Suggestion for one lens to take on US holiday

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by Nige, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    Heading off to the US for a holiday in a few weeks and am going to take a Mamiya 645 with one lens attached for B&W film in addition to the colour imaging device (dSLR). Photogenic places we're going to include Yosemite, Death Valley & Utah (road trip loop out of LV).

    This is going to be travelling in checked baggage. Should I mount a 55mm or 80mm?

    Cheers, Nige
     
  2. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    Do you see yourself doing low-light photography at all with the M645? If you do, then I'd probably pop the 80 on it and shoot with that lens. Last roadtrip I did, the only camera and lens combo I did any shooting with, was a Nikon FM2n with a 50/1.4 attached. Had most everything else with me, but didn't feel like bothering with the rest.

    -J
     
  3. altair

    altair Member

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    I'd take the 55mm, all those landscapes.

    Then again, the 80/2.8 doesnt weigh much, so maybe you can bring both?
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I'd use the 80 if it had to be just one lens. Though those lenses are so small, it would be silly not to bring both IMHO.
     
  5. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Doesn't sound like you have been to these places yet so two suggestions.

    Go with the wider lens, the expansiveness of those places is incredible, even overwhelming.

    Include a foreground subject; your partner, yourself, bushes/trees/water....
     
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Just remember, these places are nothing like you see in the movies or brochures--they are far more grand in scope and require wide lenses. Bring a normal as well for some intimate shots as well. If at all possible, visit Desert View Tower at sunset, and be on the roof with a monopod. I dont think they allow tripods up there, but the experience is breath taking and spiritual. Take your sweetie and make it a romantic moment as well. I proposed to my (now)wife there while shooting a sunset.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I would be influenced at least slightly by what lens(es) I was taking for my other camera.

    For example, if I didn't have a wide angle for the dSLR, I'd be sure to take a wide angle for the 645.

    In my case, I would choose my 55mm lens. If there was room for two, I would add my 110mm.
     
  8. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I'm going to go against the grain here and suggest that taking a wide-angle into a big landscape is kind of asking for cliched results. There's a temptation to use the wide angle to "get it all in", and there's so much "all" out in the Great Basin that one often ends up with photos that try to swallow everything and end up being about nothing.

    So that's my argument for taking a narrower lens and paying attention to details. Textures, colours, contrasts, things down at the human scale. Obviously this is just one viewpoint, though, and feel free to ignore it.

    Also, be careful out there, especially in Death Valley. Things will be starting to heat up and dry out; keep your brain engaged, and if you're going off the main roads, make sure the park staff know where you went.

    You know you're going to have to go around Yosemite and enter from the west, right? The Tioga Pass road virtually never opens before mid-May, and sometimes not until June.

    -NT
     
  9. dehk

    dehk Member

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    55mm.
     
  10. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    I would never put cameras and lenses, in checked baggage !
    Everything essential to photography travels with me.

    .
     
  11. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Take both -- what's a few more ounces? If weight is really an issue don't take extra shoes or something else. If you can absolutely take only one lens take the wide and crop. A tripod would be a plus if you can take it. In Utah beside Zion and Bryce go to Moab there is a wealth of photo opportunities there and nearby such as Dead Horse Point, Arches, Natural Bridges, Newspaper Rock, Hovenweep, Monument Valley and others.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  12. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    And it's a fairly heavy snow year.
     
  13. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    If this is the only camera you are taking I would forget angle and think about distance, any lens can focus at infinity, but if you are doing a one camera one lens trip you want something that can focus across a table, and maybe inside a car. Yes the American West is grand and beautiful, but so are the people you will be traveling with.

    I travel with a pocket Brownie for Medium format, and a Nikon 35mm with a Tamron 28-200 attached, I have a Nikon 28-200 that is 1/5 of a stop faster, but the Tamron focuses down to about .3 Meters and the Nikon only works at a little over a Meter. I learned that the Tamron lens is not quite as good as the Nikon when it comes to sharpness, but for taking photos of family, signs, details, plants, and anything that I can't photograph at over 1 Meter the Tamron is the way to go.

    Lets just say a family vacation with lots of great photos of the sights is less fun than a family vacation with photos of the family being silly and doing family type things.

    Learn from my mistake and bring the lens that will work close as well as far.

