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Heading to SFO -- what to bring?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by WT21, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    611
    Aug 7, 2011
    Heading to San Francisco, and I'm torn on what to bring. Last fall we went to London, and I had m43 for travel. Brought the 9-18, Panasonic 20 and the 50-150. Bulk was done on the 9-18, some personal indoors shots on the P20, and a couple of architecture shots on the 50-150. Very pleased with the results. This was my last use case for m43 (travel).

    This year, I dedicated 2016 to try and go all Sony, and have 2 kit options:
    • APS-C option: a6000 w/28/2 for indoor personal shots, 55-210 for tele. Maybe also bring along the excellent Sigma 60. I guess my RX100 for wide angle and pano. I don't care much for the Rok 12/2. Great results, just not my cup of tea. Will probably sell it. I wish Sig would make a nice, compact 12 or 16mm for APS-C to go with their 19, 30 60 series.
    • Full Frame option: a7 w/28-70 all-rounder, Voigt 40/1.4 for personal indoor shots, and maybe also the 55-210 for telephoto. I think I like this kit better, TBH.
    I prefer AF for when out in the streets on the wide angle. Indoors MF when taking pics of friends is OK.

    I have time to buy something else, but the only think I'd consider I think is the Sony 10-18, but for me, it's a bit big to carry with everything else, and I'm much prefer a 10-28.
     
  2. AlwaysOnAuto

    AlwaysOnAuto TalkEmount Top Veteran

    719
    Feb 17, 2015
    I'd be sure to bring a jacket. It can get dang cold in SF during the summer.
     
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  3. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    I was in SF back in 2010 when I still had my Canon T2i. I brought 17-50 and 70-300 and about the only time I used that tele was to take a shot of Alcatraz from across the bay. I also didn't feel like I needed an UWA either. There's really not that many narrow streets with large buildings worth shooting, from what I recall. Although I'd find use for an UWA if I had it. There are some shots framed a tad too close, but all in all, 17mm was sufficient.

    Going through my SF set on Flickr, looks like I've used the 17-30 mm range a lot. Now, because of the difference in crop factors the 17 mm on Canon is like 18 mm on Sony APS-C.

    So if you don't mind zooming with your feet or cropping, A7 with 28/2 (an 18/1.8 equivalent on APS-C) should probably suffice for most of your needs. Or 28-70, but then you may want a different lens for indoor.

    It also depends on your shooting style, as I said I didn't find much use for the tele. But then, I am not much into candid portraits of strangers. There were some very weird personalities there.

    Oh yes. The worst part is, it's not just cold or hot. It's cold one minute, hot the next, and it also changes as you walk a mile. So you're constantly sweating or freezing.

    Also from what I heard, the petty crime situation has gotten pretty bad lately, so whatever gear you bring, keep it on you.
     
  4. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder TalkEmount Veteran

    297
    Feb 7, 2012
    I was going to say exactly the same thing. Live there for years. I always carried around a light jacket in my messenger bag.
     
  5. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    You should have a great time! Lucky you!
    I was there in Fall of 2014 and Spring of 2015, and Yes...pack a jacket. ;)
    Another thing you should bring, a small portable tripod. ie. Gorillapod. If you're out till nightfall, you'll be glad to have it. SF offers breathtaking nightscapes. (Hawk Hill, Twin Peaks, the Performing Arts, etc) Toss it into your jacket pocket.

    First time, I only had my kit lenses for my a6000. Had to go light due to traveling by bike.
    Second, I had my car and brought numerous lenses. I discovered for most of the city shots and landscapes, I really didn't need more than 100mm. 19 and 30 were the most useful.
    The a6000 would be my choice given the lenses you have. Not as many options with the A7. It will keep the bulk down too.
    I'd take the Sigma 19, Zony 28 f2, Voigt 40 f1.4 in case you plan to shoot indoor low light, and a f2.8 100-105mm or 135mm for telephoto duty. The 55-210 would be alternate even though it's awfully slow in low light.

    IMHO, it's the best US city from a photographer's perspective. It's relatively small, neighborhoods are cool and diverse, and the geography is gorgeous. If I could afford it, I'd move there asap. ;)
    If you're used to city life, then I wouldn't be too concerned about your safety. I never felt at risk anywhere I ventured, and during the evening too. The homeless numbers downtown around the state buildings is disconcerting to see. But that's about it.
     
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  6. izTheViz

    izTheViz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    537
    May 10, 2013
    Paris
    Yannis Marigo
    Back to my last year photos I mainly used 35, 24 and 20 mm on the A7.
    The kit lens plus two FDs 24 and 20.

    Now, I'll be back to SFO by the end of the month and I'll pack the 16-35, 55 plus certainly a 100 just in case.

