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Thread: Need a solid lens for a pan Asia bicycle trip

  1. #1
    New Member Bikingman's Avatar
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    Daniel I. Patterson

    Need a solid lens for a pan Asia bicycle trip

    Another newcomer steps up to tug on the pant legs of the ones who know. "Can you give me some advice?!"

    But in all respects, this is true. I'm going to be traveling across Asia by bicycle next year and would like to purchase a solid lens to take photos with. I have a DSLR Cannon and very shallow pockets; most of my money is going into a charity project. Can anyone suggest a relatively inexpensive lens for some good day and night photos of groups of people, faces of people, and of course landscapes? Thank you kindly.

  2. #2
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Elise

    Re: Need a solid lens for a pan Asia bicycle trip

    If your pockets are truly shallow, get the 50mm f/1.8; if slightly less shallow, get the f/1.4. I'm sure others will disagree, but IMHO, for an all around lens, you can't beat it. Do you already have a kit lens that gives you a little variety?

  3. #3
    New Member Bikingman's Avatar
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    Daniel I. Patterson

    Re: Need a solid lens for a pan Asia bicycle trip

    Honestly I have, what I consider, a horrible lens - 25-80mm with an f stop 4/5.6 - 22. It’s an old lens I picked up for free to started with. As I gain more understanding I’ve realized for the types of shots I take I need to obtain a lens that has a low to very low min fstop. I like photos up close of people such as their faces. The catch is I will be traveling a long distance, across long stretches of land and don’t want to miss an opportunity to capture some awesome wide angle shots. It’s possible the stationary lens maybe my best shot, no?

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    Re: Need a solid lens for a pan Asia bicycle trip

    I'll recommend what I ended up picking up.

    Canon EF-S 17-85 f4-5.6 IS USM.

    Optically, it's quite a good lens. Not right up there with L lenses obviously but quite decent at all apertures. Very quick to focus and IS allows 3 stops of stabilisation. Having a decent zoom range would seemingly make this quite ideal for travelling I would imagine. I have found it wide enough to get some nice star trails / landscapes etc and zooms in enough to make an alright telephoto lens.

    Quite a sturdy feeling lens too! While the f-stop may not be very low the IS tends to help a little here.

    There are tons over ebay etc all the time usually picking them up anywhere from $250 - 350 (AUD)

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Need a solid lens for a pan Asia bicycle trip

    Hi Daniel and welcome to the CiC forums from me, great to have you join us.

    Could I ask what model the camera is, while I'm probably safe to assume it is a crop factor one, if that was also s/h and it doesn't have too many pixels, that will reduce the options for crop zooming in PP to achieve a better telephoto effect.

    As such, that may direct us away from the 50mm idea (which otherwise I might support) and more to the 17-85 one.

    Remember to factor in for costs of memory cards, spare batteries and battery charging - I'm sure others will come up with more ideas along these lines.

    Oh, one last question, which nation are you like to be in when buying? (so we can give prices in a closer currency)

    Cheers,

  6. #6
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Need a solid lens for a pan Asia bicycle trip

    I think that the 17-85mm is a great focal range which would suit me quite well as a single lens. I tend to like longer focal lengths and for quite a while was happy with the 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens, However, that focal range would not be wide enough for most folks using a 1.6x camera. The 17-85mm is the equivalent to the 28-135mm focal range on a full frame camera.

    I would carry a LOT of memory (which is fairly inexpensive these days) and research where and how to download your images and transmit them to a safe place for storage. I realize that weight is a paramount factor but, I would carry at least two extra batteries along with a camera/lens protector such as the OPTECH Rain Sleeve (http://optechusa.com/rainsleeve.html) which is extremely light weight and will protect your camera from both precipitation and blowing dust. A small camera/lens cleaning kit consisting of a rubber blower (not a blower brush), a camel's hair brush for the lens and a larger brush for the camera along with some pieces of old cotton T-shirt material in a plastic baggie would be a good bet. Finally, I would ensure I had a lens hood (Chinese eBay hoods are just fine and cheaper than dirt) as well as a good polarizing filter. One final piece of equipment which will improve your photography but, doesn't weigh too much is a Canon 270EX flash. Using this flash with a Joe Demb FlipIt (www.dembflashproducts.com) will provide natural looking lighting. Here are some shots from a Hong Kong indoor market lit with a 270EX bounced with a FlipIt diffuser/reflector...

    Need a solid lens for a pan Asia bicycle trip

    Need a solid lens for a pan Asia bicycle trip

    Additionally for bike riders, climbers and other strenuous sports, it is good to have a way to secure your camera. OPTECH (I don't work for that company, just use a lot of their products) distributes the Stabilizer Strap (http://optechusa.com/straps/stabilizer-strap.html). This is great for keeping your camera from swing around but, might propose a problem in the tropics because of perspiration from your chest.

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