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Archive 2013 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temple...
  
 
anakha
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


I'm seeking advice on lens options for a trip I'm planning to Siem Reap to see the Khmer and pre-Khmer temples next month. We'll be spending two days in and around the Angkor complex and two days further afield visiting remote temples.

At present, I'm thinking about taking the following gear to use on my gripped 5D3:

1) Canon 24mm TS-E II - for wide-angle architectural shots of the temples
2) Sigma 85mm F1.4 - for portrait and low-light shots
3) Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 OS - for the long-distance sunrise and sunset shots over the temples
4) Canon 1.4x and 2.0x III teleconverters - for extra reach
5) 600EX-RT flash (with better beemer)
6) Gitzo 3542 tripod with head

I will have a guide, driver and airconditioned car.

I know it will be hot, but I grew up in the subtropics, so can handle 30C days. The driver provides plenty of cold water.

The biggest challenge for me will be the budget airlines with their annoying 10kg hand luggage restrictions. I've got a photographer's vest with heaps of pockets, so I think I'll use that again to load myself up with 10-12kg of camera gear whilst getting through check-in before putting it all back into my camera bag. This is annoying to have to do repeatedly, but it bypasses the airlines frustrating policies :-)

I could take a 17-40F4L lens as well, but don't know whether that would provide a significant benefit over just taking the 24mm TS-E and zooming with my feet. Another alternative to save a little weight would be to take my Sigma 50mm F1.5 instead of the 85mm lens.

I'd appreciate your thoughts and suggestions on what you took / wish you'd taken to photograph the temples of Cambodia.

I'm also not sure whether I should have posted this in the Landscape / Architecture forums, as it could possibly be relevant to those too.

Anakha




Jan 28, 2013 at 02:49 AM
Paul Mo
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


Take the 85 for portraits. Take the 17-40 in case you need it; there will be plenty of opps to do so.

120-300 would likely be your least used lens around Angkor; at least at the long end. Personally, I'd leave it at home.

17-40mm, 24mm TS-E, 85mm, TC's.

Check out Bayon thoroughly; the whole place is vast so drive slowly and explore when you can.

Early morning, late afternoon. It will be a long day/days so go slowly and make sure you and your driver eat well and rest.

Sleep well the night(s) before and watch your step - especially if/when you climb any temple steps.



Jan 28, 2013 at 03:14 AM
anakha
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


Thanks Paul.

I agree that my 120-300 lens will not be used often, for sunrise and sunset shots of the temples from across the water, it may be essential. From what I've read, the temples are 1-1.4km away from where the photo-taking spots are, so 85mm won't reach that far. Unfortunately, my Sigma 85mm F1.4 is not compatible with my canon teleconverters :-( Otherwise, I'd use that as a 170mm F2.8 lens.

If I take a helicopter / balloon ride over the temples, I'll need the 120-300mm OS lens too.

It weighs a heap, but is a great lens. Just wish I could rent one in Siem Reap ;-)

Anakha




Paul Mo wrote:
Take the 85 for portraits. Take the 17-40 in case you need it; there will be plenty of opps to do so.

120-300 would likely be your least used lens around Angkor; at least at the long end. Personally, I'd leave it at home.

17-40mm, 24mm TS-E, 85mm, TC's.

Check out Bayon thoroughly; the whole place is vast so drive slowly and explore when you can.

Early morning, late afternoon. It will be a long day/days so go slowly and make sure you and your driver eat well and rest.

Sleep well the night(s) before and watch your step - especially if/when you climb
...Show more



Jan 28, 2013 at 03:30 AM
Steven W
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


Don't know if you listed all your gear. But, agree with the 17-40 - You ight find zooming with your feet difficult if you are on one structure and want to take a picture of another or for other various reasons. I doubt you will need over 200mm.


Jan 28, 2013 at 03:34 AM
anakha
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


Thanks for your suggestion, Steven,

I think I'll have to pack my bag, then put on my vest and see if I can carry all of the gear in both and still keep my backpack under 10kg for getting passed the check-ins at the airports.

Anakha

Steven W wrote:
Don't know if you listed all your gear. But, agree with the 17-40 - You ight find zooming with your feet difficult if you are on one structure and want to take a picture of another or for other various reasons. I doubt you will need over 200mm.




Jan 28, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Pudding Guy
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


I went in October and I'd also recommend the 17-40mm. I decided to leave my 70-200mm at home, on reading advice from others, and I don't regret that decision at all. My pack was heavy enough . I took two bodies, and that worked out well. I switched back and forth quite a lot while touring--much easier than changing lenses. Regarding the airline restrictions, I was also worried about the listed weight limits. On that trip, I flew 10 segments on Asiana and Thai and no one ever questioned my about my pack or asked me to have it weighed. In other words, the rules are not enforced/checked most of the time. However, you need a back-up plan. I had a new gate agent at LAN recently force me to check a bag due to weight. Fortunately, that wasn't my camera gear. The main drawback with a short trip like yours is that you'll likely want to keep pushing through the day when it's hot and the light isn't as nice. Have a safe trip. I can't wait to return.


