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Thread: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

  1. #1

    Default Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    Hi seniors

    I am preparing for my one month long Vietnam trip some where in May next year. One month should be sufficient for me to look see most of Vietnam at a slower pace (I wish). Will be having a tight schedule during that period so it will be better for me to prepare my stuffs first.

    Currently I am using the 550D, with tokina 11-16 F2.8, EFS 18-135 and EF50 F1.8.

    There are a few questions that I need some advice on. Hope that anyone with experience can give me some advice.

    1) As I expect lots of landscape, the 11-16 will be my main lens. I will be bringing a second lens, but don't know which to bring. 18-135 covers a wider range and 50mm 1.8 aperture is good for low light condition. (really can't make up my mind over this two)

    2) I am currently not using any filter on my tokina. Previously own a cheapo filter but had very bad ghosting and flare. As I will be going to sand dunes, there bound to be sand flying all over. So what would be a good filter with better resistant to flare. my budget for the filter would be around $60.

    3) I will be bringing my lenspen for the trip. Is there a need for me to get a blower as well?

    4) There are quite a fair bit of boat rides in the trip and I may do some canoeing in Halong Bay, so is there a need for me to get a waterproof casing? I search online for waterproof casing but can only find those high-end casing that cost over 1k.

    5) Last question, I own 2 x 8gb SD card and most likely I will be taking in JPEG to maximise the memory. Is 2 x 8gb sufficient should I get more? (was thinking of getting an extra 16gb, kiasu a bit

    Sorry for the noob questions, usually I don't travel this long and this will be my first trip to vietnam

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    Hi Claudius. Last month when I was at Ha Long I asked whether I could bring my D-SLR on the canoe... I was stopped and asked to board a larger boat instead. This option is probably available since there will be other tourist who do not wish to canoe. An additional fee applies and for my case it was 100,000 VND a head. I consider this over-priced for a 10 min row-boat ride but that must have been because a huge bunch of white tourist were ahead of us.

    Regarding the Mui Ne sand dunes... it's not really a real desert so sand doesn't really fly around, and infact the weather there is drier and more pleasant than in Ho Chi Minh City. The Hoya HMC UV(C), preferably the made-in-japan version filters are your best bet if you find them now. They are not slim thread else you will need to splurge approx. $90 for the B+W XS-PROs which are worth every buck due to the strong coating and ease of cleaning (a concern for UWAs, you don't want smudges to ruin your pic). Wide-angle lenses may not be the best choice for the dunes, since you will still see greenery and a lake on one side unless you trek really deep into the dunes.

    I'm paranoid regarding scams and touting in vietnam so if you happen to need a jeep-ride around the coastal and mui ne dunes area you can look Mr Binh from Mr Binh's Adventure Tours. A jeep-based tour guide with good english, a trustable man.

    I assume you will be starting from Ho Chi Minh City? Don't forget to visit the Vinaphone mobile service centre at Nguyen Du Street (Pronounced as "ng-when you". District 1 i think) and buy a 3G sim card at 50,000 VND. GPS is extremely important if you want to get around fast, and 3G is the fastest way to go in vietnam.

    Depending on how in-depth you are planning your trip to be, 1 month might be too long for vietnam. The best part about VN is the amazingly well developed ammenities and ease of travel (well because travelling is cheap) to even the least popular tourist attractions, so getting around is close to no problem.

    When I was in the north I spent 1 day in Hanoi, 1 Day at the Perfume Pagoda and 1 Day at Ha Long bay and felt it was more than sufficient.

