Italy Lens Setup with D700

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jiangster, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. Jiangster


    Dec 13, 2010
    Hi everyone,

    I'm going to Italy in mid April, covering Rome (3 full days), Florence (3 full days) & Venice (2 full days). I've 3 set of lens combo to try come up with the best travel sufficient kit.

    this is the kit I have:
    D700 w/ grip
    tokina 16-28 2.8
    nikon 24-70 2.8
    nikon 80-200 2.8
    nikon 35 2.0
    sigma 50 1.4
    nikon 85 1.4
    nikon 105 2.8 macro
    nikon 135 2.0 dc

    combo 1: tokina 16-28 | nikon 24-70
    combo 2: tokina 16-28 | sigma 50 | nikon 105 macro
    combo 3: tokina 16-28 | nikon 85 1.4 | nikon 135 dc

    nikon 35 2.0 can be added to any of these groups since its so light and small.

    My goal is to travel "relatively" light and be able to capture a bit of "everything" (typical building/scenery shots, street scenes and some artsy stuff to thrown in). I will not bring tri/monopod and will rely on D700's ISO to get me through sticky situations if needed (anything f1.4 can't handle).

    Also debating weather to use the battery grip on D700, although it's hard not to attract attention with the bulbous front element of the 16-28, the grip just make D700 stand out all the more. Given how scarce the D700 has become in the wake of Japan disaster, I'm sure its hot on every thieves' mind!

    Much appreciate your thoughts on this!
  2. Ryan_T


    Mar 24, 2011
    Combo 3.

    Although Combo 2 is tempting as well. Depends on how much time you'd like to spend capturing macro. Maybe replace the 105 with 135 dc in Combo 2?
  3. Morning Jiangster

    I wouldn't go without my 24-70 - that would be my default lens for your trip - you're going to some of the most beautiful cities you will ever visit, so why compromise even though you're going light. I would also occasionally want to go wider, so the 16-28 would also be in my bag.

    Depending on how you're travelling in Italy I would also consider a small travel tripod. If you are travelling by car I would definitely recommend driving via Montepulchiano, Siena, Chianti and San Gimignano on the way to Florence. Beautiful scenery and Siena pips Florence for me for beauty. An 80-200 would be useful in those circumstances, but otherwise I don't think you'd need it

    The reason for a small tripod for me - you might have changeable weather/light and the need to bracket. Plus if you have nice evenings or mornings you'll get some beautiful cityscapes in blue hours. That just might be my D90 low ISO limited train of thought though - I'm envious!

    As for Venice - I'd definitely recommend getting up really early one morning for St Mark's square before the tourists arrive. Another reasoning for the tripod for me.
  4. Jiangster


    Dec 13, 2010
    Thanks Dubaiphil!

    Unfortunately, I'll be traveling between cities via the rail, thus downsizing the gear I want to carry. If I were driving, I'd probably taking 2/3 of of gear with me lol.

    My travel bag is the small Lowepro 200 flipside, so 2 big lenses + 35 is the limited, and really is the amount of stuff I want to carry all day on my feet.

    As for Florence, I do want to make a day trip to either Pisa or Siena, which one do you think is more picturesque?

    Sigh, I know leaving 24-70 behind is a sin, but I imagine I may need a bit of more reach, so either 105 or 135 probably make more sense.

  5. Jiangster


    Dec 13, 2010
    I won't be doing macros. 135 is fantastic for street photography (especially the skin tone), but I think 105 is sharper, probably is better at capturing those details inside the basilicas?

  6. Pisa or Siena - Pisa was bombed out apart from the leaning tower and vicinity in WWII.

    Siena is stunning to wander around. I'd take that hands down.
  7. I concur Siena is the hands down winner for a day trip.

  8. d10redwolf


    Apr 13, 2009
    If I had your setup, I'd take the 24-70ONLY. I believe 24 should be wide enough for most city shots.
  9. neimac


    May 26, 2008
    Just curious how do you like the Tokina 16-28?
  10. Take the 24-70 rather than the Tokina which will have limited use. Far too wide for "normal" travel application. If you were taking more gear, for sure add the Tokina but you want as your main lens something versatile for general use and the one you have is the 24-70!!

  11. I'm not so sure that the 24-70 is the best choice. I remember a member of this forum (Randy) went to Italy last year on a trip as well, and I believe the 16-35 turned out his most used lens.

    Perhaps it is worth checking with him if my memory is not too far off :)
  12. Jiangster


    Dec 13, 2010
    After digging some more on Florence, I'm going to go with Siena. You are right, Pisa doesn't have much aside from the leaning tower.

