Paris and Rome: what to bring, what to do, how to do it?

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Armanius, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Making my first trip with the wife to Rome and Paris during the holidays. I'm stressing over: gear; what to do; what to photograph; where to stay; how best to avoid pickpockets; etc ...

    As far as gear is concerned (my favorite subject), I'm struggling with whether to go as light as possible, or with something bulkier (relatively speaking). Light would mean Ricoh GR plus something like a Sony RX100ii or a Fuji X20. Bulkier would mean, Ricoh GR plus EM5 (or maybe the GX7 if I get one) and a myriad of lenses (Oly 14-150, Oly 17/1.8 or PanLeica 25/1.4, Oly 45/1.8 or Oly 75/1.8, and probably an ultra wide for the Trevi Fountain-like photos). I'm also pondering if the super wide angle needs would be met by just adding a 21mm wide angle adapter to the GR. Or is the Oly 12/2 wide enough?

    I'm open for ideas and suggestions on gear and all the other topics. Thanks!!
     
  2. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    are you going for a holiday with your wife, or on a photographic assignment?

    take the GR and stop fussing and just enjoy Europe. we have civilisation over here
     
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  3. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    How to best avoid pickpockets: keep the gear on the front side of your torso, preferably behind a zipper or a velcro'd flap. The higher it's placed, the less chance someone will get away with bumping into you and grabbing something that doesn't belong to them; front of shoulders or chest would be ideal. Also make sure they can't undo the bag or whatever from behind your back and then run away with it.
     
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  4. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    820
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    congrats man, sounds great! wife and i recently did a few weeks in france incl much time in paris. i did it all with my x100 (oh yeah, and my hasselblad xpan). but i tell ya', my apprehension about one digi FL was unfounded. the results from the X were outstanding. its better to have wide than narrow, and its better to have good lowlight than not. if you have those two things you neednt plan for any other contingency.

    so, if youre not taking a film cam, heres my advice: take the omd with the 17 and the 45 if youre really freaking out. thats it, thats all you need, your bases are covered, and you dont even need a camera bag!
     
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  5. stratokaster

    stratokaster SC Top Veteran

    886
    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Pavel
    Before I switched away from Micro 4/3, my travel camera of choice was Panasonic GF2 + 14mm pancake. I almost never wanted to have something with more reach, but about half of the time I wanted to have something wider. I usually kept Olympus 45/1.8 in my pocket, but only used it for about 3% of my travel shots.

    I think Ricoh GR + 21mm converter + Sony RX100 when you need/want slightly more reach will be an ideal lightweight combo. And it won't feel like you're fumbling with your cameras and lenses all the time.
     
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  6. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    I usually pick a central location for a hotel rather then the stars and spend more time outside. Also it helps to stop once in while to refresh or drop things and avoiding traffic... We used metro a few times in Paris but be careful of pickpockets. Rome is still in our list to go.

    What to shoot:
    1) Architectural & Inside Museums/Churches, etc: wide and fast lenses help. I think IS w/ Oly/Pana helps with slower lenses.
    2) People: 17/45mm
    3) Other details like art, food, etc.

    I had 75mm last 2 vacations and didn't use much but I like a long zoom for architectural compression or places cannot be photographed otherwise eg due to river, etc:

    original.

    This was from a 10X Oly P&S in Paris in combination with 20D + Canon 10-22mm & Sigma 30mm. Sigma 30mm was useful to shoot from the boat trip that we took at night. I usually carry a regular backpack and put my camera stuff in it or hide it when not in use. I usually don't leave equipment in the room unless there is a safe. Don't carry too much, it get heavy easily. Also some museums might not allow photography or backpacks. A pocket camera like GR then might help for quick shots. Enjoy...
     
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  7. flash

    flash SC Veteran

    372
    May 6, 2011
    Gordon
    Don't you have your M?

    M9. 21, 50, 90 and the Rx100II.

    Gordon
     
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  8. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Best way to avoid pickpockets is to be wary of bustling crowds, particularly on or around public transport systems. Anything left open for quick access becomes quick access for a would-be thief. Bags with decently strong outer shells as well will help; I've met people who've had thin cloth bags cut open with a knife.

    P.S. Sounds like it should be a great trip!
     
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  9. HeatherTheVet

    HeatherTheVet SC All-Pro

    Apr 23, 2011
    Scotland
    Heather
    I suggest light. There are a lot of hills!

    I've only been to Rome once, but I'm pretty familiar with Paris now. Huge to do list still, but I have roamed around a large amount of the city. What kind of thing are you into? Museums and galleries, parks, churches, bohemian craziness, touristy sightseeing? Do you have a hotel booked and where is it? How long are you staying?
    My favourite restaurants are Refuge du passe (Rue du Fer a Moulin) which is trad French provincial, a bit heavy but delicious and a quirky wee place, mainly Parisiens eating there, and a cracking Auverne place called Le Plomb du Cantal (Rue de la Gaite), menu is steak, tatties and cheese in various combinations. I LOVE it.

