Family Far East trip, going light

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Need some help from my old Cafe friends. :smile:

So it's that time again. This time next week I'll be frantically packing like crazy because next Friday it'll be time to drag the whole family from the DC area back to the Far East to visit my wife's extended family, with a twist. I really can't carry all that much for all that long these days, which means *lightweight*!

This is not a once in a lifetime trip like the other thread, so no worries. This will be our fifth trip to Taiwan so I already have a ton of pictures from all over the place there. But I'd still like to be able to get some good photos, and there may well be some 'last chance' photo ops. The last time we went in 2010, my wife's grandfather passed away just 2 weeks before we were scheduled to fly over. You just never know sometimes. :frown:

I'm going for a maximal-minimal kit.

5D Mark II: 32 oz
Rebel T2i : 18.7 oz
17-40/4L : 16.8 oz
24-105L IS USM: 23.5 oz
35/1.4L USM: 20.5 oz
35/2 : 7.1 oz
85/1.8 USM: 14.1 oz
70-200/4L : 24.9 oz

BLUE = my current thinking
Normal font = on the fence / still deliberating
Greyed out = has already pretty much been ruled out.

I know I could save a bunch of weight with the Rebel body rather than the 5DII, but I love the full frame perspective, am going to need high ISO for indoor no flash shots, and don't like the JPEGs that come out of the Rebel at all at higher ISO. Plus I love the full frame perspective and the 5D body in general, so that's in. I also have the 35/2 which could save a ton of weight, but I positively adore the 35/1.4L on FF so that's "in" too. In fact if I really wanted to slim down I'd probably just take the 5D body and that lens.

We're going to try to squeeze in a trip to the Taipei Zoo so what I wanted to do was to bring my 70-200L, but with the 35/1.4L and the 17-40L it's just too much weight. In case you're wondering why a big 6'3" tall wide-framed looked like he played football or was in special forces dude is fretting about weight, I had a *MAJOR* abdominal surgery last year and am still having some issues from it. Bottom line is that due to some complications that developed in the process of putting me back together, I had to get a stent placed to prop the output of one of my kidneys open, and as anybody who has had one of those will tell you, they're not the least bit fun, and can become quite painful. Hence needing to keep the weight down. I've been trying the above combo out with my ThinkTank Retrospective 5 bag, and 62 oz / nearly 4 lbs of lenses is just not gonna fly. :frown:

Have thought about taking a bigger bag with more gear, and then switching to a smaller bag and carrying less while out and about in Taiwan, but I've done that before and don't want to do that again. Too much time spent fretting about which lenses to take for a particular outing which detracts from enjoying your vacation. We're also going to be in some hotels a few days and you never know there.... I want to be able to bring ALL of my photog gear with me ALL the time.

35/1.4L & 24-105L This drops the ultra-wide and drops the telephoto and replaces it with this mid-zoom which I love, and also gets the weight down to just 44 oz / 2.75 lbs and is very manageable. But two problems. 24mm still isn't wide enough to do nice interior shots of the various places we'll be visiting, and since the 24-105 overlaps with the 35 range, I'm going to be constantly wondering whether I should be shooting the zoom or the prime and not being able to make up my mind. :mad: 105mm isn't really enough for the zoo, but I can just crop from 21MP and call it good enough. I'd rather have the ultra-wide than the tele basically. Thought about doing panos, but as soon as we get back it's going to be full-speed ahead at work on a big project and I'll probably barely even have time to sort through photos from the trip, let alone crank up software to put together and tweak pano shots. So I'll stick with my good old fashioned ultra-wide I guess.

17-40L & 35/1.4L & 85/1.8 USM Weight is 51.4 oz / 3.2 lbs. This is pretty much hitting the limit on weight for me, but is doable. I like the idea of having a fast short tele prime (over the 24-105L which would be too slow) so that I can maybe get some nice photos of my wife and her grandmother and other people where the 35 would require being too close. And the 85 is light enough vs the 24-105 that I can squeeze the 17-40L in too. And there really isn't much overlap or competing purposes here either, so there'll never really be any debate about what lens I should be using at a particular time. If I just happen to have the 'wrong' lens on the 5D I'll also have my Canon PowerShot S95 in the bag too along with a 270EX flash.

