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INDIA trip, and gear dilemma
  
 
Colin F
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


Mikehit wrote:
Surely the ideal person to be asking is the person leading the photo tour?


Yes, I fully intend to, but I like hearing from a variety of people.




Nov 10, 2017 at 06:54 PM
PeaktoPeek
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


Boy, you have some heavy gear, lol. I have moved on to a lighter weight system, however when I was shooting a DSLR my go to travel kit was a wide zoom, a fast 50 and an 85. You pretty much have that. I like the suggestion of a smaller 50, but the speed you have would be nice. Definitely leave the 70-200 at home.


Nov 10, 2017 at 08:25 PM
Colin F
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


PeaktoPeek wrote:
Boy, you have some heavy gear, lol. I have moved on to a lighter weight system, however when I was shooting a DSLR my go to travel kit was a wide zoom, a fast 50 and an 85. You pretty much have that. I like the suggestion of a smaller 50, but the speed you have would be nice. Definitely leave the 70-200 at home.


Thanks. So are you saying that I should take my Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro instead of the 70-200?

I'm actually surprised at the number of people who advise against taking the 70-200 f/2.8, as it seems so incredibly versatile; fast, with a good amount of reach when needed. I image many circumstances when that reach would be invaluable, and you simply don't get the shot without it. Maybe that's just the bird photographer in me, I dunno, .




Nov 10, 2017 at 08:32 PM
Eric Larsen
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


Colin,

I've done two 1 month-long India trips. Rajasthan as well as most everywhere else from east to west and north to south. I always take too much gear and lug it all around...mostly needlessly I might add! I appreciate you're desire to keep it trim and simple.

I can tell you that on full frame, the 24-70 has been my bread and butter lens for the sort of shooting you describe for this trip. I have taken a 70-200 both times but find I don't use it much as others also have stated. It seems that mostly, you're already fairly close-up with street photography. I have also used wider lenses occasionally but only about as frequently as the 70-200.

Beside the fantastic street photography, I shoot wildlife in India so I've always had some longer lenses -- a 300 on the first trip and the 100-400 on the second.

I could easily do these trips again with only the 24-70 and the 100-400 (with extenders) and get 98% of what I seek. With your 5DMkIV, you have some good cropping ability in your favor as well. I'd stick with good glass to use those multiple pixels well.

As for security issues, standing out as a foreigner, screaming expensive gear, etc.; I've NEVER had a theft, experienced aggression, or had any other negative experiences while traveling India. Granted, I don't hang out in old Delhi at night alone and I take normal precautions but I've found India to be immensely hospitable, friendly, gracious, and safe. Not saying something won't ever happen but it hasn't ever to me and I quite frankly feel more vulnerable in my hometown of of 40,000 than I do nearly anywhere in India.

Anyway, don't over think it too much!. I'd take a mild wide-to-tele at the least and choose another from there. Or, a wide and mild tele prime. I'd also take a spare body -- what will you do if your MkIV fails?

Have a wonderful trip! I've been to all of the places you've listed and have enjoyed them immensely. India is magical and Rajasthan is special! Too bad you missed the Camel Fair at Pushkar...next time. Hopefully this is not only a once-in-a-lifetime trip and there is a next time!



Nov 12, 2017 at 06:19 AM
Colin F
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


Thanks for that Eric, much appreciated. After continued research on backpacks, my head is spinning more now than when I first started the thread. I've been finding all kinds of pros & cons of the various backpacks, and still trying to decide on the lenses.

I strongly feel that the 50mm f/1.2 will produce some fantastic images - much more so than any "convenient" zoom lens @ f/4 or even f/2.8. It's a sick lens that has a magical quality to it, but yes, one is stuck at 50mm, so a wider angle is needed, plus perhaps some more reach, but yes, the 70-200 f/2.8 is a beast, and its size & weight is becoming a determining factor for what backpack I use daily. Although, having said that, I'm a guy who's used to shlepping around an older 500 f/4 on a tripod & gimbal, and hand-use the Tamron 150-600 and feel like it's a piece of popcorn, so I'm perhaps not as sensitive to the weight of the 70-200 as others who don't do birding/wildlife, and who are used to only lighter gear.

