NYC trip: 28 and 35mm sufficient?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by Hans, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. Hans

    Hans New to TalkEmount

    Jul 5, 2016
    Hi, new here, from The Netherlands. Question: I will be visiting New York with my family. Lots of walking the streets and sight seeing from rooftops. Should I stick with my Zeiss 35/2.8 and Sony 28/2.0 (on my A7R2)? Small and practical, and sufficient, I think. Or, should I add the 55/1.8, or perhaps even the new 70-300mm? I think I will buy at least one of those once anyway, but not now already if not necessary. Thanks for your thoughts.
  2. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    I'd think the 35 and 28 are so close in FOV that I'd probably never swap one out for the other.

    But I honestly never know what to write in response to these "which lens should I bring?" queries, because I've never been to a city where I couldn't find an opportunity to use almost any lens you'd care to name. :hmmm:

    So I'll answer your question with some other questions: How much weight and bulk do you want to carry? What do you think you're going to be photographing? Are you going with people who share your interest in photography, or will they be impatient with your constant lens swapping? Will you be shooting indoors a lot?
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    DYNOBOB TalkEmount Regular

    Feb 9, 2016
    Cincinnati, OH
    Good response above, 28 and 35 would be too close for me too. For NYC something wider would be useful. I don't think anyone would regret carrying the 16-35zeiss, and on the 7R2 you could make nice 50mm crops. This is the new WTC and Monument shot at 24mm and 16mm last summer.

    DSC06178.jpg ... DSC06269.jpg

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  4. Hans

    Hans New to TalkEmount

    Jul 5, 2016
    Thank you. My answers: Lightweight. That is perhaps the main reason I switched to the Sony system. I will constantly be carrying the camera and one lens with me, shooting the main buildings, streets, parks, harbour. Hopefully not annoying my family too much, and getting them in front of my camera now and then. Indoor shooting: just occasionally at a restaurant I guess.
  5. Hans

    Hans New to TalkEmount

    Jul 5, 2016
    Thank you!
  6. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    In that case, of the lenses you mentioned, I'd probably opt for the 28 and 55. You could use the 55 for people shots, and both would be useful indoors. Though as Bob mentioned, if you're interested in shooting NYC's architecture, something wider than the 28 could be nice to have.

    Edit: Welcome to the forum, Hans!

    Edit II: I don't know if you've already read this thread, but it shows what my lightweight, walk-around prime kit looks like. For now. :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
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  7. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Wide is good in the city because many times obstructions prevent you from backing up. The 28mm is essentially the smartphone focal length, so it's the new standard for general photography. In addition, it's fast, so it will be good indoors. I don't see much reason for the 35mm if you bring the 28mm, the difference is a small crop on a 42mp image. Now if you take the 28mm, I would bring the 55mm for times when I want a more traditional portrait. The 28mm can work but there will be times when you want isolation and that will be difficult with 28mm in a cluttered city. And moving really close with 28mm to achieve that isolation changes the perspective and potentially distorts the face.

    As for longer focal lengths like your 70-300... Yes there can be opportunities, but unless you know before hand what you will do with it, you will find yourself wishing you left it home more often than not.
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  8. bargainguy

    bargainguy TalkEmount Regular

    Jun 29, 2016
    Given the choice between the 28 and the 35, I'd take the 28. One stop might make a significant difference in low light situations, and you can always move a little closer if practical.

    But here's a question no one has asked so far. How do you plan to focus? Bring the camera to eye level and focus there? Focus from waist level with the monitor turned up? Zone focus? Set at f/8 and pray?

    Only reason I ask - people have all kinds of different ways to do street photography. If you want to be super stealth and you don't have the quick reflexes of Cartier-Bresson, lens selection might be more about which one focuses faster and/or better rather than focal length, all else being equal.
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  9. storyteller

    storyteller TalkEmount Veteran

    Sep 25, 2011
    I would agree with the others that 28 & 35 seem very close but if that's what you're used to shooting with then I assume you've got a reason! Personally I'd take the 28 & 55. The 55 is a great lens but if you're used to something wider it can take a bit to get used to it. It is neither wide nor long but it can be both depending on how you use it. I don't use my 55 nearly as much now that I have the Batis 85 but the Batis is a bit long IMO for city shooting and that's why I wouldn't recommend the 70-300 either. I don't know how you vacation and where you plan on going in the City but I don't see 70-300 as a go to tourist lens. It could make some interesting shots but only with thoughtful deliberation.
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  10. Hans

    Hans New to TalkEmount

    Jul 5, 2016
    Thanks everyone - very helpful! Several things to take into consideration, and I'm sure I can make a good assessment now. Great. After the vacation I will post my best shot.
    P.S. The reason I own both the 28 and the 35 is that my first 7RII lens was the 28 and I had some difficulty with distortion (e.g. getting good group shots like my son's soccer team line up, the ones on the first row are giants). The 35 proves to be easier. In due time, I will make a choice between them because keeping both is indeed not very sensible.
  11. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    +1, 28mm and 55mm. I had all my AF lenses with me during my holiday trip to NYC and my most used FOV were 28 and 45mm. The extra speed will be handy shooting in the evening and indoors.
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  12. drmarkf

    drmarkf TalkEmount Rookie

    Feb 2, 2016
    Mark Farrington
    I regularly travel with just one prime when I'm travelling light and mainly doing street photography on city trips, and it's a 35 on FF (or equivalent).

    You always have the right lens on (!) and you instantly know how far to zoom with your feet. I honestly can't say I've ever really missed a wider or longer lens on that sort of trip, since I'm completely focused on looking for 35mm field of view images.

    The only time for street photography I find I'd like something wider is in confined spaces - especially in the narrow medieval central streets of European cities or in cramped, crowded Asian cities. Then I find I often prefer 24mm.

    28 + 55 would probably work perfectly well, but another option you might consider is to take 1 mirrorless camera with a 35, plus carry a high quality, tiny point-and-shoot in your top pocket (currently I use a Panasonic LF1, but I used a Sony RX100 in this way in the past).

    That way you can have instant availability to reasonable 24/28 - 80/200mm FF-equivalent images without juggling lenses. So you can shoot both wide and detail shots when needed, plus you have a backup body and retain a compact package.

    Anyway, enjoy the trip: we are so lucky to have so many good and reasonably economical options these days!
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  13. Nino Xerri

    Nino Xerri TalkEmount Veteran

    Jun 13, 2016
    Nino Xerri
    Hans, I would take the 28 & 55 as has been mentioned above. If you find the need to go "wide" take 2 or 3 images with the 28 and stitch them when you get back home.
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