What to take to Myanmar

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bob___|10, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. Looking for general opinions on a lens. Going to Myanmar shortly. I have a D700 and am taking my 85mm f/1.4 and 70-200 f/2.8 for sure. I also have the 24-120 f/4. Question is should i take my friend's 24-70 f/2.8 instead of the 24-120? I guess my concern is quality. Most shooting will be done outdoors. Portraits will be taken care of with the 85. Any thoughts from the experts here would be appreciated.
    Thank you!
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Bob, you own the 24-120mm/f4 AF-S VR yourself. Are you unhappy with its quality? That is not a lens I would use to photograph architecture due to distortion issues, and f4 is somewhat limiting indoors. Otherwise, I prefer its wider zoom range over the 24-70mm/f4 AF-S, which has no VR. The 24-120 by itself is a good travel, "walk around" lens.
    You are bringing some heavy lenses. Hopefully weight is not an issue.
    And do you have any backup body?
  3. I am wondering what you intend to photograph there with the 70-200?
    My choice for a very populated place with beautiful temples etc. would be the 24-70 and a 105mm prime. I would not like to tote around a huge lens like the 70-200 in a poor country packed with people. It would seem out of place and I'd feel uncomfortable.
    If you're happy with the 24-120/4 then why not take it and enjoy the light weight and versatility. The 85/1.4 is very useful when you want crisp portraits in low light with clean, smooth backgrounds so take that, too. If you're not happy with the quality of the 24-120 then consider taking your friend's 24-70; I think 24-70 + 85/1.4 is a fine setup nd one that I use often (but my preference is for 24-70 + 105). I like to leave suitably sized gaps between lenses - they let me breathe.
    If your question is just regarding whether the 24-70 is better than the 24-120 in terms of picture quality, then my answer is that yes, it is, but whether this difference matters to you is something I cannot know. You have enough lenses to make that determination for yourself.
  4. not sure i qualify as an expert, but this is a question only you can really answer. not sure what you would really gain from a 24-120 if you also have a 70-200, except VR. but i would rather have 2.8 and/or a tripod. also, the 24-70 will be better at f/4 than the 24-120. if you need an extended zoom range for snapshot-type pics, i would also bring a P&S with at least a 10x zoom. those are also good for macro shots.
  5. I visited the country in 2000 with a F100 and heaps of slide film.
    At the time I carried a 16mm f2,8 fisheye, the 17-35mm, 24-120mm, 85mm f1,4 and 80-200mm AF with a 1,4 TC. Wonderful country to photograph, people were immensely friendly and interested. And now it seems the country might be opening up unless the Chinese make them put the lid back on.
  6. Thanks for the responses so far. Maybe I will rethink bringing the 70-200, just for the weight of it. Shun, I am bringing my P7000 as my backup and my longer focal length, as well. I am not sure how much hiking and trekking I will be doing and do not want the pack mule feeling to set in.
  7. I`m not an expert, only a 24-120/4 and 24-70 user.
    If your concern is quality, and you`re willing to carry with such lenses (85, 70-200... ) no doubt I`d say use the 24-70. The 24-120 from 70 to 120 is not that great and it`s not f2.8.
    But if I were you, I`d take the 24-120/4 and a 50mm prime, that`s all. The 24-120/4 in the 24-70 range is good enough (to me); the range up to 120mm is not that great but useful and without the need of lens switching. You`ll go lighter, without the bulk of having too many things/lenses in the bag or backpack. Leave the 50mm prime at the hotel; it will serve you as a backup, a low light lens option or even for a lighter setup if needed.
    I only carry with such huge pro loads when I`m looking for something specific. The stress of a trip with too much gear is not for me. I prefer to concentrate on the essential, to go lighter, to enjoy the trip.
  8. a light rain jacket if your trip is before dec. No atms so bring cash (you want nice crisp dollars/euro or bahts -important!-) and neither say nor act like a pj. The Burmese people are the friendliest people...that said, be careful wandering, i think they still have military check points.
  9. Perhaps consider the 28-300 mm VR. It is better than one would think according to folks like Bjorn Rorslett and Scott Kelby. Focuses to 18". Leave the other stuff home. Distortion fixed in PS or CNX2.
    Or, carry your entire inventory, everywhere. Change lenses on the street, because where else will you do it?
    Just my $.02.
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    David Ralph, the 28-300 AF-S VR is not better than what people expect. It is arguably "better" than the 18-200 DX,
    but since the OP has the 70-200 VR, 85mm 1.4, etc., he must know what excellent lenses should be like. I don't think he
    is going to be happy with the 20-300, which I have for over a year. I bought mine as soon as it was available after reading none other than some of Bjorn Rorslett's comments; I think it is fair to say that my evaluation of the 28-300 is not as high as his. Concerning Scott Kelby, I'd learn PhotoShop techniques from him; in fact, I have gone to many seminars organized by his company. Concerning photography and Nikon equipment, there are better sources.
  11. it


