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I will be traveling to Jaipur India, and wanted to know which lens to take along with my Nikon d5100. I currently have a 35mm f1.8, 55-200mm, 70-300mm and a 18-70mm.

I want to take pictures of the palaces and other landmarks in Jaipur.

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2  
How many lenses do you plan on taking? –  ElendilTheTall Oct 10 '12 at 18:21
10  
Why carry one? You have an interchangeable lens camera, interchange the lenses... :) –  John Cavan Oct 10 '12 at 18:59
3  
If you own these lenses, why aren't you bringing them? Can you give us the criteria that you are trying to ask about so we have something to base our answers on? This is a very personal decision. If you like one lens the best, I don't know what we can provide beyond personal preferences of our own. –  dpollitt Oct 10 '12 at 20:24
1  
Plus, if it gets heavy, porters are very cheap in India. I'd even buy a few more if this is going to be a once in a lifetime trip. Don't forget a backup camera, battery and charger. –  Itai Oct 10 '12 at 22:47
    
@itai you still didn't overcome your LBA I see :-) I agree with the advices, you should make those in answer. Add reliable memory cards to the list. –  Francesco Oct 11 '12 at 6:18

7 Answers 7

I would probably prioritise the lenses like this, and bring as many as I feel like carrying:

  1. 18-70mm - most usefull multi-purpose
  2. 70-300mm - to zoom in on architecture details and people
  3. 35mm f1.8 - good to have for low light and nice for narrow DOF
  4. 55-200mm

The build quality of the lenses would however come in play also. If there is a pro-grade lens I would prioritise that higher for the better image quality and better weather sealing.

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If you have to choose just one, take 18-70 or also add 55-200 for street photography. I actually don't see any sense taking 35mm and keep changing it during my travel.

Couple of more helpful tips.

  1. India is crowded, people usually don't mind street photography. In fact if you visit Jaipur, native folks won't mind posing for you. Ask them!

  2. For shooting palaces try to go there very early morning to avoid crowd filling up your photos.

  3. Jaipur is very famous for its color. Some of the great Indian colorful portraits you see, comes from there because of so much old heritage. Look for those blue textured walls and people sitting there wearing contrasting color Indian folk dresses.

Enjoy your trip!

PS: If I were you, I'd sell all my lenses and get 18-200 as just one lens for travelling and keep 35mm for indoors for kids/family portraits.

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Personally and based on your lenses - I would take the 35mm for those 'in the streets' and 'market style shots' (nice bokeh) - also good for people photos / later at night shots and the 70-300mm for versatility.

I say take both because the 35mm is tiny - as you know it fits in a pocket!

Your camera is APS-C so this means there is a 1.5x crop factor so your 35mm is really 50mm ish on full frame.

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This is what I would have done: Take the 35mm for everything except if you are very far from the subject, the bring out the 70-300. On zoom-lenses people(including me) tend to only use the extreme ends of the zoom-scope (in this case 70 or 300). The 35mm will let you take pictures without scarring people away. Good luck & have a nice trip!

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Frankly, I am surprised there are so many answers and you have not found one yet to your taste. Your question is rather vague but I will assume you are satisfied with the quality of your lenses.

Palaces in India are big to enormous, so you really need your widest lens, the 18-70mm. I am concerned you have no other lens below 55mm because if that one fails, you will lose a lot of opportunities. So, I strongly suggest adding another wide-angle lens - possibly the same one - or something even wider like the Nikkor 12-24mm F/4 or Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8.

Your long lenses will be great to pick out small details in palaces, sculptures, windows and other decorations which give those places character. Use the 70-300mm primarily and the 55-200mm as a backup (or vice-versa if you prefer the quality of the former).

The 35mm F/1.8 is a more creative lens and you can have fun with it. It will also come in handy in some palace interiors which may be get dark. Keep in mind that in religious temples you may not be allowed to take any photos inside. I would not worry much about having a backup for this lens.

Finally, I know you only asked about lenses but remember than any thing that fails can ruin your trip photographically. If this is a once-in-a-lifetime event, I strongly suggest a backup camera, plus backup batter and charger. Another Nikon D5100 or a D3100 will do nicely and let you use all your lenses. Understandably if budget is restricted, you can always buy a compact camera. The image quality wont compare but you will get plenty of worthy images to recall and share your trip.

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I would recommend the 18-70, 70-300 and 35mm. You would probably want the flexibility of the 18-70 doing street. 35mm will come in handy in the palaces and forts. 70-300 for compressed landscapes and isolating subjects.

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It really depends on your personal taste.

If it were me, I'd take the 18-70mm because I do mostly landscape photography. I find zoom to be over-rated (except when shooting my son's soccer games) as it de-emphasizes depth and makes the images very flat.

When I went to Africa back in 2000, I used mostly the 24-120mm. I had the 70-300 but really only used it while on safari and not wanting to get all that close to the animals. (Note that was an F90x -- FX size.)

My main lens on my D80 was an 18-200 because of its extreme versatility with a 10.5mm fish-eye for the really wide stuff.

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