Which Camera for Southeast Asia Trip?

kitvankitvan Nikon NoobPosts: 243Registered Users Major grins
edited December 7, 2017 in Cameras

Hey everyone,

TL;DR
Should I take my best camera system to Southeast Asia? (D90 vs D610)

Up until recently, me best body was the DX Nikon D90. It got me through a great trip to Tanzania with a telephoto, and to Japan with the 18-200VR and 10.5mm Fisheye, among many many other trips. It's been a real workhorse. The results were good, albeit a little more “gritty” than the D610 due to the subpar ISO performance and crop sensor.

I’ve recently upgraded to an FX Nikon D610 and have multiple lenses, including the 28-300 VR and 50mm f/1.8G.

Here’s my conundrum. I have an upcoming 3 week trip to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam planned, and I can’t decide whether taking my best camera is a good idea. I’ve been told that petty theft is more of an issue in some areas, and we will be traveling on our own, as opposed to the guided trips I’ve done in the past.

Here are the pro’s cons as I see them:
D90 w/ 18-200VR
Pros
— Smaller and lighter
— Less valuable
— I won’t worry as much about it.
Cons
— Subpar ISO performance and IMG quality
— 18-200 Lens creep (though I’ve partially fixed using rubber bands)
— Will require more noise reduction, etc. in post. Esp. for low light shots.
-- There might be a few dead pixels which will have to be cloned out.

D610 w/ 28-300VR + 50mm
Pros
— Significantly better ISO performance and overall IMG quality
— I will worry more about damaging/losing it.
Cons
— Larger and heavier
— More valuable. $1500-$2000 more on the line
— My traveling partner might be irritated. (she wants me to bring less gear :)

Which camera would you do choose?

I’ve looked into insurance, but it doesn’t look like it would really pencil out. I also have the following security measures in place:
— a 15L Pacsafe Venturesafe anti-theft daypack
— an Altura Photo neck strap/sling with safety tether. This thing is pretty cool and allows you to keep the camera close to your body which should help to keep the camera safe in crowded areas.
— Lots of good advice from friends who have been there, and a vigilant attitude.

Thanks in advance for any advice or opinions!

KV

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime, doubly so."

Comments

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 19,158Super Moderators moderator
    edited December 7, 2017

    I suggest that your decision should rest mostly on the reason for the trip plus your risk-reward comfort level.

    If this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and if photography is a major component, that would be a strong incentive to take along better equipment. If you can also handle the additional risks and responsibilities of the better equipment in occasional danger, that should drive a decision to take the very best equipment you can carry.

    If this is more of a casual trip and your intent is simply to document the trip, and if you can't bear the loss of your best equipment, that should drive a different conclusion.

    Would you also consider getting a used DX upgrade body, maybe a used D7100 and some decent, but not expensive, glass? That could be a way to mitigate any loss while improving the possible outcome.

    At any rate, I suggest taking lots of memory cards and swapping them frequently, consciously overlapping important scenes so that some of the cards could always be on your person(s) at all times. (A D7100 with its dual card slots would simplify that activity.)

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • kitvankitvan Nikon Noob Posts: 243Registered Users Major grins

    @ziggy53 said:
    I suggest that your decision should rest mostly on the reason for the trip plus your risk-reward comfort level.

    If this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and if photography is a major component, that would be a strong incentive to take along better equipment. If you can also handle the additional risks and responsibilities of the better equipment in occasional danger, that should drive a decision to take the very best equipment you can carry.

    If this is more of a casual trip and your intent is simply to document the trip, and if you can't bear the loss of your best equipment, that should drive a different conclusion.

    Would you also consider getting a used DX upgrade body, maybe a used D7100 and some decent, but not expensive, glass? That could be a way to mitigate any loss while improving the possible outcome.

    At any rate, I suggest taking lots of memory cards and swapping them frequently, consciously overlapping important scenes so that some of the cards could always be on your person(s) at all times. (A D7100 with its dual card slots would simplify that activity.)

    Thanks very much, Ziggy. You had some great thoughts and ideas in there.

    I'll be walking the line on this trip between photo hunting, and wanting/needing to be present with my traveling partner. Up until now, I could be more selfish during my getaways... this always made the choice clear to take my best equipment. So due to the current circumstances, I might lean more towards the lesser/smaller camera. Documenting the trip is definitely a basic priority, but I'm also hoping to be an opportunist when possible and snag some great shots here and there. That's the part that makes me want to go for the FX option. :P

    I hadn't thought of possibly looking for an upgrade DX body though, that's an interesting idea. Seems like it might bridge the gap between the two options nicely. I'll take a look into that.
    Also your tips about swapping memory cards out regularly could prove to be a lifesaver... I'll plan on doing that just in case. I'll also be traveling with my Gnarbox which I got from a Kickstarter campaign a while back. It's a portable hard drive with wifi and ipad editing/filing capabilities. I'll probably be uploading to that as we go, and keeping it our hotel safe or on my person at all times. This will serve as an extra layer of redundancy so long as I keep the images on the cards as well.