Jan 28, 2013 at 05:01 AM
anakha
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


Thanks for your advice, Pudding Guy.

Whilst I have one segment on Thai, I have other legs on Scoot and Jetstar Asia. Scoot is the one that worries me the most in terms of strictness of weighing my hand luggage.

I got onto the scales before and if I carry about 11kg on my body (camera plus big lens on a RS-7 plus lots of camera gear in my Domke vest), then I can get my camera bag, laptop, change of clothes and tripod down to 7kg. I just have to pack my tripod head into the check-in luggage or convince my wife to carry it ;-)

It is possibly a bit crazy to carry a 3kg lens for two weeks to take maybe 10 shots that I otherwise would not be able to take, but if I wasn't at least a little bit crazy I would have stayed with just my P&S camera ;-)

Anakha




Pudding Guy wrote:
I went in October and I'd also recommend the 17-40mm. I decided to leave my 70-200mm at home, on reading advice from others, and I don't regret that decision at all. My pack was heavy enough . I took two bodies, and that worked out well. I switched back and forth quite a lot while touring--much easier than changing lenses. Regarding the airline restrictions, I was also worried about the listed weight limits. On that trip, I flew 10 segments on Asiana and Thai and no one ever questioned my about my pack or asked me to have it
...Show more



Jan 28, 2013 at 05:42 AM
Kisutch
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


There are really cool tropical bugs on the plants. I wished I had a macro with me, or better a ff version of Tokina 10-17 for close focus wide angle.


Jan 28, 2013 at 04:20 PM
sleibrand
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


If you're determined to take a longer lens, you might want to look at the 135 or 200 f2.8. Both should be much smaller/lighter than the 120-300. Both would take Canon TC's.




Jan 28, 2013 at 04:22 PM
mabidally
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


I think 3 lenses, 16-35, 24-70 2.8, and 70-200 2.8, isolating subjects and low light shots can make for some interesting shots in that scenario.


Jan 28, 2013 at 04:42 PM
 

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Don Clary
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


I think you have a serious imbalance in focal lengths. You have a huge hole between 24mm and 85mm. The vast majority of your pictures will be taken with 24mm to 100mm. The 17-40 would fill that nicely, but you still have a hole from 40-85mm. For a full frame camera, a 24-70 or 24-105 would make much more sense.

Check out Bayon thoroughly; the whole place is vast so drive slowly and explore when you can.Yes!

If I take a helicopter / balloon ride over the temples, I'll need the 120-300mm OS lens too.

I don't think you realize how big Angkor Wat or Le Bayon is. Even from the balloon, I think you will be using wide angle to normal focal lengths. I think a 135mm and 1.4X will be useful, but focal lengths longer than that would be used quite rarely.

Don't forget to see Cambodian classical dance show in the restaurants in the evening, where 85 to 200mm lenses with fast aperture will be needed. I got some of my best pictures there.

Good luck and have fun on your trip!





Jan 28, 2013 at 05:04 PM
anakha
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


Sleibrand,

The Sigma 120-300 OS takes Canon TCs.

As I just purchased the Canon 24mm TS-E, I don't think my wife will agree to me buying yet another telephoto lens to supplement the one I already have ;-)

Anakha



sleibrand wrote:
If you're determined to take a longer lens, you might want to look at the 135 or 200 f2.8. Both should be much smaller/lighter than the 120-300. Both would take Canon TC's.





Jan 28, 2013 at 08:02 PM
anakha
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


Don,

Based upon the discussions above, I plan to take my 17-40F4L lens.

I agree that a wide-angle from the balloon / helicopter will enable me to capture the enormity of Angkor Wat or the Bayon, but they will not permit me to isolate a particular tower like the 300 2.8 / 600 5.6 (with 2.0III tc) lens can. Its optical stabilisation would also help with the movement the tethered balloon and vibrations of the helicopter.

Anakha



Don Clary wrote:
I think you have a serious imbalance in focal lengths. You have a huge hole between 24mm and 85mm. The vast majority of your pictures will be taken with 24mm to 100mm. The 17-40 would fill that nicely, but you still have a hole from 40-85mm. For a full frame camera, a 24-70 or 24-105 would make much more sense.

Yes!

I don't think you realize how big Angkor Wat or Le Bayon is. Even from the balloon, I think you will be using wide angle to normal focal lengths. I think a 135mm and 1.4X will be useful, but focal
...Show more



Jan 28, 2013 at 08:06 PM
anakha
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


Kisutch,

I have a set of Macro tubes which I'll pack into my check-in.

Thanks for the tip!

Anakha


Kisutch wrote:
There are really cool tropical bugs on the plants. I wished I had a macro with me, or better a ff version of Tokina 10-17 for close focus wide angle.





Jan 28, 2013 at 08:07 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


anakha wrote:
I could take a 17-40F4L lens as well, but don't know whether that would provide a significant benefit over just taking the 24mm TS-E and zooming with my feet.


