Travel photography...Need Help


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May 5, 2006
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Vancouver, Canada
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Hi... I am new to this forum..I posted a thread yesterday but I didn't get any answer...

My question was about traveling and the minimum equipment that I should take for my trip to Europe..

As for films should I take slides and then at the time of developing get a digital copy of them or a digital SLR camera is a must??

What about lenses? what do you suggest...

I guess these are more personal preferance questions but what do you take when you go away???

If you're going to be doing a lot of travelling, then you might be better off taking a single zoom lens rather than a range of primes - something like a 28-80mm and perhaps a short telephoto as well.

Digital SLR a must? probably not, but it would be handy rather than having to carry all your finished film with you. Unless you were thinking of upgrading anyway, then it's probably not worth rushing out to buy one just for this trip.

Hope this helps :)
Welcome to TPF! How comfortable are you shooting film? If you're confident in your ability to compose and expose then I'd almost certainly choose film over digital - especially if you don't already have a DSLR, and your film SLR is not too valuable. The chances of your camera being stolen on holiday are very slim, but the chances of it being dropped are higher, and the chances of it getting 'stuff' inside it or being affected by various forms of weather equally high. If one of those things happens, IMO it's better that it happen to a 20-year-old 35mm than a brand new digital.
Having said all that, I have to admit that when I next go on holiday my compact digital will be going along with my 35mm kit - sometimes you just can't take the chance, however small, of not getting the shot.

Whether you go for film or digital, for lenses I would suggest that weight and size are perhaps the most important factors. From this point of view I'd have to agree that a good zoom is better than a whole bunch of primes, but then again the idea of going anywhere without a 50mm prime is unthinkable to me. Ultimately though the choice of lens depends on what you're likely to be shooting - do you have any particular preference for landscape, architecture, people etc?
Thanks for your all your advice... I just have to admit I am very new to photography and I am still learning all the lingo. What do you mean by prime lense?? does that mean like 35-70mm lense that ususally comes with the camera? Also do you guys recommend slide or film?

To answer your question regarding type of photography I would have to say I love both architecture and people photography.. so I probably need a wide angle and a 200 or 300mm zoom for portraites right?

I also saw an ad on Craigslist for a 28mm-600mm lense for sale.. all in one lense. Do you think that's a good lense? it's a big range for all in one isn't it?
If you're new to photography, definitely go for negative film rather than slides. Negative colour film is much more tolerant of being incorrectly exposed than slides, and with holidays its obviously important that the shot comes out right since you can't just wander back and do it again.

A prime lens is one with a fixed focal length, e.g. 50mm, 28mm, etc, rather than a zoom like the 28-300mm or 35-70mm you mentioned. I'm simplifying here but basically primes produce better images most of the time, the disadvantage being that you have to either walk around more or switch primes when you want to take different kinds of photos.

For example 50mm is usually the 'standard' prime lens for most people, and using a 50mm prime you will probably get a better image than if you use a 35-70mm zoom set at 50mm. But a 50mm prime will not let you take a wide-angle shot, for example the interior of a room. The 28-300mm will let you take that shot if you set it to 28mm, however the image quality will almost certainly be nowhere near as good as if you used a 28mm prime. Zoom lenses tend to be particularly bad around their lower and higher ends (e.g. 28mm and 300mm) with distortion, unwanted softness etc. A prime lens is also usually a 'faster' lens, meaning it has a larger maximum aperture and can be used in lower light with a faster shutter speed, possibly removing the need for a flash, tripod etc which would be necessary with many zooms. Hopefully someone else can explain it all better than me, I'm just rambling here :).

As for the 28-600mm lens, that is indeed a big range, probably too much for it's own good. It's probably safe to say that it's not a good lens It may be an adequate lens, which isn't really what anyone wants when you can get something better for the same money. That something better IMO would be either a good zoom with a shorter range, or a couple of primes.

Oh, and you really don't want a 300mm for portraits, unless you're going to ask your subjects to wait while you run far away from them in order to take the photo. The right lens for portraits is largely a matter of preference; I think at some point it was carved in stone that 135mm is a portrait lens and thou shalt have no other portrait lens (check auctions, those 135mms are everywhere), but a lot of people prefer something shorter like 85 or 90mm.

As for wide-angle for architecture, IMO you really do need a prime for that. The distortion you'd get using a 28-600mm zoom at 28mm may not be too bad with a landscape shot, but with architecture it will be (with all those straight lines, it's very noticeable if they actually come out bendy!) A 28mm prime is probably the best option; anything bigger is not really wide enough, much smaller and you have to pay a lot more to get something that isn't affected by various forms of distortion, lens flare, dark or soft spots etc. Used 28mm primes are ridiculously cheap now; just make sure it's a good one. The key with buying old lenses, whether zooms or primes, is to consult the mighty Google and find all those websites that kindly explain which lens was made by Company A for Company B and rebadged for a department store and therefore sells for way under its real value.
Thank you so much for the comprehensive reply. It was very helpful and I learned a lot.... So I will buy a 28mm pime lense and I have my 35-70mm for just normal shots and I will buy maybe a 135mm or a 200mm lense in case I had to take a photo of some art on the Sistine Chapel or something like that that is far.... sounds good?

Sounds good! Three lenses is a sensible limit, and if you do decide that you need something more flexible than a fixed 135mm or 200mm then remember there are good zooms that will cover a range like 70-200mm. This IMO is still better than going for a single lens covering 28-200 (I've had one, and it was adequate - nothing more). The trick is to work out which are the good ones - you can always ask here, or Google for reviews.

