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kevinrice Silver Member Nikonian since 04th May 2009Sun 07-Apr-13 06:06 PM
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"European Vacation - London & Paris"


US
          

This summer, I am headed to London & Paris. I want to ping the experts on the forum to help me with what to bring when I go.

My wife and I will be going with our kids - 13 & 10. We plan to hit many of the tourist spots in the cities as well as some sites out of the city like Stonehenge. We want to bring back great memories - people pictures and urban pics.

I have a D90 and loads of memory cards.

Of the lenses I have, what should I bring or leave behind. I don't want to get weighed down and not kick myself for leaving something at home.

Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S NIKKOR FX Lens
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S
Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR II Nikkor Telephoto Zoom Lens
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens
Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF Nikkor Zoom Lens
Nikon 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor

Also, looking for advice on a good hand strap for the D90

Thanks in advance!

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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six34sigma Silver Member
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blw Moderator
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six34sigma Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Nov 2010Sun 07-Apr-13 06:28 PM
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#1. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 0


Cumming, US
          

Travel to paris monthly where I get weekend on occasion to take pictures.

Suggest your 24-70 and 12-24. You will need fast lenses for indoors, Notre Dame, Louvre, etc. The wide you will need in instances where distance is compressed and there is no room to backup. Take a flash so you can take reasonable family photos, fill flash, night etc.

Leave the rest of it behind, you may miss a tele but personally the 24-70 is a large enough beast. My $0.02

Oh and the French (not sure about the English) will want your camera out at security screening. They quite often want all cords our of laptop bags as well as ipads. Take practically everything out, then they happily scan my near empty backpack. Don't ask.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.



Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. - Nicomachean Ethics

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sun 07-Apr-13 06:37 PM
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#2. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

I would say that this boils down to what kind of opportunities you expect. If you're really there on vacation with the family, I'd bring the 18-200VR and the 12-24; maybe the 50/f1.8. If you expect to have some time dedicated to photography (in my case, before anyone else wakes up- could be two or three hours!), I'd bring the 24-70 and 70-200 along with the 12-24. I know, that's just about everything - I would use both sets depending on when I'm going out.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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RABaker Registered since 01st Oct 2003Sun 07-Apr-13 11:16 PM
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#3. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 2


Sunnyvale, US
          

I largely agree with Brian. When vacationing with family I found that being able to frame and shoot my images rapidly paid off, so I usually packed the 18-200 (and maybe a small, fast prime), and a flash. I found that worked out well - the 18mm end was wide enough for most stuff, the 200mm was usually sufficient on the long end, VR often helped in dark locations, and the flash was useful in areas where it was allowed. If I was going alone or I knew I would have several hours to myself at times then I brought more stuff with me to cover the focal lengths with higher quality (heavier) lenses.

Note that this has changed recently simply because I am getting older and I don't enjoy carrying a lot of weight any more - so for trips by air I will normally restrict myself to the 18-200, a fast prime and a flash. While traveling by car I normally pack just about everything and select from my main bag for each individual outing.

By the way, for our European travel I found I used the wide end of the 18-200 MUCH more than the telephoto end.

Good luck,
Richard

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Mon 08-Apr-13 08:22 AM
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#4. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

As a couple of examples, I had a weekend in Paris last year, between segments of a business trip. I packed the heavy gear (D3 and lenses) since that basically amounted to a two-day photography vacation. I used the 12-24 for 115 frames, the 24-70 for 427, the 70-200 for 6, the 105 Micro for 55, and an 8mm fisheye for 20. I also brought my travel camera, a Fuji x10, since I knew I'd be walking around some with business colleagues for several days before the weekend. I got 72 frames on the x10. For 72 frames I'm glad it wasn't a DSLR and 18-200 or similar!

Later in the year I spent several days in London on a business trip. My photo opportunities were limited to walking around after dinner and a couple of hours the morning before I caught a flight back to the US. I brought the x10, and I used it for 224 frames, half of which were that last morning. In both London and Paris I found the x10's 28-112 equivalent focal range to be somewhat on the long side; I definitely would have preferred something like 24-100 or maybe even 20-80, but there aren't many options like that in a pocket camera. That I leaned fairly heavily on the very wide is also evident in the D3 statistics: 12-24 is quite wide on FX, and I used 115 frames of that in two days in Paris.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberMon 08-Apr-13 01:29 PM
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#5. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 0


Philadelphia, US
          

Hi Kevin,

You've been a member for quite some time, but I'm going to say "Welcome to Nikonians" anyway, as you started this topic with your first post.