    In the south, If you are visit the highlands eg. Da Lat - Buon Me Thuot, you'll need more time due to the difficult road and terrain. Securing the telephone number of a good, dependable taxi driver is very important. Most if not all taxi drivers in vietnam are well-educated (for vietnamese standards) and the determining factor is their level of english. Also in the mean-time, read up on some basic vietnamese phrases. The crux is to be understood and not to understand, since vietnamese speak in various accents and consonants can change every 150 km.
    Last edited by surrephoto; 22nd October 2011 at 06:22 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    i strongly think that having a blower is very important be it you are in SG or overseas. some of the dirts and particles leaves stains behind even when you sweep them off, it's always better to blow them off instead without having anything to touch the lens itself. filter is important too, as they are the 1st protective layer for your lens, get something in the range of Hoya HD (it's really strong and tough). lastly i think you will need an alternative storage for your pictures, would be good if you have a netbook and a card reader. i dont think 16gb would be enough for you...

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by surrephoto
    Hi Claudius. Last month when I was at Ha Long I asked whether I could bring my D-SLR on the canoe... I was stopped and asked to board a larger boat instead. This option is probably available since there will be other tourist who do not wish to canoe. An additional fee applies and for my case it was 100,000 VND a head. I consider this over-priced for a 10 min row-boat ride but that must have been because a huge bunch of white tourist were ahead of us.

    Regarding the Mui Ne sand dunes... it's not really a real desert so sand doesn't really fly around, and infact the weather there is drier and more pleasant than in Ho Chi Minh City. The Hoya HMC UV(C), preferably the made-in-japan version filters are your best bet if you find them now. They are not slim thread else you will need to splurge approx. $90 for the B+W XS-PROs which are worth every buck due to the strong coating and ease of cleaning (a concern for UWAs, you don't want smudges to ruin your pic). Wide-angle lenses may not be the best choice for the dunes, since you will still see greenery and a lake on one side unless you trek really deep into the dunes.

    I'm paranoid regarding scams and touting in vietnam so if you happen to need a jeep-ride around the coastal and mui ne dunes area you can look Mr Binh from Mr Binh's Adventure Tours. A jeep-based tour guide with good english, a trustable man.

    I assume you will be starting from Ho Chi Minh City? Don't forget to visit the Vinaphone mobile service centre at Nguyen Du Street (Pronounced as "ng-when you". District 1 i think) and buy a 3G sim card at 50,000 VND. GPS is extremely important if you want to get around fast, and 3G is the fastest way to go in vietnam.

    Depending on how in-depth you are planning your trip to be, 1 month might be too long for vietnam. The best part about VN is the amazingly well developed ammenities and ease of travel (well because travelling is cheap) to even the least popular tourist attractions, so getting around is close to no problem.

    When I was in the north I spent 1 day in Hanoi, 1 Day at the Perfume Pagoda and 1 Day at Ha Long bay and felt it was more than sufficient.

    In the south, If you are visit the highlands eg. Da Lat - Buon Me Thuot, you'll need more time due to the difficult road and terrain. Securing the telephone number of a good, dependable taxi driver is very important. Most if not all taxi drivers in vietnam are well-educated (for vietnamese standards) and the determining factor is their level of english. Also in the mean-time, read up on some basic vietnamese phrases. The crux is to be understood and not to understand, since vietnamese speak in various accents and consonants can change every 150 km.
    Thanks for the advise surrephoto.. Yup.. I will be starting from hvmc.. Would you suggest the 50mm or 18-135 for the dunes? I will be going for their sunrise tour so I thought a uwa would be good I am still choosing to bring between 50 or my kit lens.

    Do you have the email or local number of mr binh where I can contact him? Had read about the scam and touting in VN too. Will be getting tour guides along the way up.

    Hmm.. Guess I might splurge on B+W filter. Bleed one time rather than keep changing new filter.

    Do you happen to go to sapa before? Was thinking of going for the fanxipan trekking.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by evilorgi
    i strongly think that having a blower is very important be it you are in SG or overseas. some of the dirts and particles leaves stains behind even when you sweep them off, it's always better to blow them off instead without having anything to touch the lens itself. filter is important too, as they are the 1st protective layer for your lens, get something in the range of Hoya HD (it's really strong and tough). lastly i think you will need an alternative storage for your pictures, would be good if you have a netbook and a card reader. i dont think 16gb would be enough for you...
    Thanks evilorgi. Will be getting the blower. Din know much about cleaning cameras. Tot lens pen is enough. Hee...

