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Archive 2016 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)

i ck'd out your photos, OUTSTANDING, also, looks like a lot of fun!

btw - i always thought i was a '35' guy - people always seemed to express that you were one or the other like a political party or something - but having both a 35 and 50 and being able to use one for a while (a morning or a day or a week) and then switching based on situation or mood really keeps things from getting boring.

Oct 13, 2016 at 05:39 PM
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)

My best travel experiences were when I took one or maybe two lenses.

If you are going to be on the move and on foot the 24-70 is a great all around choice.

If you want to go a bit non-standard, have you considered the Sigma 24-35 f2?

Paired with say an 85 1.8 or similar lens with a converter to the Sony or if Sony makes similar glass, you could have the 24-35 range with a wide aperture and then a compact portrait length prime in your pocket or backpack for "experimenting"

My low profiel setup is a 40mm f2.8 pancake lens and a 100mm f2 prime in my bag for longer shots. 70-200 is too much weight for me at times.

I would also seriously consider a micro 4/3 system such as the Olympus OM-D EM10 II with a couple lenses.

Oct 13, 2016 at 05:44 PM
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)

singularity001 wrote:
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
...Show more

You can always add a 50/55mm to the mix. The f/1.8 options are light and pretty small. But there really is something to be said for keeping it as simple as possible.

The above (with IBIS on the RX1, or a 35mm f/2 Batis) is essentially my ideal travel kit. I'd like to own something like a 70-300, and a 50mm, and a macro-- but I'd almost always leave these at home unless I have a specific assignment or need that would call upon them.

My most immersive work is when I have one or two cameras, with two or three primes total-- a primary FL (35mm), and two secondaries, with little lens swapping. I get in close, I interact with my subjects, the camera dissolves into the background (no focus point moving, no zooming with my fingers, minimal exposure changes between most shots). Just be present, and step into the circle.

I also find that I learn my FLs, so that I shoot them almost intuitively.

Oct 14, 2016 at 06:22 AM
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)

I'd go with 18/35/85, because with the croppability of an A7rII (and perhaps an RX1rII) you essentially have all bases covered from 18-130mm or so. Whereas there'd be somewhat of a sizeable gap between 18 and 50, if you went with 18/50/85.

But I also agree with ecarlino, I like taking both a 35 and a 50 with me to mix things up. I prefer 50 over 55 as it gaps better with an 85, and as I prefer the rendering of the 50/1.4 and Loxia 50 over the Sony 55. The 50/1.4 might be my favorite FE lens, but I'm on the fence over whether I'd take it for a long trip given the weight.

Oct 14, 2016 at 12:22 PM
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)

Travel photography is a lifelong learning exercise, no one will dispute this. Here is Ira Block who is a very capable and connected (NG) guy. At 2.20 he explains how small camera/lenses are far better for people photography, for the reasons I mention frequently.


Increased intimacy, authenticity, personality, expressions; and at the margin it can get you images simply not possible with a DSLR. A part of this is that people can still see your face when you use a small camera/lens so they still feel connected with you. Another is that cameras of that size were what they most likely used before phones arrived, so it comes across as quaint and friendly.

Your dilemma revolves around choosing the best set of compromises in each lens. It actually helps to be very clear about the look you want and very discriminating in your choices, to narrow the field down to size. You also want to be pretty clear about what you will be shooting - enviro portraits, single person or several, background treatment, time of day etc. Then what else must the lens do for you, countryside, buildings, etc.

A great lens for one niche may not work across the niches you need. You need to know what you think of the strengths and weaknesses of each lens. So -> planning first! It is the reason so many committed travel shooters return to a location, having learned what works best, how to improve, what to change. Many do not shoot much at home, because it so alien to them, and you don't learn so much.

Old maxim, but for people work I agree with it - prime lenses are best, because the designer has fewer compromises to make, was able to design a 'look', and most are used by serious shooters, and people are the major subjects for mid FL lenses. Not only smaller, but nicer to use and connect with, esp manual focus lenses. FWIW, I feel most shooters are best served with a 35-50/55-85/100 combo - for people and street. Make sure you enjoy the bokeh of each because the best light and comps will often require wide-ish apertures, though this is less a concern for the longer lens, where f2.8-f3.5 works a treat with Sonys. OTOH, I love zooms for 'scapes and open field work. cheers.

this lovely woman was on the edge of refusing to be photographed, the small a7r/FE55 probably made the difference, letting me get close to her.

Oct 15, 2016 at 05:50 AM

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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)

On a trip to Cuba this past June I took the following lens followed by their use.

FE 24-70 GM - 80%
FE 16-35 - 5%
Batis 25 - 15%
Sony 24-240 - 0%

I rented the FE 24-70 GM and had only used it for a wedding before this trip which probably accounts for such heavy use. Since returning from the trip I ended up purchasing the FE 24-70 GM and it still is my most used lens. Great varied all around focal length and really great quality. Can be used for people, street scenes and landscapes.

The Batis was also new to me. On a few occasions I took just the Batis on my A7rII and really enjoyed the freedom of walking around with such a light kit.

Before the 24-70 my FE 16-35 was my most used lens.

I really thought on this trip the 24-240 would be used but didn't find myself reaching for it.

