Italy, D2X, and Fast Primes

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ted turner, Sep 17, 2006.

  1. I will be in Venice and Florence later this fall, so I�m trying to sort out my
    travel kit. I�m only going to take one digital body, no film or medium format
    gear this time, and among the bodies I have the D2X seems to be the logical
    choice primarily because of the resolution, reach, and file storage options
    provided by the HSC (and just because it�s the most versatile body I have).

    I�m well aware of the inverse relationship between the amount/size of the gear
    in the bag and the photographic pleasure/image quality while on vacation. It
    seems like the more gear I carry, the worse my photos are (and I return with
    fewer pics).

    So�here�s what I�m thinking regarding lens choices for these two cities (* =
    lens I do not yet own):

    12-24mm Nikkor: Venice is cramped and I shoot wide a lot; this lens seem obvious
    and it�s great for capturing candid, shoot-from-the-hip shots in crowded piazzas.

    *35mm (f/1.4 AIS or f/2 AF): I�m strongly leaning toward the AIS, even though it
    costs twice as much as the AF, but the focal length is really the point here.
    I�m not yet sold on the Sigma 30mm f/1.4.

    50mm f/1.8 AF or f/1.4 AIS Nikkor (fast, small, and light and I use this a lot
    already, even for short range macro with a tube or the Canon 500D)

    Now, here�s the tough part that I need help with � the tele lens. As much as I
    enjoy the quality and range of my 70-200mm VR, I just can�t see myself lugging
    it around every day. I�m also not sure if I will miss the 150mm+ range for a
    trip like this. I want more reach than the 50mm, lots of speed (faster than
    2.8), and small size.

    Option 1: *85mm (still deciding on flavor, maybe the 1.4 AIS and remember that
    HSC gives me an effective 170mm field of view)

    Option 2: *105mm f/2 DC (fast and creative with more reach for candids, but large)

    For those of you that have traveled in these cities, do you have any advice on
    lens choices? Again, I�m thinking that the 12-24mm will be the only zoom I carry
    and I want to limit the rest of my lenses to 2-3 relatively small and very fast
    primes. Also, does anyone know if there are current restrictions on photography,
    whether it�s on the street or in museums (besides the standard stuff like the
    use of tripods and flash)?

    Thanks, Ted
  2. Hi Ted,
    I don't think you could go wrong with the 85mm f/1.8 afd. It's compact ccompared to the 1.4's and it's really sharp. I agree with you on your 70-200mm. I have an 80-200mm AFS and it's great but the thing is so big and heavy that I never walk around with it for fun.

  3. Oh yeah, if you want a truely compact 85mm the f/2 AIS is barely larger than a 50mm f/1.4 ais.
  4. I was there in May with my d200. Inside churches, I used my 20mm f 2.8 wide open. I wish it had been a 1.8. I wish I had my 50mm 1.8 with me. Take it and the 85mm 1.4 for indoor shots. Leave the flash at home. You cannot use it most places. You will have to travel light and minimize what you carry inside to avoid having to check it. Each place has its own rules re tripods and whether you can take pics at all. Some churches allow them, some do not. Most museums do not allow anything. I used my 18-70 mm the most. Go to the Friari church. It allows pics and has some of the best stuff to photograph. It is a museum within a church.

    The lighting inside places is terrible. Shoot RAW so you can adjust the light balances. Auto wb did not work inside.

    Take the VP and get a rail seat and just photo Venice from it as it moves thru the canals.

    Keep your eyes open for thieves. Joe
  5. Ted,

    As long as you are looking for the long end of the range, check out a Nikkor 105 f1.8 ais. It is a bang up effective 150mm f1.8 on the D2x. I use it on that camera and on a D200. It's wide open portraits must be seen to really appreciate this lens.
    I use a 14 f2.8 AFD, 35 f1.4 ais, 50 f1.4 ais, and the 105 f1.8. a lot when I go to older cities.

