Lenses for Italy

Discussion in 'Travel' started by jenna_kikani, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. Hi,
    I'm traveling to Italy in May and am thinking about getting the Canon 10-22mm lens. I have the 17-85mm f4-5.6 lens and a Canon 200mm f2.8 lenses right now. Do you think I'll be okay with the lenses I have or would anyone recommend a wider angle lens.
  2. When I was in Italy a couple years ago, I had a 12-24mm zoom that got pretty good use. FWIW, most of my travel shots were in the 18-50mm range with another large chunk in the 150-200mm range.
    Everyone is different, of course, but I would think you would get some great stuff with that 10-22mm zoom. Just a thought, consider renting one instead of buying it. That gives you a chance to try it out -- either before you go or when you are there -- and see if this is something you would use enough to justify the cost of buying it.
  3. I hauled a bag of lenses with me to Italy (using a cropped sensor camera, as it sounds you're describing). I used a 10-20mm ultra wide a lot ... and lot more than I thought I would, too. Seems as though I shot about 30% in the 10-20 range, about 50% in the 150mm neighborhood, and the rest around 30-50mm (typically, with fast primes, indoors).

    But some of my favorite shots would have been impossible without being able to shoot between 10 and 12 mm.
  4. Well I have been to Sicily and Venice a few times and for the landscapes that I like to shot to isolate patterns I use my 100-400mm the most followed by my 28-70mm and lastly my 17-35mm.
    In Venice I used my 28-70 the most except for when I went to Burano
    I shoot with a 5D which is a full frame
  5. I went to Egypt with my shortest lens for the APS-C sized sensor cameras being a 17-85mm IS lens. I love the 17-85, but immediately after I got home I ordered the Sigma 10-20mm. How I wished I had done it before the trip!
    There is actually less barrel distortion on the wider lens (either the Sigma or Canon, by the tests), but such on the 17-85 can be easily repaired in post processing. I'd think the 200 would be adequate on the long end, although a zoom might be more flexible. I found that I used my 75-300mm IS much less than I had anticipated before the trip, but I used it more toward the wide end than the long one. Of course, that supposes you'll be shooting as I did, with an emphasis on architecture and ruins.;)
  6. A wide angle and a table tripod with padded/non-marking/non-scratching feet.
    A lot of my best Italy shots were slow exposures with the camera on the floor of a cathedral.
  7. You will certianly appreciate having a wide- angle lens in Italy. The streets are narrow in most of the towns; I was glda that I had my Tokina 12-24 with me on our latest trip.
  8. I have to agree with everyone in recommending the wider end of the lens selection. The last time I was in Italy (a few years ago) I hauled my 35mm film kit and a half dozen or so primes (from 24-300mm). My most used lenses were the 24mm, 35mm and 50mm. So for digital I'd say get something wide like the 10-22 or 12-24 (sorry, I don't know Canon lenses very well, I use Pentax), keep the 17-85 for every day use and take the 200mm for the ceiling of the vatican.
  9. I never wanted a lens wider than 28mm (35mm equivalent). Yes, the streets are narrow, but who wants to show everything in one photo? Photography is about reduction of reality.
  10. It's certainly a matter of personal taste an preferences ... but I would certainly include a 10-xx lens into the kit if I were you.
  11. Unless you really think you need the extra lenses, it may be worth using what you have and spending the lens budget on some holiday treats. [A glass of wine in St Mark's Square could be an alternative use for your budget ;-)]
  12. If your into photographing the interior of the beautiful churches and old buildings, you need the widest lens you can get - but also the fastest. You need the wide lens to encompases the beauty of the structures, but you also need fast glass - for these places are typically not well lighted and flash is either not allowed or inappropriate. Also, the narrow streets do not allow you to move far enough back to capture statues, monuments, buildings, or even the street scene. We were in Rome recently and all I used was a 14-24mm, f/2.8, and a 24-70mm, f/2.8. Unless your touring the countryside, you'll find little/no use for your 200mm.
  13. The Canon 10-22 is a very fine lens and if you are happy with the kind of perspective you get with it then you will find it gets a lot of use. Mine barely left the camera for a time but I also use a 70-300. If you want a faster lens then the Tokina 11-16 f2.8 gets some very good reviews though I have not tried it myself.
    Italy has wonderful landscapes, especially in the north and down to Tuscany. The ancient towns habe narrow streets. Both places where a wide angle is very useful.
    have a great trip!
