Travel Lens Kit Philosophy

Started Sep 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP Jeff Klofft Veteran Member • Posts: 3,583
Re: Travel Lens Kit Philosophy

PatMann wrote:

Unless my vacation is specifically for birding, in which case I'm taking a whole bunch of extra heavy bulky gear anyway, I find I almost never have a use for a lens longer than about 105mm (full frame equivalent), and for urban shooting I want (1) a lens as wide as I can get, and (2) a lens as fast as I can get, to supplement a midrange zoom. I can't tolerate the distortion of a superzoom - I know it's fixable, I just hate to have to see it in the finder and know I'll lose a big share of my image to de-barrel it. I shoot a lot of buildings and architectural details, so both the barrel of the wide and the pincushion of the long are a PITA.

My perfect travel kit with Leica M4 was 21mm Super-Angulon (love those old symmetrical wides), 35mm Summilux and 90mm tele-Elmarit, sometimes adding a 50mm collapsing Elmar.

My current D300s kit when traveling light is 12-24, 16-85 and 50 f/1.4 (for speed, because it's what I have, in spite of its very narrow field). I'd much prefer a 24mm f/1.4 - I really like a fast 35-equivalent as my high-speed optic for shooting in restaurants and museums and streets at night. The 16-85 is a remarkably good little lens with very reasonable distortion for the zoom range. I do prefer my 17-55 to the 16-85 if I'm not worrying about the weight and bulk since I don't have to worry about zoom/focus creep when pointing the lens down, and it almost doubles for a fast wider lens (that Nikon doesn't make in DX) at night and indoors. The 17-55 also has very reasonable distortion compared to full-frame zooms.

If Nikon doesn't come out with a fast 35- or 28-equivalent for DX soon, or a mirrorless interchangeable-lens APS-C or full frame option with a good range of lenses, I'll probably switch to Fujifilm for my travel kit, going back to the very thoughtful range of lenses Fujifilm makes to reproduce my tried-and-true Leica formula of focal lengths for the travel lenses, and just keep my DX Nikon SLR (I'm hoping updated to D400) for birding.

So you don't find too much overlap between your 12-24 and 16-85?

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