Vietnam & Myanmar in January. Lenses?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by oldracer, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I am a zoom guy. My travel kit is two bodies, one with the 14-140mm MkII, and the other with either my 9-18mm or my 100-300mm. I used to carry some primes but sold them all because I never used them.

    So ... my question is: These two countries and Bhuddism in general are new to me. Do I need a bright prime to shoot inside the stupas and temples? Monasteries? Typically on trips I have used my 9-18mm on my monopod and been happy with the results.

    Can someone who has been there, done that, offer some advice? i am sort of eyeing that new 7.5mm f2 that has come out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
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  2. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 26, 2014
    UK
    I have been to both.
    Most stupas don't have an inside, they are solid. (I did go a long way inside one in complete darkness, and photographed the bats using flash.)
    Many temples are quite well lit. I had my 12-40 and needed to use it at f/2.8 in some temples which were quite dark. The 9-18 will be very useful.

    Make sure you have good socks, as you will be taking your shoes off, and at some places you will be walking in socks for a long way.
     
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  3. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    350
    Jun 29, 2010
    Ottawa
    A nice fast lens will be useful in Myanmar as there are some nice paintings on temple walls in very dark spots. I wish I had the EM1 II when I was in Myanmar.....
     
  4. noohoggin1

    noohoggin1 Instagram: @tomnguyenstudio

    375
    May 21, 2012
    MN
    Tom
    Been to Vietnam a few times (will be back again from December to February!). I've had to use my 45mm/1.8 a lot in the temple areas and for night shooting. So basically any f/1.8 prime will make your life a lot easier if you can swing it. For me personally, it was my only f/1.8 lens on me, and it's so tiny it fits in my pocket when I don't need it. The only other lens I had was the Panny 14mm/.25 pancake. Both amazing for traveling!
     
  5. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    OK, so maybe one fast prime. @turbodieselvw@turbodieselvw, any suggestion? @noohoggin1@noohoggin1, did you use the 45 because it was what you had or did you feel that the longer focal length was optimum? 45 is longer than I would have considered on my own, but I agree it is a nice lens. I used to have one.
     
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  6. noohoggin1

    noohoggin1 Instagram: @tomnguyenstudio

    375
    May 21, 2012
    MN
    Tom
    It was pretty dark, and it was the only f/1.8 lens I had on me. Without it, i was pushing 1600-3200 ISOs. I'm more of a people shooter, so the focal length I could live with. I had a mini tripod on me in case I needed to use longer exposure with my 14mm/2.5.
     
  7. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 26, 2014
    UK
    With 45mm you could only photograph a tiny part of the inside of a temple. Something like 17mm would be much better.
     
  8. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    I used the 12-40mm f2.8 for 95% of what I saw, on the few occasions where light was low enough a faster lens might not have helped because of DoF. A flash would have simplified things however I refuse to use them inside temples (even if permitted I find it distracting) and so I instead tend to make liberal usage of a monopod.

    I'm far from traditional with monopod usage in that I have lots of compromises aimed at making it quicker to deploy or stow which likely inhibit peak performance (it's less likely to be stable), While a perfectly stable platform is nice to dream about I found that trying to attain it results in in too much fucking around and makes me less likely to actually deploy/use it.

    I'm using a Velbon monopod (I have no idea what model, it's not marked) which has a twist lock system: twist the locking collar, extend it, untwist the locking collar to lock it, rest the lens/camera on it and snap away, twist it and collapse. The twist locking thing is less secure than a quick release lever however it would only be a problem if you plan on using it as a walking stick or something, it means I can fully deploy the monopod and have it ready to use in under a second (likewise for stowing it).

    I'm also not using a ballhead or any quick attach system as while more stable I dislike messing around when attaching/detatching the camera. Hence I use a shooting rest (the V thing below, it's really nothing fancy at all).
    P1260369-1.
    All of the above combined with IBIS seems to work best for me, it's not normally about pushing the limits - it's all about being quick and easy to use and more reliable than pure hand holding (especially when tired).
     
  9. I was in Vietnam this past February, with my E-M5ii. I took my 12-50, since I anticipated that on occasions I might be shooting in the rain. (Fortunately, this didn't happen all that often!) I also took the Panasonic 20mm prime and 12-32mm zoom. It turned out that I used the 12-50 most of the time, but I did mount the 20mm when I knew I would be indoors. Here's an example, taken at f1.7, 1/60, 1600 ISO.
    Y2150203_02.
    There were a few occasions when I would have liked a bit more reach, but I don't think I would ever have used a 100-300mm lens.

