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HELP! China and S. Korea Tour - What to take?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by BarryD3, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. HELP! I would really appreciate your thoughts on what camera equipment I should take on a month or so long tour of S. Korea and China.

    First of all, I want to take everything, but my wife "gently" reminded me that the travel limitation now imposed would leave me with little room for such things as clothes. Guess she has a point. What is very odd is that you can take two bags over (plus the carry on), but only a single bag on the Chinese domestic flights. Go figure. :confused:  Also, carry on size is also reduced in China. Of course, I will keep all of my camera gear with me as carry-on.

    We have some friends who have taken a similar tour in China and I got to see the photos they took with a P&S camera (still did a nice job). Frankly, it looked like everything from 14 to 300mm FX is needed. :smile: I also like to make panoramas, so a tripod would be nice along with the RRS panoramic attachments. A laptop seems unlikely to carry as well ... wife refuses to carry my toys when she has her own stuff she "must" carry on the plane. :rolleyes: 

    My starting point is as follows:
    D3 with pair of 8 GB cards
    Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8
    CP & UV filters
    Spare Battery

    So what do you suggest I add or subtract from my list above? I figure Lens Lusters will have the best advise, including perhaps suggesting I take a different camera and lens (I would like justification for a D700 as a backup body. :biggrin:) 

  2. ol geezer

    ol geezer

    Sep 29, 2007
    Plano, TX
    Take the 14-24 and 70-200 (in addition to the 24-70) and a GOOD polarizing filter. Be sure your camera insurance policy covers you worldwide.
  3. Nikkor AIS

    Nikkor AIS

    Jun 5, 2008
    Clothes are over rated:smile: You wont here me posting about my clothes. But now that you mention it Iv got some t.shirts as old as my old Nikkor AIS.
    Im thinking a 2nd body is "clearly" a must have. Even if you cant afford a new D700 maby pick up a film body like a F4 or even a beater F2 for cheap and a couple bricks of film. Film is still cool. Im sure a telephoto will come in hand. My oldest son just gave me back my Nikkor 300 4.5 ED-IF AIS after I scored him a 70-300 ED. Both of these lens would make a nice light package with a new body:cool: . Besides having a camera on both shoulders balences you out, so it's really a safety issue.:biggrin:
  4. :wink:I don't understand why you would need to take a second body. What will you be doing with the pictures and what is your main purpose for visiting China/S.Korea? If it's just for personal enjoyment/relaxing/sight-seeing and not photography, then I would take a 24-70 for walkaround and a 70-300VR in the backpack. I don't particularly see the need to take a heavy D3 if you have access to a D700. The 70-200VR is also far too big 'n heavy if you'll be trekking a lot making a "relaxing trip" turn into a bit of a workout. For backup, just use a point and shoot:tongue:

    On the other hand, if you're going there mainly to take photos, then take as much gear as you can.:cool: 
  5. You can always buy something like a Canon G9 and take that. Personally I can never see myself traveling with so much heavy equipment, especially to 2 countries. If I had a VERY nice P&S I can concentrate of having fun and not my camera.
  6. Are you going to the Olympics? There was a post the other day that DSLRs are banned, just P&S allowed. See the "more discrimination" thread.

    Can you buy more glass? Maybe a 70-300VR? A lot lighter than the 70-200 and still provides nice sharp images for <$500 used.
  7. ora-et-labora


    Mar 15, 2008
    For a normal trip, my D300 is still too heavy - so I would never go with a D3 if there is any chance to avoid it. So the D700 is a must :) ) Regarding lenses, I would get a 28-105 (just the range, no actual lens in mind) and a fast prime (28/2 or 35/2).
  8. You listed what I would like to take, but space and weight limit me from at least the 70-200 ... that puppy is heavy. I do have a good CP filter. I just double checked based upon your comments and verified my insurance covers all of my camera equipment worldwide. Thanks!

