NYC visit: what lens?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by agentlossing, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Real Name:
    Andrew Lossing
    My wife and I are going to be in NYC for a couple days - just a blitz trip through since we'll be on the east coast for a friend's wedding. It'll be my first time there, and I'm 99% sure my GX1 will be what accompanies me (had briefly considered renting some interesting body or other). I use the 17mm f2.8 for most things these days, but I'm thinking something a little bit wider would be better for my vaguely-artful trip photos. Thing is, the trip has put a damper on my available cash for the time being. What would you guys suggest? Especially given some of you have no doubt snapped many a photo in that fair city.

    I'm mainly thinking of renting a lens, although I might swing a less expensive option to add to my motley array.
  2. Kwekwe

    Kwekwe Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 17, 2014
    Gravesend Brooklyn NY
    Museum of the American Indian at 1 Bowling Green. Part of the Smithsonian and FREE
  3. Kwekwe

    Kwekwe Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 17, 2014
    Gravesend Brooklyn NY
    Central Park .... Flowers and of course Belvedere Castle. Also Freezies ;) Coney Island Boardwalk too. If here in MY City on June 21 the Famous Mermaid Parade starts AROUND 1 pm in Coney Island and is a blast and lots of Photo Ops. Grab Hot dogs at Nathans or other boardwalk eatery and keep budget in check ;)
  4. bg2b

    bg2b Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 22, 2009
    Berkeley Heights, NJ
    Bring a 14-xx zoom if you have one, otherwise don't worry about it; you'll find plenty of things to take pictures of with the 17.
  5. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Real Name:
    Andrew Lossing
    Thanks for the advice so far, I wasn't sure whether I'd been clear enough that both lens options and things to do were what I was asking for, but you guys seem to have figured it out.

    Lensrentals has both the 17mm f1.8 and the 20mm Panasonic for pretty great prices, what do you guys think of that idea? I haven't used the 20mm so having it in addition to my familiar 17mm f2.8 might be a good option.

    Any awesome camera stores or related places near Times Square?
  6. Matero

    Matero Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 22, 2013
    B&H Photo, a must visit. Less than a mile from Times Square (9th Avenue between w33rd and 34th) BUT, I strongly recommend to check opening hours. When I was in NYC I found myself behind the closed doors in front of both B&H and Adorama :(

    IMHO 17mm is very good choice, and 20mm wouldn't make that much difference. Why not "squeeze" a little bit and choose Oly 45mm f/1.8 for example. Totally different view compared to 17mm and excellent lens in small size. Used those a lot (17mm and 45mm) in my visit to NYC.

    Places to visit:
    - Rockefeller Center observation deck - excellent view for Empire State, and less crowded
    - Ferry to Staten Island, and back, 0 dollars (thanks NYC tax payers) opportunity to shoot Liberty
    - Battery park and Wall Street icon: Bull
    - And zillions other places :)
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  7. bg2b

    bg2b Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 22, 2009
    Berkeley Heights, NJ
    Don't do the Empire State Building unless you're willing to spring for the express pass. That's a fair amount more money but definitely worth it given the amount of time it will save you. Top of the Rock is generally better anyway. I'd say don't go to B&H unless your wife would also be interested. Otherwise you'll feel rushed, and she'll feel like it's wasted time. If you have access to a car, the Cloisters is very nice. If you're going south to NYC on the way to the wedding, maybe do that before going into the city; or do it when leaving if you're heading north.
  8. sircam1

    sircam1 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 6, 2013
    Also depends on when you are going. But here's my thoughts:
    Statue of Liberty and also the immigration museum on Ellis Island. Estimate about 1/3 - 1/2d to see it all & get some pics.

    Observation deck at Rockafellar Center better views than Empire State. Aim for a dusk time to be a top. There are queues so estimate time to account for these.

    Brooklyn Bridge for some great photo opps.
    There also that old aircraft carrier now a plane museum (name escapes me).

    The High Line is a fantastic concept & an opportunity to relax from having to be conscious of cars. While there a good walk around the Meat Packing district (in hindsight a mistake - for nothing other than while I was taking pics, the wife was off shopping at some of the designer boutiques)

    In terms of B&H / Adorama, I initially walked past with my wife to show it all to her on her way to 5th Ave (where she wanted to shop) told here while she was shopping on the upper side of 5th, I would go back to B&H - daring her who could do the most damage to the credit card if left alone) LOL!

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
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  9. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Real Name:
    For me NY is riding the subway, walking the streets, visiting Chinatown, eating in little street side restaurants, etc. I have generally avoided the tourist stops, but I have been in NY many times
  10. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    If you want a wider lens for outdoor/daytime shots, the 9mm fisheye BCL is tiny & cheap ($99USD) and takes good pics.

    I don't think it makes much sense to rent a 17/1.8 if you already have the 2.8; go for the 45mm as mentioned, or 12mm or a zoom.
    BTW, some of the kit zooms are selling new for under $150 and used for under $70.

  11. nuclearboy

    nuclearboy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2011
    Ellicott City, MD
    Real Name:
    I would rent the Panny 12-35mm zoom. You need 12mm (or wider sometimes) to get some of the shots of the large buildings and/or scenes in NYC where you do not typically have any room to back up.

