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Archive 2016 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)
  
 
singularity001
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


I'm taking a year off from the desk job and just traveling whereby photography has been the main activity. I've really been struggling with a consistent travel kit. I'm about 6 months into my travels.

This is what I have available to me:

A7RII
18mm 2.8 batis
Canon 24mm tse II
24-70mm 2.8 GM
Zony 55mm 1.8
85mm 1.8 batis
Contax 100-300mm 4.5-5.6
70-200mm 2.8 GM

Additions I'm considering:
Zony 50mm 1.4
RX1RII

I was happiest with the 18mm batis, 24-70 GM, and 85mm batis combo (weight wise). For a month in New Zealand I took everything minus the 70-200mm GM as it arrived while i was away. It was nice having everything but a pain in the ass in terms of weight and space. Won't be doing that again.

I typically shy away from focal lengths past 50mm. I'd say 24-35mm is my comfort zone. But I feel like I need to challenge myself and learn to get more comfortable with people and portraits instead of landscape. That being said I want to learn to be comfortable at 50mm and how to use a 70-200mm. I've never used that range much and if I'm honest with myself I'd say it's because creating an interesting composition in that range is challenging. Also it's a little nerve wrecking having such a big piece of glass on your camera in developing countries.

If I want to grow, I feel like I need to leave the 24-70mm GM at home but I'm terrified of doing that. I recently shot my first wedding and rented the new Zony 50mm 1.4, I didn't think to much of it at first, but later realized my favorite shots came out of it. Really liked the rendering... But didnt care for the weight or noisy autofocus. But the results were damn nice.

If someone really wanted to focus on people and portraits what would you recommend I toss in the bag? I'm off to Burma in a month and will then be staying in SEA for another couple of months.

I'm considering picking up the Zony 50mm 1.4, and then just taking that and the 70-200mm GM and Batis 18mm. I figure the batis can be the landscape lens when there's a landscape that just has to be taken. I really love the Batis 85mm but I want to try to bring no more than 3 lenses. Then I've also thought about the RX1R II for days when i don't want to have a backpack on me all day. But trying to keep the GAS in check 🤔

This should be simple but I've spent days upon days trying to decide and at this point I'm getting no where and it's stressing me out. Then there's the part of me that dreams of traveling light with only the 24-70mm GM and not even a tripod. Or saying f it all and just taking a RX1R II 😫

Also here's some of the travel photo's to date, IG: @travelinfocus

I keep telling myself I'll set up a 500px account but that requires being a bit more detailed in my post processing.

Edited on Oct 11, 2016 at 07:00 AM · View previous versions



Oct 11, 2016 at 06:37 AM
darrellc
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


I doubt any of the responses will help... this is something you just have to figure out for yourself. I've tried all kinds of combos, and like you, I hardly ever shoot telephoto. Trying to pretend I'm you, how about one of these combos:

18 (Batis), 35 (Pick one of the imperfect options available), 85 (Batis).
25 (Batis), 50 (FE 55/1.8), 100 (C/Y 100/3.5, something light since you probably won't use it much)
24-70 GM, 100/2 (C/Y or whatever fast portrait lens that will work for landscape too, maybe go to 135mm) (and FE 35/2.8 or RX1R or GR or X100T or something for lightweight option)



Oct 11, 2016 at 06:51 AM
virtualrain
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


I travel with three primes: Batis 25, FE 55, and Batis 85. I use the wide angle for landscapes, interiors, and monuments. The 85 for people on the streets and the 55 for most other things (artistic shots and stuff around me that catches my eye) although I sometimes shoot people with the 55 as well.

With modest cropping and or moving my feet a bit, I can cover the range from 25-135 at f/2 with a very light setup that offers outstanding quality at every focal length.

There's a guy here who recently returned from a trip with a wide variety of great shots and he only took the Batis 25. That's it. Don't underestimate your ability to crop.

