Traveling with your dSLR: I need recommendations.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by HarryPot, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. HarryPot macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    So, I'll be going to Europe this summer, and I'm having a difficult time deciding what to take with me, and what to buy. Currently I have a Nikon D40x, the kit lens and a Nikkor 105VR. I don't intend on taking the 105VR, and my kit lens is saying its goodbyes, so I'll need a new lens. Taking into account I might have $800-900 to spend, these are the option I've contemplated so far:

    1- Keep the D40x, buy a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC and a backpack. The Tamron is $625 and the backpack is around $80-90. Or I could buy the older Tamron for $450, without VC.

    2- Sell my D40x with the 18-55 for around $300-350, and buy a Nikon D90 with the 18-105 for $1,000. And also buy the backpack for $80-90.

    What do you guys recommend?
  2. Patriks7 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    Is the D40x limiting you in any way?
    Out of the two options, I would go for the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, because I think the ability to have f/2.8 would be more important when traveling, and when you need longer, you said you have a 105VR.
  3. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    Some of the older Tamron models won't autofocus on your D40x, as internal motors were added fairly recently, so shop carefully.

    I would go with a superzoom over an f/2.8 lens for travel (and I have), just for its ability to work in a much wider variety of shooting situations while allowing you to pack light and not worry about switching lenses. I don't see why you would really need the larger aperture while traveling, unless you're planning to take a crapload of street candids with less-than-decent ambient light.

    I'd recommend an 18-200mm VR. I don't see why you'd need a D90.
  4. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    In today's Economy - I say just buy a used lens that would suit your travel needs... save your money for Europe... ;)

    I'd be surprised if you got that much for your D40x - seeing that the D3000 kit is available for $399 refurbished...
  5. NathanCH macrumors 65816


    Oct 5, 2007
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Hey HarryPot, I was debating a similar thing in another thread. I ended up purchasing a lens rather than a body. There is some good discussion there that may help you make a decision!
  6. HarryPot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    Not really. Only indoors with low light. But I can take just as good photos with the D40x than with the D90.:)

    As for the 105VR, I don't think I'm taking it, it's huge and weights a lot. I'm sure I'll miss it, but carrying it around wouldn't be nice.

    This Tamron is new, but I'll give it a second check to see if it has a built-in motor.

    As for the 18-200, I guess it's a dream traveling lens, but I'm also thinking about the future and my normal use when home. Since having the 105VR f/2.8, I can't but think of my next lens being also f/2.8. But they are so expensive.:( sound just like my mother.:p

    I know saving the money for Europe would give me a better chance to go and visit more places, but the truth is that I enjoy photography too much to go there and miss having a better lens with me.

    As for the D40x selling value, I guess the advantage of living outside the US is that just as photo gear is more expensive when new, you can sell used equipment for more. And since I bought my D40x in the US, and I would buy the D90 there as well, I think I can get a sweet deal from the D40x.

    So you're buying the 35 f/1.8?

    I also see this lens as a great alternative, and one in which my wallet won't suffer much. It would be great for museums and places where no flash is allowed.
  7. NathanCH macrumors 65816


    Oct 5, 2007
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Sorry I didn't mean to imply that the lens recommendations would suit your needs, just that they all agreed it would be better to get a lens rather than a new body. But if you like the 35 F1.8, for sure check it out!

    Personally, I think you should get something a bit wider. You would mostly be taking pictures of architecture and landscapes, right?

    Just curious, where do you plan on going? I've been wanting to plan a trip to Europe for a few years, I'd love to know about yours.
  8. HarryPot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    Yes, most photos would be of architecture and landscapes. Some portraits as well, and here the 35mm might be a very good lens.

    But yes, I would prefer a zoom lens, for the convenience of not having to change lenses.
  9. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    If that's your plan, the Tamron is a great choice. It goes reasonably wide, and it does portraits reasonably well.
  10. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    Honestly, you can probably get away with just bringing the D40 and the kit lens (which I believe is the 18-55, right?). That would cut down on weight, space, and the need to worry about changing lenses. When traveling, you want to be free to see and experience things without having to worry about gear. At least I do.

    If you do feel you want to bring another lens, I'd go wider rather than longer. The kit lens on a crop body is going to give you 82.5mm of reach, which should be plenty for most shots at tourist sites. In my travel experience, you can almost always get physically closer to the things you want to shoot. However, you can't always get far enough back to take it all in. This will be the case when shooting castle interiors, for example, or some landscapes.

    Consider something like the Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6. It's a bit heavy, but will be great for shooting interior architecture and landscapes.