    Have a great trip!
     
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  10. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru Mu-43 Veteran

    Enjoy your trip, both countries are wonderful. I used my 12-35 and 35-100 almost exclusively. I don't think 100-300mm would be very useful for you and I would probably leave it at home. A small fast prime might be handy for when you are indoors or at night.
    The people and unique culture of Myanmar made this one of the most enjoyable countries I have visited, if you need any information I am happy to help.
     
  11. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    350
    Jun 29, 2010
    Ottawa
    I used the Oly 17/1.8 a fair bit in the temples in Bagan. You will also need something long for sunset and sunrise shots in Bagan so your 14-140 would be perfect for that. I don't know how useful the 100-300 would be but if were me, I'd still throw it in the bag if your whole kit isn't too heavy.
     
  12. Stanga

    Stanga Mu-43 Veteran

    342
    Oct 16, 2016
    I tend to look up the local weather when travelling abroad. A good place to look in the case of Vietnam is at Vietnam annual average weather | Viamoro Weather
    As you discovered, January and February are relatively dry months in that part of the world.
     
  13. Johnny The Greek

    Johnny The Greek Mu-43 Veteran

    232
    Aug 19, 2015
    First off, some temples insist that you wear pants and a t-shirt at the minimum--so keep a change of clothes in mind in case you're doing the shorts/tanktop thing. ALSO, some do not allow any kind of photography--just so you've been warned.

    For internal shots, I seriously doubt any of your zooms will be fast enough to light the inside of the average temple, and I've never seen flash photography allowed in religious structures outside of wedding photography. Buy or rent a fast prime IMHO.
     
  14. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    350
    Jun 29, 2010
    Ottawa
    Shorts and t-shirt (not tank top); that's what I wore in Myanmar and didn't have any issues visiting any temples. I also don't recall any temples barring photography in Myanmar, unlike Tibet and Bhutan. But in Myanmar you have to take off your shoes in order to enter the temples.
     
  15. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Thanks much. This is the kind of input I was looking for. Now thinking about the Panasonic 12mm f1.4 Expensive, but I have a few months to shop. As I've done before, I may sell it after I return. This is usually a fairly cheap lens "rental."

    I'm not surprised that the 100-300mm may not be needed. I'll probably take it just for good luck, but often I'll leave a lens like that in the hotel room where I expect to not need it on a given day.

    My normal garb is cargo pants and some kind of shirt with a collar, so I don't expect issues when visiting temples. But thanks for the warnings.

    @eteless@eteless, I too am a monopod guy. I use either an Acratech GP-S with an Arca lever clamp or a smaller ball with a Manfrotto RC-2 clamp that I have modified to take Arca plates. For me, a setup like yours that limits me to using the monopod as a vertical stick under the camera is too restrictive. I use my monopod at all kinds of angles and also to hold the camera high using a shutter release cable for overhead shots.
     
  16. Joe Smith

    Joe Smith Mu-43 Veteran

    213
    Mar 6, 2016
    Or even the hopefully upcoming Oly 17mm f/1.2?
     
  17. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Maybe. For me, 24mm equivalent is the longest lens that provides a sense of space for interior shots. In film days, the 24mm and the 105mm were my go-to Nikon lenses. That said, @peter124s very nice shot with the 20mm doesn't lack for space. So maybe I'll take a look at the 17mm if the price is attractive.
     
  18. Joe Smith

    Joe Smith Mu-43 Veteran

    213
    Mar 6, 2016
    Surely you're joking …

    Price aside, 12mm and 17mm are two completely different focal lengths, of course.
     
  19. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    You never know. Watching people's pricing strategies is an interesting pastime. The objective is to maximize total gross margin dollars collected, not to maximize unit sales. In the past few years, the OEMs have been testing the market for high-margin lenses. My sense is that the high margin strategy is working, as I don't see a lot of discounting, but I think the jury is still out.
     
  20. JoJo Gunn

    JoJo Gunn Mu-43 Regular

    83
    Feb 13, 2016
    Dan Gunn
    Damn, that is a beautiful photo....looks like it was shot on medium format. Do you remember your color settings and processing?
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017