    I don't have a netbook to bring.. Was eyeing on MacBook air but out of my budget . Hmm..

    Anyway is memory card cheaper during IT show?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by claudius View Post
    Thanks for the advise surrephoto.. Yup.. I will be starting from hvmc.. Would you suggest the 50mm or 18-135 for the dunes? I will be going for their sunrise tour so I thought a uwa would be good I am still choosing to bring between 50 or my kit lens.

    Do you have the email or local number of mr binh where I can contact him? Had read about the scam and touting in VN too. Will be getting tour guides along the way up.

    Hmm.. Guess I might splurge on B+W filter. Bleed one time rather than keep changing new filter.

    Do you happen to go to sapa before? Was thinking of going for the fanxipan trekking.
    Hi Claudius. This is Mr Binh's website: Mr. Binh?s Adventure Tours Motorbike & Jeep Tours through the South of Vietnam. That day I was at a mui ne resort taking a nap at 3 am, I suddenly thought of going for the sunrise trip so I searched online and called him in the dead of the night... very good service but you might want to consider booking him in advance incase he is not free. Infact I did attempt to get to Mui Ne for sunrise once before by taxi but that was a failure and the price was twice and lesser heads.

    18-135 is fine for the dunes.

    I've never gone to sapa but it is within my future plans, and fanxipan has been part of my consideration.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by claudius
    Hi seniors

    I am preparing for my one month long Vietnam trip some where in May next year. One month should be sufficient for me to look see most of Vietnam at a slower pace (I wish). Will be having a tight schedule during that period so it will be better for me to prepare my stuffs first.

    Currently I am using the 550D, with tokina 11-16 F2.8, EFS 18-135 and EF50 F1.8.

    There are a few questions that I need some advice on. Hope that anyone with experience can give me some advice.

    1) As I expect lots of landscape, the 11-16 will be my main lens. I will be bringing a second lens, but don't know which to bring. 18-135 covers a wider range and 50mm 1.8 aperture is good for low light condition. (really can't make up my mind over this two)

    2) I am currently not using any filter on my tokina. Previously own a cheapo filter but had very bad ghosting and flare. As I will be going to sand dunes, there bound to be sand flying all over. So what would be a good filter with better resistant to flare. my budget for the filter would be around $60.

    3) I will be bringing my lenspen for the trip. Is there a need for me to get a blower as well?

    4) There are quite a fair bit of boat rides in the trip and I may do some canoeing in Halong Bay, so is there a need for me to get a waterproof casing? I search online for waterproof casing but can only find those high-end casing that cost over 1k.

    5) Last question, I own 2 x 8gb SD card and most likely I will be taking in JPEG to maximise the memory. Is 2 x 8gb sufficient should I get more? (was thinking of getting an extra 16gb, kiasu a bit

    Sorry for the noob questions, usually I don't travel this long and this will be my first trip to vietnam

    Thanks in advance.
    Hi,

    Here's my take on your questions:

    1. Bring all three lens since this is a planned trip for a month. You are most likely going to miss one or the other on some days should you fail to bring all three and there are certainly going to be opportunities where you can use all three lens over such a long period and many places to visit. However, if this is not possible, then drop the fixed focal length 50mm as the versatility of the 18-135 will no doubt prove useful. In any case, if you want to maximize the wider aperture of the 50, you are more likely than not going to need a tripod to complement it, adding more items to carry. My recommendation would be different if the 50 is the f1.2.

    2. Yes get filters for all your lens, if not for anything, just to shield it from dust/fine sand particles. Get a good one maybe a Hoya HMC or Super HMC should be good enough & not give you any undesirable side effects.

