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Trip to Egypt and Jordan, looking for recommendations on which lenses to take


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Hi all,

My wife and I are taking a 16 day trip to Egypt and Jordan in Jan 2022. I'm brining my Sony a7RIII but need advice on which lenses to take. I'd like to keep the weight down as we'll be walking a lot during our time there. The lenses I currently own are: Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 DG DN Art, Tamron 28-200 F/2.8 - 5.6 Di III, Sony 16-35 F/4 and Sony 70-300 F/4.5.  As I said, my aim is to keep the weight down for this trip so my first thought is to bring the Tamron 28-200 and the Sony 16-35. I'm just looking for advice from others as I've never traveled to Egypt before, hoping someone on this forum has and good advice. Thanks

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  • 3 weeks later...

I took an apsc setup to Egypt about 10 years ago. Looking over exif data, I used my 16-80mm for 90% of my keepers (only about 25% in the 16-24mm range) and the 70-300mm for a handful of shots from the boat.

I didn't use the wide end nearly as much as I expected, as the shooting opportunities weren't there (this was just after the Arab Spring, so it was very quiet). If you're on an organised tour, you'll have to run and gun to some extent.

Could you rent a 24-105? In my experience you won't get a ton of use out of the 16-35mm and will need something longer for detail shots. Obviously you cavy change lenses in the field. I'd be worried about the Sigma in those conditions given the dust issue and 70mm might not give you enough reach at sites like Karnak.

 

 

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Adrichardson, thanks for the reply. I was planning on taking my Sony 16-35 and a Tamron 28-200. I haven't decided on the 70-300, however, I've read that it could come in very handy while on the Nile Cruise, otherwise, I don't think it would be used. And yes, I can rent a 25-105; but I've been debating on renting a 24-240 instead. If I rent a 24-240, then I'll leave the 28-200 and 70-300 home, and travel with two lenses. Again, I'm looking at keeping the weight down, but also want to take some good photos.  It's good to know that someone else has been there and has some familiarity with the conditions.  My thoughts on the 16-35 was for those times when we are on our own (Cario, Luxar, and Petra), that lens would work very well for a walk around lens.  Thanks

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No problem! A telephoto is definitely useful from the boat. If it's your first trip to Egypt, bear in mind you'll never be alone at any sites - there's usually a ton of "helpful" locals who will descend on you at the first opportunity. Don't wear a watch or other conspicuous valuables (other than the camera) and practice being rude and grumpy.  Even without the dust issues, I wouldn't change lenses in public.

If you go to Philae, the 16-35 might be a good shout, especially if you take the 28-200. The 24-240 is one to avoid - the 28-200 and 24-105 beat it convincingly. The 24-105 has the advantage over the 28-200 at the wide end and you'll probably find that more valuable than the telephoto end at the temples.

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Thanks for the advice about the 24-240. I have heard and read mixed reports about this lens and I have been thinking about purchasing a 24-105. The 28-200 is a very light lens and that's one reason I was planning on taking it along.   And I read about how bad the dust/sand is over there, I mean it is a desert, so yea, I didn't plan on making any lens changes outside. And thanks for the advice on watches, I have an expensive Tag Heuer watch that I wear and had been thinking about leaving hit home and wearing a cheap watch, but then being on vacation; who cares what time it is! 

All good advice, thanks!

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No problem - it's an incredible trip and I'm very jealous!

I've recently gone back to the 24-105 as I wasn't a big fan of the rendering on the 28-200. The weight isn't that bad and I prefer the native Sony AF.

Before you go, lay in a good stash of low-value bank notes (dollars or Egyptian £. You'll be paying bakshish pretty much constantly!

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Since I don't leave until Jan, I may just rent a 24-105 just to compare weight, pictures, etc. I'm pretty sure I'll like it. When I shot with Canon I used the 24-105 as my daily lens. It was on the body 90% of the time. And since the a7rIII takes such good shots, with the 24-105 I can crop in on the photos. 

My wife and I had already talked about getting some cash (low-value notes) to have on hand for tips, lunch, drinks and such. 

Oh, I wanted to ask, since you've already been there, I was planning on bring a tripod. Is it true that they charge a tax for the use of the tripods?  

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You'll definitely pay for a tripod if they're allowed at all. Even if it's as quiet as it was when I went, it'll be more hassle than it's worth and will be a magnet for beggars. I shot handheld in the usual temples with an a580 and a 16-80 f3.5-4.5. With the a7riii's high iso performance, you should be fine handheld.

I think you can buy a photography permit for Valley of the Kings now, but it might be an add-on. Cameras were banned there back when I went. But it from the ticket office and don't believe anyone who tries to sell you one outside.

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Good to know, thanks.  My son-n-law (and daughter) who are going with us told me that he's leaving his tripod behind to save weight. I was already thinking about the fast paste of groups wanting us to get everything in would most likely make using a tripod difficult anyway.  And I don't want to be a magnet for the beggars!  

Hope Cameras aren't banned, and I surely don't mind paying for the permit to use mine. I had heard that for many of the sites we're wanting to visit, that I'd need to purchase a permit. 

 

BTW, where do you live?  I'm in Kansas City, MO. 

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From memory the only site we went to where where cameras were outright banned was Valley of the Kings, but it looks like there's a permit now. If you're on a tour there, talk to your guide (they're amazing) about a permit before you go in. They're still banned at the pyramids as I understand it.

Watch out for people selling fake permits. If you're not sure if you need a permit, the guide will know.

Tripods definitely won't work with a tour. They move too quickly (I got lost a couple of times even without one).

I'm in the UK (Cambridge).

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Thanks, I’ll check with our tour company, but I thought in the last few years they were allowing photography in both the valley of the kings and the pyramids, but I could be wrong. 
 

 We spent four years living in the UK.  I was in the US Air Force based at RAF Mildenhall.  We visited Cambridge several times while there.  Beautiful area.

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It's possible they've relaxed the rules. The last group I know who went couldn't take photos, but that was back in 2019.

Yeah I'm pretty lucky living around here. Great city, beautiful scenery, but I can still get into Londin for work. Dad was in the RAF when I was growing up so we did our fair share of moving around too.

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