Going on vacation this summer, need equipment suggestions


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Aug 22, 2008
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I posted this on another forum, but it was just a photography section, not a forum dedicated to photography in general.]

Anyway, the plan is to vacation with my family this summer in eastern Canada. Planned locations so far are Niagra falls and Ottawa (on Canada Day) and, no doubt, various hiking expeditions.

My Current Equipment is:
- D40
- 18-55 kit lens
- 55-200 VR
- 35mm f/1.8 DX
- 28mm f/2.8 Series E
- 50mm f/1.8 Series E
- SB600

Now, I know this is certainly a capable setup, but I'd like to expand my opportunities a bit. Here's what I'm thinking...

A decent tripod and ball head.
Right now, I just have some uber-crapola Velbon I'm borrowing from a relative. What decent tripod and ball-head can I get for up to $200 CAD?

Ultra wide-angle lens
Likely the Sigma 10-20, the Nikon 12-24 is too bleedin' expensive. Still, any ultra-wide is pretty expensive and I don't know how often I'd actually use this lens otherwise. Maybe I should just rent one? Rumour has it that Nikon is introducing a 10-24mm DX, which could be interesting.

A second body
My D40 currently has some 28,000 shutter clicks. At the rate I've been going, I'll have about 36,000+ clicks by the time I leave for the vacation. I know shutters should last longer than that (I have a way of beating odds against when they cause misfortune to me :(), but I would sure hate for the shutter to die in the middle of my vacation. So, I'm not quite sure where to go from here. I could:

  • Simply buy a second D40. They're certainly cheap enough.
  • Buy a used D50 or D70. Should be cheaper still and image quality appears roughly equivalent to the D40's, plus I'll have a body that can AF with screwdriver-type AF lenses. Are there any significant features either these bodies are lacking compared to the D40?
  • Use the opportunity to upgrade to a D90, which I can afford but not necessarily justify affording, especially if I'm about to spend a bunch of money on a vacation. Plus, I don't think I really care about the improved sensor performance. I think my ideal camera would be the D200 for the controls, handling and non-CPU lens metering but, again... $$$.

I might bring one of my seldom-used film cameras as a sort of backup (probably my FM), but I'm not experienced / good enough with film to be comfortable or confident using it exclusively.
Wide is fun.. you may end up using it more than you think.... the sigma 10-20 or tokina 12-24 are both great.... don't bother with the nikon wide... it's not good enough to justify the price.... use the money saved to buy dxo optics pro for lens correction and you'll end up shooting wide often...

it is doubtful your d40 shutter will fail during you trip.... sounds like ur trying to convince yourself for an upgrade... if it does, you can always buy another on the spot... having said that... why not pick up a used d200, or 300?
I'm in Canada, so after I pay for shipping, currency exchange and the government takes another 12% on top of that, it will easily be over $1000.
well.... when you are at the falls you can skip over a grab a yankee unit.....
well.... when you are at the falls you can skip over a grab a yankee unit.....

and still have to pay exchange and taxes.

In response to the original post, make sure you travel light on Canada Day in Ottawa, I know you are probably expecting quite a crowd, but seriously, there are more people there than you think. The other thing is if you plan on actually seeing anything in Ottawa I would recommend staying a few days before or after Canada Day, otherwise you won't see much (ex. there are no tours of the parliament buildings and peace tower) because stuff is closed, and the stuff that is open will be packed.
Thanks, smyth.

I'm hoping to get some photos encapsulating the whole spectacle on July 1st, not just fireworks filling the frame (I can get that anywhere), but something with a cityscape in it. I don't expect to need anything other than my kit lens or an ultra-wide if I go that route. Even so, I can quite easily and comfortably fit all my stuff into my one shoulder bag and it's not even heavy.
The average D40 should be able to make it to 100,000 clicks without a problem. After 36K it goes up some the death rate, but it is stable from there to 120K....

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