    Enjoy
     
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  7. drmarkf

    drmarkf TalkEmount Rookie

    11
    Feb 2, 2016
    Mark Farrington
    I'm spending a week in the city in the middle of next month and am currently also weighing up what to take (from a mix of A7S and m4/3 kit).

    Anyone done any low-light street shooting in the city? Any good areas you'd recommend (bearing in mind the discussion above over personal and kit safety)?

    I've been to SF several times in the past, but before I had the A7S (which has opened up a whole new vista of night time street photography for me), and it would be helpful to know current views on good areas where I'm going to feel safe. I now regularly shoot at night in UK cities, but I do research beforehand as to safety and shot opportunities.

    It's an interesting decision as to whether to bring 2 m4/3 bodies, or one plus the A7S/35mmf2.8 or Loxia 35, especially as I'm also going to do some landscape shooting on the trip and I hate carrying too much!
     
  8. izTheViz

    izTheViz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    537
    May 10, 2013
    Paris
    Yannis Marigo
    Hey,

    From my little experience :
    Try some curvy carlight trails on Lombard street.
    California street at night/dusk also (just be careful since you would need to stand in the middle of the road for a little while)
    Sunrise on the pier is a must.
    City views from Telegraph hill before/at sunrise or at night. Two interesting close spots there I can share on a map.
     
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  9. chalkdust

    chalkdust TalkEmount Veteran

    283
    Sep 25, 2015
    Bert Cheney
    I was there earlier this summer. It was cool-to-cold in early June.

    For lenses, my favorite shots were from my 40mm and my 55mm lenses (used on A7ii, full frame) - with a slight preference for 40mm. Your CV 40mm should be heavily used, i think. I am not sure where I would have used a long lens - perhaps an image of Alcatraz from Fisherman's Wharf?

    It is a fun place and fairly easy to find photographable things. Expect to have fun.
     
  10. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD TalkEmount Veteran

    396
    Nov 25, 2012
    Viera, Florida, USA
    Steve
    ...and an umbrella.

    There's an awesome tiny sushi restaurant in a Japantown street mall (ISOBUNE SUSHI | SF JAPANTOWN). The little boats of sushi float around a moat in front of you. You take what you want as it floats by... and it is good! I saw it 20 some years ago when I travelled for Marriott photographing hotels. Went back this past December with my family and friends, it was still there, and still good.
     
  11. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD TalkEmount Veteran

    396
    Nov 25, 2012
    Viera, Florida, USA
    Steve
    Oh, and I'd do the A6000 with 16-50 and 55-210. May throw the 10-18 or 35/1.8 if budget allowed. When I went in December, I took a Nikon Df, 24-85, 70-300 (both VRs), and a 50 1.8G.

    It was a big kit.
     
  12. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    For street photog opportunities, The Haight, The Mission District, The Castro, Embarcadero, Fisherman's Wharf.
     
  13. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD TalkEmount Veteran

    396
    Nov 25, 2012
    Viera, Florida, USA
    Steve
    Japantown and Chinatown, too! Go hungry.
     
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  14. drmarkf

    drmarkf TalkEmount Rookie

    11
    Feb 2, 2016
    Mark Farrington
    Perfect - many thanks all.
     
  15. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    611
    Aug 7, 2011
  16. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD TalkEmount Veteran

    396
    Nov 25, 2012
    Viera, Florida, USA
    Steve
    Does this help?
    (Taken with my PEN F, btw, using that little knob on the front to switch to B/W...)


    24240A6000.
     
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  17. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    611
    Aug 7, 2011
    Looked at adding 10-18* and 24-240, thinking about a7 w/28-70, and even a Fuji xt10, a bridge cam like the RX10, or panny lx100 but decided to upgrade my creaking rx100 to an rx100 mark iii to get wider and stay small, and complement that with the a6000 with 28/2 and 55-210. Lightweight and covers most everything, with panorama stitch of the rx100 stepping in for uwa.

    Looking back at my London trip, I did a number of family selfies with the Panny GX7 and Oly 9-18*. That takes easy-to-hold 1 handed operation (not happening with the 24-240, a bridge cam or even the a6000 with a 10-18) and I did a whole Utah trip with just the RX100.

    I think this setup will work just fine.

    Thanks everyone for your input.

    *What I would like Sony to do is to create an APS-C 12-24/4-5.6. A compact UWA that goes to 35mm eq. I prefer a walk-around in that range. I'm sure they won't do it, given they have the 10-18, but I wish e.g. Sigma would. I kept about 150 pictures from London trip and 115 of them were done on the Oly 9-18.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  18. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount Veteran

    411
    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    That would be a great FL range for me, too. I have the 10-18 and wish it just had a little more reach, 24mm would do, and I could give a few mm on the low end . But probably not going to happen. :(