    I would take the 24-70.
    Steve McCurry does workshops in Burma and that's all he uses.
  12. BTW Bob, do you have a travel itinerary, which places do you plan on visiting and do you have specific subjects of
    interest? I think on the shore, in a boat etc. I would have use for the 70-200 since you cannot simply walk closer to
    your subject and some subjects will be further away. Of course, if you have access to a safe at the hotel you may be
    able to leave it there on days where you may not want to carry it or need it. I frequently choose lenses for the day in
    my backpack and leave the rest behind, but then I'm not familiar with how safe it would be to leave something valuable
    in the hotel in that country. I guess you can ask the hotel or travel organizer.

    Is this a trip that you go on in order to do photography, or will you be traveling primarily and photography mostly on
    the side? Will this be your only trip to Myanmar?

    I can't think of a reason one would not change lenses on the street. That's what you do, that's why you have
    interchangeable lenses so that you can choose the best tool for the shot or situation. That said, I don't actually change
    lenses all that often when I am at a subject rich environment. I could be walking around with a short tele prime most of
    the day, photographing with the mindset that I select subjects that fit that field of view, and then at some point switch
    to a 24-70 to get images with the wider angle for a few hours. I don't normally just travel through a place, instead I
    work at it for a day or two, then move on.
  13. Bob - Burma (I hate referring to it as Myanmar while the current junta are still there) is one of those places where you can take a zillion pictures to suit the lenses you take with you and not regret having everything available. I went there in 1993 with a 35mm SLR, 28-70 and 70-210 lenses. My itinerary included Yangon and the Shwedagon pagoda, Pagan and Inle lake and if I recall correctly I used the longer focal lengths less than I did in other countries. I am not sure I would like hulking round a lens that size in those temperatures and swapping lenses to put that one on will drasw the locals to you !
    Personally, I would not be worried about safety and 'flashing around' a huge lens but I just wonder what the security forces would think. I think travelling light with smaller lenses is a better way of getting to know the locals because I understand they are still a bit cautious (especially in cities) about being seen 'consorting' with Westerners and a big camera may create 'interesting circumstances'.
    The people are beautiful and friendly, the architecture is amazing and I think you will spend most of your time on those subjects. If you are travelling independently I don't think you will be able to do any hiking in the sense that you would use term at home so wildlife etc is not a serious option. So overall I would either get a 70-200 f4 (hire one?) or stay with 70mm or 120mm as your longest lens and live with the fact you can't zoom in. And let's face it, a cropped picture from D700+70mm lens cropped would equal the quality of an uncropped image from 150mm lens on an equivalent camera body of a few years ago - so why worry too much?
    And make sure you take a tripod for interior shots.
  14. Is this a trip that you go on in order to do photography, or will you be traveling primarily and photography mostly on the side? Will this be your only trip to Myanmar?
    Thank you for your response. This trip is for photography primarily. I have the good fortune of being guided by a highly respected guide used by several professional photographers such as Scott Stulberg and Nevada Weir to name a couple. It will be just he and I travelling. I think it is safe to say this will be my only trip to Myanmar. I now feel comfortable with the 24-120 instead of the 24-70, which I would borrow. And for shore and boat shots I think I would pull out my P7000. The P7000 would serve me as a backup and provide some tele distance. Also, being I am on the north side of my 50's, less weight is a godsend. Appreciate your comments.
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If architecture photography is a big part of this trip, I wonder whether taking a 17-35mm/f2.8 is a good idea. Perhaps Mike Hitchen is in the best position to answer.
    Unfortunately, there is still no f4 version of the 70-200mm AF-S VR. f2.8 is probably largely unnecessary for this trip. The 70-200mm/f2.8 is great for indoor wedding/party and night sports. For travel photography, I am still waiting for the f4 version. Since Nikon introduced the 16-35mm/f4 AF-S VR in February 2010 and then the 24-120mm/f4 AF-S VR in September last year, I thought the 70-200mm/f4 would appear within a few months ....
  16. Personally, (and I am planning a similar trip for this coming Easter) I will agree with the "leave the 24-120 at home" approach and I'd take the 24-70. It will complement your 70-200 much more than any other lens and will produce amazing images under almost any lighting conditions. Also, do not, under any circumstances, leave the 70-200 at home. While most people of the various SE Asian countries are photographer-friendly, there will be more than enough shots that you simply won't be able to take with the 24-70. Plus, at 2.8, the 70-200 has amazing bokeh.
    But, heed everyone's advice and think rain cover. Also, if your weight considerations allow, I'd bring a flash with me and some diffusion system (personally I carry a collapsible 30x30cm softbox)...

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