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Trip to Italy...which lenses to take?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Gandalf, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. Gandalf


    Nov 15, 2006
    Later this year my wife and I are going to Italy, and I want to be smart about which lenses to take. I'm NOT experienced at traveling with photo gear, and I've never been to Europe. I don't want to pack any more weight than necessary. I would really appreciate some advice from experienced travelers regarding which lenses to take.

    I have a D200, and the following lenses:

    Nikon 28-70 (Beast)
    Nikon 18-200 VR
    Nikon 12-24
    Nikon 80-400 VR
    Nikon 200 f4 (micro)
    Nikon 60 2.8 (micro)
    Sigma 170-500
    Nikon 80-200 2.8
    Tokina AT-X 28-70

    Some of the older lenses were part of a package deal a few years ago when I bought some used equipment from a pro that was shutting down his studio. I have since acquired the newer lenses.

    I'm thinking I should take the 28-70 (for inside and low-lght shots) and the 18-200 (walk-around). Also maybe the 12-24 (although I've noticed the photomerge tool in CS3 works pretty well, so do I really need to take a wide-angle if I can stich panoramas?).

    Will I regret not taking the 80-400? It's kind of heavy.

    Don't think I'll need the micros...?

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. You have quite a selection to choose from!

    I have been to Italy many times, but not since I have gotten a DSLR. I have traveled with DSLRs quite a bit recently, however. For an upcoming trip to Australia, I plan to take the D200, 18-200VR, 12-24, and either 50/1.8 or 35/2.0. For macro (not likely to want it), I'll have my Canon 500D close-up adapter for the 18-200. I'm acquiring a second 18-200VR for my wife's D40. We'll probably also take the 18-55 kit lens for the D40, and that will be it.

    The 18-200VR is so versatile that I can't justify taking much else. Rich Gibson posted some wonderful shots of Rome last year from his 18-200VR.

    I do like the 12-24 for wide-angle shots, however, but if you're not into wide angle shots you could justify leaving it at home.
  3. Bill, Europe NEEDS a 12-24 be sure of that...

    Then the beast and the 80-200 would make you happy any day :wink:

    No need for anything above 200mm unless you go BIF shooting :smile:
  4. rexv


    Jun 19, 2007
    Amarillo, TX
    Here's what I did.

    I took my 18-200 VR and rarely took it off the camera. When I did, the 12-24 VR went on in place of it. The 12-24 is great inside churches on piazzas inside the Colosseum and places you would know and want to use it. I definitely would not take any longer, heavier lenses unless you have a specific need for them.

    Don't know where you're going, but if in Rome, especially, and Florence, watch your equipment -- whatever's hanging on your belt, in your pocket or around your neck. Our second day in Rome at the beginning of the trip, our friend's pocket camera was stripped off him exiting a metro train. The other three of us all found our waist packs and the women's purses had been unzipped.

    I'm not an expert on things and places Italian, but have been there a few times. Please feel free to bounce a question this way if you'd like. My photos were posted on pbase until I jumped ship and went over to zenfolio and I haven't taken time to re-post them there, but they might have given you a feel for what you'd like to take.
  5. weiran


    Jan 2, 2007
    Nottingham, UK
    The 12-24mm would be a must as you have no wide angle alternative (28mm isn't very wide on DX), Nikon or Tokina 28-70 (I'd have the one that weighs the least, optically they're both great) and Nikon 80-200.

    You'll be glad you took high end glass to Italy as its not somewhere you can visit again anytime soon!
  6. Gandalf


    Nov 15, 2006
    Jim T,

    Thanks. Sounds like I'm on the right track. I do like wide angle shots, but a friend who is a pro recently showed me how to take panoramas and stich them with CS3 photomerge, so now I'm wondering if I need to take the 12-24...


    Do you think I should take the 80-200 instead of the 18-200 VR? Why? I tend to rely a lot on the 18-200.


    Thanks for the advice. We're flying into Florence and going to cruise down the coast to Rome, with stops along the way. Probably spend a couple of days in Florence before the cruise, and a couple of days in Rome after. I've heard horror stories about pickpockets. Sounds like the stories are true!

    Since you've been a few times, maybe you could suggest some some locations for photo ops? I'm not really into the typical Colloseum "touristy" shots. I'm more interested in interpretiing the culture, people, etc.