I plan on having the body and one lens on a sling-strap at all times, so the pack doesn't need to be huge to carry everything, just two of the three lenses, plus various other little things. But many seem to report that the slingshot style of bags can really get tiring quickly on one shoulder, but maybe that's only when really loaded up. The 202 has no waist-belt, but the 302 does, which helps a lot but it's too large - possibly too large for carry-on on the plane - gah. I have the older LowePro Flipside 200 and 300 packs, so I could use those, but then getting at and changing lenses is a hassle. For carry-on, I'm permitted to have a 21.5" x 15.5" x 9" sized bag, plus a "personal" bag (larger than what I originally thought at 13" x 6" x 17"), so I can easily spread all my camera gear between those two bags. When I get to destination(s), the extra body will stay in hotel room, and with body & one lens always at the ready, two lenses(?) in the pack.

I thought this was going to be easy.

Edited on Nov 12, 2017 at 05:33 PM · View previous versions



Nov 12, 2017 at 06:51 AM
Arka
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


I see. My wife did a similar trip back in 2007. I've been to a number of those places. You'll have a great time... greater I think if you carry less stuff overall.

I did not find the 70-200 focal length to be at all useful in any of those places. I did use it a few times while staying with my family in West Bengal, mostly taking pictures of distant animals and people emerging from the misty mornings. But I never needed it for any images I took while walking or traveling. And frankly, when I see people carrying one of those giant white monstrosities around on the street, I laugh on the inside. It's not a lens that makes a very good impression in crowded urban environments, particularly places as crowded as India. Where that's your subject, I don't think makes sense to stand out quite so much. People in the city aren't birds, and the most engaging images you'll get of human subjects are usually not from a distance where 70 or 200mm makes a lot of sense. You can get portraits that are pretty damn good with your 50mm f/1.2.

Backup camera is up to you, but I think you should take either 2 FF cameras or 2 APS-C cameras... not rely on an APS-C camera as a back up for a FF camera. I personally don't take backup cameras anymore. I used to do so all the time and found them to be basically deadweight. Modern cameras are pretty darn reliable.

Just to give you some perspective on the system I am taking to Hong Kong for a week - Sony A9, Leica Summilux 35 and 50mm f1.4s, and a CV 21mm f/1.8 Ultron (with an AF adapter). The whole bag takes up a quarter of my carry-on suitcase and probably probably weighs less than one of your cameras with an f/2.8 zoom.

Colin F wrote:
Thanks for that Arka, very helpful. Just a few points:

Given the cost & distance for this trip, it seems enormously risky to not have a back-up body, I mean what if I did have a body failure? I'd be whooped! It can & does happen, even with a 5DIV, read here:

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4076652


This is a guided photography tour, not just a touristy sort of trip, with about 8 people. I'm not sure exactly how it will go, but part of the time we'll be with the guide (which is actually a good thing as he is a photographer and has done
...Show more



Nov 12, 2017 at 08:50 AM
Colin F
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


Thanks for the continues input Arka. Please don't view my replies as defensive in any way, I just like to hash things out, based on evidence & reason.


Arka wrote:
I did not find the 70-200 focal length to be at all useful in any of those places. I did use it a few times while staying with my family in West Bengal, mostly taking pictures of distant animals and people emerging from the misty mornings. But I never needed it for any images I took while walking or traveling.


If I take the 70-200, I might find that you are 100% correct. But I wonder if it might be possible that it is indeed very useful for some people, but not you, because of different shooting styles? I mean, if I want to get a close-up shot of that old man's face, but for whatever reason feel that getting up super-close with a 50mm (or even worse a wide angle) isn't going to work, then I miss the shot. Or that person way up over there looking out the window - that would be a great shot requiring the 70-200. And on & on. But again, you've been there and I haven't, so my thinking could be flawed, but could you concede that I could be correct based on shooting style? I've had a few people say to me: "Oh yes, definitely take the 70-200!" So it can get confusing.


