Going to Russia and Kazakhstan! Advice needed

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by BallZ6pd, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. BallZ6pd

    BallZ6pd TPF Noob!

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    First off, Awesome forum! I have been a long time lurker. This is my first post!

    I’m traveling to Russia and Kazakhstan this August with my girlfriend who is a Russian ex-patriot and I am debating what gear to bring. I have a few possible ideas for kit and I would really appreciate some additional perspective from you all.

    Option 1: Body: Canon 7d
    4 Lenses: Tokina 11-16 2.8, 17-40 F4L, 50 F1.4, 70-200 F2.8L IS II
    Flash: 580EX II
    Accessories: filters, lens pens, etc.
    Carbon fiber tripod, maybe a gorilla pod focus instead.

    Option 2: Buy a higher end point and shoot under $600

    Questions:
    1: Should I do option 1 or 2 or somewhere in between? Keep in mind I am use to traveling domestically with my gear and no stranger to having 30lbs of stuff on my back however this time I’d probably go with a roller bag. I am more worried about safety of myself and the gear and ability to use said gear in these two countries. I have heard Russia has become more camera friendly but I would love some first hand advice.

    2: If I go option 1 I was thinking of using the north face doubletrack 21 bag as a carry on to hold my gear minus the tripod. I like it because it doesn’t scream camera bag. It rolls and it has a smaller detachable day pack. It cost as much as comparable dedicated rolling camera bags but this seams more flexible. I have plenty of padded lens cases and wraps for my gear so it should be fine that this bag doesn’t have padding. The other good thing about doing this is that everything is modular. I know some days I’ll probably end up wheeling everything but when I want to I can pick and chose my kit for each day and throw it in the small backpack.

    3: Anyone been to either of these countries? How was it?

    I look foreword to everyone’s advice/comments. Rest assured I no matter what I take with me gear wise I will come back with plenty of pictures to post for all to enjoy.

    Regards,
    Rob
     
  2. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    Hello Rob and welcome to the forum...of which you have seen while lurking. :mrgreen:

    Sounds like you are on your way to a great trip. I cannot help you with the details you asked about, hopefully someone else can.

    On the safe side, a good P&S as you mentioned may be a good idea.

    All the gear you mentioned may be a flag, not only to officials, but thieves as well.

    If the only reason to travel is to photograph, it may be worth the anxiety to bring all the gear - if so, contact your insurance agent and make sure your gear is well protected.

    Some of the p&s cameras are really good...I would think about that option.
    Others here with experience may persuade you otherwise.


    Good luck, have fun and please post some shots when you get back!
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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  4. Morpheuss

    Morpheuss TPF Noob!

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    Honestly I would probably go towards someplace in the middle. i would take the gear but also bring along a decent p&s camera. unless somebody that has actually been there can give you sound advice. I have never been to those countries but I went through kyzistan or something like that its in the stan areas its the one that has had the trouble with the rebellion and that stuff... anyhow any of the post cold war countries like kazystan or whatever I would probably walk around a little with the decent point and shoot kind of scope out the area see what your feelings are and if you feel good you can always go back to the hotel and grab your canon 7d and if not you can stick with your decent p&s
     
  5. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Go somewhere in the middle, point and shoots sacrifice too much in image quality, if you want smaller size, go Micro 4/3rds, like an Olympus E-P1, or Panasonic GF-1.

    Point and shoot size, but with IQ that's closer to your 7D.
     
  6. BallZ6pd

    BallZ6pd TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for advice so far. I was too general when I used the term Point and Shoot. I'd be looking at the micro 4/3rds.

    I thought about just bringing one lens with the 7d sans battery grip. A 7d with the 17-40L doesn't yell as loud as a backpack full of kit and the big white L glass.

    The 7D and my 50 1.4 would be pretty understated. I could bring my 1.4X tele just in case I wanted a hint more reach. If I did this I would also bring some type of P&S for wider shots. Could be a neat combo and an interesting challenge.
     
  7. Seekwence

    Seekwence TPF Noob!

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    I am recently back from two weeks in China, and although I can't offer any safety advice for Russia (China was incredibly safe and I never once felt threatened in any way), I can say that I did take several lenses, but pretty much left my Sigma 18-200mm 3.5-6.3 OS. While it doesn't open up to f2.8, it was extremely versatile and suited my needs in 90% of the various shooting conditions. Just another option to consider!
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've spent a couple weeks in Kazakhstan, very interesting country.

    It's not a good idea to generalize about which countries are 'safe' to carry expensive camera gear around in, especially when talking about two of the largest countries in the world. There are probably more 'dangerous' locations within most North American cities, than anything you might find on your travels.

    It all comes down to what you do, where you go and how you conduct yourself.

    I'd bring all the gear, the only issue being that you will be carrying a large & heavy camera bag...and worst case scenario is that you run into a flight where they won't let you carry it on.

    You might want to use a camera bag that will also let you carry all of your important 'carry-on' type stuff, like a change of clothes, toiletries etc. (in case your checked luggage gets lost).
     
  9. BallZ6pd

    BallZ6pd TPF Noob!

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    As an FYI I'll be in Moscow and St Petersburg in Russia the standard touristy areas Red Square and the Hermitage, Petergoff; and Aktobe and Astana in Kazakhstan mostly visiting family of my girlfriend.
     

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