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D300 Travel Kit Options

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by geigercount, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. I am certainly happy with my current lens line-up and have made some great decisions thanks to information learned on this forum.

    I will be on a group tour of Israel soon and I am having arguments with myself over what to take. I really like high quality and I have that locked down with my current kit.

    I have an excellent copy of the Nikon 12-24 which is perfect for landscape and I think I will like this range on the tour. My 24-70 gives a 36-105 perspective which is a perfect focal range (for me) at home for PJ work at family outings and also for portraits. Would bring great results on the tour but it is heavy and can be scary with the hood on. The 35mm is a great low light and stealthy lens with a normal perspective anytime anywhere. I don’t think I will need the long zoom so it is staying at home.

    Your comments on my kit options for this tour would be welcome.

    Kit 1 (minimalist weight, limited range)

    Kit 2 (big quality, big carry)

    Kit 3 (lens lust, buy a new walkaround)
  2. I'd carry the 12-24, 35, and pick up a 28-105 for walkaround purposes. You can get excellent used copies for $150-200, and the lens offers a pretty good macro option.
  3. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Pretty tight kit that you're planning...

    An alternate set for flexibility to keep the 12-24mm and add a 24-120mm AFS/VR lens. The latter's an almost always underestimated piece of glass, highly flexible and adaptable with AFS speed focus, while the former's one of the better WA DX lenses around. Short of getting something like the 18-200mm, this has about the best balance of reach and wide-angle in two lenses or less while holding down the price to a reasonable level for the added glass.

    John P.
  4. Jaytron


    Mar 22, 2009
    San Jose, CA
    Either Kit 1 or just the 35 by itself imo.
  5. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    P.S. I was over in Israel on business twice last year for extended periods, and I'd say having a bit more reach will be handy for some locations. The only other comment I'd add is that a low light lens is handy for some the church/temple/mosque interiors or nighttime shooting, but that I did most of that at higher ISO with the 12-24mm...

    John P.
  6. bkatz


    Jan 4, 2008
    New Jersey
    I would go with the 12-24, either the 35 or the 50 (might want the extra stop) and the 70 - 300vr for when you want the reach. It really is a fantastic and underrated lens.
  7. The 12-24 is a given, but your next priority will be taking portraits of the people you're touring with and the faces of Israel. You'll need something longer for those portraits, so I'll suggest the 12-24 and the 50/1.4. Make sure to bring a flash, too. If you want to keep it light and can spare $100, pick up an sb400. Have a safe journey and gather lots of memories with your camera.
  8. Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  9. sbruno


    Jul 20, 2007
    Baltimore, MD
    When shooting DX, I found the 16-85 to be they ideal travel lens. The range covers everything from a wide angle to short telephoto. VR means low light shooting isn't a problem. Add the 35 and you've got a very versatile and lightweight kit that'll work for almost any situation.

  10. I'll second that thought. I just returned from a two-week tour through Germany carrying my 16-85VR, 55-200VR, and 35/1.8 AF-s. The 16-85 covered 95% of my photos, and I never missed the 12-24. The 16-85 is a stellar lens, even if it isn't f/2.8.

    John P. is a big fan of the 12-24 and gets a lot of excellent mileage from it. It is a top-notch lens, but for me 16mm is plenty wide.
  11. +1
    Only carried 16-85VR + 55-200VR [in its pouch on my belt - easy swap] on a one-week Charlotte, NC trip from LI, NY.
    Never felt wanting my f/2.8 or heavier glass.
    Spare memory cards and battery in loose slacks.
    SB-800 in rental car or mounted - always 'at attention' or in easy reach.
    Travel Light and maximize the light 'stuff' you carry.
  12. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Jim :

    Thanks for the compliment.

    I did find that the 12-24mm was used a heckuva lot in spots like Jerusalem and Akko. The "streets" in the old cities are more akin to alleys in terms of width, and so the sight lines are more restricted than many (but certainly not all !) locations where I've visited and worked in Europe. Locations like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre have interiors that I was pushed to land even at 12mm.

    I also found that longer focal lengths worked to juxtapose locations more neatly, and also to gain better vantage points. I actually used the 80-400mm on a number of locations in Jerusalem, such as, for example, getting an exceptional line of sight on the Russian Orthodox Church from atop the Temple Mount not far from the Dome of the Rock. People shooting is also an enhancement from longer focal lengths at times in Israel.

    That said, if someone is aiming for the "one lens solution", the 16-85mm is a darned good solution for the WA end, and through to medium portrait length at 85mm. I've had the chance to shoot with the lens a couple of times, and it's an optically fine item, if not inexpensive. A valid alternative is the 18-105mm DX lens, but that's not quite at the same optical level (but still darned good stopped down). It's a hard call in some cases if the 2mm of WA or the 20mm at the longer end has more utility between these two lenses.

    In an ideal world, we'd have something like a 16-120mm DX lens at a constant f/4, and that would be a killer range and aperture; however, we have what we have in the marketplace right now. But with a D300 that can shoot extremely well at ISO will shine with the 16-85mm.

    Me, I'm willing to carry a bit more gear for a trip like the OP is discussing, not a location one just drops over to on a weekend, and so I still recommend something like the 12-24mm/24-120mm combination, or alternately, something like the 16-85mm and maybe a 50mm f/1.2 for low light shooting at night and in interiors (but that's two rather pricey lenses for the OP to buy, hence I recommended the more moderately priced 24-120mm).

    John P.
  13. lovD300


    Feb 25, 2008
    For me I carry the 18-200, 30 1.4, and 60 afs 2.8

    I am still thinking of a good way of building a good 3 lens travel kit. I would like a ultra wide, and low light, and a macro zoom combo... that would do it for me! but I don't mind what I have right now.
  14. That description tells me you have BUILT a good 3-lens travel kit.
    When you analyze in post, and 'focus' on what you carry, methinks you hit the nail for your kit.
  15. lovD300


    Feb 25, 2008
    oh, right, thanks... lol typing to fast!
  16. What a great discussion so far. You have all given me some great ideas to ponder.

    I really like John P’s wish for a 16-120mm DX lens at a constant f/4. We can dream!

    I still have not decided what kit to take and I now consider my 70-300 and 50 1.4 back in the mix. Keep the comments coming!

  17. RainyDays


    Aug 19, 2008
    Annapolis, MD
    My fiance has the 16-85 and loves it but I think the 24-70 (you already have this one) is a better walkaround lens in my opinion--unless it is the Nikon 24-70/2.8, then it is more a "heavy carry around lens."
  18. yellovrs


    Dec 21, 2008
    I am in a similar position, planning a 14 day road trip around the Alps , south of France and Italy, So far I am thinking of:

    10 mm fisheye
    10-24 mm
    50 f1.8

    I want to take the fisheye for the effect but not sure wether to take longer glass instead.
  19. Tommik


    Mar 18, 2008
    I would go with the Kit 1. My own travel kit has been Sigma 10-20 mm and Sigma 30 mm. It is not perfect for every situation, but I have managed to do well without a longer zoom.

    I sold the Sigma 10-20 mm recently, so now I'm looking for another wide angle zoom as a replacement. I'm also very tempted to purchace a fisheye either Nikon 10.5 or Tokina 10-17 mm.
  20. larryk


    Sep 6, 2005
    One of the 50mm f1.4s would be useful for low light situations and people shots.
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