lens selection recommendation

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by maflynn, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #1
    I'm going hiking this weekend, climbing up mountain washington in NH and I'm on the horns of a dilemma. what lenses to carry with me, more lenses = heavier backpack

    I own a Nikon D70s and have the heavy and large 28-70mm f2.8 lens. It takes awesome shots and I typically leave it on, but it is a tank. I can take the kit lens 18mm-70 f3.5-4.5f Not a bad lens, great pictures, though the depth of field is not as smooth as the "beast" as I like to call it.

    Then there's the 12-24 wide angle lens, I'm not sure if will produce good wide angle landscape shots. I think I might be better off stitching together a panorama.

    I haven't climbed mt. washington in a few years and the last time I did it, I took the kit lens and it did an ok job, but I really want some killer shots but the weight of the other lens might be an issue. There's no guarantee that I'll get too much shots since the weather up on mt washington is quite random

    Thoughts, recommendations.
     
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #2
    My idea of heavy and yours are probably quite different- but I'd take the 28-70 and the 12-24 if it were me. Switching the 28-70 for the kit lens is a net gain of 1.1lbs.
     
  3. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #3
    Alone, the lens isn't "heavy" but all things considered, I want to keep my backpack light as possible, because after 3 hours of hiking, it gets heavy. After 8 hours, well then you might have wished to leave some stuff out ;)
     
  4. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #4
    When I'm backpacking, I take a simple kit: Nikon D200, 18-70 lens, tripod, cable release, plus grey grad, spare batteries and cards. And that's it. I'm not overburdened, and I feel ready for just about any photographic eventuality.
     
  5. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #5
    I'm really on the fence as to whether I want to take my wide angle lens. There's enough overlap on the kit lens and the wide angle but if I take the "beast" then the widest I'll have is 28mm.
     
  6. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #6
    No, I get that- my dilemma in the field is do I take an extra 35lbs or so of equipment- a couple of pounds over 8 hours isn't really that big a deal for me, even though I'm much older and hike/climb much less than when an extra 15lbs wouldn't have made much difference.

    My idea of heavy was forged with 15 mile forced marches with ~45-55lbs of gear and between 9 and 23lbs of weapon in my hands at all times. Because of the question, I doubt your idea matches mine- which is why I made the distinction.

    While I may not particularly enjoy climbing a 3,500ft ridge with 40lbs of camera gear, I'll still do it from time to time- even if the result is that I don't take a single shot. The entire time though, I tell myself at least it's not a 6,000ft ridge in Afghanistan with 60lbs of gear, 15lbs of weapon and 15lbs of body armor and the chance of incoming fire.
     
  7. TenPoundMonkey macrumors member

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    VA
    #7
    Take the wide lens! It's mount washington, not everest- there's a restaurant at the top for god's sake. ;)

    seriously, buy lunch at the top and that saves you more than enough weight for the 12-24...

    what route are you taking? weather permitting, i think 12-24 would give you the best shots overall... lots of great views up there.
     
  8. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #8
    I'm going up the Ammonoosuc trail which is by the cog railway side. Its a fairly steep, short trail but offers some beautiful vistas. I typically do that climb in a few hours, but I want to take a slower pace this time, making sure I snap a a number of pictures. I want this hike to be an all day affair. I'm probably going hit the Mt. Monroe summit before reaching Mt. Washington summit.

    The Weather is the wild card, no matter how nice (or bad) the weather at the base, it could be wildly different at the top.
     
  9. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

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    #9
    I'd take the 12-24 and the "beast" along. The wide angle for scenery and the 28-70 close shots of foliage, people (I assume you won't be hiking alone) or other spots of interest. I'd also bring some spare batteries, memory cards, and some plastic bags as a rain cover (always prepared;)). A tripod as well, space and weight restraints permitting. That's how I'd pack anyhow.
     
  10. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #10
    I don't get it why you even have that 18-70 in your kit. The wide-angle 12-24 would be a "specialty" lens with your 28-70 "walkaround" lens, the two focal length ranges go perfectly together. If you don't need a 70-200 lens, you're fine with the two (so get rid of the 18-70)...
     
