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Thread: Off to Vietnam and need some advice!

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    Off to Vietnam and need some advice!

    Hey all!

    As per the title, I am off to Vietnam with my partner at the start of next year... and am very excited! I love Asian culture, and it will be great to see the 'Nam! Also my first trip overseas

    Few questions/queries/concerns.

    I currently have a d3000, with a 17-50 2.8 tamron, a 50mm 1.8, and a 70-200 2.8. Also have a sb400 and (arrived today) a yn465. Not the flashest gear (pun not intended!) but it's great for my learning and I think I am doing ok with it all!

    Obviously with travel, I want to travel light. I had a friend advise a 24-70 (far to heavy and expensive, I think), and have had 16-85s, 18-200s, and a combination with either the 50mm or a 35mm 1.8. The 50mm doesn't autofocus on my d3000, and to be honest, I don't use it often. Over there though, I am guessing that I will take to long to manual focus for (what I assume) a lot of street photography!

    I have also (unforunately!) been pondering an upgraded body. I don't think I can justify it (skill side of things), but the temptation is there! Haha.

    My concerns are obviously theft, but have insurance so that's ok. Stupidly enough, I am more worried about the SD cards getting stolen in the body!

    So my questions are thus:

    For Vietnam (or any travel), what would be your choice of lens/es? Would you take a flash? A tripod?

    I know they say if you ask you already know... but the body upgrade. Is it worth it? I want to start shooting some videos, and would like the enhanced features (and the higher ISO usability), but I always find it hard to justify things!

    Travel storage and backup? Keep a few memory cards and swap them when full? External HDDs?

    Any and all help will be much appreciated!

    Cheers

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    What do you want to shoot? Sweeping landscapes, intimate street photography of the people? When we know more about what you like shooting, want to capture of the sights in Vietnam, we will be able to recommend more appropriately. The lenses will vary depending on subject. I would recommend a good wide angle and probably a decent zoom.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Thanks Rick for the quick response

    I'm still, I guess, finding 'my niche', but I enjoy a bit of everything. I have always been a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. Going to be spending a fair bit of time in the cities, and populated areas, so would love the intimate and intense nature of the markets, the stalls, the food etc. Will also be checking out a few bays including Halong, so there will be a few nature opportunities in there as well.

    I would say... I think I am going to be more keen to try and get more shots of people and the culture than anything else, but want to be prepared!

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Ok. so are you happy getting up close, asking them for their photo and getting amongst the action, or do you prefer to stand back a bit, blend in and capture candid moments in the life of the locals? This will help determine the focal length you might need.

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    on my trip to vietnam i took a 24-105, nifty 50 for low light and making me move into the shot and not just zoom away, was all i needed
    I've done so many things I'm not proud of...and the things I am proud of are disgusting. ~Moe, The Simpsons

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    I think you'll find the 17-50mm 2.8 on your camera 90%+ of the time. There would only be the odd occasion you'd want to switch to the 70-200mm and then you need to weigh up the benefit of carrying a large lens like that around for only a couple photos. If you dont mind luging it around then 17-50 and 70-200 will have you covered.

    I personally find when travelling, the lighter the better. Speaking from experience, I've traveled and carried an entire kit 17-55, 10-22mm and a 70-200mm and regretted it a lot. When I go around Europe in Jan it'll be 1 body with 1 lens (d600 + 24-70mm).

    also thought I'd add after reading you wanting to get close to food, people, culture etc...the south east asian countries are great when it comes to taking photos. If it were here in melb, I'd be hesitant to take pictures of people with anything other than a 70-200mm and candid from a distance. Over there, the people are all smiles and getting up close and personal with a 17-50 won't be a matter at all. You'll love it and so will they!
    Last edited by The_Scroop; 02-10-2012 at 8:58pm.
    -My Gear:
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Ok. so are you happy getting up close, asking them for their photo and getting amongst the action, or do you prefer to stand back a bit, blend in and capture candid moments in the life of the locals? This will help determine the focal length you might need.
    Will answer this in the end quote!

    Quote Originally Posted by rossco View Post
    on my trip to vietnam i took a 24-105, nifty 50 for low light and making me move into the shot and not just zoom away, was all i needed
    Thanks mate! I was thinking that, I need to make myself move a bit more! (as well as think about the background and composition!)

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Scroop View Post
    I think you'll find the 17-50mm 2.8 on your camera 90%+ of the time. There would only be the odd occasion you'd want to switch to the 70-200mm and then you need to weigh up the benefit of carrying a large lens like that around for only a couple photos. If you dont mind luging it around then 17-50 and 70-200 will have you covered.

    I personally find when travelling, the lighter the better. Speaking from experience, I've traveled and carried an entire kit 17-55, 10-22mm and a 70-200mm and regretted it a lot. When I go around Europe in Jan it'll be 1 body with 1 lens (d600 + 24-70mm).

    also thought I'd add after reading you wanting to get close to food, people, culture etc...the south east asian countries are great when it comes to taking photos. If it were here in melb, I'd be hesitant to take pictures of people with anything other than a 70-200mm and candid from a distance. Over there, the people are all smiles and getting up close and personal with a 17-50 won't be a matter at all. You'll love it and so will they!
    Funny you say that. I haven't done much street stuff, done a bit, but always with zoom. I have been a pretty hesistant person... starting to get more confident and giving things a go now! I reckon Vietnam will help that, especially if I do (on purpose) restrict my zoom length! I am not taking the 70-200, to heavy to lug around!

