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Thread: Eastern France + Switzerland Travel Lens

  1. #1
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    Eastern France + Switzerland Travel Lens

    My wife and I are taking a two week trip to eastern France and Switzerland in early September this year. I'm already researching where I want to go and what I want to photograph. I keep debating what lens to take. I have a 24-105L, 50mm 1.8, and a 70-200f4L. I know we will be outside quite a bit touring vineyards and getting into the mountains. We will also be doing some museums and wine cellar tours. Trying to travel as light as possible as we will be renting a car for half the trip and train hopping the second half in Switzerland. My question is am I good with the 24-105 or should I rent a wider angle lens? How about the f4 on the 24-105. Is that low enough of an aperture to get me through some of the indoor activities. I shoot with a 6D.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    You just described a variation of my standard travel kit. The current variation is the 24-70 II, 70-200 II, 2x TC (sometimes), and a 50 mm prime (sometimes). What I've found is that I always use the 24-70 mm range. They call it the general purpose range for a reason. The 70-200 mm range is hit or miss, either it gets used a lot, or not at all. The 2x TC and 50 mm prime I carry if I think I will need them. The optics and high ISO performance of the 5DIII, or 6D, are good enough, I really have only used the 50 mm prime by choice and not really by need. It has sat at home more and more. But, the ~2 stop difference from the 24-105, I'd take it.

    UWA lenses are intriguing to me. When I was shooting the 7D, I bought the EFS 10-22. I tried it several times. Never really took to it. But, last year, I bought the Rokinon 14 mm f/2.8 as an inexpensive starscape lens and to give UWA another try with the result being that it was used to take some of my favorite shots of 2014 and now 24 mm sometimes feels limiting. But it still isn't often that I think I need UWA and distortion impacts far too many shots.

    That said, I tend to research major areas. This isn't complicated, but there are many online photo guide books for specific regions (just came across one for Washington State), often by pro's, sometimes some videos, but, mostly, I just type a few key words into Flickr and look at the EXIF data of shots that I like.

    Sounds like a great trip. Look forward to seeing the photos.

  3. #3
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    I was in Switzerland last fall and travelled with a 5d3, 24-105, 16-35f2.8 and 70-200f4. That is my typical travel kit lately. My most used lens on that trip was definately the 24-105, but the 16-35 was a close second. Switzerland in particular has some amazing vistas which just scream for a UWA (or stitched panorama). Having said that, depending on your photo style, you can use pretty much anything to get good shots of the Alps and the 70-200 is great for getting shots of more distant mountains or scenes.

    As for the f4, I've never had much issue with that being too limiting. I sometimes bring a flash or a tripod for lower light, but the high-iso capabilities of your 6d should help alot.

    What areas of switzerland are you visiting? I know we have at least one Swiss member here (Pierre, aka Tounis) who gave me some advice before my trip...

    Stephen

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    Thanks for the feedback guys. We are going to Murren, Brig, then riding the Glacier Express to Chur. Then hitching a ride on the Bernia express to Lugano, traveling to Lake Como, and ending in Milan.

    Based on feedback and some research I'll definitely be taking the 24-105. Might look into an UWA. It might be nice when we are immersed in some of the valley's and up on some of the peaks.

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    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    If interested, this is Pierre's photostream on Flickr.

    Looks like he is doing a lot of his recent work with the 16-35 f/4.

  6. #6

    Eastern France + Switzerland Travel Lens

    Zermatt/St Moritz in September ? I was there in April and we had snow in the towns, went up Gronergrat to 3200m and the temperature dropped to -24 degrees, but it felt hot in the sun and took my breath away... Killed my Fuji camera up there, be very careful. Also been up the Swiss passes in July, snow at the side of the road was quite unexpected ;-)

    The Glacier Express is nice, but we have been back since in a car and enjoyed the freedom of being able to stop anywhere. Sit on the right if departing from Zermatt for the best views, but you will have sun reflections on that side.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tounis's Avatar
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    I've been a bit busy lately and didn't have much time to contribute to the forum. I took most of my latest pictures with the 16-35 f/4 mainly because it was new, I was in a rush and I had no time to use more than one lens. It's a great lens but having only an UWA would be too limiting. The 70-200 could be useful too in the mountains, and the f/4 version isn't too big. I usually always take it when I go hiking. The 24-105 is a safe bet, and as others said, with the low light abilities of the 6D, you should be fine.
    I like your choices for Switzerland. The last part of the Glacier Express between Chur and St. Moritz is a little wonder of 19th century railroad building, and part of the UNESCO world heritage list. Engadin is a great place too, as are Lugano and the lake Como. You shouldn't be disappointed.

    Edit : By the way Stephen, I'm looking forward to seeing some pictures you took in Switzerland. I hope you had a nice trip.
    Last edited by Tounis; 03-06-2015 at 09:38 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tounis View Post
    Edit : By the way Stephen, I'm looking forward to seeing some pictures you took in Switzerland. I hope you had a nice trip.
    It was a great trip. I've posted some pics from Iceland (part of the same trip) but haven't had a chance to upload any from the Swiss portion of the trip yet. Very busy with home renovations and getting ready for another addition to the family soon. I'll try to get a chance to upload some this week.

    Stephen

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