Gear: Exchange program for 6 months


Jul 17, 2009
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#1
Hi. I'll be going on an exchange program at a European university in Jan next year and will be there for around 6-7 months.

Of course, studying will be secondary to traveling around Europe, and with it comes the question of camera gear.

I have a limited budget to upgrade my current set up/go with a new set up so I'm starting this thread to fish for some opinions and advice from the travelheads here :)

My current set up is:
Nikon D90
18-70mm
35mm 1.8
85mm 1.8
SB600

I'm a huge fan of traveling light, but I don't want to compromise on image quality either so there's the usual dilemma. Atm my options are:

i.) Spend the money on a mirrorless/micro four thirds system. I've got my eye on the Panasonic GF1 with the 20mm 1.7 pancake prime and the 14-45mm zoom.

ii.) Get a dedicated "pure" compact camera; either the panny lx5 or the canon s95, plus a new lens to augment my Nikon - wide-angle perhaps.

iii.) Stick to just the DSLR system. Sell the D90, get a D7000 and augment the system with a couple of new lenses.

My photography is mostly street, daily life kind of things; but since it's a once in a lifetime chance for an extended eurotrip I see myself doing landscape and archi too.

Thanks for reading this long post. Opinions anyone? :)
 

Aug 19, 2010
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#2
I dun see the logic of option iii since you are on limited budget. I tot the d90 with 18-105 or 18-200 with a uwa would be enough.

Frankly, I dun buy the once a lifetime chance reasoning. To do exchange, probably, to travel to Europe for holiday, I am sure if ya work hard after graduate and save enough money, ya can do that again and again or ya job might give ya opportunities to travel there.
 

Jul 17, 2009
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#3
Thanks for the reply!

Thinking of selling my D90 as it's second hand in itself, and I've used it a lot since getting it; shutter count is high, and cosmetically, some of it is already falling apart; still can work but not sure how it'll hold up in the European winter. Attracted by the D7000's high ISO performance (won't be bringing flash, plus it's bulky), legacy lenses compatibility (have a couple of AIS lenses) and weather sealing (it'll be winter when I reach). I don't really shoot at telephoto focal lengths, so I'm probably sticking to my 18-70 for zoom.

Of course I'll be able to travel to Europe again, but to do it as a backpacker, with a couple of like-minded friends, over an extended period of time (read: months), without worrying about work commitments, family etc.? I'm an idealist, but outside of a grad trip (but I'm planning to hit the middle east and trans siberian railway route for that) I seriously doubt I'll ever get to do it on this scale again. I'd love to be proven wrong though.
 

Aug 19, 2010
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#4
So if you dun need the tele, then I think you only probably just need a uwa, like a Nikon 10 - 24 or Tokina 11 - 16 or 12 - 24, or Sigma 10 - 20? Maybe couple with a CPL filter or something. Maybe small decent tripod too.

If you think your D90 cannot last in Europe, you might consider getting a decently new used D90, cos I think it will still perform better than option i or ii, and probably lots of people might be offloading it to upgrade to the D7000. Question is, prior to D7000, so you think nobody brings the D90 to the winter places you intend to go? I feel the D90 should be pretty decently built to withstand winter.

Of cos, if budget is not an option, of cos you can go ahead with a D7000, or maybe a used D300S or something. I'm looking given X amount of money, how to maximise it, of cos some sacrifice have to be made.

If you can make do with option i or ii, I believe you can make do with the build in flash on the D90 as well, so external flash should not be a requirement.
 

Lujke85

New Member
May 27, 2008
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YCK
#5
I did my exchange in Europe in 2009 Jan-June, with a D40 and 18-200, bringing along my 50mm f1.8 and my SB800. And also a benro a550 tripod.

The only thing i carried around day in day out travelling all over europe was the D40 and 18-200. XD oh and also the tripod. The only thing you have to worry about in cold weather is fogging of lenses and shortened battery life. For the former, you can wait for ur lens to clear before shooting indoors, for the latter, carry more spare batteries.

The external appearance of the camera is just that, the external appearance. I used my D40 and shot over 20,000 times while i was there. No issue. Much less for a D90 rated for up to 100,000 actuations. In fact, the less good it looks, the less likely you're gonna be targeted by snatch thieves and other opportunists.
 

Tyrov

New Member
Dec 7, 2008
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www.flickr.com
#6
Why don't you just bring your entire current setup? You will be there for half a year. The camera should last the winter. You don't hear of D90s in the USA and Europe dying by the thousands every winter.
 

sweeper

New Member
Mar 25, 2005
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#7
The camera should last the winter. You don't hear of D90s in the USA and Europe dying by the thousands every winter.
:thumbsup:

To TS - stick with D90
since you are on limited budget.
get a 2nd hand 12-24 and 18-220 will cover you almost everything
 

Jun 17, 2009
938
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Singapore
www.flickriver.com
#8
I'll stick with
18-70mm
35mm 1.8
Tripod

18-70 will be your walkabout, granted you intend to carry your tripod for landscape or long exposures. The 35mm f/1.8 would be great for low-light shots!
 