    How can I not agree about the clothes, except my wife has this thing about no wanting to be seen with a "homeless-looking" person. :wink: The D700 I mention as a second body wasn't to take along, but to have here as a 2nd body. Then take it rather than the D3, but if you really look at the specs, I believe the D3 and D700 are almost the same weight once you have the battery pack and stuff loaded. Your idea of balance may be a true winner in the land of justification! My last film camera is somewhere up high in the French Alps with my son who is climbing mountains for a bit. Hope I see that camera again, oh, and him too!

    No intent to take a 2nd body Jonathan, but was just looking for a reason to buy a D700 for a home backup. Nikkor AIS's idea about using it for balance with the D3 rates rather high so far. :smile: The reason for the trip is for pleasure. The idea of adding the 70-300VR is good as it weighs about 1/2 tat of the 70-200 VR, but I will miss the F2.8! I will take the P&S I have or get a better one for those "just-in-case" times.

    I have not played with the G9. Do you have one? If so, I would appreciate your comments. We took an Alaskan cruise two years ago and all I took was the P&S. Never again. Ruined my image (no pun). :biggrin:

    Chris, we are going sometime in the spring next year, so the Olympics are over. I wonder why the ban of DSLR? Seems there is some tide building for adding a 70-300 VR to the kit. Buying additional toys isn't (fortunately) an issue.

    Markus, I still don't see that the D700 is much different in weight than the D3, but I am just looking at the data sheets. The D3 can sure get noticeable (considering I have the RSS L-Bracket on it) when you carry it a long time. Taking a fast prime is also a good idea. Thanks.
  9. I dont have the G9 but I heard its a great camera with RAW support. Look for some reviews at all the major sites and you'll see.
  10. Will do.
  11. Bolts


    May 7, 2007
    Tampa, Florida
    Barry, those shrink-wrap clothes bags that suck the air out of your clothes work fabulously, particularly on winter/heavy clothes. One-foot-deep of clothes translates to about 4 inches. Just don't let your cat sleep on it the night before.
  12. Barry-
    Did a 9-Day fast-paced Chamber of Commerce bus tour in China last year. Found that my D50 + 18-70 DX lens handled 95% of the 5,500+/36-GB images taken. Very few photos attempted/taken with my 70-300 or 35 f/2 and we had a cold front pass through the day of arrival that gave us clear/clean skies for almost all of the 9-days of traveling; doubt if you'll have as good of clear skies and whether any long lens will be useful due to haze. A 18-200 VR would have been the ideal lens.

    Did find useful at times my SB-600 flash. Took my Pany FZ30 as a back up that really only saw much use on the flight back home for aerial images.

    I might suggest a PSD such as the Wolverine MVP 60-GB unit I used. I brought 10-GB in SD cards and did max them out on one day's shooting.

    A few items I'd suggest --
    'No-Jet-Lag' tablets (They work.) http://www.magellans.com/store/In_Flight_Comfort___In_Flight_HealthIF398?Args=
    Elastic Binoc Harness http://www.magellans.com/store/In_Flight_Comfort___In_Flight_HealthIF398?Args=

    My SmugMug China Galleries detail the visit. A lot of images were taken while traversing the country on the tour bus...
  13. Second the recommendation:smile:
  14. i went to china for a month and was on 13 flights and two trains. the kit included...

    gitzo 1228
    gitzo 3530S , purchased in Taiwan mid trip
    kirk BH3
    manfrotto light stand w/ umbrella hotshoe thing
    justin clamp
    43in umbrella

    Nikon D3 w/ L bracket
    CF cards, 4/4/2
    card reader
    hyperdrive - broke the day i got there!
    portable drive, purchased mid trip

    16mm fish
    17-35 2.8
    45 2.8
    24-70 2.4
    180 2.8
    300 4.0 offloaded to me from family member who just got and found it too heavy
    kenko extension tube set

    metz 54 MZ-3
    3x pocket wizards

    lee filter holder
    soft edge ND
    hard edge ND
    77mm HMC filters, UV(0), cir-pol, ND400, 82C
    72-77 ring
    gels for flashes

    tenba metro pro
    kenisis medium module
    osprey porter 46

    in addition:
    4 flashlights, various strengths and sizes
    rope kit for sketchy locations
    hats/gloves and stuff for cold nights
    tools for servicing the tripod
    cleaning supplies
    spare caps
    rubber bands

    of course i also brought a few sets of clothing, some books to read, toiletry kit, first aid kit.

