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Choosing lenses for the Inca Trail


jamil
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Hi All,

 

I'm going on my honeymoon to Peru in September and we're planning to do the 4-day Inca Trail. This will be our biggest adventure ever so I'll definitely be bringing my Fuji cameras and lenses to document this trip. I'll probably bring everything I have to Peru and then take a couple of lenses out with me for any given situation. 

 

However, I've never done any serious hiking with a camera system, so I'd love your help in choosing what to bring/buy specifically for the Inca Trail. My current equipment is:

 

Bodies:

Fuji X-T2, Fuji X-T10 (will upgrade to the X-T20 by the time the trip comes around)

 

Lenses:

XF 14mm f/2.8, XF 18mm f/2.0, XF 23mm f/1.4, XF 35mm f/2.0, Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8 Macro

 

At the moment my thinking is as follows:

  1. While I'm trying to get into the best shape I can for the trip, I'm no athlete and I'd like to minimise the weight as much as I can
  2. I'd like to avoid changing lenses as much as possible, as we don't want to fall too far behind the rest of our group while I'm fiddling with lenses. For this reason, I'm thinking of bringing both bodies on the hike and having one lens on each
  3. Having watched some YouTube videos of the Inca Trail, it looks like "zooming with your feet" simply isn't an option for most of the way. The trail is narrow and snakes around some very steep mountainside, so if I want to take a shot, I'm stuck where I am. So while I love my primes, I may need to get myself a zoom or two
  4. As far as I can gather, wildlife isn't a big feature of the trek (bar the odd llama) so I probably won't need anything with too long a reach. By contrast, with the deep valleys and the spectacular views from the mountains, I should concentrate on the wide-to-normal range
  5. The weather might be changeable/unpredictable, so a weather-sealed zoom to go on the X-T2 might be a good idea

At the moment, I'm considering buying either the 16-55 2.8 or the 18-135 to go on the X-T2, which will hopefully cover most situations. Then, if I take another body, I can either keep the 14mm on it for vistas/valleys/Machu Picchu, or buy something even wider (10-24 zoom or perhaps the Samyang 12mm). On the other hand, if I bought the 10-24 to mount on the X-T20, might that cover most situations and I could just keep the 35 f2 mounted on the X-T2 as the weather sealed option if needed?

 

Has anyone done the Inca Trail (or has hiked generally with other camera systems) that could advise?

 

Thanks so much! 

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I hope someone with some experience down there responds to your post, because I'm taking a trip to Peru this year too for the first time. We'll be spending some time in and around Cusco, Machu Picchu, the Codillera Blanca, and a few other places. We're not going until November, but I'm already spending an unreasonable amount of time researching and contemplating lenses, bags, etc. And like you, I'm balancing the fact that it's, first and foremost, a family trip, with photography being a secondary consideration. So I want to travel light with some flexibility. I'm currently thinking I'll carry these three lenses in a small f-stop style backpack: 10-24, 35 f/2 (for wet days and for when I want to be less conspicuous), and the 55-200. I'll use both the XT2 and XPro2...gotta have a back up on a trip like this, and it will minimize lens changes. I see that your all primes at the moment, but if you decide to get a zoom, I would recommend either the 10-24 or 18-55...not the 18-135 personally. I've owned two copies of that lens and been underwhelmed both times. I REALLY wanted it to work because on paper it's such a great travel lens, and I know some people really like it. Make sure you get one well in advance and try it out for a few weeks before you actually take it on the trip. Maybe you'll get a better one than I had.

 

Looking at what you have, and if you're trying to keep weight down and changes to a minimum, I would get a 18-55 and carry your 14 with it. That's a nice travel kit. Those are the two lenses I'm bringing with me next month for a week in Nicaragua, incidentally.

 

Have fun.

Curt

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Good day,

 

The XF 18 - 55 & a couple of spare batteries

If you have no use for the lens afterwards consider the XC 16 - 50 as the quality is fine  & save the cash & a little weight

 

If security is going to be a concern camping overnight etc. I would leave my primary equipment at home and rely on 

the XT20 & XC 16 - 50

 

Consider where you going to secure your primary camera when on the trail!