I was thinking of packing either my Nikkor 135mm f/2.8 AIS or the 200/4 AIS in our main bags as a sort of wildcard lens. That would give me a longer reach option, and when we're at hotels I'd feel safe enough leaving either of those in our hotel since they're cheap and not a big deal to replace if stolen. I wouldn't want to leave any modern stuff sitting around at all, and those tanks also aren't gonna get hurt via baggage mishandling either. :tongue:

We have a weekend trip planned this weekend so I think I'm going to try out the 17-40L, 35/1.4L and 85/1.8 combo for weight, but sub out the 85 with a 55mm f/2.8 AIS micro (we're going to an Orchid show) and see if it's doable. The 55 micro is an ounce or three lighter than the AF85 so it should be close enough.

What do all of you think? Any other suggestions or ideas? I know full-frame DSLRs and lightweight is sort of an oxymoron, but Nikon has some good lighter weight options now too. Just wondering what might have worked for others that have been in the same or a similar boat.


Since I haven't posted any photos in like a bajillion years, here's some quick snaps the other night going out for froyo. The weather has been so nice in the DC area. :smile:

My son Will who just turned three, and my daughter Katie who will turn 5 while we're overseas! :eek:
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My guardian angel wife, and then yours truly with my mini-me, shot by my wife. :smile:
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View attachment 1000936
 
Joined
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That's still a lot of weight. I went to Mongolia with a D700, 16-35, 70-200, 85G, a Pany GF2 & 20 1.7. I thought I was going lightweight, but it was still too heavy.

Next Asia trip I'm bringing an all M43 kit!

If I were to go now, I'd bring an Olympus EM5 & EPM1 with 4 batteries for each. For lenses I'd bring a 14 2.5, 45 1.8, 100-300. That would literally cover everything I'd need to shoot. If I'd wanted to go a little gung-ho, I'd probably bring some MF glass like the 28, 50, 85 and 135. :smile:
 
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If I'd wanted to go a little gung-ho, I'd probably bring some MF glass like the 28, 50, 85 and 135. :smile:
That was actually my original plan, to take my Rebel T2i with my 28/2.8 AIS and the 55/2.8 micro and that's it! But then I bought the 35/1.4L and became smitten with it on full-frame. :redface:

Just a 70-200/2.8 by itself would be my glass weight limit. Would not be able to take any other lenses. Note I was talking about the 70-200/4L though (Canon). It's manageable, but I wouldn't be able to have an ultra-wide option without leaving the 35/1.4L at home and replacing it with the 35/2. Don't want to do that. How much did you use your 16-35VR on your last trip?
 
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The 16-35 VR was fun when I used it, but I could of done without it. I'd probably do a fisheye, a small wide-angle, a portrait lens, and a telephoto zoom. That would cover tight spaces, family shots, individual portraits and general scenery shooting.
 
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The 16-35 VR was fun when I used it, but I could of done without it. I'd probably do a fisheye, a small wide-angle, a portrait lens, and a telephoto zoom. That would cover tight spaces, family shots, individual portraits and general scenery shooting.
Hmm I could do 17-40L, 85/1.8, and 70-200/4L. 55.8 oz.

Good suggestion. Would work well too, since the 17-40L does overlap with the range of the 35/1.4L, but it's a pretty slow lens and wouldn't work indoors too well. Will have to give that some thought, thanks! :smile:
 
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Hmm I could do 17-40L, 85/1.8, and 70-200/4L. 55.8 oz.

Good suggestion. Would work well too, since the 17-40L does overlap with the range of the 35/1.4L, but it's a pretty slow lens and wouldn't work indoors too well. Will have to give that some thought, thanks! :smile:

I'd bring the 35 f/2. Which would give you a fast lens in the 35 focal length.
 
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oversea trip with two kids under 6 ?
Buy a V1 :)

On the serious note :
Mine are 5 and 8, the age difference is about the same, so I feel your pain, errr I mean joy :)

If I were you, I'd bring only one body (the lighter one),one zoom and one prime.
(not a native English speaker here : should I say 'If I were in you position' instead of 'If I were you' ? Or is it better 'Here's what I'd do' instead ?)