    I had the 12mm lens when I visited and loved it but did need to pop on a longer lens now and then to get some shots. It was that particular trip that pushed me to get the 12-35mm zoom for more versatility.
  12. Ellsass

    Ellsass Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2014
    As someone who used to travel exclusively with wide lenses, may I suggest trying a narrower one to accompany your 17mm? The Oly 25mm will make for some interesting compositions without being suffocatingly narrow. You can always swap to the 17 of course. NYC may be tall and tight but you don't need a large field of view to compose a nice shot.
  13. oxhouser

    oxhouser Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 26, 2012
    Just got back from a trip to NY and I used my 7-14 for most shots and left the 14 pancake on the rest of the time, for the style of photo I like I could not get the look I was after with the 45
    I guess it depends on what your style as to what lens is good
    If your interested in going up the Empire State or RC try it on a sunny evening with low but strong sunlight, lots of glass to reflect off makes for interesting shots

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  14. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    I wouldn't go to NYC without an ultrawide, I would suggest the 7-14mm, though the 9-18mm will probably work as well. Something as wide as 12mm at the very minimum.

    When I went last fall I took the 7-14, 12, 17, 25, and 45. The 17 was my least used lens by far, and the 7-14, and 12, were the most used, followed by the 25 in low light. The 45 was rarely used either but more than the 17.

    I imagine if I didn't have the 12 and 25 I would have used the 17 a good deal more. An UWA + the 17mm would probably suit you for 95% of the shooting, unless you can find some use for a short telephoto or so.
  15. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Real Name:
    Having lived in NYC for 25 years, IMO, you only need 3 lenses to cover 95% of the photography in NYC.

    - A wide lens, either a 24 or 28.
    - A normal lens, either a 35 or 50.
    - A normal tele, from 75 to 105.

    Of course, there are others who may want a wider or longer lens.

    If you want the typical nice cityscape, my first choice would be from Top Of The Rock and second choice from the Empire State Building. You can also take the Path train from the World Trade Center one stop over into NJ and get off at Exchange Place. From there, you'll have a nice view of downtown Manhattan. For a nice view of midtown (Empire State Building), take a cab north to Edgewater, NJ and you'll get a nice view.

    NYC is one of the best places for street photography and just by walking around, you can fill up your memory card pretty fast.

    Personally, I would skip stuff like the Bronx Zoo or The Botanical Gardens, especially on a short trip since these are things that you can see almost anywhere else in the country. I would also skip B&H Photo as it's usually crowded and at times, a madhouse inside. It once took me over an hour to purchase a handgrip from grabbing a salesperson to him writing up the order to standing in line to pay and then moving to another line to pick up the order all on a weekday afternoon. Instead, be sure to make a trip to Chinatown, South Street Seaport, Metropolitan Museum. Lincoln Center, Times Square, SoHo, etc...
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  16. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Real Name:
    Also, this is just my opinion, but I think cityscapes from either Top Of The Rock or the Empire State Building are sometimes more interesting with a longer focal length than the typical wide angle.

    Here are a few of mine not using wide angle.

    "NYC Flatiron “23 Skidoo”"


    CANON 20D, 85MM, F11, 1/250, ISO 1600

    "Yellow Cabs"


    CANON 20D, 85MM, F11, 1/200, ISO 1600

    "The City That Never Sleeps"


    CANON 5D MK.II, 50MM, F3.5, 1/60, ISO 4000
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  17. kenez

    kenez Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 18, 2012
    I was just in NYC less than two weeks ago. This trip I decided to travel relatively light with my EM-1 so I left my large 4/3 lenses at home with the exception of the 14-54 MkII. I wanted to take advantage of some wider angle opportunities so I took the Samyang/Rokinon 7.5mm fish eye as well as the 12-50mm kit zoom. I also took my Panasonic 20mm F1.7. I would have expected that I would have used my 14-54mm the most but surprisingly found myself reaching for the 12-50mm more often due to the extra 2mm on the wide end and the light weight. I know some people knock this lens but in decent light I find it more than acceptable and you can pick up a used on for a song. It is also weather sealed and offers a macro function and power zoom. Although I had my 75-300mm with me I never took it out of the bag.

    As far as places to go, I would recommend Central Park (perhaps doing a bike or pedi-cab tour), walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, Ground Zero and the 9/11 memorial, Statue of Liberty (too late though to get crown access, just pedestal), and Times Square for people watching. Of course cultural opportunities are almost unlimited so try to check out some of the museums and Broadway shows. The restaurant with the best view in my opinion is the River Cafe in Brooklyn.
  18. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    It might be helpful to know what lenses you already have besides the 17/2.8. I agree with Thomas, a wide/normal/tele trinity will cover almost everything, I've spent many a day bumming around NYC with just 2-3 lenses, usually the P14, 20/25, and the 45 or adapted legacy 50. If you've got a 14-XX kit zoom and the 17/2.8 and are looking to save cash, perhaps just consider renting either the Oly 45/1.8 for the long end or the 9-18 for wider shots.

    Places to go - Columbus Circle or the area around the Flatiron Building (for people watching), Central Park of course, Chinatown, walk the High Line, Governor's Island has lots of park areas and some of the buildings are now art studios/incubators plus you get a nice view of the Financial District from the ferry

    Museums (aside from the Met, Natural History, Whitney, etc) - the Cloisters are lovely if you're into medieval art/architecture and you can go by subway; check out the current exhibits at the International Center of Photography by Columbus Circle; I've seen some great exhibits at the Museum of the City of New York

    Have fun!
  19. Zee

    Zee Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I'd take whatever lens you most enjoy shooting with. I shot NYC with a 100mm F2.8 Macro mounted to a 7D for 4 days, and loved it, and the results.

  20. h2odogizzy

    h2odogizzy Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 16, 2014
    The Oly 12-50 3.5-6.3 can be had for under $200 and is a terrific, versatile lens good for most photo ops in the city. The Oly 9mm Fisheye body cap lens is also a very capable fun lens to use. And if you want the experience of "being like a kid in Toys R Us," definitely go to B&H...amazing store.