Even though the Batis 25 and FE 24-70 cover the same focal length I will still take both when traveling.

So for me:
FE 16-35
FE 24-70
Batis 25

With the ability to crop the A7rII files the Batis makes a great walk around lens.

Oct 15, 2016 at 06:19 AM
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)

I commented earlier in this thread but having just returned yesterday from a Euro trip (Italy, Belgium, UK, Iceland) I was reviewing some of my shots on the flights back to my current home in China and thought I'd comment on one observation that may be relevant to the OP.

My most used lens were the superlative Loxia 21/2.8, then the Zeiss MP 100/2 and finally the FE55/1.8. Every one of these lenses has something in common on the A7rii sensor .... they are astoundingly sharp and so cropping to your favourite or prefered FL is not an issue so long as you follow the pro sport-shooter's maxim ... shoot wide and crop. e.g. 21mm to 35mm or 55mm to 85mm or 100mm to 135mm or longer.

That basically means just a little wider to ensure all arms and legs are included and that it's easy to rotate and crop where necessary without losing an important part of the image. Easy to do with these lenses when cropping to a longer FL equivalent. Of course you will lose some of the qualities of lenses of those longer FLs but on balance it's a good compromise.

I know the 100/2 MP is not that light at 600g+ however it was well worth it because it can act like a 200mm lens ! And it's a Zeiss so you get 'that' look. The Loxia blew me away, it's incredible, the Zony 55/1.8 I already knew was incredibly sharp and croppable (I love the idea of the Batis 85 but while I have the 55 & 100 it seems redundant). The Batis 18mm could be a good option to the Loxia 21mm.

Oct 16, 2016 at 02:45 PM
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)

My previous travel kit was 16-35/4, 55, and 90. I'm currently trying out 21 loxia, 50 c sooner, and 85 batis. I am not touching any of the mid or tele zooms. Been there, done that with Nikon and Canon. I remind myself the reason to go mirrorless was to keep it small and light. The 21, 50, 85 is nearly the perfect weight and really is the small and light dream come true.

If all goes well on my current trip, I may seriously consider selling all my other lenses. The ZM 35/1.4 is one I'm considering, but I really don't find that focal length to be very interesting. It's more interesting now with the AF capability when combined with a TAP. In addition, a lot of people consider it the best 35 currently in production. If I end up getting the ZM 35, I will sacrifice the 50-55 focal length to keep my travel kit at 3 primes.

One thing to consider is the differences in lens draw and colors if you mix and match different lenses. Although, I'm using all Zeiss, I'm aware there might be differences between Batis, Loxia, and ZM.

Lastly, I'd recommend not trying to cover all focal lengths. The best images seem to always come from constraint and sacrifice. My current choice of the Loxia 21 over the 16-35FE is my experiment to see if I can live without the wider and longer capabilities of the zoom. I have a feeling once I get used to that one focal length, I won't miss the zoom.

Oct 17, 2016 at 08:06 AM

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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)

Just got back from week long trip to Cozumel, Mexico. Here what I took with me, A7RM2 - 2 bodies, 35mm F2.8, 24-70 F4, 18mm F2.8 Batis. Wasn't sure about 70-200 f4 so did not take with me. Here is what I experienced, I used Batis 18mm for 80% of the seascape shots, 16% of shots and video was taken by 24-70mm lens and 4% of street photography was done by 35mm. I did come across shot which needed 70-200mm but thank to high res of 40MP sensor of A7RM2, I used 24-70mm.
If I have to do it again, I would take my 16-35mm F4 lens so I have little flexibility with landscape shots. I also taken Sony flash which I did not use. Also, take the Fotopro carbon fiber travel tripod and it was great to carry around.

Hope this will help.


Oct 24, 2016 at 06:57 PM
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Struggling with long term travel kit (people focused)

I said previously that I might include a small manual focus 100mm lens.

I just got a Canon EF 100 f2 USM and I have changed my mind and it would certainly be just about the first included in any travel kit and especially one that was people focused.

I used to have a Canon 135 f2 L and Sigma 150 2.8 in EF mount.

I sold the 135 as I wasn't using it as much anymore and it is too close to the Sigma to keep and I needed the money at the time.
I considered keeping the Canon and selling the Sigma but I always thought I would be find a 100mm lens more useful.

Anyway, I am certainly now glad I went the way I have. While not up to the 135 L in build quality, the 100 is still ok in feel but is much smaller and lighter (shorter than the Sony Zeiss 55 1.8 with hood on and that is with adapter mounted). For now it is going to be mostly used manual focus with a Fotga smart adapter (AF is slow but will have some use) but this is going to be a favourite lens on my A7s and will also do double duty on my M4/3 GX7 as a small and light 200mm angle of view lens with fast AFS.

My lightweight travel kit now may well just be 24 1.4 FD L, Sony Zeiss 55 1.8 and Canon EF 100 with my A7s. Other lenses (and GX7) can be added as required depending on where I go and for how long. I still would like to find a place for the 17 TS-E much of the time if possible.

  ILCE-7S    ---- lens    0mm    f/0.0    1/200s    16000 ISO    0.0 EV  

Oct 25, 2016 at 06:42 AM

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