 

David

 

David

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So after some discussion on this on another forum, I'm starting to lean towards buying a 10-24 and bringing the 35 mm on the trail for wet conditions. I've played with the 10-24, 18-55 and 18-135 in the shop, though not the 16-55. Part of my thinking is that I'm unlikely to use the 18-135 after the trip (unless for another adventure) ... the size is too big for casual use and I prefer wider aperture lenses. Likewise, the 16-55 is not something I'd carry around day-to-day, unlike a couple of primes. The 18-55 might get some use, but really doesn't add much if anything to my current kit. The 10-24 is the only one that adds something to my kit that I don't already have. I'm just painfully aware that it's not weather resistant, and I understand that it's likely to get humid, foggy and muddy up there. 

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10-24  -  35 f.2  -   50-230  (economico -  leggero  -   buono con  luce diurna )   :) 

14  o  12  -   18-55  (validissimo)   50-230   oppure  55-200  (non  cambia  molto  la  qualita')  :) 

Evitare i fissi.    Un  simile  viaggio  necessita  di  avere  pronto  l'obiettivo  con  focale  giusta.

Fatto  l'anno  scorso  con  altra  camera  full  frame.   Avevo  24-70  e  70-300.   Usato  il  primo  per  l'80%  delle  situazioni.

Portarsi  secondo  corpo va  bene.   Ma  aumenta  peso,   pero'  con  Fuji  no  problem  !   :D 

Saluti. 

 

GOOGLE TRANSLATED

 

10-24 - 35 f.2 - 50-230 (cheap - Light - good daylight) :)
14 or 12 - 18-55 (very valid) 50-230, or 55-200 (does not change much the quality ') :)
Avoid fixed. A similar trip needs to have ready the lens with the right focal length.
It did last year with more room full frame. I had 24-70 and 70-300. Used for the first 80% of the situations.
Take second body is fine. But it increases weight, but 'with Fuji no problem! : D
Greetings.

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Unfortunately robbery has become all to commonplace on the Inca Trail. Expensive cameras are calling cards for opportunists. Whatever you can leave at home, leave at home. Buy yourself an unobtrusive X70 and embrace its limitations. Spend time creating memories with your new bride. My $0.02. YMMV

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  • 2 weeks later...

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I did the Inca trail a long time ago,theft was bad then(they would even slit the pack on your back,and then sell you thread to repair it) and I would never take that huge heap of gear unless you are a pro selling your work.Even then it might ruin your hiking experience. I took only a fixed 35mm eq,and I dont think that I missed much photographically.When I was there it was quite cold,and dont forget the altitude factor.too

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Good evening,

 

This may be slightly off topic

 

As per the posts above I really think Security is a problem tourists prefer not to think about

 

Being a professional traveler I assure all that it should be the first consideration.

 

Every trip should risk assess the situation on the ground and the protection offered.

Prior experience in the area maybe vital.

When travel to Africa security is on the table with the itinerary and there is always a fallback plan if where we are going

becomes untenable - even if this means the voyage is abandoned ( very rare but the trigger level has to be preset )  

 

Hired in local people may be quite callous  when incidents happen expecting people to know the risks.

 

best regards

David

 

if fuji shooters require heads up particular to Uganda or Zambia send me a private message

Always assess your gov advice

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Hi, I did the 4 day hike in 2014 and can offer some suggestions. I used one weather sealed camera and short zoom 24-80mm equivalent for the entire trip. It was the perfect set up (I carried two other lenses that never left my duffel bag). Maybe an extra wide lens could be handy, but the zoom should stay on your camera full time. I also had 4 extra batteries and a back up power brick as there are no charging stations on the trail. Bring plenty of extra brand name memory cards, a blower and lens cloth. A mini portable tripod is useful, but don't bother with full size. You will not appreciate the weight and added bulk, and will not be allowed to use it at the Machu Pitchu site. Hiking poles are a necessity, as is a day pack with a Camelback style hydration insert. I wore my camera on a sling strap wherever we went. We never had any theft issues on the trail or in Cusco or felt threatened except maybe in Lima. Leave your jewelry and nice clothes at home-try to not look affluent and you will be fine both in town and on the trail. We used a Peruvian based tour company and the service was excellent. There is lots of information on the internet about preparation. Also, carry multi purpose antibiotic tablets just in case you pick up a stomach bug (in town); this will save you a lot of discomfort. Enjoy, it is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

 

I kept a photo journal of the trip. https://trankstertravels.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/from-cusco-to-machu-picchu-trekking-the-inca-trail/

 

Sent from my SM-T710 using Tapatalk

Edited by miketrank
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Hi All,

 

I'm going on my honeymoon to Peru in September and we're planning to do the 4-day Inca Trail. This will be our biggest adventure ever so I'll definitely be bringing my Fuji cameras and lenses to document this trip. I'll probably bring everything I have to Peru and then take a couple of lenses out with me for any given situation. 