  14. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    There is a school of thought that all one needs for travel photography is wide lenses. I don't agree with that at all and find that many of the photographs I see from very wide lenses lack a clear subject or point of emphasis. Meanwhile much of the joy of being in a new country or city is observing the details- which in general one needs a longer lens to capture. Personally I'd expect to use the 17-85 for at least half my shots. I would be concerned at the large gap between the 85 and the 200 and would possibly be looking at a light zoom to cover say 70-200. And yes, I might get a wider lens too, if I were using a crop sensor camera
    But I might also be tempted to try Peter Meade's approach- think hard about whether your photography beyond this trip will necessitate new lenses, and if not well sticking to a 17-85 won't kill you. Personally I'd leave the 200mm prime at home, and I'd have polarisers for all but the widest lens.
  15. Exactly what David said. I lived in Italy for some years and in all that time when visiting cities something like your 17-85mm would account for almost everything I took. Even wider-angled lenses might be useful if you are into that kind of thing - your 200mm would see very little use
  16. I have spent many months touring in Italy. I have a great rig for this type of photography. I have a Nikon D40x with an 18 to 200 lense, and a table top tripod. The camera and tripod fit into what looks like a purse (Overland bag). It is OK for European men to carry a purse and this bag is small enough to be allowed into virtually every museum. Too big a bag, then it has to be checked. This rig worked extremely well and provided good security. On one trip, I took a G9 Canon (now it would be a G10) and it too worked out well- but the 18 to 200 was much better.
  17. A glass of wine in St Marks Square would use up the whole budget. A dish of olives about the same again.
  18. I'm actually going to Italy later this month for a couple weeks. I'm thinking of only bringing my 17-55 and 10-22 because I'll be traveling very light. How useful is a telephoto for traveling? I've always felt you should just get yourself closer to the subject, but maybe if I had more telephoto range I'd use it more. Granted, Europe has some buildings with amazingly high ceilings and you can't get very close to thse.
  19. I took a 17-55 2.8 and 180 2.8 for my D200 for our August trip to Tuscany and Rome. I also took a 50 1.4, but used it maybe once. The 17-55 was perfect for me on the wide end; a teleconverter would have been used a few times on the long end if I had one. I would have loved to have a 70-200 2.8, but it would have been a drag to carry it around.
    Photos here:
    Have a great trip!
    Saint Paul, MN
  20. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    How useful is a telephoto for traveling?​
    Very, if you let your mind search out a variety of photographic types not just obvious wide angle shots of city streets and landascapes. I reckon that about half the commercially successful photographs I've taken in Italy have been made with telephoto lenses ranging from (35mm equivalent) 90-200mm.
  21. Here's what you do. Take every lens you've got. Then take me with you. Just like a golf caddy, I'll carry them around for you. Your hands are free. My trip is free. Sounds like a plan to me. :)
  22. Jenna,
    I think your plan on getting the 10-22mm is right on. You'll probably use that lens most of the time for the interiors of the historical sites and the 17-85mm for most of the outdoor stuff. Leave the 200mm at home. You'll want to travel as light as possible. Your feet, back and shoulders will thank you.
    I was in Rome last year with my widest lens being a 36mm equivalent on my Olympus E-1 (Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8). I wish I would have had at least a 20mm equivalent lens with me for the interior shots.
  23. I took three lenses with me: a 21/4, a 50/1.5 and a 135/4.5. I used the 21/4 about 70% of the time. I never wished I had a wider lens (I use film so it was a true 21mm).
    I could stand in front of a cathedral and get the whole thing in frame without having to move across the street, like the Mrs. with her digital P&S which had a maximum of 35mm. I could take the Pantheon from floor to ceiling in one frame.
  24. My urban travel outfit for Italian town is a film camera with a 28-105 mm lens. I also recommend a wide angle, unless you do not want to take full pictures of buildings in towns. The problem with Italian towns is that spaces are narrow and street are crowded. The situation in which you are in front of a building and you can't go back enough to take a full shot or you can go back but then you end framing a lot of other stuff in the foreground is quite common. Once I had a 35-135 mm zoom and I traded it because 35 mm was not wide enough on film for urban landscape shots. I find most of my pictures taken in between 28 and 35 mm, some around 50 mm (I love the "natural" perspective of the 50 mm) and the rest in between 85 and 135-150 mmm when I want to isolate elements of the architecture. My usual approach is to take a couple shots of the church/monument/square in its surrondings and then move to a longer focal lenght and isolate the elements I think will complement the general picture. If I have to give numbers I would say: 50-20-30. For interior shootings, bear in mind that a tripod is not allowed in churches. For ceilings I leave the camera on the floor with self timer. I also recommend a P&S camera as a complement to your DSRL, you can use it to take candids on the streets, and in all the situations where you won't be comfortable in taking out the DSRL outfit.