    Thanks everyone!
  7. Gandalf


    Nov 15, 2006

    Thanks. Looks like the consensus is that I should take the 12-24. But why the 80-200 instead of the 18-200 VR?
  8. Well, you'll be needing top class glass and the 18-200 although handy, can't beat the 80-200 in any field.
    The 80-200 will prove amazing when you start taking candid portraits at 200mm wide open, trust me :wink:
  9. Gandalf


    Nov 15, 2006

    Thanks. I don't have much experience with the 80-200. I'm going to start putting it through some paces and see what happens.
  10. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    For what it's worth, I understand that pickpocketing is rampant in some areas of Italy. Whatever you decide to bring....keep your possessions secured at all times.
  11. Gandalf


    Nov 15, 2006
    Thanks Frank. You and others have cautioned me about the pickpocketing, so I'm going to be super careful (passport inside the shirt, etc.). Probably put a lock on the camera bag, and carry it over-the-shoulder, across the chest and under-the-arm so it would be hard to snatch.
  12. rexv


    Jun 19, 2007
    Amarillo, TX
    It would appear that you're going to the two of the hottest tourist spots in Italy! To avoid picking up the touristic view of Italy, I'd suggest getting away from the big attractions and back into the neighborhoods. You'll find plenty of shops, small piazzas, etc. where people are working or doing their regular daily stuff. Having said that, don't miss Piazza Navonna in Rome toward the end of the day. Be careful of the contrasty lighting! Bright on one side of the piazza and deep shade on the other. The Italians are great to come out and socialize with one another late in the afternoon. They'll be in restaurants, on benches, strolling, playing with their kids, and on and on. Only rarely when I asked to take a photo of someone did they refuse me permission. And, of course, you can just shoot street shots that include the atmosphere. They're used to cameras for sure!

    Florence is another great place toward sunset. Be sure to be down by the river. Go across the river toward the south from the city center and up into the neighborhoods. The big garden is the Boboli, but I don't think I'd wander into it at twilight. You will get some fantastic sunset opportunities east of the Ponte Vecchio bridge.

    Above Florence about an 8 or 10 minute bus ride is the little town of Fiesole. Haven't been up there in a number of years, but it's a good place to see the Italians in a quaint village -- that is, if the condo developers haven't moved in! It was almost too quiet when I was there -- like everyone had gone to work in Florence.

    Haven't been up and down the coast on a cruise like you're going to do, so don't know what to suggest along that line.

    There are a zillion photos waiting for you!
  13. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    I also agree on the 12-24. The small little streets and all the architecture will have you constantly at the 18mm stop on your 18-200 and wanting to go wider.
  14. ...and we are talking NARROW streets in downtown Rome :wink:

  15. Well if you have the 35 2.0, then that is what I would take, for my trip,I bought the 18/200 and intended to sell it when I got home, still have it, it is a great compromise for a traveling lens. I took the 50 1.8 for interior shots, the effective 75MM worked OK but I would have liked more width. The 12/24 which I have now, would have been nice to have had in Italy last fall.
  16. Hi Gandalf

    just some tips:
    1) Go wider. As other said, the 10/12-200 range is what you will really need
    2) Stay light, also for point #3
    3) Pay attention in some crowded areas (i.e. underground, bus, etc. especially in Milan, or central and southern Italy) to pickpockets and little gypsies. Unfortunately some security cameras out of certain stations recently proved that their impudence and shamelessness is evident even during the central hours of the day. Pay also attention when waiting at city lights if some of them make closer to your car and you have your bag near the passenger window. Stay away from albanians and slavic in general, they have a worst reputation here. Moroccans are safer.
    4) feel free to write me for any question concerning Italy, maybe, if you are near Parma (northern Italy) we can even meet if you give me some more info about your time schedule, and don't forget I'm not here to frighten you but just to arise your attention in certain specific situations. If you go for a quality tourism, surely Italy will please you, if you just look for the word "agriturismo" (farm holidays) or "bed and breakfast" Italy is well served; when I was in Sovana (GR) for the wedding I'm posting on the other topic, I guess we counted at least 30 agriturismi in 50 km on our road. People here conjugated the beautiful side of living with a pleasant "profession".

    That said, I'd take three lenses: 12-24; 18-200 and 60 F2.8 micro. If you want to take with you the 28-70, take care of it.
    Otherwise, 12-24 - 28-70 - and 200 F4.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2007
  17. Yes, Panos, I can't remember where but in Roma or Neaples there's one of the narrowest alleys in the whole world, just 44 cm (1 ft and half)

    As for weather, actually is hot and sunny.
  18. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    gee, sounds like u need pockets with locks on em ..lol
  19. I'd rather say ...keep your eyes wide open and don't show off :wink:
  20. Yes, Panos, I've partially corrected my intervention but your line was correct.
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