Long Term Travel Kit Advice: Too Much Gear?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dave_l., Sep 17, 2008.

  1. After a slight delay, I'm planning a 5 month trek that will go from New Zealand through Asia into Japan. I'm
    expecting a whole slew of different experiences from day hikes in the rainforests to festivals to weeks on a
    beach. While it's not the only reason I'm traveling, photography will be a major aspect of my trip. I'd like to
    be able to print larger than 8x10, possibly much larger if I really nail a shot. Outside of travel, my
    photographic interests skew towards nature and landscape photography. That's what I'd be focusing on while
    traveling, I'm assuming.

    After a lot of thought, I've come up with the following travel kit:

    -Nikon D40x (picking up a small body was the best advice I've gotten so far)

    -12-24 wide angle zoom

    -sigma 30 1.4

    -sigma 50-150 f2.8 (possibly with a TC)

    -slik sprint mini tripod

    Is this too much gear? From smaller trips I've done, it doesn't seem unreasonable. But I've never done this
    type of extensive traveling before. I could replace the 50-150 with an 85 1.8 but the flexibility of the long
    zoom seems worth the weight. I definitely want a lens for portraiture.

    I'm really looking to more experienced travel photographers for guidance here!

    On a side note, the fact that I'm seriously considering taking two Sigma lenses over any Nikon glass should speak
    volumes about what is missing in their lens lineup...
  2. If you skip the tripod, you could look at the pair of VR AF-S NIkkors, the 18-55mm and the 55-200mm lenses.
    Both take 52mm filters, and everything will work on your D40x body. Should you want a bit larger file size, if you have not yet bought the D40x, you could look at the D40, D60, or the D80 body.
  3. i'd too recomend looking into D60 of d80 for larger files, thus larger enlargements later. also, the difference between 12-24mm and 30mm is very small, so maybe don't take the 30mm lens, to lighten the load a bit.<br>KN
  4. bmm


    30/1.4 gives you reasonably wide plus low light option. Zoom is good and will be on your camera 75% of the time I imagine. To me a wide zoom is clearly the third best, a specialty option, and the one I'd leave behind if I had to take only 2.
  5. I'm taking Nikon 16-85 and Nikon 10.5 with me to London. Was going to take the Sigma 10-20 but it's big bulky and frankly, I shoot at 10mm with it most of the time, so the Nikon 10.5 made a lot more sense as a second lens. May also bring the 50mm f1.8 as a backup.
  6. I think the D40 is a very good choice, smaller file sizes with very good image quality. I also second the 16-85 and 10.5mm nikon lenses, VR rules and the 10.5 is awsome for up-close work. I would leave the tripod (improvise if you have-to) and the telephoto at home. Have fun.
  7. Really depends on how you intend to travel and when and what you intend to photograph. When traveling in China, I mostly used a 18-70 and a PC lens for buildings. I would have needed a low light option, so taking the 30/1.4 with you is probably very good choice, since it gets dark early (for me) and quickly. I shot very little beyond 70 mm (on DX), so depends a bit on your preferences. You have to decide for yourself how much you can carry. Will be interesting to see how the sigmas handle the moisture, should be ok though.

    If you take the slik sprint mini, be sure to get a proper head for it, the supplied head is nothing to write home about (unless they've changed something).
  8. On thing to do is pack your camera bag that you're plan to carry each day. Walk a few miles and see how you feel. If you think it's too heavy loss some gear, if you think it's too light add some gear.

    I agree the D40x might be a limiting if you want to blow up crops of pictures. Given your primary purpose have you thought about a spare camera to leave in your suitcase incase something goes wrong? nothing like taking a trip and Murphy coming along you.

    I'd take a tripod any day over a VR, but that's me.
  9. My bias would be a used D200 for weather sealing and ruggedness. I used it in the Balkans, under a lot of different conditions, and never looked back.

