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      07-23-2009, 09:25 PM   #1
M_Six
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Trip to Europe in October. Which lens?

We're taking a long-postponed trip to Germany, Czech Republic, and Austria in October. I'm thinking of moving up to a true DSLR from my Lumix DMC-FZ18. Thing is, I want to travel as light as possible. If you had one lens to bring with you on such a trip, what would it be? I'm not looking for specific brands or specs, just a focal length range. For instance, the Nikon D90 comes with an 18-105mm lens. Think that will suffice for most situations?
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      07-23-2009, 09:29 PM   #2
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IDK, man, aperture is just as important as focal length...I don't think you should go above 85 if it means sacrificing some aperture.

And having it stabilized is a good idea, too. So I like the (Canon) 28-135 IS USM for a walkaround lens. f/3.5 should be fast enough, but taking a 50mm f/1.8 would be an excellent idea as well, as it's a very small and very light lens.
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      07-23-2009, 09:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
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IDK, man, aperture is just as important as focal length...I don't think you should go above 85 if it means sacrificing some aperture.

And having it stabilized is a good idea, too. So I like the (Canon) 28-135 IS USM for a walkaround lens. f/3.5 should be fast enough, but taking a 50mm f/1.8 would be an excellent idea as well, as it's a very small and very light lens.
I was thinking a small, fast lens would be ok, too. Low light shots are some of my favorites and nothing sux worse than a otherwise nice shot full of blurs and noise.
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      07-23-2009, 09:56 PM   #4
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Yeah. You might want to look into a gorillapod, too...for those occasions when you need a tripod, but can't really carry one.
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      07-24-2009, 07:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneintheory View Post
IDK, man, aperture is just as important as focal length...I don't think you should go above 85 if it means sacrificing some aperture.

And having it stabilized is a good idea, too. So I like the (Canon) 28-135 IS USM for a walkaround lens. f/3.5 should be fast enough, but taking a 50mm f/1.8 would be an excellent idea as well, as it's a very small and very light lens.
I don't think 28mm is nearly wide enough on a crop body.
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      07-24-2009, 11:22 AM   #6
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18-105mm is the ideal "walk around" lens, covering true wide angle to short tele in one lens on a crop body. My main lens for my full frame Canon is a 24-105, which is roughly the equivalent focal length as you're proposing except with a little less reach.

Get as good a lens as you can afford and consider DxO's Optics Pro software to further sharpen you images in post processing.

If you had a good 50mm prime lens in your bag, I predict you'd hardly ever use it if you had a good 18-105mm to chose instead. Back in the old days I had a high quality 50mm 1.2. I don't miss it at all.

In general, for scenics and travel, use as low an ISO as practical. Take the highest quality RAW images that your camera allows and process them with a good software to optimize the results. I used to let the camera do jpg and gave it up after a few high potential images couldn't be rescued due to lack of data.

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      07-24-2009, 12:38 PM   #7
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For Europe I would recommend something like the canon equivalent of 17-40 or 17-55. There's also the 17-85mm but the aperture is not fast enough for night shots without flash. I would go with the 17-55 but it's also the most expensive lens. To he honest though, in really low light conditions even F2.8 is not enough so you will either need a flash or get a faster lens (1.8, 1.4, 1.2, etc.). You probably won't need any more zoom than about the 70-85mm length.

I went to Jamaica a few weeks ago and the lens I used the most was the 24-70mm. I only used the 10-22mm occasionally (read: very seldomly) and the 70-200mm very, very rarely (I could have left it at home and be fine). So while the 24-70mm is fine, you should get something a bit wider to cover your wide angle end (for tall buildings, etc.).
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      07-24-2009, 01:23 PM   #8
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I think a better strategy than fast lenses is a fast camera, like the Canon 50D, or better yet, the 5D MkII. The fast lenses were really a necessity back in the old days of ASA 50, 100 and 200 films, but good clean, low noise performance at ISO 400 is now the norm with the better consumer cameras. With the 50D, low noise at ISO 800 is realistic. (On the full frame cameras even ISO 1600 is very realistic). Look at the sample images at www.dpreview.com

If you go with a slow, cheap camera body and try to make up for it with fast lenses you just spend the money over and over, every time you buy a new lens. Not only are fast lenses more expensive, but they're much bulkier and often (not always) are not as sharp as their smaller aperture brothers. I'm using Canon L-series lenses, but they're f4 and f5.6 on the 400mm wildlife lens.

So, if possible, spend a little more on the camera body to get the latest sensor and best high-ISO performance that you can afford, then start with one really great wide-to-short tele lens for the bulk of your work. You subjects will lead you to speciality lenses, as needed, but you can rest assured that a lens like you proposed will serve you well on your upcoming vacation.

BTW, I mentioned Canon, but Nikon has great options also.

Dave
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