    I USED EVERYTHING except the 45mm pancake
    and with some trickery, I did not pay a single overweight fee.

    good luck with your trip and enjoy, China is an interesting place.

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  15. I just finished 2 weeks in Germany & Switzerland with the D3.

    By far and away my most used lens was the 24-70.
    I also brought along the 14-24 and the 70-300VR which got about equal use.
    The kit was rounded out with CP, charger and a spare battery (which was never needed), an SB800 which saw little use thanks
    to the D3's great high ISO performance.
    Lastly came the laptop for daily offloading and for my wife to watch movies and play games on the flight.

    I'm headed back to China next month and based on my DX experience there on the last trip will bring
    the same kit with me. What sucks is that I'm afraid I won't be able to bring any of it with me to the Olympic venues in HK.

  16. Good idea. We are "fortunately" going to be there in the late spring, so heat is more of the expectation.

    WOW Dave! Let's see now, that is about a shooting rate of one photo every minute for 9 days at 10 hours per day! Thanks for the other comments. Much appreciated. :smile:
  17. FatBoy


    Jan 5, 2008
    Shanghai, China
    BTW, Don, when are you coming exactly? Looks like I'll be travelling to Europe for a few weeks in August...

    Anyway, just some more information I've gotten on the olympics (if anyone is interested). You can actually bring in "professional" camera's but no video camera's and no tripods or monopods.

    Also, in general I think China is quite a photographer friendly country. I always hear horror stories from European photographers saying for example they can't take pictures of children, they have to be careful when shooting certain proporties, even in public area's. Most people in China don't care what pictures you're taking, as long as you don't get in the way of what they're doing.

    I would definitely suggest to take a long lens (a la 70-200) to shoot people and street scenes without having to get too close.
  18. nykonian


    May 4, 2007
    New York
    I brought a N65 and 28-105D when I was there last time... many yrs ago! :)  Well, I figure a 18-200VR would be very useful.

  19. WOW JOE! You took everything you could have wanted. I would like to carry my Gitzo GT2530, but not likely. I am truly amazed. Now I know where the boundries are for a China trip. :biggrin: Airlines are really getting picky it seems. My son got hit last week with an $800 excess baggage charge flying from S. Korea to France!

  20. if you travel as a group, they will often group your weight allowance across the group. so if yours is over and your friend is under by about the same amount, your ok. In a really large group, they really don't care unless its so overweight its difficult to handle, just as long as there are not more bags than passengers, its fine.

    Do not under any circumstances put your carry on camera bag on the weigh tray. the max for carry on is 5kg in many places. I was carrying 13kg in my backpack for many flights. do not even let the people behind the counter get a look at it. but it down in front of you where they can't see it behind the desk. if they want to put a tag or sticker on it, hold out your hand and offer to do it yourself. us a bag that looks sleek and walk around as if it is full of marshmallows, not glass.

    I did have to travel overweight for one leg of my trip alone. my checked luggage was 4kg overweight. the attendant asked me to remove at least 1kg before they could let it slide so I took out the old tripod and down it went. I also keep a can of shaving cream which is pressurized so once x-rayed, they will ask you to go to an inspection room to dissect your luggage. I go there to show them the can which they agree is harmless, then pack the old tripod right back in and off it goes.

    BTW, I never travel very far with a camera and no tripod. when I did, I regret it every time. there are many places where night is the best time to work and no amount of high iso capability is going to make the shot work. the tripod makes compositions more precise and gives you time to think instead of concentrating on holding still.
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