    The Tokina 10-16 2.8 would be excellent, then the Tamron 17-50 2.8 (takes phenomenal portraits), then the Sigma 50-150, or the Tokina 50-135?. I would get a Slik 340 tripod (they're) light. Don't bring a tripod too small to be of any real value. Bring a flash (at least an SB-400). I used a small laptop and a WD Passport harddrive for storage.

    The aforementioned would not be too heavy, and I think you may be able to do forays out into the countryside without having to bring everything each day... I would also buy some GEPE waterproof card holders. For a trip like this weight is an important consideration, but not as much as preparedness for getting the shots you really want.
  10. Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm surprised at how many people suggest cutting out the wide end and taking a fisheye. I was planning leaving mine at home! Something to think about.

    I've decided the tripod debate is a very personal one. I don't think I could travel without at least a lightweight tripod, and I've gotten good results with the Slik Mini, ballhead and all. It really doesn't weigh that much and I can leave it in my room if I don't want it for the day.

    As far as the camera body, I own both a D40x and a D200. I'm choosing to leave the D200 at home for a few reasons: weight, battery life (there is a huge difference between the two cameras here), and availability. I don't want to take two camera bodies (I'll have a P&S as backup) and if the body fails I'm much more likely to find a D40/D40x/D60 for purchase while traveling. The features of the D200 I use (wireless flash, depth of field, and mirror pre-fire) aren't super critical for travel photography. If I took a D200, my kit list would include my beloved 75-150.
  11. Note that he said the D40X not the D40. The D40X has the same 10MP sensor as the D80 and D60 which are all versions of the original D200 10MP sensor. The D40X is newer than all but the D60 which is virtually identical to the D40X.
  12. IMHO a normal zoom like the 16-85mm is a very good one lens solution. It will not do low light but I could live with the range and a tripod will help for long exposures. The Sigma 30mm f1.4 would do the low light. If just one lens then I would choose a 17-50mm f2.8 lens. From my lens kit I would use my Tokina 11-16 f2.8, Nikkor 28mm f2 and Nikkor 85mm f1.8 or if needing to be very light just my 18-70mm zoom flash and tripod.
  13. I strongly recommend taking the Slik Sprint Pro tripod - it is as sturdy a tripod as one can have in the $80 price range, without the unit
    getting in the way. I use it quite a bit when hiking with a D80/18-70 combo. Obviously a larger, more expensive tripod is much more
    stable, but a real pain to haul around on along trip.
  14. Dave L,
    i have the tokina 12-24, sigma 30 and sigma 50-150. IMO that's a pretty versatile kit that covers just about everything but macro, especially if you add a TC for the 50-150 and the tripod. i like the idea of having a 2.8 zoom and a 1.4 prime, and the 12-24 will be great for landscape stuff.

    whether its too much gear or not kinda depends on what else you're packing and how rigorous your hiking excursions are. if you wanted to go 'purist' you could just take the 30 or the 12-24; ultralight maybe just an 18-200. but with the kit you have now i think every lens will see use..
  15. I guess I would disagree with some here and forfeit the long zoom. Instead, substitute a 50mm f/1.8 (although I guess you'll
    be sacrificing AF). I don't tend to use the long lenses much when I travel and the 50mm will suffice for portraits, especially
    environmental-type portraits you might favor while traveling. The shallower DOF might be nice, too.
  16. If you can take the slik sprint, then take it; with it you can take some long exposures that are not possible hand held, VR or not. I have used such a tripod for over 3 years now, it does the job, but I replaced the ballhead with a better one. Also, vertical compositions are a bit tedious even with a smaller camera, but I guess taking an L-bracket adds too much weight and bulk.