  25. If you really need a wide angle or a telephoto lens has nothing to do with the country you want to travel. It depends only on your personal style. So nobody else than you can answer your questions. Everyone can only say what he or she would use. That's really pointless.
  26. Stefan makes a good point. It really does depend on how you see things.
    I used to regularly travel round western Europe (including Italy), usually carrying just a 6x6 MF folder with standard 75mm lens. I never really missed not having any other focal lengths, particularly given the much reduced weight - important since you tend to walk all day.
    Seriously, if you take too much with you, you tend to obsess over what to take with you each day, and wonder "what if I had that slightly wider / slightly longer lens".
    Stick to the lens you have, and with the money saved, get some decent prints made on your return, and consider getting a good monopod or table-top tripod. You'll also have more money to spend on the food!.
    Enjoy your trip, and remember to take the camera away from the eye from time to time ;-)
  27. I used my Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 with a 2x tela converter a lot in Italy for landscape shots with my Gitzo tripod. It worked very well for zooming in on parts of the landscape in front of me. Some of my best shots were taken with that lens. I was low on money so I bought a cheap Tokina wide angle zoom lens and was very glad I did and I used the Tokina 28-80mm f2.8 for a great many of the shots I took. Check out my porfilo on Italy. I also used a belt system to carry all of this stuff and that saved my back and shoulders a lot of pain. And do not forget a very comfortable pair of shoes makes all the difference! So I had a range from 18mm to 400mm on a Nikon N80. Used a mono pod as well which doubles as a walking stick and a baton if you should need one. Have a great time. We loved Italy!
  28. Thanks everyone for this great information! I'm still looking at the prices and have a bit of time to think about it. I'm really considering getting the lens though. I'll go to the store one day and try it out.
  29. When I lived in Italy and always had a camerawith me, it was a 135mm on a Spotmatic. Depends what your vision is (or what you want it to be.
  30. The 10-22mm is a great choice. I would also take a flash for interior shots. I use a 14-24mm along with a 16mm fisheye for interiors and use the flash to boost the ambient light level. Wider lenses are also more forgiving when you shoot hand held at slow shutter speeds.
    For general street photography the Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 is the biggest lens I would every use overseas. On a FF camera the 24-70mm is the largest lens I will use. Anything larger is very conspicuous and we Americans tend to stick out like a sore thumb as it is.
  31. Two trips to Europe, one with a wide angle and one without. Two days before my first trip I purchased a 19-35 Tamron for my Canon Rebel film camera. Packed it up with out testing and was astonished with the results when I returned home. I kick my self for not taking more shots with it. I upgraded to the XTI before the second trip and was not able to swing the 10-22 before the trip. Not a day passed that I wished I had a lens wider than the 17-85 with me. I ended up shooting a lot of tight shots with my 50 1.4 or 60 2.8 macro and very little with the 70-300. I now have the 10-22 and won't travel without it.
    The image below is with the 19-35. Keep in mind the 10-22 works for you like a 16-35. Have fun and post some of your trip pics.
  32. Jenna, my advice is if you are going to buy the 10-22, do it now. So you can have time to test it and get used to. It is not only a matter of checking its correct performance, but to develop your vision, i.e. learn what a wide angle lens can do for you and learn to recognize potential picture situation. Hence you will be prepared. Otherwise the risk is that this lens, which in my humble opinion is a great asset for shooting in crowded cities, will stay in your bag because your mind sees no use for it or will give you disappointing results because you don't know how to make the best out of it. I agree with those stating that you can visit a place and take fantastic pictures with whatever lens you are accustomed to, for ten years my only lens had been a 50 mm, but I also believe that if I had a 28 mm and a 135 mm at that time, I would had learnt to recognize potential pictures and used them as well.
  33. I couldn't do without 10 mm. But, as always, YMMV.
    bon voyage
  34. Thank you all so much! I'm definitely getting the lens. I'm going to the store on sunday to test it. I just feel like I have to go see it first. This way I'll still have it for a few weeks to take photos with it before I go.

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