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  1. #1
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    Favorite DSLR lens when touring?

    I was wondering, for those that tour with a DSLR, what is your favorite lens? That one lens you can't do without!
    I'm going on a long tour in a couple of months, but can't decide what lens (or multiple?) to take. I really love photography and I'm willing to spend some extra on a proper lens, it's just that I can't make a decision here.

    I have a Canon 1000D wich came with a standard kit lens (18 to 55) and a zoom (70 to 300). I rarely use the zoom, and the standard lens is not very sharp especially in low light. So I was thinking of upgrading to a Tamron 17 to 50mm 2.8, which is still an affordable standard lens for both portraits and landscapes.
    Then again, I love large landscapes so an ultra wide Sigma 10 to 20 mm would be a dream, but really stretching the budget there and perhaps its uses are pretty limited.
    Or I could just get one of those very cheap Canon 50mm 1.8 lenses I hear so many good things about, and manage with what I have.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Well, I don't know if I can help. I am taking my Canon 7D. It weighs a ton, but I cannot stand the idea of using one of those tiny cameras, and I did buy the damn thing to use. I am taking the kit 28-135mm lens because it's what I have, and don't need a longer zoom. I too would like a 10-20mm for some grand landscapes, but the idea of another lens and it's weight scares me. The bike seems to weigh a ton already, and this is to be my first tour.

  3. #3
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    I typed up a great big post and then pressed the back button!

    The 50 1.8mm, while producing good results for the price tag, isn't really the best focal length for a crop body camera. It's rather long for most uses.

    I personally use a 30 1.4 Sigma for travel purposes and find it to an excellent lens to carry. It's gives a full frame equivalent of 50 mm on a crop body that you have now, which is very usefully in most conditions. The 30 mm performs very well in low light, is quite small, and rather affordable for a camera lens (around $600 USD). I am becoming found of mine.

    Carrying just a ultra wide lens by itself I feel isn't the best answer out there. They are great fun no doubt, and can take some fantastic images, but they have some trade off's as well. Very short focal length of course, and they are generally not great in low light or action situations and most can't take filters. Thankfully they are generally not very heavy lenses.

    Personally I carry my 30 mm, 8-16 Sigma and sometimes my 70-200 F4 IS with me for travelling. The weight is worth it to me.a

  4. #4
    djb
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    the Canons are 1.6 factor sensors arent they? Honestly, I would go with a single zoom like you mention, high teens to 55 or whatever, which will roughly be a 28 to 90 ish. Yes, it would be nice to have wider, or longer, but thats up to you about carrying the stuff, worrying about keeping it insulated from getting vibrated to death and/or dry, not to mention the weight.
    When I bike, lighter is better, so a simple lens range like this is ample. Ive used 50mm on 1.5 crop bodies for a long time, and while they are great for some things, for a bike trip if you have a low to mid zoom, its a bit redundant--but, hey this is all up to you as Sparky points out interms of what is important to you.

    there are mid range zooms for mid range prices that perform well, and should be fine for your uses--but again, thats for you to decide.

  5. #5
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    FWIW, I own a Sigma 28-70/f2.8. All of the reviews said it was a decent lens. Personally, I think it's a dog compared to my Canon glass: slow to focus, poor contrast, etc. It's the reason I no longer buy 3rd-party lenses... My main travel camera these days is a Panasonic GF1 micro four-thirds body with a 20mm/f1.7 lens (equivalent to a 40mm lens on a 35mm body). If I'm willing to carry a little more weight, I add the 45-200 (90-400mm equivalent) zoom to the GF1 kit.

    If I were going to take my Canon 5D SLR, I'd probably grab the 24-105 zoom unless I knew specifically that a different lens was called for.

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    I would probably take my 28-135. I have a couple of L series lenses but the 28-135 is relatively compact and has a decent range. That being said, I usually leave my DSLR home and take my S90. I love it because I can shoot fully manual and RAW mode and it is tiny.

  7. #7
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    I carry three Nikon lenses ranging from 12 to 300mm, but thinking of replacing the two longer zooms with a single Tamron 18-270 or Nikon 28-300, or even a GH2 with 14-140. If I had to choose a single lens, I'd go with a 16-85 for some wide angle. Canon has a 15-85.
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  8. #8
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    50 1.8 and let my legs do the zooming.
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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I Note:
    If the lens comes off , you can introduce dirt inside the camera on the image chip.

