Lenses to take to Tokyo

mesmerized

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Howdy!

I'll be going to Tokyo in a few days and I'm thinking what lenses I should bring along. My current line-up consists of:

1) 16-35 F/4 (which I find to be heavy...)
2) 55mm F/1.8 (which is find hard to apply in cities)
3) Samyang 35mm F/2.8 (which is a bit uninspiring, but OK for what it is)

I've been thinking of getting the 28-75mm Tamron for this trip but I'm not sure if it's a good idea. Also, the 85mm F/1.8 from Sony has been on my mind as I kinda see how I could use it for some street portraits taken from afar. But then again, having a 70-200 would be nice too, as I will surely get out of the city and visit a few spots around.

Any thoughts?
 

JonathanF2

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Howdy!

I'll be going to Tokyo in a few days and I'm thinking what lenses I should bring along. My current line-up consists of:

1) 16-35 F/4 (which I find to be heavy...)
2) 55mm F/1.8 (which is find hard to apply in cities)
3) Samyang 35mm F/2.8 (which is a bit uninspiring, but OK for what it is)

I've been thinking of getting the 28-75mm Tamron for this trip but I'm not sure if it's a good idea. Also, the 85mm F/1.8 from Sony has been on my mind as I kinda see how I could use it for some street portraits taken from afar. But then again, having a 70-200 would be nice too, as I will surely get out of the city and visit a few spots around.

Any thoughts?
I shot mostly wide in Tokyo. Lots of tight and cramped spaces and/or large scenes to photograph. I'd feel the 28-75mm might not be wide enough. I'd probably be more comfortable with a 24-105mm instead. To be honest I didn't use my 70-200mm at all, even though I brought it. If I were to shoot it over again, I'd bring my Samyang 18mm, 45mm and maybe the 85mm (for a short telephoto) and that would be good enough for most things in the city.
 

Richard Crowe

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A combination of 28-75mm and a wider lens on a full frame camera would work quite well for Tokyo or just about any city. In fact, I could be quite happy with a combination of 28-75mm plus a 12mm f/2.0 Rokinon on my APSC camera...
 

Tipton

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FE 24-240. It's a big honking lens, but it replaces all of them. (Ok, both the 16-35/4 and 55/1.8 are sharper).
Seriously, it's a good travel lens.

But what kind of photography are you going to be doing?
 

mesmerized

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Thanks to you all.

Basically, I will be there for a few days, roaming around. Candid shots in the city. I will try to get out of the city, though, so perhaps a telephoto would come in handy. 16-35 is coming with me, that's a no brainer, I guess. Question is... what would be a good companion to it? 85mm, 28-75mm, or 70-200mm?
 

JonathanF2

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Thanks to you all.

Basically, I will be there for a few days, roaming around. Candid shots in the city. I will try to get out of the city, though, so perhaps a telephoto would come in handy. 16-35 is coming with me, that's a no brainer, I guess. Question is... what would be a good companion to it? 85mm, 28-75mm, or 70-200mm?
Tokyo is huge and I'm sure you'll be doing a lot of walking. It really depends on how you want to shoot it and what you would be comfortable with in terms of weight. If anything, bring a good pair of shoes! My two lens combo on my trip was the 16-35mm + 50mm. I used the 16-35mm for all the wide shots and the 50mm when I wanted to take nice shots of my wife/kids. If you do bring the 70-200mm, make sure to throw the 35mm 2.8 when you need something faster than f/4. Though the 55mm would be a nice portrait lens if you have a significant other you'd like to shoot as well! :D
 

firemist

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Wide and fast. IMO a fast wide prime like the 24/f1.4 plus the 55/f1.8 is all you will need.

If you go to the Ginza area be sure to check out Bic Camera; and if you get to Shinjuku, Yodobashi Camera.

My son revisited Japan just a couple of weeks ago (he went to school there when a child; and did 2 years of college in Osaka about 10 years ago). He used an old NEX5N with the 16/f1.4 E lens 95% of the time; I also let him borrow my Tamron 28-75 but he seldom used that.