You're going to two of my favorite cities in Europe. I hope you have a fabulous time. Both cities are similar with regard to one's choice of lenses. They have wide thoroughfares, narrow streets, wonderful cityscape opportunities, interesting architecture, a blend of old and modern, wonderful interior and exterior photo opportunities, a vast variety of subjects beyond the usual city fare, and opportunities for closeup, and detail shots which can be extremely interesting. And of course there will be wonderful opportunities for shots of locals and you and your family enjoying the trip.

As a result, with your D90 and lenses, I think you have two ways you could successfully choose to go, but both should contain both wide angle (cityscapes, narrow street architectural, and street shots) and telephoto (closeups, portraits, street shots, and detail images) lenses.

So, if you want to go lighter, go with the 12-24mm f/4 and the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6. You'll be swapping your lenses less often with this set as the 18-200mm will be your workhorse.

If you want a more capable, faster lens set, go with the 12-24mm f/4, 24-70mm f2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8. I suspect the 24-70mm will be your main lens in this group, but the 12-24mm will enable some indoor and narrow street photos that 24mm just can't handle on your DX camera, and I definitely wouldn't leave home without telephoto capability. I think you'll be kicking yourself if you do.

I've used the 18-200mm extensively while traveling with a DX DSLR, and it's a mighty nice lens, and far more capable than many give it credit. On the other hand, especially for interiors, and there will be interiors you'll want to shoot in both cities, and low light outdoor photos as well, the two f/2.8 zooms are a definite plus, and have marvelous optical quality, but they will add real weight to your kit.

It's all personal preference, how you work to get the shots you want, how you can shoot with family around which will be impatient with you at times, how fast you are at swapping lens, and your style at setting up your images.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Mon 08-Apr-13 05:03 PM
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#6. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 5


Los Angeles, US
          

Brian is completely right in his judgment.

I worked for an airline and would visit both places about every four months. Half the time I went over on with my bicycle. FedEx. Cargo plane. So I had to travel very light. The Nikons stayed home, so I packed a small Minox 35mm camera with a 35mm Leitz lens on a bellows. It folded up. Stunning pictures.

On the trips were stayed in the big cities. I took only a 24mm and a 105mm. You will often be real close to a building and need a wide angle. Same for making group shots outdoors or indoors. The 105 covered every other need. Especially at a distance on those spacious public squares. I used a Nikon FTn film camera, and zooms weren't in common use.

Don't turn yourself into a pack mule with 30 pounds of glass to haul around.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberMon 08-Apr-13 05:57 PM
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#7. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 6


Philadelphia, US
          

Gary, Brian and I both suggested Kevin taking lenses which could get up to 200mm on the trip and I continue to believe that's a good idea for Kevin. For example, at Notre Dame de Paris, at 200mm you can get wonderful images of the gargoyles which are all over the building and have magnificent details to capture. All around Paris and London there are wonderful photo opportunities of architecture and street life, for example, where having a lens past 105mm is a major advantage.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Mon 08-Apr-13 06:04 PM
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#8. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 7


Los Angeles, US
          

I stand corrected. Yes, something near 200mm would be good.

But, when you live in a family populated by gargoyles , why bother searching for them in Paris?

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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kevinrice Silver Member Nikonian since 04th May 2009Tue 09-Apr-13 03:16 AM
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#9. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 8


US
          

This is great stuff. I am glad to get some experienced advice.

Another thought on the topic is around straps, bags etc. I hear that theft is an ever present concern. I have a couple lowepro bags, sling for one, and the stock camera strap. What can I do to make sure I am not a victim of an easy theft?

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberTue 09-Apr-13 03:44 AM
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#10. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 9


Philadelphia, US
          

I use bags which don't advertise "cameras," but frankly as you use an expensive DSLR, and if you go into the bag for a lens, the "cat's out of the bag" about what you're carrying around, so to say, but it's still good not to advertise.