    Chip size less than 24x36mm (like a 35mm slide on film) takes a portion of the image.
    so the angle of view is reduced, telephoto like..
    So, a digital, 50mm can function like a 100mm As on film,
    Note the use of 18mm lenses these days ,
    to get a normal wide angle functionally, like a 28 or 35mm
    Last edited by fietsbob; 12-15-11 at 12:06 PM.

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    thanks everyone!
    so far the Tamron 17 to 50mm 2.8 is at the top of my list, while you can get longer range lenses for the same price (18 to 200 etc) I'm thinking the extra aperture here will prove more use
    I'd probably take the telezoom I already own as an extra, it has a macro functionality too

    do you think 2.8 would be enough for low light indoor or even outdoor (campfires etc) photography?
    Last edited by wiiiim; 12-15-11 at 12:26 PM.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    do you think 2.8 would be enough for low light indoor photography?
    Tripod is always good then the "exposure time" can make up for a smaller aperture,
    with out flash. or shaking the camera in the middle of the picture.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiiiim View Post
    do you think 2.8 would be enough for low light indoor or even outdoor (campfires etc) photography?
    In my experience: no.

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    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    I Note:
    If the lens comes off , you can introduce dirt inside the camera on the image chip.
    :
    and if the lens comes off, and you add a scoop of icecream, some 7-Up and a cherry, voila you have a float.

    ;-)

  14. #14
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    50mm prime lens is my favorite do it all lens. I have Olympus E420 with pankcake lens - it's almost as small as point-and-shoot cameras but much faster and predictable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikhalit View Post
    50mm prime lens is my favorite do it all lens.
    A 50mm prime is a nice lens as a "do it all" lens, but only if you don't do much. With a 70mm equiv on most DSLRs it's not too good for landscape shots or indoor group/room shots.

    I have Olympus E420 with pankcake lens - it's almost as small as point-and-shoot cameras but much faster and predictable.
    You have a 50mm pancake?? I ask because I've never seen one.
    Last edited by rogerstg; 12-16-11 at 11:02 AM.

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    I really like macro lenses. The best ones for travelling are of std focal length and smaller aperture. The large aperture ones are big and heavy and the portrait focal length macros (for greater working distance) are not so versatile.

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    Not sure one lens would be my goal.
    But, one lens you can't do without?, for me would be a 50mm 1.4. Wouldn't want to tour with just that, but could always make it work, capture anything, see in the dark, and make some pretty pictures. As a bonus it weighs 4 oz., so that doesn't really count against our touring goal. Back that up with a 17-35 2.8 so you feel like you're carrying some glass and you've got a kit worthy of touring up any grade.

    Quote Originally Posted by wiiiim View Post
    I was wondering, for those that tour with a DSLR, what is your favorite lens? That one lens you can't do without!

    Thoughts?

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    I love photography also but would seriously consider leaving SLR at home and taking a good compact camera such as Olympus XZ-1, Panasonic LX5, or Canon S100. Although they have smaller sensors, each of these cameras are capable of printing out excellent prints up to 13x19 inches. Each of these cameras go from wide angle to short telephoto and have fast lenses and manual adjustments.
    Last edited by BrokenSproket; 12-16-11 at 09:58 PM. Reason: spelling

  19. #19
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    I also love photography and always when come to touring I need to decide wich and how many lense I will be carrying soon I am going for 6 weeks to Costa Rica down to Panama.I am taking this time Nikon D300,Tokina 12-24mm,on the camera the Nikon 18-200mm(on the handlebars bag)Nikon 70-300mm and Tokina makro 100mm 2,8 for makro,Nikon Sb800,gorilla tripod video,macbook 13" and cables batterys hd etc etc
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogerstg View Post
    A 50mm prime is a nice lens as a "do it all" lens, but only if you don't do much. With a 70mm equiv on most DSLRs it's not too good for landscape shots or indoor group/room shots.
    Well, if one does *much* photography then there is no point asking on bike forum, right? It probably wouldn't be one lens anyway. All depends on your style and preferences though. But for the price and weight it's hard to beat small cameras with pancake lenses. Light, fast and relatively wide, that's my criteria for tours. And it makes you *think* before shooting. It's like a tripod, improves the picture quality, not just increases the amount of light reaching the sensor.

    You have a 50mm pancake?? I ask because I've never seen one.
    Of course I meant 25mm Zuiko pancake, I've never said it's 50mm You can of course look at OM zuiko compacts, like OM 40mm/f2.
    Last edited by mikhalit; 12-17-11 at 12:55 PM.

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