What lenses for Swiss holiday?

Discussion of lenses, brand or independent, uses and merits
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braeside
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What lenses for Swiss holiday?

Unread postby braeside » Mon May 21, 2007 5:04 pm

I'm going on a holiday to the Bernese Oberland and will be taking my A100 with me. Due to the current draconian restrictions on size and weight of carry-on hand luggage I have to decide what lenses to take and what to leave behind.

I anticipate taking landscapes, perhaps some alpine flowers, people, perhaps some indoor shots.

The lenses I have are:
CZ 16-80
50/1.7
100/2.8 macro
Sigma 24/2.8
Sigma 70-300 APO
28-75D
Minolta 75-300 /4.5-5.6 Mk 1
24-85 /3.5-4.5
18-70 kit lens

Quite a lot of overlap!

My own thoughts are to take

CZ16-80 for walkabout
Sigma 70-300 if I need telephoto for small animals
50/1.7 for low light
100/2.8 for macro
and maybe the Sigma 24/2.8 as it is small and cheap, but takes good shots. (Assisted focus).

I will take a very small tripod and am also considering taking one 3600 flashgun.

I don't anticipate that I will be lugging this lot around, just choosing what I hope will be appropriate for the day.

Also plan on taking CP filters and an ND for waterfall shots.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on the above.

As a postscript, last time I was in this part of Switzerland was in 1967-8 and I shot with a Halina Paulette 35mm film camera with 45mm lens, no rangefinder or autofocus or even exposure meter built in. Though I did have a Weston cine exposure meter that I had to convert fps to shutter speed! I shot Kodachrome slides then. Almost tempting to find some last roll of Kodachrome and take the Dynax 5 along for oldtime's sake.
David

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Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Mon May 21, 2007 5:48 pm

The 90mm Leica lightweight lens was known as the 'mountain Elmar' because this focal length was thought perfect for Alpine views - wide-angles make mountains look small, longer lenses make them look much more impressive, but the average Alpine view happened to suit the 90mm on full frame.

The CZ 16-80mm will no doubt be the best possible all-rounder. I would just add the 100mm macro and the 70-300mm Sigma, and forget the Sigma 24mm. The only thing I would add to CP and ND would be a graded ND in case you get snow still lying high up, use it in reverse (grad on the bottom half!) to balance snow and sky. Also useful for bright water with blue sky.

Have you thought about a monopod/walking stick? I have a Benbo monopod with a ball and socket plus a sort of cap which fits the ball and socket, so it turns into a ball shape you can hold.

David

braeside
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Unread postby braeside » Mon May 21, 2007 7:02 pm

David Kilpatrick wrote:The 90mm Leica lightweight lens was known as the 'mountain Elmar' because this focal length was thought perfect for Alpine views - wide-angles make mountains look small, longer lenses make them look much more impressive, but the average Alpine view happened to suit the 90mm on full frame.


Thanks, that is useful to know. I guess the wide angle will come in handy for shots with interesting foregrounds - perhaps meadow flowers or cows with bells around their necks.

I did have a brief trip to the Swiss Alps close to the area we are going to just a few years ago, and at that time used my Panasonic FZ20 which was great as it covered 36-420mm in 35mm terms, in one lens, plus I had a 0.8X wide angle converter for city shots. *
My wife will be taking that camera this time, less the converter.


David Kilpatrick wrote:The CZ 16-80mm will no doubt be the best possible all-rounder. I would just add the 100mm macro and the 70-300mm Sigma, and forget the Sigma 24mm.


I will chuck in the 50mm/1.7 as it is so small and light - just in case.
Yes, probably should leave the 24mm at home as it is covered by the CZ.

David Kilpatrick wrote:The only thing I would add to CP and ND would be a graded ND in case you get snow still lying high up, use it in reverse (grad on the bottom half!) to balance snow and sky. Also useful for bright water with blue sky.


I do have a couple of ND grads, but probably won't take them as they are fiddly to fix and I know my wife would quickly tire of me playing around changing filters. That kind of photography is better done solo. Hopefully I can get by with RAW and perhaps some exposure bracketing.

The weather out there is a bit like Scotland - it could be pouring rain or clear blue skies the whole time we are there. We hope to get to the top of the Junfraujoch (not actually the summit of the Jungfrau mountain but pretty close) via train through the Eiger, a trip that I didn't manage on my previous visits.

We are going to be based in the village of Wengen, staying in the Alpenrose Hotel which is the hotel that I was in back in 1967/8 at New Year - a wonderful family holiday. We have train passes so that we can get about the region.

David Kilpatrick wrote:Have you thought about a monopod/walking stick? I have a Benbo monopod with a ball and socket plus a sort of cap which fits the ball and socket, so it turns into a ball shape you can hold.


I had thought about that, but again the restrictions on weight etc for luggage comes into it. I find that with SSS I either need to use a tripod or I can handhold well enough, the monopod doesn't seem to help me much of the time. Probably will hire some hiking poles out there, rather than take them as luggage. I have a neat table top tripod which is good enough for simple stuff and fits in my bag.