 

However, I've never done any serious hiking with a camera system, so I'd love your help in choosing what to bring/buy specifically for the Inca Trail. My current equipment is:

 

Bodies:

Fuji X-T2, Fuji X-T10 (will upgrade to the X-T20 by the time the trip comes around)

 

Lenses:

XF 14mm f/2.8, XF 18mm f/2.0, XF 23mm f/1.4, XF 35mm f/2.0, Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8 Macro

 

At the moment my thinking is as follows:

  1. While I'm trying to get into the best shape I can for the trip, I'm no athlete and I'd like to minimise the weight as much as I can
  2. I'd like to avoid changing lenses as much as possible, as we don't want to fall too far behind the rest of our group while I'm fiddling with lenses. For this reason, I'm thinking of bringing both bodies on the hike and having one lens on each
  3. Having watched some YouTube videos of the Inca Trail, it looks like "zooming with your feet" simply isn't an option for most of the way. The trail is narrow and snakes around some very steep mountainside, so if I want to take a shot, I'm stuck where I am. So while I love my primes, I may need to get myself a zoom or two
  4. As far as I can gather, wildlife isn't a big feature of the trek (bar the odd llama) so I probably won't need anything with too long a reach. By contrast, with the deep valleys and the spectacular views from the mountains, I should concentrate on the wide-to-normal range
  5. The weather might be changeable/unpredictable, so a weather-sealed zoom to go on the X-T2 might be a good idea

At the moment, I'm considering buying either the 16-55 2.8 or the 18-135 to go on the X-T2, which will hopefully cover most situations. Then, if I take another body, I can either keep the 14mm on it for vistas/valleys/Machu Picchu, or buy something even wider (10-24 zoom or perhaps the Samyang 12mm). On the other hand, if I bought the 10-24 to mount on the X-T20, might that cover most situations and I could just keep the 35 f2 mounted on the X-T2 as the weather sealed option if needed?

 

Has anyone done the Inca Trail (or has hiked generally with other camera systems) that could advise?

 

Thanks so much! 

 

The 16-55 is a tank! In my case, way to heavy. I would suggest the 18-55 which in all honesty is my go-to lens, but it sounds like you may be in line for the 18-135.  Though aperture wise a tad slower than the 18-55 (which is my don't leave home without it lens), the 18-135 will give you a very nice range to work with on the trail and around town.  The second body with the 14 and you'll be all set!

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Hi All,

It's been a while since I took my trip, but I thought I'd update you guys on how it all went.

I ended up buying a 10-24 and a 50-230mm for the trip. The 10-24 is the lens I was most likely to use again, and I love wide-angle lenses, so I chose that out of the options discussed above. I chose the 50-230 for the long end purely because of weight and cost. I brought both the X-T2 and X-T20 to Peru with me along with the two zooms, the 35 f2 and the Zeiss 50mm Macro.

For the Inca Trail itself, I decided to leave the X-T20 in the hotel and brought the following:

  • X-T2
  • 10-24
  • 35 f2
  • 50-230

I carried the X-T2 with 10-24 attached in a Think Tank holster, and the 50-230 in a Lowepro Lens Changer 100AW. Both of these were strapped to my hiking backpack's waist strap. The 35 f2 was so small that I just put it in the pocket of my backpack waist strap.

I was very happy with my carrying solution. Because the two cases were mounted to my backpack waist strap, it didn't put any strain on my back or shoulders. I also had instant access to the camera and could change lenses easily with the Lowepro case without putting anything down. Definitely recommend that one for hassle-free lens changes.

I ended up not using the 35 f2 at all. The two zooms covered everything I needed. It did rain non-stop on the third day, but I ended up taking almost no pictures as it was enough of an effort just to get through the day. Almost all my pictures were taken with the 10-24, but I am definitely glad to have brought the 50-230 as it did take a couple of my favourite llama shots.

Thanks for all your tips last year, they really helped me in deciding what to bring

All the best

Jamil

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