  13. Jiangster


    Dec 13, 2010
    Loving it. My copy is very sharp and has accurate AF. Build quality is top notch, on par with Nikon 14-24. Corner sharpness is bit soft below 5.6 but perfectly usable. Micro contrast is not as good as the Nikon, but not too far behind. One thing to note is the flare, it's very good in even lighting, but shooting at the direction of the sun cause some pretty nasty flare and ghosting, just be careful and you should be fine.

    I don't know how it compares to Nikon 16-35 F4, I have 35mm well covered, so I didn't even consider that one, the only advantage I could possibly think 16-35 has over Tokina is it takes filters. And I think $850 is pretty good deal for this lens.

    Yoou can check out my full res testing snaps here:

  14. Hawk


    Jan 14, 2009
    California, USA
    I would take the 24-70, a really great range and enough speed to serve most purposes. This may be a little unorthodox sounding but as a second lens from your group I would take the 50mm 1.4. There are a lot places where you will be indoors and want to take pictures but flash is not allowed. The extra two stops will come in really handy. I take my 55/1.4 as that "second lens" and find that I'm using it quite often.

    Glad to see you have opted for Siena. Great city for the photographer and the surrounding hills provide some of the most magnificent vistas you will come across.
  15. If I were you, I'd skip the macro stuff altogether. It's great, but you're traveling. I can only imagine that if I were you, I'd be most concerned with street candids, scenery, architecture, etc.

    In light of that, I'd just simply pack the D700 without battery grip (save some weight) and just bring an extra battery for it. Then pack the 24-70 and the 50 f/1.4. The 24-70 will give you a wide shot combined with some zoom power, and the 50 is small and light and will give you the low-light performance you might need in old buildings and in the evenings.

    The less you bring, the less can get broken and stolen - remember that.
  16. sambo.


    Mar 20, 2011
    my $0.02:

    from that rather sexy lens collection you have, i'd take the following three lens setup as a light and compact option.

    35mm f2, 50mm f1.4 and the 135mm f2.0. consider the 85mm if you are particularly enamoured of it.

    if you had a 24 or 20 f2.8D i'd suggest that instead of, or in combination with, the 35mm.

    ditch the grip, it'll draw too much attention if you're trying to be discrete.

    edit: Siena and Florence are lovely. if you have time, try and get to San Gimignano a little village in the Tuscan tundra.

    i thin you'll need more than two days in Venice and Padua is definatly worth a visit. i was there in 97 and everything was covered in Millenium Scaff!
  17. I absolutely agree on trying to visit San Gimignano, we were there in 2009 for a couple of days (rented vespa's). It really is a lovely city, we went to an outdoor evening of ballet there as well, good memories (and icescream!).
  18. OK, here is a thought. First, the 24-70 should be considered the indispensable lens. Sharp and has the range that you will use most of the time. Then, even though you have a lot of other lens, I would pick up a 70-300mm zoom. They are low cost, very light weight for the range, and in two lens you would have just about everything you need from 24mm up to 300mm. Why take a 35mm or 50mm when you have them in the 24-70. The 135mm DC is a very heavy lens and I would rather have the 70-300mm. When you get back, sell the 70-300mm. Be advised you might just fall in love with it and add it to your kit since you don't have anything on the long end.

    Leave the grip at home and take an extra battery or two. The grip is heavy and just a magnet to someone who wants to take your gear.
  19. In all honesty, I do not know what do you mean by traveling light.
    The D700 is pretty bulky and heavy and except for the 35 and 50 lenses, perhaps the 85mm, all the other lenses when fit to the D700 will add considerable weight to the combo.
    Add the grip and you could be very tired at the end of the day, perhaps with a sore shoulder.
    If I had what you have I would take the lightest lenses I could. I do not know about the Tokina but the 24-70 is surely heavy but excellent optics. The 80-200 is out of the question. Perhaps the 24-70 and the 135mm lenses? Your 50mm could fit well also.
    When I travel I take my D70S and two lenses, the 18-70 and the 70-300. If I add another lens it is usually the 50mm f1.8. At other times it is the D70S with the 12-24, 50 and 70-300. In my travels a mid range zoom, like the 18-70 has been most useful and my most used lens, but that is me.
    Good luck with your trip and bring back some nice shots.

    William Rodriguez
    Miami, Florida.
  20. kixsand


    Nov 13, 2009
    +1 fast prime - 50 1.4 I suppose.

    I wouldn't be surprised if you ended up shooting the majority of your shots with the 16-28.

    Have fun!
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