My current thinking is I wanna 'be there' with my family, not 'out there' with the camera.

I did try going on a vacation only carry waterproof PS and camera phone, it was wonderful... no more worry about the camera bag....
 
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I'd bring the 35 f/2. Which would give you a fast lens in the 35 focal length.
I know. That makes total and complete sense and would allow me to take an ultra-wide zoom and a tele-zoom with something faster in the middle like you say, and not go over my 50oz-ish weight limit for glass. Could sub in my 50/1.8 also. Except that I'm smitten with the 35/1.4L now. Stupid L glass!! :mad: :tongue:

For what I'm doing, f/2 would be enough. More posed shots instead of kids running around, so I could get by with 1/250s or less easy in indoor light. And it wouldn't stick out as much or catch as much attention. The obvious choice here is indeed to take the 35/2 rather than the 1.4L, but I haven't come to my senses yet and am not sure if I will prior to departure. :rolleyes:
 
Joined
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oversea trip with two kids under 6 ?
Buy a V1 :)

On the serious note :
Mine are 5 and 8, the age difference is about the same, so I feel your pain, errr I mean joy :)

If I were you, I'd bring only one body (the lighter one),one zoom and one prime.
(not a native English speaker here : should I say 'If I were in you position' instead of 'If I were you' ? Or is it better 'Here's what I'd do' instead ?)

My current thinking is I wanna 'be there' with my family, not 'out there' with the camera.

I did try going on a vacation only carry waterproof PS and camera phone, it was wonderful... no more worry about the camera bag....
The last time we went to Taiwan in 2010, there was so much going on and the kids still needed so much hand holding that I pretty much gave up on the DSLR kit as soon as we got there (D90, 35/1.8, 60 AFD micro, and a 105/2.5 AI), and just used my Canon S90 point and shoot. I worked pretty well. I did get a lot of nice photos with that camera, but nothing that really wowed me. It's the same thing with all the small sensor compacts. No ability to isolate subjects, flat looking photos, etc.

But your vote would be single zoom, single prime. It's definitely on the table. For me that would be 24-105L and 35L. Or 70-200L and 35L. Both of those are doable from a weight perspective. For wider static shots I could just use the 35 and stitch a few together, and my S95 will get me to 28mm wide also.

(not a native English speaker here : should I say 'If I were in you position' instead of 'If I were you' ? Or is it better 'Here's what I'd do' instead ?)

If you hadn't mentioned that, I wouldn't have known. :smile: Your written English is excellent. Any of the above works for me. They all say the same thing in slightly different ways. 'If I were you' is slightly more personal (like a friend), and the others are a bit more formal / impersonal.


Good suggestions. Thanks! :cool:
 
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Go 5Dm2 with either a) 17-40, 35 f2, 70-200 or b) 24-105, 85, 70-200. Either prime should be small enough not to incur a weight penalty. I'd personal go 24-105/85/70-200 since I have more of a telephoto/portrait bias. Though I can't stress enough the need for a small camera. I've been refining my street shooting technique and if yout want to get awesome candids and not stick out, a small one-lens camera like an X100, M43 body w/20 1.7, etc. is invaluable!

The last time we went to Taiwan in 2010, there was so much going on and the kids still needed so much hand holding that I pretty much gave up on the DSLR kit as soon as we got there (D90, 35/1.8, 60 AFD micro, and a 105/2.5 AI), and just used my Canon S90 point and shoot. I worked pretty well. I did get a lot of nice photos with that camera, but nothing that really wowed me. It's the same thing with all the small sensor compacts. No ability to isolate subjects, flat looking photos, etc.

But your vote would be single zoom, single prime. It's definitely on the table. For me that would be 24-105L and 35L. Or 70-200L and 35L. Both of those are doable from a weight perspective. For wider static shots I could just use the 35 and stitch a few together, and my S95 will get me to 28mm wide also.

(not a native English speaker here : should I say 'If I were in you position' instead of 'If I were you' ? Or is it better 'Here's what I'd do' instead ?)

