the 50mm 1.4 and the short tele. In fact if me, I'd probably just take the 50 and if I had a 35 I'd take that instead. Sure the iPhone etc. But those are heavy Nikon bodies. Or if you like shooting the Leica, that would be really light and compact. the Leica IIIf with 50 and 90. For low light you will probably have to push your b/w. I wouldn't even take 2 bodies. That stuff gets heavy and you do have to keep an eye on stuff in certain places. In any event, your back and shoulders will tell you what you can carry for long periods of time and still enjoy yourself. Sounds a great trip! have fun. Just decide, let it go and have a blast.
  16. More advice that won't be heeded but here goes ....
    First, have a talk to your wife, she sounds like the sensible one of the partnership.
    If you can't do that then take everything you listed and then when you get home see who had the more enjoyable holiday, you or her.
    Digital is just made for this sort of trip, your wife seems to understand this. I've lugged a case full of Nikon film gear around with me on many a trip simply because there was no other choice in those days, if I could relive any of those trips with digital I'd do it in an instant.
  17. The digital camera can do a lot of things, but it's not the same as making choices to capture an image in one, and only one, way. I don't project digital images, so when I think of vacation and projecting, I think color slides. When I think of relaxing in bed and enjoying a photo album I think of color prints (with maybe a few B&W thrown in) shot on color print film. Lastly, yes, you can convert digital images to B&W but do you get to spend quiet, relaxing time in the darkroom with those?
    The OP wants to shoot film. He asked for help in that venue, not comments on his mental health.
    I have an N70 I don't use (I have two of them) and if you'd like to check it out, send me an email and I'll give it to you for the cost of postage. It's 100% working. At least then you can see if one of these lightweight plastic-fantastic cameras can do what you want and save weight over the heavier Nikons.
  18. When traveling, less is more. Personally, I have never returned from a trip when I thought "I wish I had brought more stuff."
    In January my wife and I took a 16 day "trip of a lifetime" to South America that included both city and wildlife photography. Between us we took one (digital) SLR 2 lenses and 2 point and shoots (one for her, and sometimes for me when circumstances dictated). When it was over, I knew I had brought just what I needed and no more and no less.
    F3 sans motor drive, two lenses of your choice and a film P&S should do the trick.
  19. When traveling, less is more. Personally, I have never returned from a trip when I thought "I wish I had brought more stuff."
    In January my wife and I took a 16 day "trip of a lifetime" to South America that included both city and wildlife photography. Between us we took one (digital) SLR 2 lenses and 2 point and shoots (one for her, and sometimes for me when circumstances dictated). When it was over, I knew I had brought just what I needed and no more and no less.
    F3 sans motor drive, two lenses of your choice and a film P&S should do the trick.
  20. Nikon F3 without the motor, 50mm 1.4 lens and plenty of film. Enjoy the trip.
  21. Stupid double post.
  22. This kind of feedback was exactly what I have been looking for, especially the comments from long-time contributors to this site.
    Allen Hale: Regardless of what gear I end up taking, your advice to work on getting in shape now it great advice and part of the plan already under implementation!
    Dave Redmann: Points well taken. So, I shouldn't bring along a Mamiya RB67, "just in case"? ;-)
    Taking everyone's remarks to heart, it seems to be coming down to either:
    1. two bodies allowing more flexibility with film choice & focal length
    2. the minimalist approach with either the Leica or F3 (sans motor) and a fast 50mm
    The idea of the simplicity of just one camera does have it's appeal. If I go that route, I'd probably just bring lots of Tri-X.
    The primary reason for two bodies was to have two types of film readily available, and secondarily to have a backup. While I would be very surprised if any of the bodies that I have available would give me any mechanical trouble, I worry about missing something like a great sunset shot on the Bosphorus with Velvia or the like if I go the ultra minimalist route and happen to have B&W in the camera at the time.
  23. For a twilight shot on the Bosphorus with Velvia, you're gonna need a tripod. Didn't see one in your equipment list.
  24. So, I shouldn't bring along a Mamiya RB67, "just in case"? ;-)
    Tripp, just throw it into your wife's suitcase! I was somewhat amused to read Ansel Adams's account of backpacking all day with an 8x10 rig as a youth, then moving to a 4x5, and then going to a Hasselblad (6x6) in his later years. No doubt both technical advances and the ordinary effects of human aging contributed, but I doubt that was the entire story.
    As for two bodies for two film types (and some measure of backup), that definitely has a logic to it. But the issues could be somewhat mitigated by (1) choosing two bodies lighter than an F3 (maybe N80 / F80 or N70 / F70) and/or (2) being ready to rewind a partially-shot roll and leave the leader out (which is an option on some plastic-fantastic cameras, and easy enough to do by feel on manual rewinds), which would let you switch film types without wasting more than a frame or so (when doing this, I'd always leave one frame blank as insurance against frame overlap from not getting back to the exact same spot). You can write the number of frames shot on the film canister with a Sharpie pen.
    Patrick, the "comments on [the OP's] mental health" were more of a joke, but there is a serious point: many of us (myself included!) seem to think too much about what gear we'd like to use, and not enough about what sorts of pictures we really want to take and from that about what gear we need to take them.
  25. I agree with you Dave, there is a point where the gear and gear choice interferes with the process of making photographs. Film use exacerbates this problem in exactly the fashion I described; you only get one output depending on the film you use. If weight alone were the primary factor then a digital might be the solution. I would go with two bodies at a minimum for film, with slide and B&W film being the choices. You can get good prints from scanned E-6.
    I admit to being far more a "gear collector" (and user) than a good photographer, but hey, it's what I like. :) I wish I'd listened to the little voice inside my head before a number of trips, saying "take gear you know well" and NOT the newest toy, but I believe the OP has that concept firmly in mind.
  26. I went to New York for a week with a Leica M and a 35mm, a 21mm VC and b/w film. Shot most every day. Used the 24 for about 4 shots, decided I didn't need it but its a tiny lens so not heavy and never regretted not taking anything else. I walked around all day with a small little bag, got some good photos and had a ball. Never felt I was deprived of a focal length. As far as I'm concerned if you have one lens, there are no other shots that exist but those for that lens. There are no "missed" shots. The thought of wanting to carry an F4 and an F5 with a big zoom and another zoom is well, not my place to say, but I'll just say that the focus is in the wrong place, no pun intended:)
  27. Here is my feedback.....

    I have all my photos in lightroom and it makes it easy to figure out what lenses I use most. I shoot Canon, travel a lot and
    do mostly landscape photos. You can see my work at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tudorapmadoc/

    The vast majority of my work, around 75% was done with a 24-105 and its replacement - a 24-70
    About 20% was done with a 16-35
    About 5% was done with a 70-200

    I always carry those 3 lenses, just my choice. If you are looking to carry less than 3 lenses, I would drop the 70-200
    unless you plan on shooting sporting events.
  28. Well, I would suggest to go digital, but given the fact that you intend to carry a lot of film gear, that's a suggestion you will probably ignore.

    Having travelled trough a part of Turkey including Istanbul I would suggest to go for a one body set up! Istanbul can be very crowded, and you do not want to carry a ton of stuff amidst heavy crowd in high temperatures. I would suggest to leave all your camera's at home and invest in a F100 body. It has almost all the high end metering capabilities of the F5, but comes at a much more compact package. It will do the job, just as good as the rest and will save a lot of dead weight.
    For what it is worth, the only time I had a camera fail me, was when I dropped it on tarmac, so I always travel with one body. I used to carry a F100, now I have a D700, and will not bother on film again.
    Lucky you, Turkey is stunning, and the Turks, are some of the most welcoming people I have ever met.

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