Gambate kudasai!
 

mesmerized

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Thanks

I'm taking my 16-35 for wide-angle shots, as I don't have any primes to cover wider focal lengths.
As for the 55... It will probably end in my bag but I'm still considering adding one more lens. I might get out of the city for 2 or 3 days and I just wonder if adding a telephoto would be a good idea... And even in the city, sometimes it's good to have that extra reach... The 70-200 F/4 is a natural contender here, but perhaps an 85mm prime would suffice? Ugh... decisions, decisions...
 

mesmerized

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Looks like I will be extending my trip and visiting Kyoto again (after Tokyo)
 

JonathanF2

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Thanks

I'm taking my 16-35 for wide-angle shots, as I don't have any primes to cover wider focal lengths.
As for the 55... It will probably end in my bag but I'm still considering adding one more lens. I might get out of the city for 2 or 3 days and I just wonder if adding a telephoto would be a good idea... And even in the city, sometimes it's good to have that extra reach... The 70-200 F/4 is a natural contender here, but perhaps an 85mm prime would suffice? Ugh... decisions, decisions...
I think you'll be fine with the 16-35/55/70-200 trio. You can shoot all the city photos with a 16-35mm + 55mm. Everything is so modular and compact, I think it's best to have a wide in Tokyo. You can used the 55mm for some nice bokeh type images. I wouldn't even bother with the 70-200mm in the city unless you want to get some isolation type shots like at the train stations or shoot down some of the long/busy streets. Once you get out of the city, you can utilize the 70-200mm for more rural/nature oriented photos. Just have fun and make sure to visit the camera shops! Also go to the Sony store in Ginza, they give out free Sony bags! :D
 

WNG

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I think you can skip the 70-200mm f/4. I didn't need more than 135mm in an urbanscape in SF. Zoomed in shots didn't produce any worthwhile compositions. You'll be mostly using the wide focal lengths.
Do you have access to a 135mm? Even a manual focus 135mm f/2.8 and dumb adapter is light and compact. I'd definitely pack the 35mm f/2.8 for its size and speed for night shots in the city.
 

mesmerized

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I was thinking of getting an old Pentax 135mm f/2.5 but I have zero knowledge about old manual lenses...

I guess I could always get an older lens in Japan...
 
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WNG

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I was thinking of getting an old Pentax 135mm f/2.5 but I have zero knowledge about old manual lenses...

I guess I could always get an older lens in Japan...
I've gone through a number of manual focus lenses in 135mm,
https://www.flickr.com/photos/wng555/collections/72157667614890417/
and I can't recommend the Pentax Super Takumar 135mm f/2.5. It wasn't that good a lens wide open. A lot of chromatic aberration and fringing. Plus, you need a specific M42 adapter type for the Super-Multicoated Takumar version. Unless you get a later Pentax K mount version with revised optics, which is superior. A better deal, would be their slower 135-f/3.5 primes. A classic 4:4 design. Small, sharp, colorful, build quality, and can be found for under $20. The Pentax-M SMC 135-f/3.5 is also excellent, but is a 5:5 design.

If you want a faster 135mm, the Canon FL/FD 135-f/2.5 are better performers wide open. A Mamiya/Sekor SX Auto 135-f/2.8 or Yashica ML 135-f/2.8 are superb. Both made by Tomioka.
A very very sharp and still affordable model is the Konica Hexanon AR 135-f/3.2. Great for landscapes. I'm sure I've forgotten a few, but these are still pretty cheap. The last Nikkor 135-f/2.8 is also excellent, but its price has jumped to over $150 used.
I'm sure you'll find any of these in the numerous Tokyo used camera stores.
 
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mesmerized

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I'm sure you'll find any of these in the numerous Tokyo used camera stores.
Thank you very much good sir!

A few thoughts:

1) Perhaps something like a 100mm would be a viable option. Ideally, Olympus Zuiko 100mm f/2 (but it won't happen, as it's just too expensive)
2) I'm just wondering... Perhaps getting a Sony FE85mm would be a good solution after all? That short telephoto range could give me some space between me and the human subjects in the city.
3) How does a manual focusing lens fare in situations where you want to take a candid photo of a passerby? Are these manual focus lenses only good for non-moving objects/people?
 

mesmerized

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There's also the Mitakon Zhong Yi 135mm f/2.8 ;)

How about an old Olympus 135mm f/2.8?
 