I managed to get a backpack (Crumpler Farmer's Doubler) which will take my big old PowerBook G3 plus the camera gear and other associated chargers, iPod, and documents. It is <just> inside the dimension limit for carry on luggage. It will however be heavier than the limit which appears to be either 5Kg or 7Kg depending on who's website you believe. I estimate about 9Kg fully loaded.

I won't of course be dragging all that gear around on a daily basis, just for getting there and back.

I also have a very small Tamrac Velocity 5 bag that I can use for short outings with camera plus 2 lenses, and associated batteries/cards/filters.

I shall have to stuff that into the suitcase - Hopefully I'll have some room left in the luggage for clothes :) and keep below the 20Kg limit :x

* The Eiger - taken with FZ20 - 6mm (36mm in FF terms)

Image
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pakodominguez
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Re: What lenses for Swiss holiday?

Unread postby pakodominguez » Tue May 22, 2007 6:13 pm

Hi,
braeside wrote:Due to the current draconian restrictions on size and weight of carry-on hand luggage I have to decide what lenses to take and what to leave behind.


I don't know how hard can be flying from UK, but her in the States doesn't look that difficult to bring your photographic equipment.
I went to Costa Ricalast January (from NYC) and brougth a backpack full of equipment: no problem at all having it with me in the cabin.

In your case I'll take:
braeside wrote:The lenses I have are:
CZ 16-80
100/2.8 macro
Sigma 70-300 APO

I will take a very small tripod and am also considering taking one 3600 flashgun.

Also plan on taking CP filters and an ND for waterfall shots.

Almost tempting to find some last roll of Kodachrome and take the Dynax 5 along for oldtime's sake.


Nowadays. Provia 100 is, in my humble opinion, a better choice. Don't hesitate to bring the Dynax 5!hiccup! in that case, take the 28 - 70D
Pako
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edrice
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Re: What lenses for Swiss holiday?

Unread postby edrice » Tue May 22, 2007 8:28 pm

pakodominguez wrote:Nowadays. Provia 100 is, in my humble opinion, a better choice. Don't hesitate to bring the Dynax 5!hiccup! in that case, take the 28 - 70D

Yes, but... yes, but... he probably couldn't shoot the Provia for old time's sake. Provia may be a better choice but the Kodachrome is certainly not a bad one. And I've threatened to do the same thing my self - for old time's sake before it's gone forever. I spent about 25 years shooting Kodachrome and still love it. I am amazed looking back at some of my old shots.

BTW, David, I also had the FZ-20. Great camera! I had to sell it to afford my 5D, which I had to sell to afford my A100.

Ed

braeside
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Re: What lenses for Swiss holiday?

Unread postby braeside » Tue May 22, 2007 9:45 pm

pakodominguez wrote:Hi,
I don't know how hard can be flying from UK, but her in the States doesn't look that difficult to bring your photographic equipment.
I went to Costa Ricalast January (from NYC) and brougth a backpack full of equipment: no problem at all having it with me in the cabin.


In the UK we now have tight controls on what can be taken as hand luggage in the cabin - only one item of luggage and no larger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm.

They are also pretty hard on weight - sometimes only 5Kg.
My old PowerBook must weigh a couple of Kg alone.
David

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Re: What lenses for Swiss holiday?

Unread postby braeside » Tue May 22, 2007 9:48 pm

edrice wrote:
pakodominguez wrote:Nowadays. Provia 100 is, in my humble opinion, a better choice. Don't hesitate to bring the Dynax 5!hiccup! in that case, take the 28 - 70D

Yes, but... yes, but... he probably couldn't shoot the Provia for old time's sake. Provia may be a better choice but the Kodachrome is certainly not a bad one. And I've threatened to do the same thing my self - for old time's sake before it's gone forever. I spent about 25 years shooting Kodachrome and still love it. I am amazed looking back at some of my old shots.

BTW, David, I also had the FZ-20. Great camera! I had to sell it to afford my 5D, which I had to sell to afford my A100.

Ed


Ed, you have been choosing the same cameras as me...
I sold the 5D to get the A100, but did keep the FZ20 for my wife to use (and I get a shot with it sometimes)

I have a lot of Kodachromes here also, I was looking at a few the other day on a simple slide viewer and was knocked out by the quality. Still as good as the day they were processed 40 years ago.
David

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The verdict

Unread postby braeside » Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:36 pm

Just got back from our 10 day trip to Switzerland - had an absolutely great time. :D

Perfect travel arrangements and Hotel accommodation with wonderful food and wine.

Now I have a lot of work to do with the hundreds of RAW photos I took. I shot RAW+JPG so that I could view the day's shots on my old slow PowerBook G3.

I learnt a lot about the difficulties of photography in snow. The A100 metering in multi-segment mode has a mind of its own when bright snow is present, it tends to OVER expose - quite the opposite of what normally happens with CW metering with snow. However putting a CPOL filter on tames the multi-segment metering a bit, I suspect the different WB has an effect on the metering, causing the A100 brain to think that this is not white snow and I don't need to up the exposure. I'm hopeful that the RAW will be fine anyway.

