Packing light for a cruise; 2 zooms and a prime (or a zoom and 2 primes)...

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My wife and I are getting ready for a cruise coming up in May; trans-Atlantic from Florida with port calls in Canary Islands, Gibraltar, Alicante, Barcelona, Marseille, Florence/Pisa, and ends in Rome. Plus, our cheap-o return flight puts us in Berlin for a night (cool!).
Our only other cruise was last year; Patagonia and the Falklands, from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso. I brought my D90, 12-24, 18-55, 50 1.4D, and 80-200 2.8D. I hardly used the 18-55 and wouldn't bring it again; it doesn't go wide enough or long enough. I mainly walked-around with the 12-24, used the 50 when the light got poor, and was pretty much only brought the 80-200 for the birds and wild-life.
My goal this time is to get everything into a hip-pack style bag like a SpeedDemon. Last time I had a 6 Million $ home full with the 3 zooms, the 50, a big Metz 58AF flash (which I could also live without; replace w/ a SB400, or maybe just a reflector).
I'm again bringing a D90, and I know that the 12-24 will be indispensable. I'm thinking that I can live w/o the big tele zoom on this trip. I'll allow myself to buy 1 lens, and thinking that the new 24-120 could be the perfect choice. It's literally half the size and weight of the big 80-200. If I go this 2-zoom route, I'd still bring the 50 1.4. Smaller and cheaper than the 24-120, but not as long, would be a Tamron 28-75. I think I could live without the 75-120 range.
Other option, lighter and smaller, would be the 12-24, and swap the 50 for a 35 DX and an 85 1.8. I really don't think I'll need longer than that, and sure wouldn't miss the bulk and weight.
Thoughts, opinions, advice?

The 80-200 rocked for wildlife and a few long shots, but I could have gotten them with one of the smaller mentioned lenses...

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But the 12-24 was a ton of fun!

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Jan 25, 2009
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I think you have a good plan..... the 12-24, 24-120 and the 50. Plus the small SB-400 (yes, I suggest you take the flash).

I just bought the 24-120 for the same reasons—the 70-200 is too heavy to carry around all day while traveling—and even though I haven't taken any trips yet, the 24-120 is fabulous.
 
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Boise, ID
I would say 24-120 for sure. There will be a point on the trip where you will want the reach, and if you don't have it, you'll kick yourself. 12-120mm at f/4 is pretty good, and having the 50 for lowlight, although I would recommend the 35 instead, or in addition to the 50.
 
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Oct 2, 2008
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Excellent photos! love #3..

I did a Caribbean cruise in feb with 20/24-70/70-200/50/sb800. If I had to do it again it would be 24-70/70-200. Lugging around all that gear was tiring even with a good backpack.

Since excursions are mostly during the daytime - there was always lots of light. If I had a 24-120/f4 I would take that instead; I found I was stopping down most times anyways to get a bit more DOF.
 
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Belgium - Antwerp
I believe the range of a 70-300VR might be interesting, and the bulk and weight of this lens, to me, is acceptable. I would pair it with a 12-24 and a fast prime and be ready to go.

I had a dx camera with a 28-70 for more than a year and found it not to be a good focal length on dx. I assume I would feel the same about the 24-120 lens and I would stay away from buying this.

Good luck and enjoy the trip!
 
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chicago
Another vote for the 70-300mm VR. You had some great telephoto shots from your last trip; would be a shame if you missed similar shots this trip.
 
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I've been on 3 cruises, and last year was the Mexican Riviera trip where I brought the entire kitchen sink. I took the 16-35, 16 fish, 28-105, 85 1.4, 180 2.8, and 2 bodies + filters + tripod. It was a mess. If I had to do that again, I would keep it as simple as possible--I will take:

16-35
70-300VR

or

24-120 VR
70-300VR

Maybe throw in a tiny fast 50 1.8 and that's it. The 16-35 is great for the dining area and landscapes, the fast prime for dark hallways and the 70-300VR for some wildlife and far away islands. The tripod is very helpful for taking self-portraits, so I suggest you take a small travel one. I have a Slik sprint II which is an excellent tiny travel pod.
 
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Just a question for people who would recommend a 70-300VR; besides the reach, would there be any advantage over a 55-200VR, both being slow zooms w/ VR? My goal here is to put it all in a hip pack, it just seems that a 70-300 might be getting close to the bulk of my 80-200.
And yes, I'm planning on bringing a tripod; a nice little Gitzo "Mountaineer" carbon fiber with a fluid video head. As I shoot a bit of video here and there, I find even a basic tripod gets me much better results.

So at this point the kit might be looking like: D90, 12-24, 35 1.8, 55-200VR, SB400 in a LowePro Inverse 100 hip pack, with the pint-size tripod strapped to the bottom.
 
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When we went on a cruise last summer all I took was my D40, 18-200mm, 35mm f1.8 and about 4 underwater cameras from Wal-Mart.
 
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hawaii
You may want to check the specs of 70-300 vs. 80-200. Big/heavy is subjective but think you'll find a noticeable difference.
 
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If you already have a 55-200VR, I would just take that instead. The only reason I suggested the 70-300VR is because of the 300mm reach. The 55-200VR is a pretty good travel lens.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2008
Messages
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Colorado, USA
...are you really planning on taking it all of your lenses with you in a hip pack all of the time?

On the ship, of course not. I'll probably shoot most of my on-the-ship photos with my sweet little Samsung p&s. The hip-pack full of DSLR gear is for when we get off the ship.
As a side note, I'm also letting the p&s take the place of a mid-range zoom a lot these days. It zooms from 24-120, shoots f/2.8 on the wide end, and has pretty decent image stabilization.
 

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