    3. Lens pen is OK, I suppose, I never use them, so I have no opinion on its usefulness or issues associated with its usage. However, I would strongly recommend that you get a small piece of real chamois for your lens cleaning. But first use the blower to blow away any solid before lightly dust the lens with the chamois. When the chamois gets a little dirty, you can wash it and let it slowly dry overnight away from heat. After it is dried, rub it between your hands to soften it again. I have use chamois for lens cleaning for many, many years. In fact I still have with me and use one of my pieces from about 20 years ago. Yes get a blower, get a strong blower, one that shoot out a strong jet of air.

    4. I don't think it is a good idea to go canoeing in Halong Bay with your camera unless you have a proper water-proof housing for it. You can certainly take one of those tourist boat tour of Halong Bay where you are likely to visit some of the islands and caves on these island where picture opportunities abound.

    5. I strongly recommend that you do not waste your probably once-in-a-life-time trip of 1 whole month by recording your trip in JPEG with your DSLR. You may not see the significant now, but in years to come, you are likely to regret it, should you continued with your photographic hobby. I alway capture all my shots in RAW and without any compression. I know the file is huge, then again memory cards are so much cheaper than air tickets. Buy more higher capacity cards and if possible carry a memory storage device such as a PC or Mac/iPad? You can alway download your images into these device at night and free up these cards for the next day. With JPEG and any other compression algorithm, you are throwing away details which you had just travelled thousands of miles to capture. I do not know how large is your 550D RAW file, maybe around 35 mb & if so, a single 8 Gb card will be able store a little over 200 shots. So based on your expected shooting rate per day against your opportunity to clear these cards, you can work out the capacity and number of cards required for your trip.

    Have a good trip and be wary of offers that sound to too good to be true as they are in reality what they are. Also, give personal safety higher considerations than you are used to in your own home country.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    Whatever it is, keep your stuff closest to you at all times. Beware of pickpockets. My digicam was picked during my last visit there, together with the pictures in it.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by New2digital

    Hi,

    Here's my take on your questions:

    1. Bring all three lens since this is a planned trip for a month. You are most likely going to miss one or the other on some days should you fail to bring all three and there are certainly going to be opportunities where you can use all three lens over such a long period and many places to visit. However, if this is not possible, then drop the fixed focal length 50mm as the versatility of the 18-135 will no doubt prove useful. In any case, if you want to maximize the wider aperture of the 50, you are more likely than not going to need a tripod to complement it, adding more items to carry. My recommendation would be different if the 50 is the f1.2.

    2. Yes get filters for all your lens, if not for anything, just to shield it from dust/fine sand particles. Get a good one maybe a Hoya HMC or Super HMC should be good enough & not give you any undesirable side effects.

    3. Lens pen is OK, I suppose, I never use them, so I have no opinion on its usefulness or issues associated with its usage. However, I would strongly recommend that you get a small piece of real chamois for your lens cleaning. But first use the blower to blow away any solid before lightly dust the lens with the chamois. When the chamois gets a little dirty, you can wash it and let it slowly dry overnight away from heat. After it is dried, rub it between your hands to soften it again. I have use chamois for lens cleaning for many, many years. In fact I still have with me and use one of my pieces from about 20 years ago. Yes get a blower, get a strong blower, one that shoot out a strong jet of air.

    4. I don't think it is a good idea to go canoeing in Halong Bay with your camera unless you have a proper water-proof housing for it. You can certainly take one of those tourist boat tour of Halong Bay where you are likely to visit some of the islands and caves on these island where picture opportunities abound.

    5. I strongly recommend that you do not waste your probably once-in-a-life-time trip of 1 whole month by recording your trip in JPEG with your DSLR. You may not see the significant now, but in years to come, you are likely to regret it, should you continued with your photographic hobby. I alway capture all my shots in RAW and without any compression. I know the file is huge, then again memory cards are so much cheaper than air tickets. Buy more higher capacity cards and if possible carry a memory storage device such as a PC or Mac/iPad? You can alway download your images into these device at night and free up these cards for the next day. With JPEG and any other compression algorithm, you are throwing away details which you had just travelled thousands of miles to capture. I do not know how large is your 550D RAW file, maybe around 35 mb & if so, a single 8 Gb card will be able store a little over 200 shots. So based on your expected shooting rate per day against your opportunity to clear these cards, you can work out the capacity and number of cards required for your trip.