Jul 4, 2010
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Toa Payoh
#9
i suggest you invest on a 4/3 or mirrorless dslr system. its more than enough for you daily needs. plus, the most important thing that when you travel light is the gear that you carry. i won't suggest you would go for the d7000 as the product it self are still not stable yet in the market. (hot pixel issues on the sensors) you can stick to your d90. but i suggest the 4/3 system is much versatile when you travel. picture quality is also commendable. one most very worth mirrorless camera is the sony nex-5 or the A55. its really bang for your buck :)
 

David Lee

New Member
Jan 22, 2005
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North..
#10
Just came back from holiday there, i bought my D700 and the most used lenses are 16-35 and 24-70.

wide angle is a must if shooting buildings, streets and interior there.
 

daniel-sg

New Member
Oct 18, 2008
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#12
Well if you think long term, i would suggest either getting a M4/3 system. Or just get a UWA lens for your current set up.

For architecture and Landscape photography in Europe i often found my 24-120 lens too long at the wide end. A good UWA lens will serve you better than a new body imo.

AS for M4/3s, an hefty investment might be needed in some UWA lenses (9-18 or 7-14) to make it worth it. I feel that the 20mm 1.7 is quite nice for street photography ( i use an E-p2, but some would prefer more range (45mm 2.8 Macro? or the other standard zoom lenses)
 

shadowvx

New Member
Oct 23, 2008
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Singapore
#13
I went for an exchange myself for 7 months at Amsterdam from Jan 2009. Managed to tour Europe while I was there. If you like taking archi shots, I think the wide angle lens would come in handy. I brought mine there and used it most of the time because Europe have tall architectures, therefore a WA lens would be useful. Just my humble opinion. Cheers and enjoy your exchange. It will be one of the best times of your life! I miss my European exchange! =)
 

Jul 17, 2009
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#14
Hi,

can i know which country u are going on exchange too? just looking for some travel partners because i'm currently in europe as well!
Hi, I'm going to Sweden; Jonkoping University to be precise.
 

Jul 17, 2009
187
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#15
I went for an exchange myself for 7 months at Amsterdam from Jan 2009. Managed to tour Europe while I was there. If you like taking archi shots, I think the wide angle lens would come in handy. I brought mine there and used it most of the time because Europe have tall architectures, therefore a WA lens would be useful. Just my humble opinion. Cheers and enjoy your exchange. It will be one of the best times of your life! I miss my European exchange! =)
Thanks, I can't wait to fly off!

Wow you bought your lens in Europe? Heard that photo gear's much pricier over there.
 

drumma

Senior Member
Jan 5, 2005
6,299
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36
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Oulu, Finland, Finland
www.wongliji.com
#16
Hi, I'm going to Sweden; Jonkoping University to be precise.
nice. i'm just besides u, in Finland right now. i have a thread in landscapes with all the Finland pictures if you might be interested! :)

are you alone from Singapore or?

maybe i can share on the gears i brought as well. my advise is really to travel light.

i have a 5d, sigma 12-24, 35L, 24-70L with a 580ex2 with me now. sold my tripod and bought it here. I went traveling abit and it was impossible to bring everything. so i brought my 12-24 and 35.. most of the time, i use the 35.. probably i'm very much used to it already.. in fact the 24-70 seldom sees light at all. it's most of the time hibernating in my camera bag.
 

Jul 17, 2009
187
0
0
#17
nice. i'm just besides u, in Finland right now. i have a thread in landscapes with all the Finland pictures if you might be interested! :)

are you alone from Singapore or?

maybe i can share on the gears i brought as well. my advise is really to travel light.

i have a 5d, sigma 12-24, 35L, 24-70L with a 580ex2 with me now. sold my tripod and bought it here. I went traveling abit and it was impossible to bring everything. so i brought my 12-24 and 35.. most of the time, i use the 35.. probably i'm very much used to it already.. in fact the 24-70 seldom sees light at all. it's most of the time hibernating in my camera bag.
Oh you are there now? When's your return date?

I'm going with several friends and people-who-are-not-friends but are singaporeans so we kind of know each other through facebook groups and such.
 

drumma

Senior Member
Jan 5, 2005
6,299
0
36
30
Oulu, Finland, Finland
www.wongliji.com
#18
Oh you are there now? When's your return date?

I'm going with several friends and people-who-are-not-friends but are singaporeans so we kind of know each other through facebook groups and such.
yup. i'm here now.. i'll be coming back sg during summer.. but basically, if need be, i can go back anytime.. :)
 

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