    Again, you can probably get away with just the kit lens. I've trekked in Nepal, traveled up and down the California coast, did trips in the desert, and toured across Europe with just my D60 and the kit lens, and got great shots without having to fiddle with lens changes and the weight of extra gear. I'm about to go to Japan and am seriously considering giving my D60 to my girlfriend and buying either a D90 or a D5000, but that's more for the added benefit of video and the fact that there are some things I don't like about the D60.
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes what you shoot should determine which lens you take. Very few telephoto shots are any good, mostly just boring. f/2.8 is great for the above street candids which turn out many times to be the best photos and also building interiors. You can always walk closer if you have a shorter lens but you can't make slow lens fast.

    Many times I'll take just one lens and leave the rest in the car or room fr that day. Yes I iss some shots but I just deside that today I'm using the (say) 85mm lens or the 35mm and I get those shots. Either way I always get the same number of good shots, just different shots. You don't get more photoswith more lenses. If iit were me I'd take my 18-70 and a 35mm f/2.0
  12. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    A fast prime would be good if you intend to visit museums. Many museums prohibit flash photography.
  13. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    Very well put.

    When traveling, and therefore spending a lot of time on foot and putting in long hours walking around a city, I'd say just pick a good all-purpose lens and stick with it. Choose your shots based on the lens you have with you. Cutting down on hassle means you'll have more fun and will enjoy your travels and the sites much more.
  14. Stratification macrumors regular

    Jan 17, 2005
    Spokane, WA
    Keep in mind too that depending on how long you're going to be traveling lens rental could be a good option. We recently travelled to Ireland and rented a couple of nice lenses that worked out very well, lenses we wouldn't have had the budget to buy outright.
  15. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    Why do people say to not buy "In today's economy.." ?

    If you are working and doing ok, why in the world would you not buy the same things you would buy in a better economy? Want to deprive someone of making a living? What's the motive, what's the upside?

    And, prices will never be lower! Take advantage of this.

    I say stay with the D40 and get the 18-200. That has to be one of the best travel lenses of all time. Smallish, VR, light, unobtrusive and no lens changing.

    It might be interesting to take a fast wide prime if you will be taking interior shots. Manual focus is fine with those and so an older, used one makes sense.
  16. iSax1234 macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    Well if you have some money to spend and need something versitle why not go with this lens

    AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR. This lens is going to be slow but should be good for anything outdoors your doing and at 400 USD you could still by a nice 35mm prime f/1.8 if you do anything low light for 200 USD. So that brings you to about 600 USD, I would keep your kit lens, since more than likely you won't get much for it, but you wouldn't really need the 105mm lens any more. Of course like said earlier you could always just rent a lens. By the way I don't have either of the lens I just got my D5000 a few weeks back but these are my current prospects for lenses.

    EDIT: I was on adorama and found the 18-105mm refurbished for 260USD and 360 USD new.
  17. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    You might also want to think about a graphite monopod of some sort. You don't really want to schlepp a tripod all over the place but there will be times you'd like to steady the camera.
  18. schataut macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2010
    It depends on what kind of photos you will be taking. I mostly carry my Tokina 12-24 (excellent lens) so I can capture the background with my family in the foreground and I do not have to be too far from the object (my wife or someone else). One huge benefit of this is I can get the flash to light up the subject very well. If you have a longer lens then you will move back quite a bit to capture people/background.

    A shots with Tokina 12-24 in Vegas.
    D70s/Tokina12-24/Gitzo 2541/Markins Q3

    So I would definitely suggest you to consider a wide angle lens.

    Nikon 18-200 lens is nice all around lens, but when you get to the 200 range the picture quality is not that great.

    I would definitely get a good lens instead of upgrading my camera. FYI I am still using D70s but have bought few nice lens along the way. :)
  19. HarryPot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    Thanks for all the help.

    I've been thinking it out and have decided to keep the D40x, and buy one of the following lenses:

    1. Tamron 17-50 VC f/2.8. $625. This lens has received very good reviews, and offers the advantage of a f/2.8 in a not so expensive package. The older model, without VC, costs $400, so it might be an option as well.

    2. Sigma 17-70 OS HSM f/2.8-4. $450. Not a constant 2.8 lens, but it offers the equivalent to VR, and a longer reach.

    3. Nikon 16-85 f/3.5-5.6. $630. It's a Nikorr lens, and apparently offers excellent image quality. Offers a very good range, but lacks the f/2.8 aperture.

    For the money, the Sigma 17-70 looks very nice. Anyone has any experience with these lenses?
  20. HarryPot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    One day I'll get a real wide angle lens. Problem is, right now I don't have enough to buy two lenses. And buying a wide angle lens, and keeping the kit lens doesn't looks promising. I'm starting to fear my kit lens will break any second now.

    As for my D40x, what bugs me more is that I can't use older lenses that don't have built-in motor.

Share This Page