    Best regards,

    Frank M.
  6. I'd go with the 12-24 and the 50 only. Leave the long zoom at home. Too much to carry for questionable return on photos.
  7. Unless you have a Katzeye screen for manual focus lenses, get the 35 f/2 AFD. It is a great lens with the D2X. The 35f/1.4 is also fantastic, I've used it with my FM3A as the only lens for my last Italian visit. I would pick two lenses (3 max), travel light and really get to enjoy the challenges of creatively photographing in a supremely photogenic country. My choices and / or suggetions for your D2X Italian adventure would be the following: 12-24 AF (upclose wideangle candids and photojournalistic captures); the 35 f/2 AFD or a 50 f/1.4 (1.8) for regular street and available light pictures; finally a 105 f/2.8 AFS Micro Nikkor as a manageable light wieght fast medium telephoto.
  8. Too much stuff, I recently went to India and packed only F90X, 20mm and 28mm... and sometimes I thought it was already too much.
  9. Ted,<br>
    How about a 12~24/4.0G ED-IF DX, 35/1.4 AIS, 50/1.8 AF and 105/2.8G
    ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor.<br>
    The 105/2.8 with VR gives you some close-up capability with out
    the need for a tripod and gives a medium telephoto with enough
    speed to control motion and VR lets you hand hold where a tripod
    would otherwise be needed. I&#146;m thinking details between 0.10x
    and 0.33x and more distant shots as a medium telephoto. I think detail
    shots either telephoto or close-up add to a general view considerably,
    the detail shown just after the general view. It's like the viewer
    gets to explore, not just look at a post card.<br>
    The weight of the 35/2.0D AF and 50/1.8 AF are so low they almost
    don&#146;t count. If the budget can stand it what about a 17~55/2.8G
    ED-IF AF-S DX and 35/2.0D AF instead of the 35/1.4 AIS and 50/1.8
    Dave Hartman.
  10. Definitely take the 12-24 and the 35 f/1.4 for indoor shots. I would suggest the 85 over the 105. With the D2x you can shoot raw or large Jpeg and crop. Still leaving you with a shot that can be enlarged to 8X10. And you will save weight and cost. But I would recommend leaving the 50 at home. I agree with you that having to much equipment can be more of a problem than a help when traveling these days. Something you have not addressed is what are you going to use for memory. Are you going to take a lot of CF cards or are you considering some type of portable memory or burner.
  11. Hi Ted,

    I agree with the previous posts, don't take too much equipment. I visited Venice, Florence and Rome a couple of years ago. My equipment was FM3a, 24mm f2.8 AIS, 50mm f1.8 AF and 105mm f2.8 Micro AF. As you're shooting digital, and looking at the lenses you already own, I would suggest you take the 12-24mm for wide-angle street shots, 50mm f1.8 for interiors and to buy a 105mm Micro, if this is within your budget. The macro lens will be very usefull for detail shots of architecture, and will also serve as a nice portrait lens and short tele.

    As for restrictions on photography, you are normally not allowed to take pictures in churches. Also, most churches will require you wear "decent" clothes, whatever that means. You're ok with a t-shirt and shorts. Women may be required to cover up bare shoulders. Museums may or may not allow photography, obviously no flash or tripods. I do recommend you to take a small tripod for night shots.

    In Venice, on the Piazza San Marco, just outside the main entrance of the Basilica, you should enter the tower. From the top, you can look down on the piazza and have the best views of the rest of the city. I don't recall the name of the tower, but you can't miss it, it's the tallest building of the piazza and the surrounding area.

    Take the vaporetto on the bigger canals. For small canals, the gondolas, although they are becoming extremely expensive. In Florence, you can get around by bus or on foot. A word of warning though: when you buy a vaporetto or bus ticket, you need to validate that ticket once you enter the vaporetto or bus. Just buying the ticket is not enough, I have seen people that were fined because they forgot to validate their ticket.

    Joseph has a good point about thieves. I'm not sure if you will be travelling alone or in a group. If by yourself, watch out when you change lenses and have you camera bag open. If in a group, thieves will normally pretend to be part of the group, listen for a while and try to take your wallet or camera. I don't want to scare you, it's not worse than most big cities, but you need to be careful if you don't want thieves to ruin your trip.