What an UWA offers is closer min. distance. It is relative distance to near and far objects, not FL, which will allows you to exaggerate perspective with a lens. The closer you can focus the more you can distort perspective from the "seen by eye" normal baseline with tends to get boring when seen shot after shot.

These are test shots at 10mm with my 10-22mm on my crop body (16mm FOV on FF) to evaluate how shooting distance affected crop and near/far perspective.

http://super.nova.org/XP/Equipment/10_22%20samples/10mm01.jpg
http://super.nova.org/XP/Equipment/10_22%20samples/10mm02.jpg
http://super.nova.org/XP/Equipment/10_22%20samples/10mm03.jpg
http://super.nova.org/XP/Equipment/10_22%20samples/10mm04.jpg

But zoomed to 22mm (about 35mm FOV on FF) it creates normal perspective. That's why it's my "walk around lens". I can get more variety with it than with the 24-70mm I also carry. I also carry a 70-200mm IS when I need more reach.

Here are examples of using that ability to create an other than normal "postcard" perspective in typical tourist shots:
http://super.nova.org/XP/Equipment/10_22%20samples/10mm_NatHist.jpg
http://super.nova.org/XP/Equipment/10_22%20samples/10mm_ReflectingPool.jpg
http://super.nova.org/XP/Equipment/10_22%20samples/10mm_WashMon.jpg
http://super.nova.org/XP/ZZ_MiscPix/CO/CO_Trees.jpg

It's also ideal for wide shots in tight quarters:
http://super.nova.org/XP/ZZ_MiscPix/NiagraFalls/NiagaraFalls_0020.jpg

So I'd suggest going wider than 24mm with the 17-40 or even wider zoom.



Jan 28, 2013 at 08:10 PM
anakha
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


Thanks CGardner - those are nice shots. I'm leaning towards taking the 17-40F4L with me - just have to figure out how to pack it and all my other lenses into my bag ;-)

Anakha



Jan 28, 2013 at 08:31 PM
didierv
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


Was in Angkor 2 years ago.
I do agree with the others a wide angle zoom is a must, I would definitely take the 17-40.
I do not think you will need the 120-300 much
A 70-200 would be better suited, though not indispensable.
Your 85 will be nice for portraits.
Try to go to Ko Kher if you have a chance, more remote less touristy and almost as nice.
If you want real adventure push all the way to Preah Vihear !



Jan 29, 2013 at 01:44 AM
Kisutch
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


Kinda OT, but if I were you I'd make sure to check out Lake Tonle Sap, a short hop from Siem Reap. There are floating villages and fishing lots that are quite a sight, and they are poised to change dramatically in the near future. There are plans to extensively dam the Mekong, dampening the seasonal flooding which these villages, and associated fisheries are built around. This is actually a rather historical moment for the region, so it'd be worth seeing some of these things before they potentially change forever. Further, the fishing lots are one of the most exciting things I've every photographed--kind of like Deadliest catch meets Mad Max. Anyways, just wanted to put that out there.

Also, when I was at the temples a year or so back, there was scaffolding on a lot of the temples, so wide-angle shots were a bust. My favorite thing to photograph at the temples were the carvings on the walls. Looking back, I wish I'd had a couple speedlites to cross-light the carvings with and bring out their texture.

One other thing is that domestic animals can provide really interesting photos in this area. In a gas station I came across juvenile herons fighting with each other, and there are water buffalo and other cool critters in the rural areas.

I brought the whole kit, but ended up using a walk-around zoom (17-55 on a crop sensor) 99% of the time.

Have fun!




Jan 29, 2013 at 02:35 AM
anakha
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


Thanks didierv - we will be visiting Preah Vihear and Koh Ker :-)

I've seen some photos online of Angkor taken with a 300mm lens which looked nice, so the extra reach would be handy. The issue ultimately is the weight and space of the big Sigma lens versus other things I could carry / not carry on that trip... always trade-offs whilst travelling!

Anakha

didierv wrote:
Was in Angkor 2 years ago.
I do agree with the others a wide angle zoom is a must, I would definitely take the 17-40.
I do not think you will need the 120-300 much
A 70-200 would be better suited, though not indispensable.
Your 85 will be nice for portraits.
Try to go to Ko Kher if you have a chance, more remote less touristy and almost as nice.
If you want real adventure push all the way to Preah Vihear !




Jan 29, 2013 at 03:02 AM
DmitriM
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Which Lenses should I take for shooting the Angkor Temples in Cambodia?


24L is all you need. If you will go there earlier, you will be able to do more with 1.4 of 24L against 17-40 with f4. It's like waiting an extra 30 minutes to start shooting.
Tripod is a hassle. I thought it's a thing of the past for most photography work with the current cameras which will do ISO1000 better than cameras from 8-10 years ago and their ISO200

If you like taking pictures of people, take your Sigma 120-300.

I spent 3 days photographing temples in Cambodia and after 1 day I was literally bored to death. They all looked the same. Nearby villages and rivers game me a much better satisfaction.



Jan 29, 2013 at 03:08 AM
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