You never leave your bag unattended. If you're sitting at lunch, keep the bag at your feet and wrap a strap around your leg. Use "street smarts" and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

You might want to read Traveling to Europe this summer? Keep your camera equipment and valuables safe!, on my Photography Blog, which I wrote a few years ago, but it's still applicable today.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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slalom002 Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Oct 2008Thu 11-Apr-13 01:13 PM
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#15. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 10


Bern, CH
          

I agree about not standing out.

A couple of notes of caution, in summer Paris can be hot and there will be crowds. The subway has a lot of pickpockets so make sure that your gear is safe and that your bag is in front of you. Be careful of your wallet, passport etc. If they ask the time give an approximation, do not look at your watch. It is an attempt to distract you. Stay alert for demonstrations. Pyrotechnics are used by some protesters. Demonstrations are sometimes related to sports events - not just political issues. It is easy to get caught in the cross fire. If you see buses and vans with CRS on them it is a sign that the police are preparing for civil unrest and it is wise to move on.

I grew up in Paris and it has changed from a photography perspective. What was once a photo-friendly city has become much less so. Do not even think of bringing a tripod even for street shooting. Long lenses attract attention from busy-bodies who are happy to scold tourists for taking pictures of the Eiffel tower at twilight (they claim that the lights are protected by copyright). Even operators of antique carousels will shoo you away.

Today, I mostly bring a point and shoot camera and enjoy the city, especially if my kids are with me. I love Paris, but it is a big city with big city problems.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberThu 11-Apr-13 03:07 PM
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#16. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 15


Philadelphia, US
          

I agree with you about summer in Paris. It reminds me of Miami in summer. I avoid Paris in summer myself, like many Parisians. Traditionally, please tell me if I'm wrong, those who can afford it, leave Paris in the traditional August Exodus(LOL).

I also agree with you about the subway being a haven for pickpockets, and asking for the time is such an old scam there, but it clearly works based on so many complaints via email that many travel writers like me receive each year.

You're right about crowds, demonstrations, and CRS vans and buses. If you see them heading to where you're going, turn around and head somewhere else. A few years back I got caught in the happy crowd at the Eiffel Tower during the world rugby tournament being held in Paris. I was there photographing it. It was crazy. I was mostly on the periphery for my photos, but I saw quite a few tourists who were most definitely worse for the wear.

As to public space photography in Paris, I've been photographing there for years, about once every other year. I'll be back later this year, in fact. Paris used to be a fantastic open place for photography, but as you said not so much today, but I've found in recent years, the atmosphere is getting better. Actually, street or public photography across the globe has become much tougher since 9/11 almost everywhere in the western world, while in other nations to a large degree, in cities at least, it's always been problematical (I know some will lash me for say that, but it is my experience.)

Let me list a bit of my experience in Paris in recent years.

You mentioned tripods. Yes during the day, in the streets of Paris tripods are out. It's the same in most large cities. Tripods interfere with people getting by you and the police will not be kind, ordering you to pick it up, move on, and don't bring it out again. Tripod use on the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe are completely forbidden, as are monopods, and the guards really enforce that. Of course it's the same in NYC on the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock. It makes sense too. So, if you want great panoramas from these locations, you'll need to use the fences there the best you can to steady the camera/lens and/or try a small bean bag. The shots can be had. Elsewhere in Paris at night, as long as you're not in a crowded area, you won't have trouble with a tripod for night shots. I have some nice shots from a tripod of the Louvre at night, as well as plenty of other areas.

Street photography can be a problem when taking photos of people at work, play, etc. which are recognizable. French privacy laws are strict. It's actually a criminal offense to publish a recognizable photo of someone in France without their permission. Note I said publish not take, but for a while people would shoo you away and interfere with you to even take those shots. Today, in my opinion, it's again become easier and people generally ignore photographers for the most part unless they get obtrusive.

The exception, and it's a big exception almost everywhere these days, at least in North America and Europe more than elsewhere except the Middle East where it's tougher, is photographing children. I suggest you don't take photos of children, say playing in a park, unless you first ask permission to do so.

