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What stuff to bring on a Brazil/Peru trip?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Rasmus, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.

    roughly 10 days from now I'll be going on a trip to Brazil and Peru. First, I'll stay a few days in Rio de Janeiro, then we'll go to Lima and then to Cusco and the Inca trail and Macchu picchu. We might also go on some rain forest trip.

    My first thought was to bring everything I've got, but then I read the scary story that Wikitravel call "Staying safe in Rio" and started to consider only bringing a point and shoot. I'll certainly leave my 300/2.8 at home, but at the same time, the Barra forest is very close, and there's also the reserve with the golden lion tamarins just an hour away from the city, so I would certainly want to have some long lens with me.

    My current idea is to bring the 9-18, the 12-35, 35-100 and either the 100-300 that I've never been very happy with, or the 150/2 and the EC-20. The FD 400/4.5 could also be an option. I might also bring the 25/0.95 for low light. If I don't bring any 4/3 lenses I could leave the E-M1 at home and bring the E-M5 or the E-P5 instead. Of course, not bringing everything also means less hand luggage and less stuff to carry on the inca trail.

    Any thoughts? Am I worrying too much? :) 
  2. Without knowing your level of fitness, the Inca Trail (I'm assuming that you're doing the classic version that takes you right into Machu Picchu) isn't the most difficult trek you might choose to do around the world. Depending on your arrangements you will likely have the option of leaving any excess camera equipment in storage in Cusco along with your main luggage so you don't even have to carry everything with you on the trail if you don't think you will need it. I don't believe that I used any longer focal lengths on the trail or at Machu Picchu.
  3. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    The 9-18 was my most used lens at MP. In the rain forest however, lots of bird life and it would be extremely tricky to shoot manual focus. I used a Canon 7D + 400mm.
  4. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    Yep, MP looks like a place to shoot with wide angle. MF can be a bit hard, but part of the reason is that MF tends to be an afterthought on autofocus lenses. In my experience, manual focus on a lens that has no autofocus, like an old Canon FD or Nikon AIS lens, tends to be a lot easier. On some occasions I've even got relatively sharp BIF with MF lenses.

    What worries me most is still that "Stay safe"-guide, ie whether there's a significant risk that someone suddenly points a gun at me and tells me to hand over my camera gear to him.
  5. betamax

    betamax Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 7, 2011
    Illawarra, NSW, Australia
    I did find Rio a bit uncomfortable when I was there. I was accosted by a pimp trying to show me his girls who were "just around the corner", but other than that, I was pretty safe.

    I loved Peru, felt naturally safe there, and enjoyed every minute. Lima can get pretty smoggy, and all down the coast there's a haze as it's quiet arid which I don't know how effective filters would have been, but I took none, and regreted it. MP and Rio wide is good. Most tours only do 1 night at Aguas Calientes/MP, but I wish I could have stayed there a couple more.

    For Peru I only took an 045 as my widest lens and a couple of times wished I had something longer. Outside of Paracas, I didn't see much wildlife, not even in MP other than lots alpacas, sheep and lots of turkey-vultures, but I did the desert tour rather than the rain-forest areas.

    As in all things, just use common sense. Keep everything low key, take the most unlikely looking camera bag for your gear, and don't worry so much :) 
  6. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2013
    As long as you stay away from "favelas" or aka (slums), then you are generally fine. Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Recife and Port Alegre can be very dicy. I was there this June to July covering FIFA and while there were more military and police presence there, there were still a lot of people who got robbed -- cameras and money. Peru is actually much safer than Brazil.

    My advise to you is simple. Carry camera equipment which you can keep with you at all times, which means a light weight kit and out of sight. As long as they don't know you are bring in expensive gear, then you're ok. The problem in Brazil is the extreme poverty that exists there and the basic inequality between the rich and poor. If you're there, you can see that the rich and poor don't live far apart. Sometimes, it's just a street apart and you'll see the border between the 2 patrolled by police officers.

