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Thread started 04 Feb 2015 (Wednesday) 17:31
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London: camera advice & tips

 
nonetheweisser
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Feb 04, 2015 17:31 |  #1

Hey all,

So I'm leaving for London at the end of next month for my honeymoon. My current set up is in my sig. I was planning on taking the T3i, kit lens and maybe the 40mm pancake (just for IQ). I would really like the option of having the RAW files and familiarity of my camera but I just have a feeling that walking around England for 8 days with the T3i is going to be cumbersome. My other option is to borrow a Nikon CoolPix L830 from a family member. This would would probably be easier to carry around for extended periods. For all your frequent travelers out there what is usually the best option?

Also, I've been reading a lot about hassle from customs coming back INTO the country with regard to electronic devices (cameras, iPads, etc). Is it recommended to fill out one of those forms declaring that my electronics were in my possession before I left the states? Or are these just horror stories and it's usually not a big deal?

Thanks!

-Seth


-Seth
T3i | 18-55mm kit lens | 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS | 50mm f/1.8 | 40mm f/2.8 | 100mm f/2.8 macro
http://www.flickr.com/​sethward79 (external link)

  
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sandpiper
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Feb 04, 2015 18:41 |  #2

I can't really advise on whether the DSLR or something more compact will be better for you, that is something personal we all decide for ourselves. I am sure that some will say take the Coolpix, whereas when I go somewhere new I carry at least 2 DSLR bodies and a set of lenses in a backpack, but that is just me. Yes, it's cumbersome but I rarely kick myself for not having a particular lens with me.

As for the customs thing, it is unlikely to be a problem (particularly if returning from the UK where prices are much higher than in the States - why buy something electronic here when you can get it cheaper back home?). Personally I carry my insurance docs, which have the expensive gear itemised with serial numbers, and a picture of all the other gear taken in the UK (with a clearly English background) to show that I owned them before leaving the country. Only had it queried once, but they were quickly satisfied.

I think people returning from Hong Kong or Japan, where they could potentially save themselves big money, are more likely to be questioned about their gears origin, but even then it is not something that wil happen often. Just don't go through customs looking guilty (I always do, even though I know I am doing nothing wrong, I always FEEL guilty going through customs - I think it's just the effect Her Majesty's Robbers & Cutthroats have on people).

I am, of course, not used to going home to your country though, but I suspect it is much the same - and probably even less of an issue than here, as we get hit for a minimum 20% tax on the value of imported electronics, which gives us Brits an incentive to not declare it and HMRC an incentive to catch us.

Are you spending all 8 days in The Smoke, or planning to get around some more of the country while you are here?




  
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nonetheweisser
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Feb 04, 2015 21:30 |  #3

Thanks for the quick reply!

We will be primarily in London for the whole trip. Doing Tuesday-Sunday in/around London (going to the England/Lithuania match that Friday) and then heading up to Liverpool that Monday, staying one night in Liverpool and doing one of the Beatles tours (not sure which one yet) and a tour of Anfield (really really bummed the Reds aren't playing the week we are there). Then we are back and will have one full day in London before we head out. I would love to see more of the countryside but I also don't want to spend 2/3rds of the trip on trains/buses.

The camera thing is really a dilemma. The coolpix would be lighter and bit more "portable", plus it's just AA batteries so I wouldn't need to worry about getting a converter. But I'm worried I might come home and really kick myself for not having a "better camera". I know it's a personal preference but just seeking perspectives from people that travel frequently whether it's better to sacrifice the quality for comfort, etc...


-Seth
T3i | 18-55mm kit lens | 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS | 50mm f/1.8 | 40mm f/2.8 | 100mm f/2.8 macro
http://www.flickr.com/​sethward79 (external link)

  
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Aswald
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Feb 04, 2015 21:42 |  #4

In London, I found that I used the 24-70mm range most as it allowed me to cover most scenarios.