In fact, my rule of thumb, no matter where I am in the world these days, is to never take a recognizable photo of a child without first asking permission to do so, and if turned down, walk away.

In Paris, if I want to take a recognizable photo of anyone, I simply ask for permission. I rarely get turned down, but if I do, I walk away.

Moreover, in France the "Presumption of Innocence and Rights of Victims" law prohibits the publication or broadcast of any image or photo that a court decides would hurt the dignity of the subject, so again I strongly suggest, just ask for permission.

As to crowd shots, streetscapes, photos of buildings or fountains, etc. that happen to catch some people in them, I wouldn't worry about them, and I really doubt that you'll have trouble at this point in time.

As to the Eiffel Tower, a French court ruled, in June 1990, that a special lighting display on the tower in 1989, for the tower's 100th anniversary, was an "original visual creation" protected by copyright. The Court of Cassation, France's judicial court of last resort, upheld the ruling in March 1992. The Société d'exploitation de la tour Eiffel (SETE) now considers any illumination of the tower to be under copyright. As a result, it's no longer legal to publish current photographs of the tower at night without permission in France and some other countries. If you take a panorama shot of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in it, it should be no problem as its presence in the photo would be considered incidental to the main represented subject, Paris. Of course, if a tourist takes an Eiffel Tower photo at night and publishes it on Flickr, for example, I don't think they have to worry about getting a court summons in the mail about copyright infringement. It's really about commercial use of the images.

All of these comments have to do with photography in public spaces. In government buildings and on private property, all these comments are moot, because there, whoever owns the property gets to make the rules, and if they are draconian, they are draconian, and you've got to follow them, or you could have real problems. By the way in the Louvre, I've noticed they're finally starting to actually stop people from taking flash photos at times. In my opinion, it's about time. Photography in the Louvre is permitted, but not in special exhibition galleries, only in permanent galleries, due to copyright issues mostly. Tripods and monopods are forbidden. When in the Louvre don't forget to look up at the ceilings. Many are simply magnificent.

To me, taking photos in Paris is really the same as taking photos in any big city, when it comes down to it. We all need to use our commonsense.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.



Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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archivue Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Mar 2002Thu 11-Apr-13 04:17 PM
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#17. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 16


Paris, FR
          

Aye...
Today the Louvre was closed by a strike of it's guards and other museum people, because there was much too much pick pockets that were ow working in groups and even harassing guards... We'll see what will follow !

A small bit about buildings and architecture ("à propos" of the Eiffel tower lighting), we (architects) have in France, a sort of intellectual copyright (droits d'auteur) on our buildings. As Ned said, if the pictures are for a commercial use we have the right to claim it, if you use an interior of a recognizable building for whatever fashion shoot you'll have to ask the architect and pay the rights (happily for photographers, the architects usually don't care or are suddenly very embarrassed when you ask them for the price to pay )!

A few years ago, some architects I know went to trial because of a picture showing a reflection of their building in a watered pothole, on the basis that it was turning down the quality of the building (image)... They lost (anyhow they are ****ses )! But most iconographers or people arranging shooting places know about it and avoid some well known contemporary architecture, unless the client wants to pay the price...!

About the tripod. Years ago, using a tripod was considered in Paris as making a professional shoot and thus restricted to a permit you had to get (free, but what a hassle) at the Préfecture. Since a few years the rule has changed and you can now have a small movie set (no more then three people, but several tripods) without a permit !!!
But some thinking should be done beforehand, as any police force will ask you to move if you are in a crowded place or if there is some rioting ahead as the tripod is seen as a weapon that someone could use... My usual Nikon shop had a big riot, the rioters broke the window pane and stole all the Nikon cameras and lenses that were on display... As projectiles against the police !!! My friend was sick for several days after picking up in the street all those exploded lenses...

For Ned, I confirm that I'm in Porquerolles in August...

Jacques

"Un photographe, finalement, c'est quelqu'un comme les autres, mais qui prend des photos." - Man Ray
My Gallery...
My Other Gallery...

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberThu 11-Apr-13 05:47 PM
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#18. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 17
Thu 11-Apr-13 05:48 PM by Ned_L

Philadelphia, US
          

I used to think that Barcelona was the pickpocket capital of Europe, but maybe Paris has taken over that distinction. I hope not.