  11. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #11
    Why,

    because it came with the camera. I'm not about to throw out a perfectly good lens. Besides, in some situations like this, there is value with taking it. My point is to weigh the better performance of the 28-70mm lens over the extra weight/bulk on a 8+ hour hike.

    I'm leaning towards taking it (the 28-70mm lens), but to be honest. I've taken the kit lens with me to disneyworld and I was happy I did. There's something to be said about cutting down on bulk when dealing with 90 degrees, tons of people, etc etc. Overall the kit lens has a place from time to time, at least in my uneducated opinion
     
  12. toxic macrumors 68000

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    #12
    I would take the 18-70, unless you like shooting wide-open all the time. The 12-24 is up to you - do you like using ultra-wide focal lengths? There's a big difference between 18mm and 12mm.
     
  13. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    Jun 9, 2009
    #13
    Well one answer would be that if you want the best images, take your best equipment. No if's, and's or but's about it. If you want the best quality possible it will cost in weight, and that is the price you have to pay for the highest image quality.

    That said, however, the 18-70 is great and especially if you are planning on shooting at f/8 or f/11 or thereabouts (i.e. not wide open or at f2.8) then you will be hard pressed to see the difference between the two lenses unless you are making a very large print. It could also be argued that if you aren't going to bring a tripod, the image quality of the 28-70 will be wasted anyhow thus there is little point in taking it along. In fact it would likely be preferrable to take a tripod and the 18-70 vs. the 28-70 and no tripod.

    I would highly recommend bringing the 12-24. The image quality is top notch (If you are going to make shots in the 12-24mm focal range I would be using this lens amongst all 3 of the ones you mentioned) and myself at least I find many great compositions at the ultrawide end.

    Bottom line I'd say if you intend on shooting a lot of landscapes on the hike and are that concerned about the weight then take the 18-70 and the 12-24. Either way bring that 12-24, the guy who said it's Mt. Washington not Everest is right.

    Just because it's not f2.8, no gold ring, or no red L doesn't mean it's not good. If you are shooting landscapes/scenics stopped down there is little difference between many kit or consumer lenses and the high end glass. And although you may feel differently, weight and convenience are important to some, as even the most expensive/best lens in the world is totally uselsess if you leave it behind or leave it in the bag because it's too heavy/too much hassle for you to use!

    Ruahrc
     
  14. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #14
    Well I'm back from my hiking trip and I can safely say I made the right decision, in terms of what lenses to take.

    I opted to (at the base of mt washington) take the kit lens. I'm very happy because of the added weight and the weather conditions at the summit prevented any real shots.

    I got some decent shots with the kit lens but they were in the tree-line, everything was socked in above that. Visibility was 40 feet just above the timber-line and shrank to 5 feet by the time I reached the summit.

    Lugging extra lenses with the weather situation would have added more weight but no increase in benefit.

    Thanks for everyone's input, and advice. I do appreciate it.
     
  15. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

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    Houston, USA
    #15
    There was this much discussion and decision making to make a choice between lenses with negligible weight differences for just a day hike? I must be different to the norm as it doesn't really matter what I stuff into a pack once I throw it on my back, I'm not a military guy or anything but to me unless you start talking about lenses like the real beast of the 70-200 and up I can't see how it would make that much of a difference? My main concern would be about space and not weight.
     
  16. TenPoundMonkey macrumors member

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    Aug 23, 2007
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    VA
    #16

    Congrats, that's a fun hike... I am a fan of up the ammanoosuc and down the jewell trail. here are 2 shots from when I did it last october:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #17
    awesome picks here's one from the summit

    btw, I couldn't go down the jewel path which was what I wanted to do, because the visibility was so poor and the tail markers were almost impossible to see on the gulfside trail that branches off to the jewel. I didn't want to take a chance on getting lost with thunderstorms rolling in.

    I went down the ammonusuc and it was a tough trek down

    [​IMG]

    As you can see it wasn't an ideal day to take pictures
     

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