If you hadn't mentioned that, I wouldn't have known. :smile: Your written English is excellent. Any of the above works for me. They all say the same thing in slightly different ways. 'If I were you' is slightly more personal (like a friend), and the others are a bit more formal / impersonal.


Good suggestions. Thanks! :cool:
 
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Here's a couple from my previous trips back east, but like I said I'd probably do it all over again with an all-mirrorless kit and save my back from weight!

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:rolleyes:

You ask people to bring things to the place you are, and you take things to the place you are going.

Just sayin' :biggrin:

Great Photographs!
 

Rob Zijlstra

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Steve, if the lens is good, take ONLY the 24-105L IS USM and the body.
For the rest, just enjoy your vacation! And do not worry like "If i had taken that lens..." etc, just be on vacation:smile:.

When the time comes you must do a paying safari trip, then it's time to worry!

And before I forget: have a nice time with the wife and kids!
 
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Steve, if the lens is good, take ONLY the 24-105L IS USM and the body.
For the rest, just enjoy your vacation! And do not worry like "If i had taken that lens..." etc, just be on vacation:smile:.

When the time comes you must do a paying safari trip, then it's time to worry!

And before I forget: have a nice time with the wife and kids!
I was actually just thinking take/bring/whatever :tongue: the 24-105L and the 35/2, which would be about 30oz and very easy to carry. Other stuff is inevitably going to get shoved into this bag too, so that would give me some extra weight allowance. I really don't "need" the 35/1.4L. I just want to bring it. The 24-105L is exceptional, very sharp, has nice bokeh for portraits, and the IS system works very well too. Would still want a faster option for indoor lower light shooting though. The 35/2 would be good enough.
 
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Body of choice+ 24-105 + 70-200. Some overlap, but you should be able to cover 90% of your needs very nicely. With a crop factor camera, the 24-105 will give about 36-157mm equivalent, so leave the 70-200 at home, and get closer!

A f/1.8 50mm if you must, (remember the crop factor) or use your on-board flash.

Over the shoulder strap of some flavor to take the weight off your neck and back.
Vest...extra battery/charger, memory, and you can handle most any situation...for the other 10%...improvise!

Have a great trip!
 
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Here's a couple from my previous trips back east, but like I said I'd probably do it all over again with an all-mirrorless kit and save my back from weight!

Fascinating series. I love the one with the little child in the stroller. I agree about taking a mirrorless. So unobtrusive and easy to setup without folks gawking at you. :smile:
 
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I walked around the streets of Philadelphia and then Longwood Gardens all weekend for a trial run, walking a lot more than we ever foresee doing in Taiwan, and I did just fine with 40 oz of lenses. The 24-105L, 35/2, and 55/2.8 AIS micro-nikkor. Did great. Much better than expected in that I never had any stent pain. I got some shoulder/neck pain from the weight of the bag, and some lower abdominal muscle pain from bending over and then standing back up repeatedly to take some floral shots (ab muscles are completely deconditioned from not being able to exercise bc of the stent), but other than that I was fine. At Longwood gardens I also had our "kiddie support" backpack on which was filled with snacks, drinks, diapers/wipers, and other stuff and was still ok. I could probably go 50oz on lenses if I wanted to.

But I think the winner will be the 24-105L IS & 35/2 combo. I've forgotten how much I like that lens. Use the 24-105L as a primary lens, and then only use the 35/2 when the light gets lower when shooting things that aren't holding still. Saves the trouble of having to switch lenses all the time too, and the IS should work pretty good for lower light static scene photos. I'm not always going to have the freedom of movement that I want either, which means if I use a prime as a primary lens I'm going to have to end up cropping a lot of shots, which I'm never going to have time to do. So I think a zoom would be the best choice here. Longer than 105mm or closer than 1:4? Just crop from 21MP. Wider than 24mm? Stitch a few together. If I need faster I'll have the 7oz 35/2 along and a mini-flash also. My Canon S95 is a 28mm f/2 lens at the wide end which is pretty darned good too. So that will keep things nice and simple, I'll always have the 'right' lens on, and will keep the weight burden to a minimum too.

Now lets see if I change my mind before the end of the week. :wink:
 
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