Thanks for the confirmation Jacques.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Tue 09-Apr-13 05:09 AM
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#11. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 9


Richmond, US
          

I use a ThinkTank LensChanger Retrospective for walking around in the city. It looks like a messenger bag, although I am not so sure that it fools the folks I want to fool. I'd guess it does fool most tourists, but I don't care much about them.

For those occasions when I bring the Heavy Stuff, I use a ThinkTank Airport International. It's a roller, and it is pretty good disguise. It is big enough to swallow a full sports outfit - 12-24, 24-70, 70-200, 400, two pro bodies, a TC, a fisheye, at least one Speedlight, misc filters, hoods, caps, cable releases, remotes, extra batteries, etc. This locks with TSA locks and also has a pretty strong integrated locking cable. If you lock the gear inside and lock the cable around, say, a bed frame, it's reasonably safe. The really determined thief will be able to cut into the bag with some serious shears, and probably even the cable can be defeated with a large chain cutter. But it certainly is going to stop less determined thieves dead in their tracks. Make suitable arrangements with your insurance carrier in advance. Other than the contents of the cards, all of it can be replaced pretty easily given financial coverage. I have lots of serial numbers and receipts on file with my insurance folks. Between that and the Airport International, I don't have to worry too awfully much.

I do replace the stock camera strap with a generic looking Tamrac strap. At least the Tamrac strap doesn't shout model names and expensive brands in bold yellow. It's also more comfortable.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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davidahn Registered since 10th Apr 2013Wed 10-Apr-13 05:10 AM
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#12. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 0
Thu 11-Apr-13 01:56 AM by davidahn

San Diego (Bonita), US
          

I would take the sage advice of the experienced photographers before mine; I'm a fairly new hobbyist. I had a 5DII and a bag full of glass but ended up using the 24-105 f/4L 90% of the time, rarely using my 70-200 f/4L or 100 f/2.8 macro or 15 f/2.8 because of the convenience of the 24-105 range and the inconvenience of switching lenses. I sold my Canon gear and am starting over with a D800E. I'm hoping I can adjust to using 14, 35, and 85 primes rather than slower zooms with poor to fair bokeh.

You have some great lenses for an FX sensor, but not great walkaround focal lengths for your DX sensor. I would strongly suggest the Sigma 17-50 f2.8 OS or 17-70 f/2.8-4 OS, plus your 70-200.

David

  

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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Wed 10-Apr-13 01:39 PM
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#13. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 12


Los Angeles, US
          

About appropriate lenses. A term that pops up for a do-all zoom is "street sweeper". It means a range of focal lengths good for most anything you might encounter walking down a city street.

In the FX category, the 24-120mm is a street sweeper. In DX, the 16-85mm is a street sweeper. They aren't the only ones.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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mareng Registered since 14th Jan 2013Thu 11-Apr-13 12:19 PM
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#14. "RE: European Vacation - London & Paris"
In response to Reply # 0


Thatcham. GB, GB
          

Forget Stonehenge you cannot get near it for fencing, but go to Averbury which is on the A4 near Marlborough (a typical English country town. At Averbury you can walk among the stones, unlike Stonehenge. There are quite a few thatched cottages, local hosteleries for lunch and the Avon & Kennet canal with photo opportunities of brightly coloured canal boats, locks. Drive on to Devizes further West and see a large series of locks. The children if boys will be fascinated. On the canal there is also Crofton Beam Engines (before you get to Marlborough. These are two steam reciprocating engines that pump water into the canal. Check the website for steaming weekends http://www.croftonbeamengines.org/). They are 200 years old. Boys will enjoy a visit perhaps not the wife and girls (leave them in Marlborough or Hungerford to browse the dress shops and antique shops). Hope the weather is better this year.
If you want to appreciate England don't stay in London.
Continue along the A4 to Bath and then Bristol you could probably spend a day at each. Bristol has several ships you can visit including the SS Great Western, oak hulled steam paddle wheeler built by Isambard Brunel for trans Atlantic passenger and mail.

Mareng

  

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