BTW the FZ20 metering was perfect, much less trouble.

Yes, I should have taken grad filters with me! The contrast was immense even on a dull day. I took a number of shots at 1 stop increments on a tripod for HDR, which I have yet to process, but the JPGs look great.

As to lenses used, nearly 90% were with the CZ16-80 which lived on the A100 all day. I did a few closeups of flowers with the CZ and was impressed.

Only a couple with the Sigma 70-300 though there were times I wished that I had the lens on the camera, such as when there was a big avalanche on the Eiger and I couldn't get close enough with the 16-80 and my wife got fabulous shots with the 430mm effective on her FZ20.

The 100mm macro was mainly forgotten about as I didn't carry it around with me much, I ended up using it on the last morning for a landscape at sunrise which I am most impressed with.

I took some available light indoor shots with the CZ and the 50/1.7 they all worked well (with SSS), including in the Ice Palace at Jungfraujoch.

I'm glad I took the 3600 flash, I shot a few indoor scenes with it in wireless mode that worked really well.

I found the polythene shower caps that the hotel supplied were really handy for a quick waterproof cover for the A100 when the snow came on, and also fitted the top of the Tamrac velocity 5 case I used for day hikes.

Never used the ND filter as I generally didn't have my tiny tripod with me, or the remote shutter release (used 2 sec timer for HDR shots on tripod), did get vignetting with the CPOL filter on the CZ16-80 as expected at 16mm, but can clone or crop as necessary.

I suspect if I was doing this again that I would take a 18-250mm or something for walk about work.

We had a real mixture of weather, everything from bright sunshine and blue skies to blizzards. We woke up to 8" of snow one morning at our hotel which was at 4000'. The tree branches were snapping under the weight. We ventured up to the 11,000' tops by train, cable cars and experienced some amazing variety of landscapes and snow conditions.

Before the holiday I had fears that it wouldn't live up to my rosy memories of the place 40 years ago, but it exceeded my expectations, such a clean place with amazing air quality and light. The variety of weather just made it for me. There was photo opportunities of every kind, people, landscapes, waterfalls, details in buildings, flora.

Oh I forgot, we also saw and photographed the circumzenithal arc around the sun which looks like an inverted rainbow in the sky. I've only seen it once before and that was in Scotland and my photo with a disposable film camera didn't do it justice.

Hopefully in the next few days I'll have sorted out a few shots to show. I'm working on a calendar for next year with some of these photos.
David

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Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:32 pm

Sounds great David, and you have not missed ANYTHING by way of weather at home I can assure you. Cold and miserable for a week and more now!

The metering is the same as on the Dynax 7D and 5D, when it encounters EV values over 16, it exposes for EV14 or so. They program it to cope with extreme against the light situations, but it also responds the same way to sunshine on snow or water.

David

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Unread postby braeside » Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:43 pm

Thanks David - sorry about the local weather - it did brighten up here this afternoon a little at least. I have been too busy catching up with work since I got back to enjoy it however.

Still haven't processed any RAW photos from the Swiss trip, but have quickly put up 50 or so JPGs from the camera on PBASE tonight.

http://www.pbase.com/braeside/swizerland

Here are a few I like:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
David

braeside
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Unread postby braeside » Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:48 pm

I have put a few of the Kodachromes I shot in 1967 on my PBASE site. Gosh I hadn't realised how poor (lens quality) they were compared to my digital stuff nowadays.

http://www.pbase.com/braeside/swizerland
Last edited by braeside on Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
David

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Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:31 am

Prince sung about Purple Rain - now you can sing about 'Purple Snow'!

DK

braeside
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Unread postby braeside » Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:12 am

Yeah I know, my old Epson film scanner let me down badly - that's my excuse anyway :) I used to think those Kodachromes looked great when projected too.

Here is another try with better white balance:

Image
David

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Re: What lenses for Swiss holiday?

Unread postby jozphoto » Sun Jun 17, 2007 10:04 am

braeside wrote:I'm going on a holiday to the Bernese Oberland and will be taking my A100 with me. Due to the current draconian restrictions on size and weight of carry-on hand luggage I have to decide what lenses to take and what to leave behind.

I anticipate taking landscapes, perhaps some alpine flowers, people, perhaps some indoor shots.

The lenses I have are:
CZ 16-80
50/1.7
100/2.8 macro


I would also take a CPL & GND filter.

braeside
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Re: What lenses for Swiss holiday?

Unread postby braeside » Sun Jun 17, 2007 10:30 am

jozphoto wrote:
braeside wrote:I'm going on a holiday to the Bernese Oberland and will be taking my A100 with me. Due to the current draconian restrictions on size and weight of carry-on hand luggage I have to decide what lenses to take and what to leave behind.

I anticipate taking landscapes, perhaps some alpine flowers, people, perhaps some indoor shots.

The lenses I have are:
CZ 16-80
50/1.7
100/2.8 macro


I would also take a CPL & GND filter.


Yes, as you can see I am back and did make use of the CPL filter. I didn't have a GND with me, but managed OK by shooting RAW+JPG and also tried some bracketed exposure sets for HDR which worked well.
David


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