You could do the 18, 55 and 85, or if 18 is wider than you need, you could swap it for a 25. Alternatively you could go with the 18 and 85 and swap out the 55 for a 35.

The Batis line and the FE 55 and FE 35 f/2.8 are all great travel lenses. I would pick three and go.



Oct 11, 2016 at 07:03 AM
justruss
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


For me, for light, for travel, for people, the following would nearly be perfect:

A7rII
-18mm (Batis)
-35mm (RX1rII)
-85mm (Batis)

It covers all the main travel FLs, in a small, light package. It gives you redundancy in a second, almost no-compromise (IBIS would be nice) camera-- right at the FL sweet-spot. It gives you FLs that are actually all quite good for people (close/personal, environmental, compressed) and landscape.

Add a table-top tripod, a polarizer, an IR remote. Save the rest of your space for stuff you want to bring home, and your money for the experience.



Oct 11, 2016 at 07:06 AM
Frogfish
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


Living in China I travel extensively in SEA and was recently in Burma / Nepal / Bhutan for a month.
Firstly don't dismiss the idea of redundancy. If anything breaks down or is stolen or lost then you are stuffed in 3rd world countries. For that reason alone I'd add the 35mm (RX1rII) both to cover that very useful focal length, have a camera in your pocket to shoot in an instant and as redundancy.
You don't say what camera you are shooting but if it the A7rii then your 18mm Batis, Zony 55/1.8 (superb lens) and either your 70-200 (big, heavy but very useful for both people and distant landscapes) or your 85 Batis to complete your lineup. The Sony 28/2 is a very small, light and surprisingly good lens too if you decide to forego the RX1rII and covers the gap to your 18mm better than 35mm does.



Oct 11, 2016 at 09:17 AM
GMPhotography
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


My travel kit is VC 12, Loxia 21, ZM 35 and 85. Plus a ZM 50 sonnar but a Loxia 50 would be nice to have


I have a GM 24-70 and 85 they stay home for travel. Rarely need past 85



Oct 11, 2016 at 11:58 AM
gocolts
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


I'm going to Maui in 3 weeks and besides my A7R2, I'll do most of my shooting with a Batis 18 and FE 24-70 f/4. I'll still take the 28 f/2 since it's so small, and maybe the 24-240 for a "don't know what to expect" sort of day.

What will stay home? Ironically 2 of my sharpest lenses, the Zony 55 1.8, and Batis 85. I just don't use them when traveling.

Based on your kit, I'd take the Batis 18, GM 24-70, and the RX1R2 for low-light and lightweight walk around stuff.



Oct 11, 2016 at 12:10 PM
waterden
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


I take a different approach. I use Sony A7R II with whatever lenses are appropriate when I am at home and with car. However. Sony FF lenses are big and heavy, even for E mount, so when travelling by air I take an Olympus EM1 with 12-40/2.8 (24-80 equivalent). 40-160/2.8 (80-300 eq) and a 1.4x converter MC14. These give splendid EQ and perfectly big enough for large prints. If you are worried about the PP necessary for 500px, which is minimal, I am surprised you are using all this high end kit, as you cannot be using it to anywhere near its potential.


Oct 11, 2016 at 02:04 PM
JimUe
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


If i was travelling and expecting shooting peole and landscapes and If I could take
1 lens, it'd be a 35/1.4.
2 lenses, they'd be a 24/1.4 and a 50/1.4
3 lenses, they'd be a 20/1.4, 35/1.4 & 50/1.4

My redundancy is my Samsung Note 4.

Seems like you have a decent budget and this opportunity doesn't come everyday. I'd get the lenses you want and not worry about $, you can sell them afterwards.



Oct 11, 2016 at 02:09 PM
notherenow
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


For extended lightweight travel, I would take my

A7s
Canon 24 1.4 FD L
Sony Zeiss 55 1.8
FE kit lens
Maybe a 100mm manual focus type lens or similar (lightweight).