By the way, what camera do you currently have? We could probably suggest some good lenses based on this.
For film, I agree with 35-70, and the 70-210. That would cover just about everything you need. If you want wider most brands have something around 17-35 or so too. For film alot of people use 85mm for portraits. Some use longer some shorter. 50mm is consider the same point of view as the eye. Same angle of coverage.

The more expensive lenses will be faster (larger aperature, allowing faster shutter in lower light conditions). But they will also be heavier. They are of course higher quality (most). There is a medium quality choice and that is the 3rd party lenses. They have the faster lenses for less than the brand manufacturere. Quality wise they are better than the branded cheaper lenses but less than the branded good lenses (useually). Deppending on how picky you are. These better 3rd party lenses are very good. 3rd parties also make cheaper lenses but unless you really cant afford any of the better ones. Best to wait and get better ones. Popular 3rd party lenses are Sigma, Tokina, and Tamron.

Your quality choices are basically
3rd party cheapest
Camera Manufacturer cheapest
3rd party best
Camera Manufacturer best.

There are some differences to above. But I think basically true. One thing to watch out for is all the manufacturers are making some lenses for digital only. Some that work for both. And then others just for film. The ones just for digital cameras will not be good for your film camera. So need to watch for that.

Remember if you decide to buy something below the best lenses. And you get better at photography as you practice. You can always sell the lenses later on. And buy the better lenses. Also lots of people are getting out of film and quite a few items are available used and on ebay for very good prices. Just make sure you ask questions and be specific about its condition. I have purchased some medium format lenses and they are all very good lenses.

I would suggest using regular print film over slide film. Print film is a lot more forgiving. Also slide film costs are going up as less people use it. Some places you can buy print film and get it developed cheaper then the cost of just the slide film. If you find you have some good pictures on print film. You can go in and either have it blown up. Or scanned by a good lab / scanner and print at home.

I shoot print film, and slide film along with digital. I still process my own slides so cost is still not that bad. I have my print film processed by a wholesale store that sends it to Kodak. But it is still very inexpensive since its 3 to 4 day service.
Thanks Again for all your help.... I feel like I am a pro now :wink:

So I have heard that if I wanna blow up a picture, I would get better resolution( I can blow it up larger) with slides compared to film. Is this true?? Is this one of the advantages of slides over film?

To answer your qustion ZaphodB, I have a Minolta Maxxum 450i. I picked it up for a photography course that I took and I just wanted something reasonable to start with.
You can scan print film. But pro slide film is normally finer grain and will produce better immages (also has less tolerance for mistakes). I shoot mostly slide film when using a film camera for scenics. For general picture taking of the family or just everyday stuff. I shoot print film as its lower cost getting it developed at the local warehouse club.
iluvphotography said:
So I have heard that if I wanna blow up a picture, I would get better resolution( I can blow it up larger) with slides compared to film. Is this true?? Is this one of the advantages of slides over film?
Yes, in short. However, it is considerably more difficult (and expensive!) to correctly expose/process slide film and you almost certainly will attain better results with neg film for general photography, as the exposure can be way off, and it'll still most likely work fine. I recommend Fuji Reala 100 or Superia 400 depending on the brightness of your situation.

Thanks that was actually my second question what type of film?? So for night I should use 100 and for daylight 400 right??

I only have one camera what should I dooooooooooooooooooo?

I am getting so nervous about this trip photography..... I don't wanna srew it up... I have been so looking forward to this trip..

Should I take two cameras for two types of film?? What do you guys do usually?? Well you guys are all pros so probably have like 10 cameras!!!:(
Actually it's more like 100 for daylight and 400 for less daylight - for night it all gets a bit complicated.

There's no real need to take two cameras, unless you think you might want a choice of either colour or black & white at any time. I personally would do so for that reason, but then there's no reason why one of those cameras can't be a compact point & shoot.

I've been very happy with the autofocus Minoltas that I've used, though I haven't used that particular one. I'm sure the camera itself is perfectly up to the task, however AFAIK it's not that easy to find good prime lenses for Maxxums at a good price (with the exception of the 50mm). If you want to stick with that camera rather than buy a new one, you may have difficulty finding a good wide-angle prime lens for it. In which case I might recommend a zoom like the Tokina 19-35mm. The image quality will obviously not be as good as on a good prime, but it can still produce very nice images, and you'll only really start to notice problems if you use it at 19mm a lot. There's a review here. I've got one myself and found it great for taking on holiday. Some people will say lenses like that aren't very well built, but I dropped mine from quite a height onto the road and it had no effect at all - whereas if the camera it was attached to had taken the impact it would have almost certainly never have worked again. It's also very good value - originally selling for £200, but nowhere near that now. The only real problem with this lens is that it's not very easy to focus manually, but then you wouldn't really need to with that camera.

So although I said primes are preferable to zooms, I'd still recommend that lens if you want to use the camera you've already got. If on the other hand you're prepared to get another camera (particularly an old manual one) then the choice of good-value lenses becomes much greater.
Really??? How come in my photography class we used 100 ASA Slides for night photography and used 400 film for portrait with studio lights??? I am confused.... Is it the other way around for slides??

So if I have one camera (+ a compact digital) and I wanna take pictures in the day and some night photography what type of film should I get??

Regarding the lense.. I found this one on ebay
But it looks like it's for digital Maxxum.. Is it OK?

Thanks again for all the HELP
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If they were having you experiment with different films, then the reason was probably that slide film is expensive, and high-speed slide film is even more expensive.

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