    If you are bringing a snapshot camera for photos of the family then take the 55 for your scenic work.
     
  14. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Having photographed those areas quite a bit, the 80mm might not be a bad choice. The wider angles are tough in Yosemite as well as Death Valley, mostly because you get so much sky and foreground that it detracts (kinda unusual) from the larger scene. Death Valley is a strange place because it's the only place I can recall where I wanted the longest lens possible.

    Utah, on the other hand, needs a wider lens for most of the grander areas, although the 80mm would be more than enough for things like Delicate Arch, Island in the Sky, and Powell.

    Buy a copy of Desert Solitaire and take Abbey's advice, get out of the goddamn automobile and use your feet. Then the angle of the lens is less of an issue :wink:
     
  15. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    When ever I travel or anything the only lens that comes with me is a 80. It is very versitile.
     
  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Let me re-state for emphasis:
    DO NOT CHECK YOUR CAMERA IN CHECKED BAGGAGE. CARRY IT ON THE PLANE WITH YOU.
    DO NOT CHECK YOUR CAMERA IN CHECKED BAGGAGE. CARRY IT ON THE PLANE WITH YOU.
    DO NOT CHECK YOUR CAMERA IN CHECKED BAGGAGE. CARRY IT ON THE PLANE WITH YOU.
    DO NOT CHECK YOUR CAMERA IN CHECKED BAGGAGE. CARRY IT ON THE PLANE WITH YOU.
    DO NOT CHECK YOUR CAMERA IN CHECKED BAGGAGE. CARRY IT ON THE PLANE WITH YOU.

    If for some reason you cannot carry it on with you, send it ahead to your destination via FedEx or DHL or some such courier that works for you. Putting a camera in checked baggage is tantamount to approaching a stranger on the street and asking them to watch it for you for the next twelve hours.

    That said, I'd take the 80mm if you must take only one lens. I agree with the sentiment that out there, in the Sierras and Death Valley, the lens that works best is the longest.
     
  17. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    My advice:


    stay at home thinking about it
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    If you check it, make sure you insure it for full value! I have had to check cameras, and insurance makes sure that it gets there safely or I get reimbursed for my loss.

    PE
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Actually, I have found normal and telephoto lenses to be of the most use when shooting in the U.S. National Parks. In those locations, wides can easily make things too small on the neg, and give you a bunch of stuff you do not want in the frame. My C series kit when I go on road trips to the Parks is a 55, an 80, and a 180. The 55 gets used, but not as often as the others, and more for pictures of close objects, rather than grand panoramas.
     
  20. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2011
  21. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    thanks everyone for your thoughts... lots of things too think about.

    Wasn't originally going to take a film camera but the wife suggested it knowing I'd like a couple of negs to play with later on.

    Camera will most likely be travelling in baggage as I will be carrying the dSLR (Pentax with 16-45, 50-200, flashgun and maybe a 180mm macro) and unless I can distribute bits between family members (who have their own junk) I'll be overweight with my carry-on. Camera body is a real old 645 1000s of no monetary value and I have a spare 80mm of minimal value so I'm not concerned from that point of view. As we're doing several road trips in cars where we want everything to fit in the boot (trunk) we're trying to limit our baggage to 2 cases and our carry-ons (which in my sons case means iPod, DS's and associated chargers!)

    We're doing the Yosemite section out from SF, then flying to LV to pick up the RV. Would have liked to go over Tioga Pass but like the last time I tried that (1996) our timing is not suitable. One way drop off fees were a killer too so we decided on a loop out of LV. Hopefully those are likely temps... we don't want it too cold which we were thinking it would be!

    Cheers, Nige
     
  22. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Me too. It's the only lens I ever take out with my Rolleicord (actually, it's 75mm - but close).

    Being serious (temporarily) When I do take out my Rolleicord with its fixed 'normal' lens, I don't ever wish it had a wider or narrower view (but I haven't ever taken it to Yosemite).


    Steve.
     
  23. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    well I'm back! took 14 rolls of B&W and 3 rolls of E6 (not yet processed) with my 80mm. Generally it worked out pretty good. Could have used the 55mm a few times but I just worked with what I had.

    some pictures from Seligman in Arizona (haven't scanned any others yet)

    http://s299.photobucket.com/albums/mm294/HGMonaro350/R66/