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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:38 am 
My wife and I are planning on travelling for 9 months or so in 2008 and I was wondering what essential kit people would recommend I should consider.

I've just entered the DSLR world so I'm very much learning the ropes. For want of a better term; I'm a newbie and I don't know what I should take! :)

Over Christmas I bought a Nikon D80 with the Nikkor 18-135mm lens as I thought it would be a good general purpose lens for wide and basic tele shots (I don't really want to be hulking several lenses around the world with me). Obviously, space will be at a premium and I wanted to pick the brains of anyone who has already done something similar to learn from any mistakes/situations you may have encountered.

I'm not sure if the specific locations are going to make any difference to this but I'll share anyway in case it does. Our proposed destinations are;

Japan
Laos
Cambodia
Vietnam
Peru
Berlese
and I'm sure we'll end up squeezing New Zealand into all that...

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Ben


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 9:05 am 
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Hi Ben, that sounds like a great trip! I've visited several of thsoe countries and there are loads of fantastic photo opportunities. Luang Prabang in Laos and Halong Bay in Vietnam really stand out, even if they are quite touristy...

It's a great question too:

Before even discussing equipment or locations though, I'd say have a good think about storage. You can take a lot of photos during a nine month trip and you'll want to ensure 1: you don't run out of memory, and 2: you don't lose any of your pictures.

The forthcoming third part of our 'backup your photos' series is all about this, but here's a couple of quick thoughts in the meantime!

A laptop can prove invaluable for storing, reviewing and editing images as you go along, not to mention communicating if you're within range of a wireless hotspot. But they can be heavy and of course pose a risk of theft.

A great way to backup and protect your photos while on holiday is to use a cybercafe to burn a CD of your images - then verify it and post it back home straightaway! Then at least if you lose your gear, you still have some of your photos. A similar approach could be uploading them to some webspace or an unlimited email account, but that could take some time.

Gordon


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:56 pm 
I had thought about storage and I'm in two minds to be honest. My initial idea (and I still haven't ruled it out) was to take my 15" MacBook Pro as a place to dump my memory card at the end of the day. The obvious problem with this is that it's a highly nickable piece of kit and I can't think of anything worse than having it, along with 9 months worth of photos stolen. On the plus side; it is super convenient and the ability to manage/edit my photos as I go is very appealing. (The prospect of locking myself off from the world for a month when I return, while I sort through 9 months worth of photos *isn’t* too appealing.). There is also the added weight to consider…

The CD ROM route has its’ own pros & cons;
It cuts out the extra weight issue and the fear of losing 9 months worth of photos due to theft or damage but it’s also far less convenient. I’m not sure how readily available photo shops will be in our destinations so having to ration memory card space may be an issue, especially if I'm shooting in RAW. Also, to a certain extent I’ll always have that fear that the data on the CD’s may be corrupted when I get home and I can’t imagine it will be easy to verify them on the go.

As for the security issue of a laptop; I’ll already be having to ensure my camera is secure in some way (whether that’s in a safe in a hostel or whatever) so adding a laptop to the equation shouldn’t be too hard.

Security, damage and weight issues aside; I’m still more tempted by the laptop idea. As the date approaches and we find more and more things we need to take, this may change however. Did anyone here go down the laptop route while on your travels? How did it work out?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:42 pm 
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I pondered about the options too!
There is the Option of a laptop having a DVD-burner, that would relieve you off 5GB per DVD plus I don't think the DVDs will be stolen (at least if you do seperate them from your valuable equipment!).
The other Option is an external 2,5" hard disk USB drive (Trekstor USB-Storage DataStation pocket x.u). I just bought one with 160GB for around 130€. This is a very small and light box (12x8x1,4cm, 160g) but 160GB is the max you can get them today. That may be to small for your requirements, esp. if you like to preserve RAW files (@10MB each) like I do, but there are the larger capacity 3,5" USB-drives with capacities of up to 500GB (equiv. of 42000 photos in RAW+medium jpg). They are cheaper (per GB) but need a little more space.
There are some options that take the SD card directly and make back-ups directly, no laptop needed. BUT I know of no gadget of this type that can read the new SDHC standard that the D80 supports for mem cards above 2GB (see my profile). AND without laptop you have no chance reviewing what you've got!
When calculating the amount of space you'll need here is just one personal experience: I once visited Istanbul and found myself shooting over 100 pics per day. So if you're running around like that you end up with 3,000 pics per month i.e. 27,000 pis at a 9 months trip :o
If you try burning this on DVDs in RAW quality you will need almost 70DVDs :shock:

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Last edited by Thomas on Sun Feb 04, 2007 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:47 pm 
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Hi Ben, if it reassures you at all, I recently travelled through Vietnam and Laos and there were loads of cybercafes in the tourist spots or larger towns, and burning CDs of memory cards now seems like standard practice! Same across parts of South America I've visited too. I would always verify the data was on the disc though, especially as some of the blanks may not have been kept in optimum conditions.

Like Thomas, I also carry a 2.5in hard disk and it's great to power it from the USB port alone without needing a seperate PSU (although note, some models DO need a PSU). But then, like all equipment, it can be nabbed or lost.

I just liked the extra belt and braces approach of burning discs and sending them back, or uploading them to webspace.