After that, if at all possible I would try and take my 17 f4 L TS-E but it is big and heavy and something else would need stay behind (I only need one pair of Jeans for six months right?).

I would also take 3 batteries, a travel charger, small flash and a hand crank generator (if I am away from the grid).

Everyone is different with different needs/wants.

Good luck!



Oct 11, 2016 at 06:11 PM
 

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Steve Spencer
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


I use a Zeiss Loxia 21 f/2.8; Zeiss ZM 35 f/1.4; and a Leica M 90 f/2 AA as my small travel kit, but given the OPs kit, I would think he could be quite happy with his Zeiss Batis 18 f/2.8; Sony/Zeiss FE 55 f/1.8, and Zeiss Batis 85 f/1.8. The 55 and 85 are very good portrait lens and not heavy and hot overly large. If you want autofocus they are great options. The 18 will provide a wide perspective when that is needed. I might recommend getting a Sony/Zeiss FE 35 f/2.8 to fill the gap between 18 and 55 a bit better without adding virtually any weight or taking up hardly any room in the bag.


Oct 11, 2016 at 06:18 PM
jfourc
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


justruss wrote:
For me, for light, for travel, for people, the following would nearly be perfect:

A7rII
-18mm (Batis)
-35mm (RX1rII)
-85mm (Batis)

It covers all the main travel FLs, in a small, light package. It gives you redundancy in a second, almost no-compromise (IBIS would be nice) camera-- right at the FL sweet-spot. It gives you FLs that are actually all quite good for people (close/personal, environmental, compressed) and landscape.

Add a table-top tripod, a polarizer, an IR remote. Save the rest of your space for stuff you want to bring home, and your money for the experience.


I second this! It's probably what I would do. I went to SEA in December 2015 (before the Batis 18 came out), and went with Batis 25, Loxia 35, FE 55 with my A7RII. These FLs are really close together, and I ended up using the Batis 25 the most, switching off with the FE 55. I would bring out the Loxia 35, but I ended up not using it as much because I find it lacking wide open especially in bright contrasty light. Honestly, even though these FLs are really close, I still find them very compatible with each other, and it was a very light kit. I could have left out the 35mm and just went with 25-55, but I prefer 35 over 55mm. A good question to answer for yourself, as others have pointed out, is whether or not you want to shoot more with 35 or 50. Then you can build out your kit. 18-35-85 combo works great, but if you prefer 50, then you could do 25-50-100ish, or go 15-25-50.

If you want to focus on portraits in the normal range, you can either be a 35mm or a 50mm type of shooter. I personally favor 35mm because I like to have more of the environment in my portraiture especially when I'm traveling, and want to provide more context.

I ended up buying the RX1RII for a trip to Australia in August to use as my 35mm alongside my A7RII. I kept the Batis 25mm or FE 70-200/4 on my A7RII, and essentially shot with dual bodies. In the cities, I shot 80% with my RX1RII, and probably would have been OK just bringing the RX1RII. For my landscape shots though, I used my A7RII quite a bit (manual focus is a bear on the RX1RII). I did Europe last year with just a 35mm lens, and I'm very satisfied with the pictures I got. RX1RII is a great second body though, and doesn't add much to an A7RII with Batis 18 or 85 in terms of weight or size while providing redundancy and versatility. I know you want to travel light, but there's also the option of bringing all of your equipment with you to the country, and then decide on 2 or 3 lenses to take out with you for the day depending on your needs, and leaving the rest where you are staying.



Oct 11, 2016 at 06:52 PM
ecarlino
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


after a few years of contemplating this exact question and waiting for the 'right' lenses - i am to within 1 lens of completing my kit:

ideal kit:
batis 18
batis 25
batis 35 (still waiting, most recently traveled with the Zony 35/1.4 instead; considering TAP w/ ZM 35/1.4)
Zony 50/1.4
Sony 85/1.4 GM

reasoning:

I travel with all 5 but each time i leave the hotel i only take 2 lenses - one on the camera and the other on a Peak Design Lens Capture attached to a strap over my shoulder.