And frankly, when I see people carrying one of those giant white monstrosities around on the street, I laugh on the inside. It's not a lens that makes a very good impression in crowded urban environments, particularly places as crowded as India.

My 70-200 is a Tamron, so it's black. It would also be at my hip on the sling-strap, largely out of sight, so not too terribly conspicuous I think, but I do understand your general point.



Backup camera is up to you, but I think you should take either 2 FF cameras or 2 APS-C cameras, not rely on an APS-C camera as a back up for a FF camera.

I have to work with what I have. I can't go buying bodies & lenses just for this trip, although maybe buying one particular useful lens (used) might be possible. I'm not sure why bringing the 7DII as a back-up is a bad idea. It's insurance, will instantly work with my lenses, and costs me nothing to bring.



I personally don't take backup cameras anymore. I used to do so all the time and found them to be basically dead weight. Modern cameras are pretty darn reliable.

Yes, but as my previous link shows, numerous people have had their 5DIVs fail, and on a trip like this on the other side of the planet, one would be taking a huge gamble not having a back-up body. And again, I won't be carrying it, it'll just be stored in the hotel room.


Just to give you some perspective on the system I am taking to Hong Kong for a week - Sony A9, Leica Summilux 35 and 50mm f1.4s, and a CV 21mm f/1.8 Ultron (with an AF adapter). The whole bag takes up a quarter of my carry-on suitcase and probably probably weighs less than one of your cameras with an f/2.8 zoom.

Yes, that's a brilliant kit, but again, I don't do this sort of shooting very often, so can't justify in investing in a whole new kit.

So at this point, I know I'll be taking the 50 and 16-35, but a big question mark on the 70-200. I also have the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro, but not sure if that's a good replacement for the 70-200. And it's this choice on that third lens which will determine what pack I use every day for three weeks. The slings seem good for quick access, but with possible neck/back/shoulder aches & pains with all-day use; whereas normal backpacks like my Flipsides are painless, but have a huge hassle-factor in changing lenses.

Maybe I should just use my smartphone - .






Nov 12, 2017 at 04:53 PM
Arka
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


Colin F wrote:
But again, you've been there and I haven't, so my thinking could be flawed, but could you concede that I could be correct based on shooting style? I've had a few people say to me: "Oh yes, definitely take the 70-200!" So it can get confusing.


Of course you could be correct. You know you best, and obviously my shooting preferences are governed in large part by not carrying too much stuff. It's a preference that has evolved over nearly two decades of traveling and overpacking with respect to camera equipment. Many years ago I went to Russia with a kit very similar to yours, and used the 70-200 range only rarely. Same for multiple trips to India (and when I travelled there, I took an f/4 version to save weight). I've taken kit very similar to what you are contemplating on urban trips, multi-day wilderness hikes, and day trips in the various interesting home-cities I've lived in, and I've found every time that it was too much. It's true that one never knows what one may need, but shots aren't just waiting there to be grabbed or missed based upon the kit you have. They are made as a synthesis of the available tools, circumstances, and experience (both yours and the subject's experience). I think a lens like the 70-200 or larger changes the hypothetical shot of a man's face, just as the 50 does. You might consider looking through your street/people images and figuring out what images really speak to you more - the ones where the subject knows they are being photographed and engage the camera, or the ones where it's not clear the subject is aware they are being photographed from some distance away. In my experience, the former almost always tells a more interesting story, but that's me. Now, you might be able to use the 70-200 on a knowing subject to get a certain level of compression or DoF, but I think that given the close quarters you are likely to experience in much of India, it may be tough the get the right working distance.

My 70-200 is a Tamron, so it's black. It would also be at my hip on the sling-strap, largely out of sight, so not too terribly conspicuous I think, but I do understand your general point.

That helps but I imagine it'll still be pretty conspicuous when you use it.