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JonathanF2

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Why not wait to go to Japan for used lens shopping? Though I'd look at some of the smaller shops due to better pricing. Most shopping districts will have a few small shops. Places like Map Camera are a bit more expensive, though more tourist friendly. One of the best Nikon used shop in Ginza also has a thing against tourists/foreigners and will not hesitate to kick people out his store, despite having one of the cleanest and best Nikon collections I've ever seen! :roflmao:
 

christilou

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I've lugged my 85mm around Europe on several occasions and used it minimally. 35mm has been good with the ZM 25mm 2.8 for wider if needed. I always take the M10 as a back up with the 50mm on it knowing that I can also use it on the Sony. I bought the Batis 40mm for a walk around. It's very sharp and feels nice and balanced on the Sony bodies.
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This is the 40mm field of view, low down and high up!
 

bdbits

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3) How does a manual focusing lens fare in situations where you want to take a candid photo of a passerby? Are these manual focus lenses only good for non-moving objects/people?
Your main issues here are shutter speed and focus. The former has nothing to do with the lens being manual focus. The latter obviously does. There are things you can do to try and mitigate focus issues, e.g. zone focusing, or using a smaller aperture so as to have enough DoF that your subject is acceptably sharp. Or just becoming good enough to be able to focus quickly. Remember that much of early street photography for example employed fully manual cameras and lenses. It can be done, but you need some dedication to learn to do it.

Disclaimer: I have nearly all manual focus lenses. But I don't take a lot of pictures of people, either, and use an AF lens for things like family events.
 

Richard Crowe

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Different strokes for different folks. My standard Canon crop sensor kit for travel was a pair of 7D bodies with the 17-55mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/4L IS lens, plus a Tokina 12-24mm f/4 ATX Pro lens in reserve which I seldom used. I was always entirely happy with this combination and have struggled to replicate it in my Sony gear at a reasonable weight...

My Sony APSC kit would be an A6400 and an A6500 with Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 and Sony 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS lens with the little Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 lens in reserve.

That kit would be well under five pounds and should allow me any type of shot I desire.

However, I am not a fan of UWA shooting nor do I do any type of selfie shooting...

BTW: Japan seems to have better used camera bargains than new camera bargains. Prices in the USA are often lower and at least as competitive and include a USA warranty...
 

WNG

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Thank you very much good sir!

A few thoughts:

1) Perhaps something like a 100mm would be a viable option. Ideally, Olympus Zuiko 100mm f/2 (but it won't happen, as it's just too expensive)
2) I'm just wondering... Perhaps getting a Sony FE85mm would be a good solution after all? That short telephoto range could give me some space between me and the human subjects in the city.
3) How does a manual focusing lens fare in situations where you want to take a candid photo of a passerby? Are these manual focus lenses only good for non-moving objects/people?
1. A 100mm is a bit more flexible for candid portrait shots on the street. An M Zuiko 100-f/2 would be dream choice! :) Yes, expensive and rare.
Alternatives would be 105-f/2.5 Nikkor, another iconic manual lens. A small Pentax Super Multi-coated Takumar of 100-105mm f/2.8 is another very nice prime. I can vouch for one.
A Minolta Rokkor 105-f/2.5.... also Nikon Series-E 100mm f/2.8, almost forgot that one....almost as good as the Nikkor 105, but much smaller.

Alternative is a 90mm f/2.5-2.8 Macro. Several excellent choices in vintage manuals. My recommendation is a Tamron SP 90mm f/2.5 52BB. Not only for macro, but doubles as a great portrait lens. It's Adapt-all 2, so a Fotasy Adaptall-Emount adapter is affordable and fits perfectly. The lens can be had for under $80.

The FE 85mm offers AF speed, and large f/1.8 aperture, but you'd still need to get relatively close to get a candid street portrait. The AF will yield more keepers.

3. Bob answered this better than I could. He covered all the points of manual focus street photography of moving subjects.

As for the Mitakon, it's for DSLRs, so it's still an adapted lens. And I don't see it improving on the superb vintage manuals I've mentioned. At $200, I've rather have a Nikkor, Contax, or the mentioned Olympus M Zuiko MC 135-f/2.8. But the Zuiko has become rare and pricey. No bargains for that excellent lens anymore. Expect to pay over $100.
I didn't find the smaller Zuiko 135-f/3.5 that outstanding compared to competing f/3.5, so can't recommend it for its price. The Pentax Takumars are the winners for best bang for the buck. I got mine for $10-19 each!
 

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