Weather in London is pretty cold. We're seeing 1 - 5 deg C at the moment. Grey skies and all. It should get slightly better end of the month with hopefully some sunlight for color. I guess, the camera with the better ISO performance would be what I would suggest. Especially if you are planning indoor photography in Museums, castles, towers, etc.

I'd be happy with the T3i + 18-55 with the 40mm pancake.




  
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sandpiper
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Feb 04, 2015 22:25 as a reply to  @ nonetheweisser's post |  #5

Aah, good to see you are coming up north to Merseyside as well, and that you support the RIGHT Liverpool team :-D

Plenty of Beatles stuff around Liverpool, the tours should show you Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields and all that stuff, it is also worth visiting "The Beatles Story" exhibition at Albert Dock (so I believe anyway, I have photographed the outside but never been in, I will get around to it one of these days). They also have a Beatles photographic exhibition above a coffee bar by the Pier Head (just by the Liver Building, a few minutes walk from Albert Dock) made up of personal photos of, and some by, the Beatles which may interest you if you are a big Beatles fan.




  
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nonetheweisser
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Feb 05, 2015 07:12 |  #6

Thanks for the tips! I'm a pretty huge Beatles fan. From about ages 9-14 the only thing I really listened to was the Beatles. I definitely want to check out the photo exhibit and didn't even know that existed, so huge thanks for that!


-Seth
T3i | 18-55mm kit lens | 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS | 50mm f/1.8 | 40mm f/2.8 | 100mm f/2.8 macro
http://www.flickr.com/​sethward79 (external link)

  
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Aswald
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Feb 05, 2015 10:09 |  #7

Enjoy!




  
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TustinMike
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Post edited over 4 years ago by TustinMike.
     
Feb 05, 2015 10:19 |  #8

Completely off-topic, but here you go anyway:

Fish & Chips - everybody wants to or should want to have this signature dish, at least once, on their first trip to the UK. Beware the touristy traps in and around Piccadilly Circus and the like. This place is the best place we found in London - it's really, really good - great history, been around for ages:

http://www.yelp.com/bi​z/the-golden-hind-london (external link)


Also, I would second the recommendation for the 24-70 lens, it's just a great all-around lens and for travel, that's pretty much what you want. It's heavy but I found it very worthwhile on my trip to Scotland. I bought a Crumplr (the Six Million Dollar Home) bag for that trip and it was perfect - protects the gear but doesn't draw attention to itself and very handy.

Have a great time!


All New Year, All New Sig !

  
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DoughnutPhoto
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Feb 05, 2015 16:06 as a reply to  @ nonetheweisser's post |  #9

If you can, don't hesitate to explore London at night. Many of the buildings are lit and when I was there, there were a lot of people and photographers out and about at all hours it seemed like. It was (even more) laid back than during the day which meant very enjoyable photography.


Canon 5d, 60d, 17-40mm L, 30mm Art, 50mm, 85mm

  
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Aswald
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Feb 05, 2015 21:27 |  #10

TustinMike wrote in post #17416537 (external link)
Completely off-topic, but here you go anyway:

Fish & Chips - everybody wants to or should want to have this signature dish, at least once, on their first trip to the UK. Beware the touristy traps in and around Piccadilly Circus and the like. This place is the best place we found in London - it's really, really good - great history, been around for ages:

http://www.yelp.com/bi​z/the-golden-hind-london (external link)


Also, I would second the recommendation for the 24-70 lens, it's just a great all-around lens and for travel, that's pretty much what you want. It's heavy but I found it very worthwhile on my trip to Scotland. I bought a Crumplr (the Six Million Dollar Home) bag for that trip and it was perfect - protects the gear but doesn't draw attention to itself and very handy.

Have a great time!

The man knows his fish and chips. Beware the mushy peas.....:-P




  
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nonetheweisser
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Feb 06, 2015 07:30 |  #11

Thank you all for the great tips and recommendations!