I have to work with what I have. I can't go buying bodies & lenses just for this trip, although maybe buying one particular useful lens (used) might be possible. I'm not sure why bringing the 7DII as a back-up is a bad idea. It's insurance, will instantly work with my lenses, and costs me nothing to bring.

If you have a safe repository to store it, sure. Having not shot with crop cameras since 2009, I would find it confusing to switch between the two perspectives on the same lens, but if you're comfortable with that, more power to you.

Yes, that's a brilliant kit, but again, I don't do this sort of shooting very often, so can't justify in investing in a whole new kit.

I describe my current travel load-out not to persuade to adopt it, but more so you understand where I come from and what my photographic values are. Obviously someone who is perfectly comfortable with 3 focal lengths in the 21-50 range, and chooses small lenses and cameras for his travel shooting needs is coming at the question of "what to take" very differently than you. I'm certainly not suggesting that my approach is right, wrong, better, or worse than yours, but I think it helps you figure out how seriously to take my advice given your own experience and preferences. I've been down the road you are thinking about taking with respect to gear and arrived this rather different perspective. But the perspective isn't intrinsically right - it's just a perspective. For you, a more complete setup of zooms, fast primes, and backups may be both more comfortable and lead to more productivity. Not me though. 15 years ago I might've been OK schlepping around all that stuff in the hope of being able to grab any image that struck my fancy. Now, I prefer a certain nimbleness and subtlety, even at the cost of focal length coverage.



Nov 12, 2017 at 06:16 PM
Colin F
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


Hmmm. Yes. Good comments. When I think back to my Cuba trip, I didn't own any Canon/DSLR gear at all at that time, and using the little Panasonic G3 m4/3 system was indeed nice. I could use a standard neck-strap all day. If I recall, I used the 20mm f/1.7 prime, and 14-45 mostly, and the 100-300 seldom got used. I still have the G3 and the 14-45. I used the Flipside pack then, but India will be so much more congested & busy.

Thanks again friend. Much to think about.



Nov 12, 2017 at 06:31 PM
 

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Colin F
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


A very rainy Sunday here, so I went into town and checked out some bags at two stores and have found what I believe to be a really good bag for me and my particular needs for this trip. It's the Lowepro Inverse 200; it has a robust hip strap, and also a single shoulder strap! If I do take the 70-200, it will have to lay horizontally, but it'll work. It wasn't actually in either of the stores, but after explaining my needs, one salesman thought of this, as he uses one himself. I just ordered one on Amazon.



Edited on Nov 13, 2017 at 02:49 PM · View previous versions



Nov 12, 2017 at 11:33 PM
Colin F
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


Just in case anyone ever reading this is in the same sort of situation and looking for the same sort of pack, an hour after ordering the Inverse 200 on Amazon I cancelled it, as I later learned of the Think Tank Speed Freak v2.0, which will hold a 70-200 f/2.8 vertically, and is likely superior in myriad other ways too, so will get one of those.




*What I also like about the waist strap and shoulder strap combo is that with a single shoulder strap only, a would-be thief could quickly slice the belt with a razor blade/knife and be off with it in an instant, not so with the added waist strap.

Edited on Nov 13, 2017 at 08:11 PM · View previous versions



Nov 13, 2017 at 05:40 AM
Paul Mo
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


Colin F wrote:
Think Tank Speed Freak v2.0, which will hold a 70-200 f/2.8 vertically, and is likely superior in myriad other ways too, so will get one of those.


Good choice.



Nov 13, 2017 at 08:19 AM
foto16
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


One suggestion: get a side-access backpack. But the easy access works best with one body. You need to mind the thieves, but with a group tour it's probably ok.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1277312-REG/thule_3203410_aspect_dslr_backpack.html?sts=pi

https://www.adorama.com/ttt10db.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIoITlj_i71wIVCrnACh1I3g1sEAQYASABEgKStfD_BwE

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1056302-REG/manfrotto_mb_ma_bp_trv_advanced_travel_backpack.html?sts=pi

https://www.tenba.com/products/shootout-backpack-18l.aspx#Overview



Nov 13, 2017 at 04:13 PM
Frogfish
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


Colin F wrote:
Given the cost & distance for this trip, it seems enormously risky to not have a back-up body, I mean what if I did have a body failure? I'd be whooped!