    Have a good trip and be wary of offers that sound to too good to be true as they are in reality what they are. Also, give personal safety higher considerations than you are used to in your own home country.
    Hi..

    Thanks or your input.. I won't be bring all my lenses. Will be carrying my 6mdh around, so will need space for stuffs like water bottles. Think I will drop the 50mm and go for 18-135 with my 11-16 for a wider range as suggested here..

    Where can I buy a small piece of real chamois? Or do I have to cut it out from a bigger piece? Guess the large rocket blower should be the recommended one to get..

    I don't have any water casing for my cam do probably will heed your the advice here of taking tourist boat don't wanna to take this risk.

    Yup.. I agree that taking RAW is the way to go. Usually I will take all my shots in RAW when I am on short trips. But this trip is kinda long so confused. Don't know to take RAW anot. My RAW file is about 20 to 25mb and a 8gb can hold 250 to 300 files. Too bad I don't have a light pc or iPad to bring over. Hmm.. Thinking of getting a 32gb iPad or 32gb memory card. Or both? Haha.. ..

    And also thanks for the reminder on my personal safety. Cheers..

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fadli
    Whatever it is, keep your stuff closest to you at all times. Beware of pickpockets. My digicam was picked during my last visit there, together with the pictures in it.
    Hi.. Thanks for your advice.. That must be really bad with all the photos lost.

    Shall sling my bag in front and near to me

  11. #11

    Default Re: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by claudius View Post
    Where can I buy a small piece of real chamois? Or do I have to cut it out from a bigger piece? Guess the large rocket blower should be the recommended one to get..

    I don't have any water casing for my cam do probably will heed your the advice here of taking tourist boat don't wanna to take this risk.
    When I last visited "Autobac", the car accessories supermart, I saw quite a few pieces there in various sizes. If my memory serves me well, the smallest piece cost just under $10 and this is good enough for lens cleaning while on the go. I bought my first piece from the "35mm Color Lab" when they were located next to the Coronation Plaza. They have since moved to along Bukit Timah Road between the Second and Third Avenue. The Autobac shop which I visited is still located at Bukit Batok East Ave 6 just a little distance from the end of Old Jurong Road, in fact this used to be Old Jurong Road. I have also seen these at DIY stores, at least the one at Thomson Plaza has it. They are little more expansive there as these are a little thicker. I find the thinner one sold at Autobac more suitable for camera lens cleaning due the small size of these lens.

    Always carry a large plastic bag in your camera bag. A cheap black garbage bag will do. If it suddenly rain, just whip out the garbage bag and this should at least keep the rain off your camera equipment. But of course, if you have a waterproof camera bag, that would be ideal.
    Last edited by New2digital; 29th October 2011 at 11:54 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    1 month is actually not that long, especially if you are those who likes to take it easy and move from place to place slowly, rather than rushing. For sure it will allow you dip in the local culture more. I spent 2 months there last year. Just in Sapa alone, I spent 11 days. I cannot advise you too much abt the fotography gears, as I am a newbie and only got my DSLR last Dec. I travelled with a canon PnS, but I got tons of wonderful pictures. Think I took almost 3000 pictures for the whole trip.

    For Sapa, it is actually easy for you to wander around on your own. For eg, Cat Cat village is just a short walk from Sapa town and you can easily do it on your own. There is no need for a guide. I did a walking tour with one of the local agency, where I was alone and had a guide to myself. Cost me only $30 usd. I was taken on a route which was not frequented by tourists, meeting only one other group of tourists on the whole walk. You get to see a lot of local life and the local minority tribes at work in the fields, not like the touristy kinds you see on other tours. The others days in Sapa, I spent on checking out a few of the local markets. There are actually local markets every day of the week. But most tourists go to the Bac Ha market on sundays. I did not do Bac Ha but I did many other small markets. Less tourists, more authentic experience.