    A 105mm on a 1.5x DSLR will give you a slightly longer view than the 135mm I used on a recent trip to Tunisia. Please refer to my portfolio

    folder "Travel Tunisia". Pictures number 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 were all taken with the 135mm.

    Within the next couple of days I will be uploading some pictures of Italy as well.

    Have a nice trip.


  12. When I do a city trip I take my 12-24/4,35/2,50/1.4 and the 100/2.8E which is a very sharp lens and as the other two primes a light weight (if you buy one buy the version with the chrome ring).If I want a lightweight zoom with me I take the 75-150/3.5E
  13. When I went to Africa earlier this summer, I took only the D200 and 18-70. I was wanting a low light lens sometimes, the 12-24 sometimes but the 18-70 covered it really well and kept my equipment to a minimum and no dust problems with no lens changes. Sometimes I wanted my 80-400 for some compression shots or cutting the DOF way down but I made do.

    A 12-24 and 28-70 would be an awesome combo but since I have neither, the 18-70 is my choice for city trips like that.

    Instead of a tripod, take a little bean bag. You can put it in your pocket, you don't have to try and balance a weenie small pod with your huge camera and a bean bag conforms to everything. I love mine.
  14. Len, Nice picture of David. When were you there? I was there in 2004 and they had the back wall covered with plastic and redoing the surface. I was just wondering if this is how it use to look or is the finished product. Just curious.
    Ted, Take it from me no more than one camera and two lenses, one being a fast prime for taking pictures indoors. They do not allow flash!
  15. You guys are great! Thanks for all of the great tips and fresh ideas, like the 85mm f/2 AIS, 105mm f/1.8 AIS, 105mm f/2.8 VR micro (thanks Dave, that would be nice to have), and the 75-150mm (I have always been intrigued by this lens)

    <p>Some of you recommended the 17-55mm; however, as great as this lens is, one of my Near Years resolutions was to not buy another DX lens. I would prefer the 17-35mm anyway for its resistance to flare. The extra reach of the 17-55mm would be nice, but the 12-24mm has to go in the bag and there is some redundancy with a 17+ zoomer. Aaron, the 28-70mm would be great with my 12-24, and I might just be able to justify sticking the 70-200mm in the luggage, but not carry it around all the time. The 35mm f/2 would be cheaper than the 1.4 AIS, for sure, and lighter.

    <p>I will take at least one speedlight (I have several) for evening shots around the dinner table with family, but primarily for fill flash and dawn/dusk experiments (e.g., cool white balance for ambient with warming gels on the strobes). To be honest, I am not particularly interested in photographing inside churches or museums anyway, even if it was allowed.

    <p>I have about 12GB worth of cards, but this will be a two-week trip, so I need to get a HyperDrive before I leave.

    <p>For macro, I may just take my Canon 500D and/or one of my tubes (PK-13, PN-11) and screw it onto whichever lens will give me the best working distance at the time. I will also bring a CP and at least one ND grad -- these are sort of mandatory. My tripod will be my little Gitzo 1027 with Acratech head and RRS panning clamp. I will leave most of the accessories in the hotel most of the time and break it out only when I want to get away from the family so that I can do some serious photography (which will be often!).

  16. Ted,

    Last night I uploaded some pictures of Italy on my portfolio (see the last folder "Travel"). Please post us some images when you return.

  17. I do that trip 3 or 4 times a year (one of the benefits of having a handbag company that
    utilizes Italian leather- buying trips!). Going again in three weeks. I've discovered over
    the years that I never use anything longer than 85mm. My current travel kit consists of a
    D200 with a 17-55 f/2.8, a 50 f/1.8 and a 85mm f/1.8. Occasionally I'll bring my
    12-24mm. If I had to pick two lenses, I'd leave the 50mm at home. The 17-55 (or
    similar) would do just fine if I wanted to take only one lens (I did the trip numerous times
    with just a 28-105 or a 18-70 before I finally got the 17-55). So in your case, I'd probably
    bring the 12-24, 50 and 85. There just aren't very many times that I find myself wishing I
    had more reach, and my back thanks me for it.

    I am unaware of any restrictions beyond what you mention.

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