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Old 18th of July 2012 (Wed)   #1
tagnal
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Default Gear for Koh Samui, Thailand

Well, at the end of August and beginning of September, I am going to be going to Koh Samui for almost 2 weeks. I'm trying to figure out what gear I really need to bring. Before, Koh Samui I'll be in Maccau and Hong Kong for 2 days each, so I will be moving around a lot and pulling all my luggage/gear with me. Therefore, I'm trying to cut down on as much as possible.

Typically, when I go on trips around here, I bring almost everything but it just doesn't seem feasible this time. I'm really dreading carrying the 24-70 around everywhere. I do have a 24-105 which is brand new (I got it as a kit with my 5D3, although I was originally planning on selling it later) and was thinking about maybe using that instead since it is lighter and has a bit more range. I doubt my shots on this trip will require large apertures so having f/4 instead of 2.8 seems fine. But, then I started thinking, do I even need to bring the 24-105?

So, for sure I am bringing the 17-40 for my landscape shots. I'm thinking that I could maybe pick up a 50 1.4 to use as my standard walk around lens. Do you think this would work over one of the 24-X zooms? Am I going to need a telephoto lens? I have a 70-200. I can imagine a few cases where it can come in handy (telephoto landscapes, portrait shot of my wife somewhere, maybe some street shots of locals) but not sure if I'd use it enough to justify the weight. Although, I'd hate to need it and not have it :P But, maybe if I used the 24-105 instead of the 50, I might have enough reach to not bother with the 70-200... *shrug*

Has anyone shot in Koh Samui? What were the most useful lenses you used there?
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Old 19th of July 2012 (Thu)   #2
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Default Re: Gear for Koh Samui, Thailand

Koh Samui is all about being wide. Seascapes, island scapes, landscapes. Places like temples, markets, streets, and parks are generally tight locations where you often need wide lenses to get something in the picture. I often go 95% with a 35mm and a 90mm for macro. I have a 50mm also, but it is often too long for places here to get what is needed in the picture. If I had a 24mm, I would probably use that almost all the time here.
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Old 19th of July 2012 (Thu)   #3
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Default Re: Gear for Koh Samui, Thailand

So most likely I'll be fine just carrying around my 17-40 then?
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Old 20th of July 2012 (Fri)   #4
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Default Re: Gear for Koh Samui, Thailand

Quote:
Originally Posted by tagnal View Post
So most likely I'll be fine just carrying around my 17-40 then?
no, it's too wide for normal stuff. For beach shots and panos it will be great, but for everything else you need a good walk around lens. It will be good for some temple shots that get wide, but most shots in the temple can be take with the 24-105.

My 24-105 is really a great walk around lens. For temples and things like that it will be good. f/4 is going to suffice, but you might want to bring a flash for some interior temple shots. Although you have to be careful as flash (and sometimes photography) is not permitted.

I would scrap picking up a 50mm f/1.4 unless you really need it. I can't see it being much use.

I love using a 70-200 especially if shooting in an area where you just can't get close enough. Like you said, it will be good for portraits of your wife as well.

I you can pack all 3 lenses I would do it. You don't need to carry all 3, only use them when needed.

On a side note, please be respectable when going to a temple. You will want to wear long pants and your wife no shorts or short skirts. Some might not care, but others will frown on it.
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Old 22nd of July 2012 (Sun)   #5
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Default Re: Gear for Koh Samui, Thailand

I would take the 17-40 and the 24-105 as Gregg said. The 24-105 is a great walkaround lens.
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Old 22nd of July 2012 (Sun)   #6
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Default Re: Gear for Koh Samui, Thailand

... and get a CPL for the beach shots.
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Old 22nd of July 2012 (Sun)   #7
tagnal
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Default Re: Gear for Koh Samui, Thailand

Thanks for the input guys.

Gregg.Siam - Good to know about the attire for the temples.

Sebr - I never leave home without my CPL


I actually just got home right now from Yosemite. During the day hike I took, I only brought the 17-40 and the 70-200. That combo seemed to work pretty well.

So right now, I'm thinking about maybe the 24-105 when I only want to carry my camera and one lens. Other times, I'll go with the 17-40 and 70-200.
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Last edited by tagnal : 22nd of July 2012 (Sun) at 23:53.
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Old 22nd of August 2012 (Wed)   #8
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Default Re: Gear for Koh Samui, Thailand

Well, I'll be heading over there in half a week and looking at the weather, I think I should bring a rain sleeve as well and some silica gel packets and some zip lock bags.
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Old 3rd of February 2013 (Sun)   #9
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Default Re: Gear for Koh Samui, Thailand

Sorry for resurrecting old thread - I'm off to Koh Samui in a few months. How did you find it photography-wise? Any examples of pics you took?? Any tips? Did you feel safe with your gear?
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Old 4th of February 2013 (Mon)   #10
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Default Re: Gear for Koh Samui, Thailand

I found it pretty good photography-wise. It all depends on what you really like to shoot though. I haven't really posted much from my trip but I did take around 5-6k shots during my 2 week vacation. As others mentioned, I found myself using my wide angle lens a lot. I guess it depends what you do while you are there though. I spent most of my vacation out along the beach areas. I didn't venture to far into the island for the falls as some of the locals mentioned it wasn't a good time as it had not rained in a while and there was barely any water flowing. If you like street photography, all the different towns and villages offer tons of opportunity. I think the whole trip, I used my 70-200 for maybe 3 or 4 shots at the most. I could have probably left it home. Everything else was between 17mm and 70mm. Your 15-85 should be perfect.

I didn't feel unsafe with my gear there. There are lots of tourists on that island with cameras everywhere so it wasn't like I stood out or anything. I am always cautious though. Never lay down your gear anywhere without it being attached to you somehow. I use a camera strap with metal cables in it whenever I travel (to prevent people from just cutting the strap and running). Also, I have insurance on my gear so that helped give peace of mind. Download a backup of your images to a computer each night just in case as well.

One bit of advice to remember when in a warm and humid environment, is to remember to protect your gear from condensation. If you are staying in a nice air-conditioned room and wake up early and want to run out to catch the sunrise real quick, probably not the best idea. You need to let your camera acclimate to the change in temperature before you take it out to shoot. Otherwise your lenses will fog up and you risk the chance of mold/fungus and electrical damage.

Here is a small set on flickr.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rivenim...th/8211577047/


This was from a beach near the fisherman's village.
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Last edited by tagnal : 4th of February 2013 (Mon) at 16:32.
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Old 5th of February 2013 (Tue)   #11
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Default Re: Gear for Koh Samui, Thailand

Thanks for that - fantastic advice, very helpful. Lovely photos too, has given me some great ideas.

Thanks again.
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Old 7th of February 2013 (Thu)   #12
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Default Re: Gear for Koh Samui, Thailand

Just thought I'd put it out there. Lots of people find a waterproof camera or a underwater case for their P&S useful on these trips. If you are planning to snorkel or scuba that might be something to consider.
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Old 7th of February 2013 (Thu)   #13
tagnal
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Default Re: Gear for Koh Samui, Thailand

That is a great point. It would definitely come in handy if you take a trip out to the Angthong National Marine Park as well.
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Old 29th of December 2013 (Sun)   #14
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Default Re: Gear for Koh Samui, Thailand

The shoreline of Koh Samui reminds me of Boracay in the Philippines! Looks like a great beach to have a photowalk
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