    Personally, I do much more with 16-85 and something fast in my general photography than anything superwide, but that's just me and you need to consider what you usually do.
  17. Only 2 cents I've got for you is not to forget those accessories, especially cleaning and waterproofing gear. I take it that
    digital camera has got some good weather seals on it. If it doesn't, you need to address that. Also, check those electronic
    media stocks; bring some cards and backup media, etc. Include a once over on electrical requirements. Those
    accessories can add weight; a clean, dry cloth in a sandwich bag can work wonders in a wet environment; the times you
    need a dry cloth are the times when your whole body is soaking wet with water or sweat. Also, weather seals on lenses, if
    there are any; have a good dry storage and maintenance plan; if it's waterproof, it's mud and dust proof; if you have a
    critical cord, like for digital downloads, get an extra one of those. Do basic checks. Use common sense. Bon voyage. J.
  18. sai


    I trekked for two month in the Himalayas with the following:
    Canon 350D
    Canon 18-55 attached
    Canon 90-300
    Peleng 8 mm
    All inside a Lowepro Mini Orion Beltpack.
    I know you are going to go for Nikkon, but this is just for you to know the amount of things I was carrying. It was very comfortable and not very heavy.
    I also traveled with the same Kit for 10 month through Asia and S. America. Great Kit, not very heavy, really flexible.

  19. sai


    Sorry what I meant was that a good walk around lens and a normal tele are definitively a must.
  20. bmm


    Oh - one critical thing in Asia - one or more of the good waterproof bags you can get from most camping stores. Whether from real water (lakes, rivers) or from monsoon rains, your camera will enjoy the protection from it. Small cost and weight for massive utility.
  21. A couple of years back I took an extended sailing trip with just an 18-70 on my D200, and found that I missed having more on the longer end rather than the wider. Of course, land-based photography involves a different set of parameters than you face when stuck on a yacht.
    All photos but the last one in this album were taken with the above combo.
    If I took a similar trip again, I'd most likely pack the Sigma 10-20 and Nikon 18-200 for minimum weight and maximum flexibility.
    One very useful accessory I had with me was a small Pelican case, just large enough for the camera/lens/charger. I forget the model number… a 1680 perhaps? Lightweight, waterproof and tough as nails.
  22. I spent months traveling in Asia, S. America and Europe with a D70, 12-24, 18-70 and 80-200. I didn't consider it too much gear but I didn't have anything else other than a change of cloths and sometimes ski/camping gear so everything was rather compact. For my next trip I'll substitute a D300, replace the 18-70 with a 17-50f2.8 and am looking for a solution in the 300mm range to replace the 80-200 because 300 or longer would be nice for wildlife and bird photography. Will also possibly through in a tripod. To me the advantage in size a D40 offers is greatly offset by the reduction in features. A dSLR with multiple lenses is never small enough to make the difference.
  23. In August I was traveling in Namibia with my D200 and my D40x. Inevitably dust got on to the sensors of which a few tiny specs could not be blown off, and conditions did not invite to doing wet cleaning (besides that the sensor swabs pre-moistened with E1 or E2 that are travel safe were not out yet). With the D200 those dust specs were not visible at f11 and thus not a worry. With the D40x dust specs showed up at f8, especially at the edges. Apparently the anti aliasing filter on the D200 is further away from the sensor. With its weather sealing, the D200 seemed to accumulate less dust in spite of more lens changes; when I was in wildlife mode my 300mm with or without converter was on the D200, and my 75-150 on the D40x the whole time with manual exposure. In landscape mode the D200 took either my 20mm, 105mm f/2.5 or 55mm f/3.5, while my 28mm 2.8 AIS (chipped) was glued to my D40x. Both the feature set, comfort of operation (much better viewfinder for manual focus), and worry free robustness of the D200 makes it in my opinion a better travel camera where photography is an important part of the travel.
  24. I saw this post just now, i know its a very old one, but since i was also embarking on a similar trip to europe i thought of checking up in the net.
    I am going with the D300s body, 10-20mm sigma wide angle, 17-50 F/2.8 Tamron and the 50-150 F/2.8 Sigma along with 1.4x and 2.0x TC's. I regrett i cannot accomodate a tripod along with this.
    As mentioned by all over here the 10mm to 50mm range is unchallenged, but the 50-150 along with the TC's will give a very usable 70-210 F/4 with 1.4x and a handy 100-300 F/5.6 with the 2.0x in case needed. I am tempted to take the 70-300 VR instead of the 50-150 but the bigger aperture wins over the VR.

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