    For the south, you may want to check out the Mekong Delta with some tours. I did a bicycle tour for 3 days and 2 nights. Again, a much more local experience than usual. Going up north, you can check out Danang and Hoi An. If you like small villages and padi fields, then check out Ninh Binh which is just south of Hanoi and Halong Bay. For Halong Bay, if you have a small camera and a ziploc bag, you can easily put it in your canoe and snap pictures as you go along. But take note that most of the canoeing involves only half an hour to 1 hour of paddling. Rest of the time, you are either on the big boat or swimming in the waters.

    hope this info helps.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by claudius View Post
    Hi seniors

    I am preparing for my one month long Vietnam trip some where in May next year. One month should be sufficient for me to look see most of Vietnam at a slower pace (I wish). Will be having a tight schedule during that period so it will be better for me to prepare my stuffs first.

    Currently I am using the 550D, with tokina 11-16 F2.8, EFS 18-135 and EF50 F1.8.

    There are a few questions that I need some advice on. Hope that anyone with experience can give me some advice.

    1) As I expect lots of landscape, the 11-16 will be my main lens. I will be bringing a second lens, but don't know which to bring. 18-135 covers a wider range and 50mm 1.8 aperture is good for low light condition. (really can't make up my mind over this two)
    Bring all, as it should not be too heavy for the 50 f1.8. It seems to be your 'once in a life time' vietnam trip.

    2) I am currently not using any filter on my tokina. Previously own a cheapo filter but had very bad ghosting and flare. As I will be going to sand dunes, there bound to be sand flying all over. So what would be a good filter with better resistant to flare. my budget for the filter would be around $60.
    buy a filter. Go mass sell look for people selling filter.

    3) I will be bringing my lenspen for the trip. Is there a need for me to get a blower as well?
    Yes I always bring my blower. I always clean away with blowing first. if dust really obvious than only use lenspen

    4) There are quite a fair bit of boat rides in the trip and I may do some canoeing in Halong Bay, so is there a need for me to get a waterproof casing? I search online for waterproof casing but can only find those high-end casing that cost over 1k.
    If such situation, i will not bring my dslr with me. Will just use a compact cam.
    Water proof casing usually for diving, and not practical to buy it for such situation.

    5) Last question, I own 2 x 8gb SD card and most likely I will be taking in JPEG to maximise the memory. Is 2 x 8gb sufficient should I get more? (was thinking of getting an extra 16gb, kiasu a bit
    I would advice you buy another few memory card, 8 GB (each) is good enough.


    Sorry for the noob questions, usually I don't travel this long and this will be my first trip to vietnam

    Thanks in advance.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by claudius View Post
    I am preparing for my one month long Vietnam trip

    4) There are quite a fair bit of boat rides in the trip and I may do some canoeing in Halong Bay, so is there a need for me to get a waterproof casing? I search online for waterproof casing but can only find those high-end casing that cost over 1k.

    5) Last question, I own 2 x 8gb SD card and most likely I will be taking in JPEG to maximise the memory. Is 2 x 8gb sufficient should I get more? (was thinking of getting an extra 16gb, kiasu a bit
    4. For cheaper option of waterproof housing, you can search for dicapac and nereus.... I think one the mass seller selling. There is no guarantee 100%. I have read the review and it is mixed. Though generally for the Dicapac, is good but there are customer remark that after testing out the thing in bathtub several times, it leaks when during shoot on location.