I too find carrying a laptop is inconvenient and an additional risk, but like you say, it will at least allow you to review your pics as you go along. Otherwise you'll arrive home with thousands of images and an insurmountable task ahead!

Gordon


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:19 pm 
Hmm, thanks Gordan/Thomas,

It seems there's isn't a clear cut answer for this. :)

I expect if I do end up taking the laptop, I'll probably also end up burning CD's using the in-built drive and sending them home to at least avoid the issue of losing months and months of photos. I guess I'll see how our planning goes and make a decision closer the time.

Thanks for your help guys.

Now I only need to decide whether or not to buy the Nikon 18-200mm VR lens before I go... It seems a bit of a waste seeing as it will totally replace my current 18-135mm that's almost new. Had I of known about it when I bought my D80, I would've bought the body alone and paid a bit extra for the VR, rather than going for the 135 kit. Everything about the VR cries out "Perfect lens for travelling!!"

Nevermind - you live and learn.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 7:26 pm 
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Well TelexStar,
The 18-200VR is really a lovely lens. Even at 50-100mm the VR helps a lot if you're normally shooting freehand (i.e. w/o tripod) under low light conditions without a flash. Here the D80+18-200VR combo really shines with the quality of the high ISO long exposure shots!!
So: IF you can afford it, swap it for your current lens!
My experience is that I find myself often at the long end of this lens, even when shooting at close distances (e.g. people/faces in a room), because you can get close-ups without intruding (and w/o using a flash!). THAT would certainly be a plus, if you like taking some impressions of people on your trip...

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D800+assorted lenses


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:44 am 
Well I do have a bonus coming up and I am a little torn between getting the 18-200 VR to replace the 18-135 I have. Or going for the 70-300 VR and complementing my 18-135.

I really like the 18-135 and I haven't used it anywhere near enough to warrant replacing it but I'm really aware that I want to make the absolute *most* out of my world travels when I go next year.

I obviously won't be taking a tripod and I imagine I'll be wanting to take quite a few lanscape/sunset/rise shots and a VR lens would be *perfect* for the job. I don't want to take two lenses with me either so having an all-in-one sounds like the way forward. In that respect the 70-300 may not be wide enough - I'm just not sure.

Has anyone had any experience with the 70-300mm?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 2:43 pm 
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I love my 70-300mm VR. It goes really well with my 18-70mm that came with my D80. If you click on the lens name in my signature you can see some of the photos I've taken with it.

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Nikon D80, Nikkor lenses: 35mm f1.8 G AF-S DX, 50mm f/1.8 AF D, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR, SB800 flash
My photos on SmugMug


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 3:19 pm 
Some great photos there Phil. I love the ones of the birds in flight.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:26 pm 
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TelexStar beware,
you'll get really stuck if you just take the 70-300 with you!
70mm is more double that of a standard lens and you will be longing for even wider shots than 30-35mm, believe me. Now that the 10MP sensor of the D80 captures so much detail you'll absolutely want to go wide to capture landscapes, architecture, etc.
Plus you don't loose time changing between two lenses...
Keep your luggage light!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:55 am 
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Hi Ben, I'd agree with Thomas: the 70-300 VR is a nice lens, but it's certainly no general-purpose all-round solution. It's way too long at 70mm - remember it'll be equivalent to 105-450mm.

If you're happy to carry two lenses, then I'd consider it to go with your 18-135mm, but if you only want to take one lens, go for either the 18-135mm, or ideally, the 18-200mm VR. I bet you could get a reasonable price for the 18-135mm on ebay...

Gordon


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:00 am 
Yep, I went home last night and tried framing several "normal" shots at 70mm and I'll definitely need a wider option. :)

The 18-200mm certainly sounds like the better option for me.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 12:08 am 
Hi everyone, I have only traveled to Shanghai, China and I took 1,000 pictures in my two month trip and let me tell you, you GOT to pack light, in these places you can easily misplace things, I use an ordinary backpack to hold my things, here is what I carry: my Nikon D50 w/18-135mm zoom lens, and my other things like cards, cleaning kits, blower, tripod, flash, filters, and many other things. but mostly I recommend using Auxiliary lenses, like srew-in telephotos, close-ups kits and of course wide angles, Why? because they're faster to change, smaller and lightweight, allows you to adjust without exposing the CCD sensor (let me tell you some contries have very bad pollution in the air) and they fit in your pockets easily without having the burden of another lens or more weight


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:38 pm 
Just happened to stumble upon this thread.

As Thomas and Gordon has mentioned - backup and storage is the main concern. Perhaps you missed this but Canon recently announced a portable storage device which would enable you to backup with one touch as well as view (not sure whether its accepts RAW) ...wont be cheap though :cry:

Forgive the link..

http://www.canon-europe.com/For_Home/Pr ... /index.asp

http://www.cameraworld.com.au/Canon_M80 ... canm80.htm

I am sure there are cheaper alternatives, similar , on the net, those which uses normal AA batteries instead of propriety ones, like canon, if this is what you want, saves some Lbs on the notebook. :wink:

Note sure whether 80Gb will be sufficient for the 9 month trip !
:wink:

You might want to consider regarding the tripod, small lightweight one.
At least, you can take some self-portrait, or get your face in the pics !
those that you really must haves. (pics i mean)
Those newer gorilla-pod looks enticing :o

Enjoy your trip !
DavidL


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