    Anyways, thanks for your thoughts. I know this comes down to person choice, but if anyone else wants to chime in, I'm all ears!

    kitvan

    "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime, doubly so."
  • bfluegiebfluegie Big grins IndianaPosts: 173Registered Users Major grins

    Ziggy gave you some excellent advice. I have taken three trips to Hawaii, one solo and two with my sister. I tried to not have my photography impinge on her enjoyment of her vacation so on each of the trips with her I ended up taking less than 1/3 of the photos that I did on the solo trip. Vacationing with someone can affect the photography. Each time I did take my full kit (D90 and 5 lenses). I ended up not changing lenses much when I was with my sister and even sometimes just used my pocket camera. She is pretty tolerant of the photography, but there can be a point where annoyance kicks in. I decided that the vacations with my sister were going to be "do things" vacations rather than choose what to do based on what I can photograph. In retrospect, I would probably just have taken one or two lenses on the vacations with my sister and been satisfied with fewer photos. That's the way it turned out anyway and I still had to haul all the gear. As in any situation, individual experiences will vary. This was just mine. In your situation I would probably want to take the full frame camera, agonize over it for days (maybe weeks), but end up taking the D90. I don't know if this helps or not.

    Enjoy the trip.

    ~~Barbara
  • kitvankitvan Nikon Noob Posts: 243Registered Users Major grins

    @bfluegie said:
    Ziggy gave you some excellent advice. I have taken three trips to Hawaii, one solo and two with my sister. I tried to not have my photography impinge on her enjoyment of her vacation so on each of the trips with her I ended up taking less than 1/3 of the photos that I did on the solo trip. Vacationing with someone can affect the photography. Each time I did take my full kit (D90 and 5 lenses). I ended up not changing lenses much when I was with my sister and even sometimes just used my pocket camera. She is pretty tolerant of the photography, but there can be a point where annoyance kicks in. I decided that the vacations with my sister were going to be "do things" vacations rather than choose what to do based on what I can photograph. In retrospect, I would probably just have taken one or two lenses on the vacations with my sister and been satisfied with fewer photos. That's the way it turned out anyway and I still had to haul all the gear. As in any situation, individual experiences will vary. This was just mine. In your situation I would probably want to take the full frame camera, agonize over it for days (maybe weeks), but end up taking the D90. I don't know if this helps or not.

    Enjoy the trip.

    Definitely helpful! Thanks Barbara. I know how it is taking a bunch of lenses and not using them... with either camera, I'm going to try to keep it to 2 this time!

    "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime, doubly so."
  • Moogle PepperMoogle Pepper Big picture in the sky Posts: 2,941Registered Users Major grins
    edited December 8, 2017

    @kitvan said:
    Hey everyone,

    TL;DR
    Should I take my best camera system to Southeast Asia? (D90 vs D610)

    Up until recently, me best body was the DX Nikon D90. It got me through a great trip to Tanzania with a telephoto, and to Japan with the 18-200VR and 10.5mm Fisheye, among many many other trips. It's been a real workhorse. The results were good, albeit a little more “gritty” than the D610 due to the subpar ISO performance and crop sensor.

    I’ve recently upgraded to an FX Nikon D610 and have multiple lenses, including the 28-300 VR and 50mm f/1.8G.

    Here’s my conundrum. I have an upcoming 3 week trip to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam planned, and I can’t decide whether taking my best camera is a good idea. I’ve been told that petty theft is more of an issue in some areas, and we will be traveling on our own, as opposed to the guided trips I’ve done in the past.

    I did a month in Vietnam with a 5D3 with 35L and 50mm. I think you need to decide, like Ziggy said, what is the point of this journey. it is personal or is it more photographic oriented? I would also recommend, lots of good zip lock bags, some gaffers tape, and stuff to help defog, cause of rain and humidity. as for theft, while prevalent, as long as you are hyper aware of your surroundings and of your belongings, you should be fine with either set of gear you bring.

    In the big cities, like Hanoi, definitely keep a hand on your things. I usually go around with just one camera body and lens, while locking up the other lens in the safe in my hotel. This way I am not carrying everything with me.

    Food & Culture.
    www.tednghiem.com
  • kitvankitvan Nikon Noob Posts: 243Registered Users Major grins

    @Moogle Pepper said:

    I would also recommend, lots of good zip lock bags, some gaffers tape, and stuff to help defog, cause of rain and humidity.

    Would you mind elaborating a little on this? I haven't shot much in humid environments and want to be sure not to have any problems... are the bags to go around the camera body, and the tape to seal the bags around the lens? Also I was planning on possibly using filters. Do you think this is a bad idea, as moisture could become trapped between the front lens element and the filter?

    In the big cities, like Hanoi, definitely keep a hand on your things. I usually go around with just one camera body and lens, while locking up the other lens in the safe in my hotel. This way I am not carrying everything with me.

    Good tips, thank you. I do plan on being as aware as possible, and vigilant when it comes to keeping my equipment close by. Honestly I will probably be equally alert with either camera, so I'm kind of leaning towards throwing caution to the wind and taking the nicer rig at this point, despite the extra size and weight.

    Thanks very much,
    KV

    "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime, doubly so."
  • Moogle PepperMoogle Pepper Big picture in the sky Posts: 2,941Registered Users Major grins

    When it rains in SE Asia, it rains. Even in the not so rainy season. The bag is to basically cover all of the camera except part of the front element of the lens so that you can still make some pictures. It's not 100% but better than being naked in the rain.

    Food & Culture.
    www.tednghiem.com
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