    5. You have to think roughly how many photos you will be taking in a day and multiply that by number of days and give extra allowance. So, from what i know, some bring laptop or storage device that allow the photos to be transferred over or bring lots of sd card

    ps. don't you think that after spending much time and money, isn't it better to shoot in raw?
    Last edited by coolthought; 19th December 2011 at 05:38 PM.
    Coolthought - 冷静思考 - クールだ http://xaa.xanga.com/0aba0666d143253.../t35917343.gif

  15. #15

    Default Re: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    I think 1 month is a good time frame to do Vietnam.

    And really, the 50f1.8 is such a light and delightful piece of lens, just bring it along with your 18-135; I don't see why need to take only 1

    Similarly, lenspen, blower etc, just bring it!

    As for how much memory cards, it really boils down to individual, my only suggestion is, whatever amount u think u need, bring twice that, hehe
    Or get those portable photo storage where it reads and copies memory cards directly into it.

    Enjoy!


    Quote Originally Posted by claudius View Post
    Hi seniors

    I am preparing for my one month long Vietnam trip some where in May next year. One month should be sufficient for me to look see most of Vietnam at a slower pace (I wish). Will be having a tight schedule during that period so it will be better for me to prepare my stuffs first.

    Currently I am using the 550D, with tokina 11-16 F2.8, EFS 18-135 and EF50 F1.8.

    There are a few questions that I need some advice on. Hope that anyone with experience can give me some advice.

    1) As I expect lots of landscape, the 11-16 will be my main lens. I will be bringing a second lens, but don't know which to bring. 18-135 covers a wider range and 50mm 1.8 aperture is good for low light condition. (really can't make up my mind over this two)

    2) I am currently not using any filter on my tokina. Previously own a cheapo filter but had very bad ghosting and flare. As I will be going to sand dunes, there bound to be sand flying all over. So what would be a good filter with better resistant to flare. my budget for the filter would be around $60.

    3) I will be bringing my lenspen for the trip. Is there a need for me to get a blower as well?

    4) There are quite a fair bit of boat rides in the trip and I may do some canoeing in Halong Bay, so is there a need for me to get a waterproof casing? I search online for waterproof casing but can only find those high-end casing that cost over 1k.

    5) Last question, I own 2 x 8gb SD card and most likely I will be taking in JPEG to maximise the memory. Is 2 x 8gb sufficient should I get more? (was thinking of getting an extra 16gb, kiasu a bit

    Sorry for the noob questions, usually I don't travel this long and this will be my first trip to vietnam

    Thanks in advance.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    just came back from vietnam earlier this month and went canoeing in halong bay. i did bring along my d2x and the water was really calm so i didnt think the canoe would capsize (although it later hit me what a big risk i had taken!). i put it in a billingham (which is by no means waterproof) and that protected the camera from splash when i wasn't using it. i'm not sure where they'll bring you (guess it depends on the tour, but i think most tours use the same canoe area). for us, the weather was not good (overcast) so the main attraction was the floating village, which was quite interesting. if you're going in summer the light might be better esp since most tour itineraries do canoeing in the late afternoon. i don't think the 40-min canoe ride warrants a proper housing; maybe get a good waterproof plastic bag (or several layers of ziploc) and only take out the camera when you want to shoot, after stabilising the canoe.

    anyway do enjoy your trip!

  17. #17

    Default Re: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    Hi Claudius,
    I believe u got almost all answers u wanted. I just want to add 2 items for u.

    1. If u want to take RAW format, u can with an external hard disk. U can get a reasonable storage space with less than $100. Netbook? No need as u can always go to internet cafe to transfer your images to external hard disk. There are plenty of such internet cafe in Vietnam. Try to buy a small external hard disk so that it won't add load to your bag.

    2. Go to any branch of National Library to borrow a copy of latest Lonely Planet. It will guide u especially on how to reach a point. Many travelled criticised the book for not up-to-date. But for me, I find it useful especially those maps. I always read maps instead of GPS. I went to Sapa with those maps in hands.

    Finally, please be street smart bcos the people(tourist related people) always try to charge u extra. Try not to make a decision on the spot, always go away to consider & double check with another shop/hotel. Otherwise, Vietnam is a reasonable easy place for u to gain solo travel experience.

