Lens choice for San Fran/Yosemite/Vegas/Hoover Dam/Death Valley

otispunkmeyer

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So got a little road trip planned and will be visiting all the places listed in the title.

I have an NEX-6 and plan on travelling fairly lightly so I don't want to be hauling lenses.

I have the 16-50 Power Zoom, the 55-210 and the 35mm F1.8.

Of those, I'll definitely be taking the 35. Its a great lens and a no brainer for night time stuff thanks to the wide aperture (not worried about shutter speed per se, but image noise, not that impressed with the NEX in that regard). I don't think I'll take the telephoto zoom because its a bit duff really, slow and not sharp, and I am also unsure about the 16-50 PZ. It is average at best really and has small apertures which may limit its use at night. Plus the powerzoom bit is just down right annoying.

So I am planning on hiring something better.

I quite fancy the new Carl Ziess Touit 12mm (will also probably replace my 35 with the 32mm Touit later), but it is of course a prime and at 12mm, very wide, so I may find it to be of limited use. It should be great for landscapes though.

Another option (if its available) is the new Sony-Carl Ziess 16-70mm F/4 E-mount. Sony lens, but CZ optics. This at least gives a half decently wide aperture across a good zoom range. I dare say it could easily be the only lens I need to take. I have used a 24-70 before and found it really lovely for 90% of things. It should be a great walk around option however, will 16mm be wide enough for those expansive landscapes I am going see in Yosemite and Death Valley?

What do you guys reckon? I presume there will be some here with experience of shooting these locations and will have a better idea of what works and what doesn't?

Cheers
 

Top Geek

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16mm is fairly wide on APS-C. If you want to go ultrawide, I find my 11mm to be excellent.

There are those who say that you shouldn't buy new gear just before a holiday or excursion at the risk of being too enamored with it to focus on shooting.
 

otispunkmeyer

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16mm is fairly wide on APS-C. If you want to go ultrawide, I find my 11mm to be excellent.

There are those who say that you shouldn't buy new gear just before a holiday or excursion at the risk of being too enamored with it to focus on shooting.
Not buying, but renting.

I don't see the big deal, I hired a 24-70 F2.8 to shoot a wedding only a day before and it didn't stop me from doing the job. I don't tend to play with things much, I just get on with using them. Will check out your photos Black Eddie. As I say, the lens may not actually be available (they have only been given october as their delivery date so they don't know either and I imagine there'll be a decent queue of people wanting to try it out right away so even if it is available, I may not get hold of it) and I'll have to go with the Touit. I do worry about the UWA look though, I think too many photos with that stretched look can spoil the whole set because they all look a bit samey.
 

edkwon

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So got a little road trip planned and will be visiting all the places listed in the title.

I have an NEX-6 and plan on travelling fairly lightly so I don't want to be hauling lenses.

I have the 16-50 Power Zoom, the 55-210 and the 35mm F1.8.

Of those, I'll definitely be taking the 35. Its a great lens and a no brainer for night time stuff thanks to the wide aperture (not worried about shutter speed per se, but image noise, not that impressed with the NEX in that regard). I don't think I'll take the telephoto zoom because its a bit duff really, slow and not sharp, and I am also unsure about the 16-50 PZ. It is average at best really and has small apertures which may limit its use at night. Plus the powerzoom bit is just down right annoying.

So I am planning on hiring something better.

I quite fancy the new Carl Ziess Touit 12mm (will also probably replace my 35 with the 32mm Touit later), but it is of course a prime and at 12mm, very wide, so I may find it to be of limited use. It should be great for landscapes though.

Another option (if its available) is the new Sony-Carl Ziess 16-70mm F/4 E-mount. Sony lens, but CZ optics. This at least gives a half decently wide aperture across a good zoom range. I dare say it could easily be the only lens I need to take. I have used a 24-70 before and found it really lovely for 90% of things. It should be a great walk around option however, will 16mm be wide enough for those expansive landscapes I am going see in Yosemite and Death Valley?

What do you guys reckon? I presume there will be some here with experience of shooting these locations and will have a better idea of what works and what doesn't?

Cheers
I've been to San Fran, Yosemite Vegas, Death Valley and yes you'll want a good quality wide angle for all of them. For Death Valley you should bring a tripod with you and do some proper landscape shots at f16-18.

My Death Valley album http://www.flickr.com/photos/kayone73/sets/72157632274143412/


DSC_2677 by KayOne73, on Flickr


Zabriske Point HDR #3 by KayOne73, on Flickr


Ubehebe Crater by KayOne73, on Flickr

Here's some albums of mine you can browse. Since you're going to Hoover Dam, definitely check out Horseshoe bend which is nearby, you'll need an ultrawide angle for that,
(not my pic)


and Antelope Canyon which is nearby, you will optimally need a tripod but beware Antelope is a dust nightmare so protect your camera appropriately.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kayone73/sets/72157633100803048/


DSC_3958 by KayOne73, on Flickr


Yosemite (2 albums)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kayone73/sets/72157632759979807/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kayone73/sets/72157635275273596/


Three Brothers HDR 2 by KayOne73, on Flickr


Bridalveil Falls by KayOne73, on Flickr


Glacierpoint3_HDR by KayOne73, on Flickr

Vegas (multiple albums)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kayone73/sets/72157630215482420/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kayone73/sets/72157627078056784/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kayone73/sets/72157624717263001/


DSC_6548 by KayOne73, on Flickr


DSC_6707 by KayOne73, on Flickr
 
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otispunkmeyer

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Oh excellent, cheers Edkwon. I'll have a rifle through those and see which lenses took what.

I have to say though there is a nice spread of kit going on in the ones I have looked at so far.... E-M5, D600, S90 and even a Galaxy S3 which took a far better landscape photo than I was expecting it to!

Given some of the widest ones I have looked at so far have been down the bottom end of double figures and on a FF I guess I'll be going for the 12mm Touit afterall. For now though it looks like I'll just push the boat out, hire that one and the CZ 16-70 as well so long as it is available and just take those two, plus my 35 mm. You've convinced me to take a tripod or at the very least, my gorilla pod to get those small aperture landscapes.

Antelope canyon looks immense, but seems very far away on the map from hoover. Looks like a to do for another time (always need an excuse to come back!)
 

edkwon

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Oh excellent, cheers Edkwon. I'll have a rifle through those and see which lenses took what.

I have to say though there is a nice spread of kit going on in the ones I have looked at so far.... E-M5, D600, S90 and even a Galaxy S3 which took a far better landscape photo than I was expecting it to!

Given some of the widest ones I have looked at so far have been down the bottom end of double figures and on a FF I guess I'll be going for the 12mm Touit afterall. For now though it looks like I'll just push the boat out, hire that one and the CZ 16-70 as well so long as it is available and just take those two, plus my 35 mm. You've convinced me to take a tripod or at the very least, my gorilla pod to get those small aperture landscapes.

Antelope canyon looks immense, but seems very far away on the map from hoover. Looks like a to do for another time (always need an excuse to come back!)
Cheers and happy travels, happy to point you in the right direction
 
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