I generally pair the 25mm & 50mm or the 35mm and the 85mm based on what my plans are for that outing and whether or not i'll have my family with me.

I use the 18mm mostly for interiors of churches, castles, museums, etc and less for landscape (just not my thing). If the opportunity to use the 18 arises, I can either bring it as a 3rd lens (the Lens Capture can actually fit 2 lenses on it, but I'd usually stuff a lens in my wife's bag in that case) or keep it to 2 lenses. I've been thinking about getting a small 2-lens bag, but haven't found one yet that doesn't look like a purse.

I rarely leave any equipment in the car, so if I'm not coming back to the hotel, i'll bring my tenba cooper 13-slim and carry all 5.

i sold my zony 35/1.4 and hope the batis 35 is coming soon b/c then each day when i have a pair of lenses, one will be batis-sized and one will be f/1.4 sized. it's a nice balance and together the 5 lenses provide a lot of variety and keeps things interesting.


2 recent trips w/ this kit:

May, 2016. (had the Zony 55/1.8 instead of the 50/1.4)

Aug, 2016.



Oct 11, 2016 at 07:17 PM
Parariss
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


Lots of good thoughts here. I'll add one.

I'm on a trip through a half dozen countries with an interest in people shots. I have a couple of bodies, a few lenses, and no real intent to be truly minimalist this time out -- but my particular kit isn't my point here. I'm finding that the Batis 85 on the a6300 (128mm equivalent) is ideal for travel-people photos.

I don't want natives posing for me, I want to capture them naturally, and the ~128 focal length has turned out to be great. Observations about my use that might also apply to you: First, I'm finding don't need anything longer than 128 (i.e. something in the 135 range). I can't usually spot spot people far enough away to utilize anything longer, (and even when I can something gets in the way in between us). And, I'm rarely getting shots that I'll want to crop a whole lot from 128. Conversely, there aren't too many times I've wanted to be farther away, but if the subject does get too close I rethink the composition as a head shot. I plan to pick up the 70-300 for travel-wildlife, but I can't see me needing anything longer than 135 for travel-people, and I'm glad I'm not lugging it around. If you're the same way, you could leave the beastly 70-200 at home.

The second thing I'd add is that -- for me -- AF is indispensable for candid people shots. Rarely are they posing just right and holding place for you. Some glass has been mentioned that's truly great gear, but manual focus is a non-starter for me in this role. So are any slow AF models or adapted lenses. Fast AF = more keepers, and eye-AF is especially terrific when you can get it to trip. (As an aside, the a6300 focuses noticeably and helpfully faster than the a7rii, although they're both good enough.)

The last thing I'd add is that I also have the 24-70gm with me. I thought it would spend some time on the a6300, but it hasn't left the a7rii. It's wonderfully useful and debatably worth its weight and bulk. But, despite its great rendering and bokeh I'm rarely using it for people shots (unless I can't get to the a6300 fast enough) because f2.8 in the sweet spot of the lens (i.e. less than 50mm) often doesn't give quite good enough subject isolation. (70mm also doesn't seem quite long enough.) Obviously, it matters what's behind the subject and how far behind them it is, but I'm finding that with candid shots that usually there's something unattractive in the background I'd rather blur out. Having a second lens on a second camera has also been incredibly useful, FWIW.

I almost left the Batis 85 at home, but I'm so glad I didn't. Unfortunately, there's no Batis 135 for your a7rii, yet, although speculation is running high, and if it doesn't come soon enough for you I don't know what your native AF short tele alternative is right now. Crop something shorter. I guess probably your Batis 85. In any event, hopefully my experiences help you navigate to a solution in some way.