    Enjoy....

  18. #18

    Default Re: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by william chan View Post
    Hi Claudius,
    I believe u got almost all answers u wanted. I just want to add 2 items for u.

    1. If u want to take RAW format, u can with an external hard disk. U can get a reasonable storage space with less than $100. Netbook? No need as u can always go to internet cafe to transfer your images to external hard disk. There are plenty of such internet cafe in Vietnam. Try to buy a small external hard disk so that it won't add load to your bag.

    2. Go to any branch of National Library to borrow a copy of latest Lonely Planet. It will guide u especially on how to reach a point. Many travelled criticised the book for not up-to-date. But for me, I find it useful especially those maps. I always read maps instead of GPS. I went to Sapa with those maps in hands.

    Finally, please be street smart bcos the people(tourist related people) always try to charge u extra. Try not to make a decision on the spot, always go away to consider & double check with another shop/hotel. Otherwise, Vietnam is a reasonable easy place for u to gain solo travel experience.

    Enjoy....
    I agree with you about getting a good book... there are a wealth of small secret places you can learn about which internet doesn't offer. However I do think a 3G simcard is very important if you need to check location on the spot. Especially on a taxi to prevent them from treating you like a carrot-head.

    Same with most locations just walk away if you think you are being overcharged. For food use eatery prices as a benchmark since the prices are written on the wall (HCMC yes, hanoi less common but applies for popular joints), street food will cost lesser, but don't expect too much lesser as prices have increased a heck load in the last 2 years (price adjustment of approx 20% every lunar new year)... basically it's expensive for the vietnamese citizens to eat out whether it's street/eatery/restaurant. Just be more careful in northern vietnam than in the southern regions about prices. For hotels always check online first or book online if possible unless staying in motel. Stay away from cyclo and motorbike drivers. Act like you don't speak english or don't understand their english when reluctant.

    Earlier this year HCMC price examples... 25,000 VND Street Pho Noodles, 42,000 VND Famous Eatery Pho Noodles. 27,000 VND Street Pork Rib Rice, 50,000 VND Famous "Mixed-veg-rice" shop equivalent.
    Last edited by surrephoto; 27th December 2011 at 12:30 PM.

  19. #19
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    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    tanglin
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    671

    Default Re: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    hi, just came back from hanoi 2 days ago. spend about 12 days there with my family. from singapore airport, they allow u to bring yr tripod as hand-carry into the plane. but from hanoi they dont allow to hand carry into the plane (i have to check in as luggage). in halong bay(we booked oriental sail 2d1n) compare the view at the deck of the junk and on the canoe, both is equally nice. if u need more info regard hanoi(also visit ninh binn, hoa lu - van long for boating to see wildlife) and sapa. u may PM me
    566

  20. #20

    Default Re: Advice needed on 1 month vietnam trip.

    You need a blower to clear dust off before you use a lens pen or else the dust will sand paper your front or rear elements - you will not like that. Or get a micro fibre cloth - 3M sells these - look for the ones for glass - that is better than the lens pen - just dust off to clear hard bits before using the cloth.

    Shoot raw is better leave you with more options - time and money is spent for the trip why be penny wise pound foolish or do you think you are that good to do one shoot one kill ? Buy more sd cards they are a lot cheaper now. 16 gig will be too little for 30 days. Bring a netbook, an external drive, card reader and a usb hub - save 2 copies of the file - one in the netbook, the other in the external hard disk. Yes you can use internet cafe - you can free virus there too.

    So few lens - bring all. Never just bring the wide angle.

    Canoeing - well it's your call and your equipment which does not do very well if it gets dipped in water. Unless you are good at this and are alone in a canoe, you may have some say about accidents happening. If you do go - suggest you shoot only on the boat not in the canoe. Large size lock bags can hold the body, and each of the lens in separate bags. You may want to double bag the equipment.

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