    Also, KNOW where the "FAVELAS" are and don't wander in or have any curiosity going in trying to do street photography despite how curious and gungho you are. We had several stupid so called world "street photographer" travellers who tried getting in and either they got beaten up bloodied or robbed and left you out cold during FIFA. These places are controlled by drug lords.

    Also "Express Kidnapping" is a known industry in Brazil and how this works is that, they kidnap you in the middle of the street and then take you to a ATM machine and withdraw all the cash you have and then basically clean you out. Or if they're not satisfied with the cash, they will then force you to go into your hotel and rob you some more.

    Before I went to Brazil, I was so skeptical about these reports. Once I was there and witness them and in some cases, with my own eyes. Brazil can be a pretty scary place and despite the fact many of my associates got robbed, kidnapped and robbed and beaten up, I was very lucky that I didn't experience this while carrying the same expensive gear.

    Maybe you would be robbed or maybe you won't. In Brazil, your chances are pretty high.

    Another thing to consider is weight. Regional airlines like TAM, GOL, Azul, Avianca and the likes have a 5KG limit on carry on -- about 10lbs. If you exceed that, you have to pay an overweight charge on that. Don't bring your heavy lenses nor a heavy body.

    "Muito Obrigado".
  7. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2013
    When someone points a gun at you and hand over camera equipment, you DO EXACTLY what he asked you to. Chances are if this is the case is that, you're in one of the favelas. You could easily wander into a favela without you knowing that you were. In fact, just do whatever they want. Don't fight back. Life is measured with the price of a bullet in Brazil -- they don't give a darn about you!

    Airports can be easy sources of places where they can rob you, because they can constantly change gates because they have so many planes but few gates. What's printed on your boarding pass is just a "suggestion" and sometimes the announcement is not in English, rather it's in Portuguese. During the confusion, it's easy for you to get nervous and leave the camera equipment unattended by your side and then be swiped away.
  8. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    Hm. Now I seriously start to consider bringing only my TG-1...
  9. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    I've never been to brazil, but I really enjoyed by time in peru. Cuzco is a pretty city. Not much in Lima, but there are some nice restaurants there.

    9-18, 12-35, 35-100; sounds like a good selection of lenses and focal lengths. Take the 100-300 if you are going into the jungle for wildlife. I would add a small walk around prime (e.g. 17mm 1.8, 20mm 1.7, or 25mm 1.8), for those times you want to be a little more discrete with your camera gear.
  10. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2013
    Peru is safer than Brazil, so don't freak yourself out. Just be smart and not too flashy in Brazil especially in the Copa Cabana. Brazilians are good people overall. Generally, if you stick within wealthy areas, then you're fine. And if you're in the Amazon, you'll probably be more worried contracting Yellow Fever than having your cameras ripped off. But just show off your gear as though you're one of those pros meaning that you can't be as complacent as you're used to in North America, Europe and some parts of Asia.

    Hope this helps.
  11. Trankster

    Trankster Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 19, 2013
    Irvine, CA
    I suggest taking your EM1 with 2 lenses 12-35mm as your walk around lens and 100-300mm if you expect to visit the rainforest or see wildlife. I recently took a trip to Peru- Amazon for a week and Cusco-Inca Trail to Machu Picchu for a week. My EM1 with 12-40 mm was perfect 95% of the time. I also had 40-150mm which I used for wildlife in the rainforest (100 - 300mm would have been better) and a P 25mm which i never used and a gorillapod rarely used. A fisheye lens might have been interesting in the rainforest. Bring lots of batteries, I had 3 Oly and 2 generics and extra memory cards. Don't bother with a tripod or camera bag. I wore my camera around my neck/shoulder and carried spare lenses and accessories in my light daypack. If doing the 4 day trek, use a camelbak type pack for hydration and carrying snacks and misc stuff. Here is the blog from my trip https://trankstertravels.wordpress.com We were only in Peru with a an overnight in Luma, but never felt unsafe. Keep your camera in your daypack or hotel safe if in a "sketchy" area. PS Also, my wife carried one of the new Oly TG-3 waterproof cameras which was fun and took some very nice photos. This was my "backup" in case something bad happened with my EM1.

    Sent from my SM-T320 using Tapatalk
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