Safe travels



Oct 11, 2016 at 07:29 PM
smpetty
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


virtualrain wrote:
I travel with three primes: Batis 25, FE 55, and Batis 85. I use the wide angle for landscapes, interiors, and monuments. The 85 for people on the streets and the 55 for most other things (artistic shots and stuff around me that catches my eye) although I sometimes shoot people with the 55 as well.

With modest cropping and or moving my feet a bit, I can cover the range from 25-135 at f/2 with a very light setup that offers outstanding quality at every focal length.

There's a guy here who recently returned from a trip with a
...Show more


+1

Agree with every word.



Oct 11, 2016 at 07:55 PM
justruss
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


jfourc wrote:
I second this! It's probably what I would do. I went to SEA in December 2015 (before the Batis 18 came out), and went with Batis 25, Loxia 35, FE 55 with my A7RII. These FLs are really close together, and I ended up using the Batis 25 the most, switching off with the FE 55. I would bring out the Loxia 35, but I ended up not using it as much because I find it lacking wide open especially in bright contrasty light. Honestly, even though these FLs are really close, I still find them very compatible with each
...Show more

And I'm very similar: I prefer 35mm over 25/28mm and over 50/55mm. So I'm starving for a Batis 35mm as well; I'd love a RX1rII, but I just can't justify one at the current prices. Maybe at $1500, if that ever happens...

Right now I'm surviving on: 18mm (Batis), 28mm (FE), 50mm (FE), 135mm (Pentax). It's not ideal: I actually prefer to get further than 28mm in a gap from 18mm, the FE 50 1.8 AF just isn't up to par, and I find accurate MF for handheld with 135mm is very difficult.

While I wait for a Batis 35mm, I may just turn the Pentax 135mm into a Batis 85mm. It's just hard to justify given how infrequently I use the FL.



Oct 12, 2016 at 06:49 AM
scrappydog
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


GMPhotography wrote:
My travel kit is VC 12, Loxia 21, ZM 35 and 85.


I have a similar kit with the VC 15 rather than the VC 12. The whole kit has great IQ.


Edited on Oct 13, 2016 at 11:34 AM · View previous versions



Oct 12, 2016 at 12:05 PM
teh_rebel
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


after taking quite a few trips in the past with 5D(II) and bunch of L Primes, im so over traveling with heavy and big lens but thats just me

I have the A7RII to be able to use the Techart Pro adapter with legacy lens, mainly M-mounts. I do miss the size and weight of the first gen A7's though.

Love the size and weight of various Voigtlander M-mount lens which are great for travel, as well as other legacy lens that are small in size.



Oct 12, 2016 at 04:30 PM
frezeiss
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


I usually dont carry much when travel cause it takes the fun of it.

zony 16-35 : landscape and streets. I figured having a flexible zoom is better than having a prime with superrior IQ.
Zony 35 or ZM 35 : street and walkaround lens, good also for enviromental shots
Zony 55 or ZM 50 planar : for times when 35 is not preferable and for getting some portaits.






Oct 13, 2016 at 11:31 AM
singularity001
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)


Wonderful input everyone, this has been helpful! Glad I finally dug up the courage to ask the question. I'm not sure why I've entirely forgotten about the Batis 25 considering how much I appreciate the Batis 18 and 85 for their optical quality, weight, and snappy AF. I do have to agree that redundancy is really important and something that I'm missing... it's been on my mind for a while. I've been tossing back and forth the idea of the RX1RII or the A6300. I've always leaned more towards the idea of the RX1RII over an APS-C body.

Does anyone have both the Batis 25mm and the 24-70 GM? If so, how does the Batis 25mm compare to the GM lens at 24mm?

justruss wrote:
For me, for light, for travel, for people, the following would nearly be perfect:

A7rII
-18mm (Batis)
-35mm (RX1rII)
-85mm (Batis)


I hadn't considered this combo but it sounds really nice (and light)! I do have to make up my mind if I want to work on 35mm or 50mm portraits. I'm leaning more towards 50mm as I want to move out of my comfort zone.



Oct 13, 2016 at 04:52 PM
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