-Seth
T3i | 18-55mm kit lens | 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS | 50mm f/1.8 | 40mm f/2.8 | 100mm f/2.8 macro
http://www.flickr.com/​sethward79 (external link)

  
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321slash
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Feb 06, 2015 13:01 |  #12

Doesn't sound like you'll be in London/England much in your lifetime, so my suggestion is not to compromise on IQ and stick with your DSLR setup. Perhaps invest in a comfortable camera bag that will help with the weight.

I took a messenger handbag around with me all over Europe and it was great, although it was for a Fuji mirrorless camera, so quite a bit smaller than a DSLR.




  
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99mallett
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Feb 10, 2015 20:28 |  #13

One thing that you may want to know is that there are lots of places where you CAN'T take pictures, so plan your sightseeing accordingly. We went to London in '13 and are going back this summer (loved it). I carried my 60D and assorted lenses and gear everywhere and could not always use it. I found that you cannot take photos in many places tied to royalty or religion...do some research.
When we go back this summer, I plan on carrying a variety of smaller cameras to take advantage of the photo opps that present themselves without toting a ton of gear, except where I know I can use it. Plans include a 70D, 24-70, 70-200, 2x, EOS-M camera, and one other pocket camera.
Have fun.


Canon 60D gripped, Canon EF 24-70 f2.8L USM, Canon EF 70-200 f2.8L IS, Tamron AF18-270, Sigma 120-400, Sigma 10-20, Sigma 18-200.

  
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nonetheweisser
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Feb 11, 2015 10:07 |  #14

Thanks mallett! This was my main concern. Wasn't sure if I should tote around my t3i and a couple lenses the whole time and not really be able to use them much or just take a small lightweight camera that won't be as burdensome. But I think I might chance it with the t3i as the cool pix won't give me the full control that I'll want and I would rather have the RAW files in case I do need to make some massive editing changes, because it's not like I'll be able to just get back there and reshoot a scene.


-Seth
T3i | 18-55mm kit lens | 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS | 50mm f/1.8 | 40mm f/2.8 | 100mm f/2.8 macro
http://www.flickr.com/​sethward79 (external link)

  
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M_Six
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Post edited over 4 years ago by M_Six. (3 edits in all)
     
Feb 11, 2015 22:57 |  #15

I've been to the UK and back 3 times in the past 4 years and hauled a couple of bodies and 4-5 lenses on the last two trips. We were driving on those two trips, so the weight wasn't a concern except for moving through the airports. For the trip where we used only trains and subways, I had a lighter setup, but paid for it with lesser IQ. I have very few images from that trip. If you can afford it, get a decent, pocketable P&S to take out with you when you go eat or to do some shopping, then dedicate some time for photography where you can haul out your T3i and lenses. For instance, you can shoot the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London and the skyline and the Thames and all that area in one day of walking around. Or one evening. You can do the Wheel and Westminster at the same time. You don't need to haul the T3i around every minute if you schedule in your photo time.

I have never had a customs official even glance at my gear upon return. Don't worry about that. Just declare what you did buy over there and you'll be fine.

Fish and Chips for sure. Mushy peas, not so much. The minty peas aren't worth it either. Also, near the Tower of London there is a pub called Hung, Drawn, and Quartered. Sort of touristy, but they have great pies in there. I'm talking about dinner pies filled with meat and such. Very tasty. There's a Starbucks just below the Tower side of the Tower Bridge if you get withdrawal symptoms. :lol: It's attached to that hotel there.

The Pret a Manger stores are everywhere in London and are far better there than they are over here. Good place for a cheap, fast, and tasty breakfast if you're ok with coffee and a roll or a sandwich. Breakfast at the hotel we stayed in on our last trip to London was outrageously priced, so every morning I walked to the Pret a Manger at the corner of our street and bought coffees and croissants for a few pounds and brought them back to our room.

And this probably goes without saying, but get a subway pass for the week (or however long you're there). Single subway trips are seriously expensive, but the pass will pay for itself if you make use of the subway every day.


Mark J.
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