    Thanks so far

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    Ausphotography Regular J.davis's Avatar
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    When travelling OS I take the Sigma 24-70 2.8 and it served me well. I found that I didn't need a long lens at all.
    On one trip I only used a Tokina 12-24 F4, again, it was all I needed.
    Regards
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    Have a look at my travel blog below, I primarily use the 35L prime.

    I do a lot of work in VN for photojournalism and travel stuff every year in my own country. One thing I can say is please please do not take a 70-200, you wont need it and the best emotions are capture when one is up closer to the subject, not 10 or 20m away.
    Commercial/Editorial/Wedding work - www.jackietranphoto.com
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    See, I love my 70-200 for the fact that you can get candids on the street without fake posing that goes hand in hand with a shorter lens.

    But.... you will find that your 17-50 will be on the body 98% of the time.

    have a great time. I'm jealous.
    Greg Bartle,
    I have a Pentax and I'm not afraid to use it.
    Pentax K5
    Sigma 10-20 | Tamron 17-50 F:2.8 | Sigma 50 F:1.4 | Sigma 70-200 F:2.8 Plus a bunch of Ye Olde lenses


    Would you like to see more?
    http://flickr.com/photosbygreg

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    i've done VN on many occasions with a variety of bodies. i had a D80 on one trip, D300 on another, D300 and D700 on another again. i pretty much used just a standard zoom (17-55 or 24-70 depending on body), with a 35mm/50mm in my pocket. i did bring a 70-300 along but it was never needed. i never ever considered bringing the 70-200. i only used a flash indoors for family events. most of my street shooting was with a small prime using ambient light. i had a lot of fun shooting scooter traffic at near dusk with an ND filter. i did get some footage on an S95 from the back of a scooter, riding through downtown saigon. next time i go back, i will probably only take the RX100 which covers my needs: fast wide, medium standard, slow tele, bounce flash, video, in camera HDR, panorama and multiframe noise subtraction handheld low light mode, pretty much negates the need for much else, including tripod.
    Thanks,
    Nam

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rattus79 View Post
    See, I love my 70-200 for the fact that you can get candids on the street without fake posing that goes hand in hand with a shorter lens.

    But.... you will find that your 17-50 will be on the body 98% of the time.

    have a great time. I'm jealous.

    fake posing? I guess you arent too confident in mixing with the locals and blending in enough to get real candids up close, it takes practice. Every good street/travel photographer starts off at the long end, and gets closer and closer with experience and confidence and knowing the local culture.

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    We have been to Vietnam several times now and taken a variety of gear each time. Each time we go back I seem to take less. You will get by without a tripod, your 17-50 will be fine for 99% of your photography. The 70-200 is a nice to have but its a lot to lug around in the heat & humidity.

    We have just got back from a trip to Europe and this time we took an iPad with us. We used this for backing up and viewing images each day. If you can get WiFi you can then post to AP, Flickr etc.

    You should get WiFi in most hotels these days without extra cost.
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    You will miss some good opportunities at Ha Long Bay without a long lens, so I would take one if that kind of stuff is important to you. I took a 10-22 and 28-135 with me on a crop body. I could have done without the 10-22 in some ways, but I found myself wishing I had a bit more reach at times. Given what you have, I would take the 17-50 and 70-200 and not much else, but these things depend so much on what you most like shooting. There is a small selection of my Vietnam pics here to give you a bit of an idea about what I found interesting there.

    Regarding storage, I just take lots of cards. It depends how you like to travel, but I go cabin luggage only if at all possible and I take a bit of camera gear, so that rules out laptops & external HDs and the like. It's somewhat more risky, but makes life simpler and if you buy premium cards and treat them properly, you are not likely to have any trouble with them.

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    Thanks all for the the info and opinions!

    I have decided against the 70-200, I'm sure I would use it at some point, but not enough to justify taking it.

    Hadn't thought about filters, I don't actually have any yet except a cheapy polariser, ND at dusk in traffic sounds like some fun!

    Still pondering a 16-85, for that little bit extra 'just in case'. Not sure, not sure! Haha.

    Thanks so far!

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    Hi,

    sounds like a great trip coming up.

    just to throw my 2 cents in -

    We had a recent trip to Phuket where we stayed at just one hotel (Ie. didn't travel around apart from day trips). I took my 18-105mm (which stayed on the camera 95% of the time), 70-300mm (which I only used for a handful of wildlife photos), tripod (which again was only used a handful of times). I also took my laptop for storage and viewing each night.

    I'd take all this gear again, if I was going to be based in one spot. If I was traveling around I would consider going a bit lighter. Probably just the 18-105mm and a bunch of SD cards.

    Have a great time.

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