Totally agree. Ditto lenses. It's pretty damn simple to get them to the airport, fly, get to a hotel .. and then leave whatever you don't need at that time in the room. You then have backup and peace of mind.

I'd NEVER go on a major trip (and mine usually involve multi-day hiking with two cameras) without a backup. Imagine if the worse was to happen (I once had both a camera and a long lens fail on me, not only on the same trip but on the same day) ! It would be a ruined trip all for sake of carting an extra camera or lenses to and from airports. if you have the space and weight allowance, make use of it.




Nov 14, 2017 at 12:06 PM
Frogfish
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


Colin F wrote:
Thanks for that Eric, much appreciated. After continued research on backpacks, my head is spinning more now than when I first started the thread. I've been finding all kinds of pros & cons of the various backpacks, and still trying to decide on the lenses.

I strongly feel that the 50mm f/1.2 will produce some fantastic images - much more so than any "convenient" zoom lens @ f/4 or even f/2.8. It's a sick lens that has a magical quality to it, but yes, one is stuck at 50mm, so a wider angle is needed, plus perhaps some more reach,
...Show more

Take a look at the Mindshift Rotation series of bags. You'll likely find the right size for what you want there and you don't have to take it off to access your gear plus there is room for any of your lenses in the main body (separate from the rotating belt). I wore the 34L up to 5,500m in the Everest region. The smaller bag may suit you better but I've had 15kgs in the 34L! No issues whatsoever with taking it onto flights anywhere I've been (Asia & Europe). Fits easily into the overhead bins.




Nov 14, 2017 at 12:26 PM
pbraymond
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


My suggestions based on (1) it's a photography centric trip, (2) you have as safe place to store extra unused gear and (3) you actually like all the equipment you have now.

Bring both bodies and all lenses, as you work your way through the trip you'll enjoy the choices you have. You may not use a particular lens much, but you already own it and you can keep it safe in the hotel.

Don't feel compelled to use just primes. Any zoom can be treated like a prime, as long as you exercise discipline in using the lens, and the maximum aperture and IQ is satisfactory to you, and you don't mind the bulk/weight.

Speed Freak is a good choice, stores the 70-200 and other stuff. If you don't mind being slowed down a little, a locking carabiner on the zipper pulls will help with security when you are out and about.

If you want to get new gear, then yes, personally, I'd look to a wide zoom range lens as the primary lens (24-105 may be the ticket, or 18-something for you crop body), and just supplement as needed. Only you can know your preferred style, if you're a long focal length shooter then the 70-200 may be your ticket. I would definitely bring the 16-35 for close quarter or environmental style photos. Of course, being open to new gear opens up a whole new universe gear as well :-)

Either way, sounds like you're in for a great trip ,enjoy.




Nov 14, 2017 at 01:14 PM
Colin F
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · INDIA trip, and gear dilemma


Frogfish wrote:
Take a look at the Mindshift Rotation series of bags. You'll likely find the right size for what you want there and you don't have to take it off to access your gear plus there is room for any of your lenses in the main body (separate from the rotating belt).


Thanks! Yet another bag-maker I hadn't heard of (although it appears that it's a branch of Think Tank). Their products look very very good, the Photocross Slingbag (I watched the video) looks great for more hiking/sport type activities, but for my India trip, I think that the Think Tank Speed Freak will actually work better, as I will have a body & lens at my hip on a sling-strap all of the time, at the ready, so I don't really need any more storage space than the Speed Freak offers.

Plus, I've read many reports of how the Slingbags - with the load on one shoulder - can get tiring pretty quick.

*I think they should make the waist belt a little more substantial than what they have on the Photocross Slingbag ; looks a little skinny.


https://www.mindshiftgear.com/




Nov 14, 2017 at 03:59 PM
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