    Saint Chapelle is interesting, so early as there are queues and you want nice light through all the stained glass. I usually spend a lot of time around Rue Mouffetard, a narrow mainly pedestrian street, a bit wacky but not Disney like Montmartre ( which also has to be seen). Paris is for walking and drinking cafe creme on the pavement, pretending you are really chic.
     
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  10. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    My son went a few weeks ago - Forget the Louvre on Sunday the queues were to the moon and back - possibly a bit better later in season but still
     
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  11. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    If you are going to museums, buy a museum pass. Then you don't have to wait for the ticket lines. However, there might be entrance queue. You can get it in US. I think we bought a similar transportation pass. Some museums are free on certain days and also open late hrs certain dates. Link for museum pass:
    http://www.museumpass.com/

    Also weather in Paris can be colder/rainy then Rome depending on the season. We were there in September and it was more autumn weather comparable to Nov weather in Istanbul in same year.
     
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  12. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I've not been to Rome but did Venice this summer. The streets are narrow, the buildings tall, the facades magnificently grand and the GR with it's 28mm focal length was not wide enough. Likewise my G12 with it's zoom could not get close enough when shooting down the canals. I concentrated on our experience mostly and while I got some nice shots we weren't there for a photo shoot, we were there for our 25th. So my advice to you is one-- to go wide and perhaps in Rome and Paris the GR might do the trick particularly with the 21mm wide angle converter [take it if you have it], and two-- also carry something that will get you in close when your legs can't. You will need zoom. However you accomplish that, try not to overburden yourself with gear, particularly lenses with similar focal lengths. As for protecting yourself from thieves, stay aware of your surroundings and don't make yourself a victim. With all the tourists and their toys, tape on a camera logo means spit. Crowds create opportunities but as long as your gear isn't the largest or the shiniest and you aren't ignorant of your surroundings you should be okay. Insure your gear if you are worried. Mostly it's about keeping it against your body, strapped to your wrist [and i didn't use that wimpy GR cord with it, I used a black rapid wrist strap with the tripod mount instead, the G12 was around my neck and against my chest. Husband carried a cheap bag we bought there and because it looked so tacky it was overlooked even though a third camera and my purse was in it. In fact it fell apart on our last day! So no Gucci bags :D

    Oh and like Serhan said, if you are doing the museums, buy the passes ahead of time, sometimes you get a multipass that covers several of them and it's a great deal. You may not see them all but you won't be paying for each.
     
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  13. jloden

    jloden SC Veteran

    266
    Jun 30, 2012
    Jay
    I haven't been to Paris in a long time and never been to Rome, but having said that...

    My preference would be to bring an ILC with a couple well chosen lenses (UWA, tele, and one normal FOV), and adding a fixed lens compact like the GR or in my case the X100S or RX1. I have started carrying a fixed lens compact on trips now and it is great for carrying around everywhere, like when going out to dinner or such when I don't need or want a camera bag full of stuff.

    I like Gordon's suggestion of your M plus a few lenses - what better time to take advantage of that Leica goodness than a special trip abroad? :biggrin:

    If that's not an option for whatever reason I'd say the m4/3 kit would do nicely. 14-150 + an ultrawide would cover a ton so you don't even need to carry a lot of lenses. If you prefer primes, the 12/17/45 is a pretty sweet setup that's absolutely tiny. And If you don't want to change lenses or pack the gear, then I'd say the RX100ii or X20 per your preference to give you some flexibility alongside the GR.

    Whatever you do, have lots of fun, and be sure to get some pics of you and your wife together even if it means setting up a tripod or asking random passers-by :smile:
     
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  14. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Oh, this is the kit I recently carried for five and a half months while travelling through Cuba, Central and South America. I would recommend it :smile:

    <a href="http://s883.photobucket.com/user/ttlonline/media/m43/IMG_4904-PR_zps211761d6.jpg.html" target="_blank">[​IMG]
     
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  15. stratokaster

    stratokaster SC Top Veteran

    886
    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Pavel
     
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  16. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Mix and match of course :smile:

    But you're right; in the end I barely used the two Panasonic pancake lenses and I think that at the very least I will sell the 20/1.7, whereas the two Samsung lenses took over 2000 images between them. The PanaLeica 25/1.4 is a different case again because in combination with the E-M5 it is a much more responsive combination then the NX200 and 30/2 will ever be.
     
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  17. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Thank you everyone for all the ideas and tips!!

    We like museums, churches, historical buildings, and landmarks. So I'll likely be taking lots of architectural and landscape photos.

    We haven't decided on where we are staying yet. We keep on going back and forth between hotels vs. privately owned apartments.

    I think going on the trip w/o interchangeable lenses will be liberating, kind of like the Seattle/Vancouver trip that we had carrying only the X100 and X10. But I fear that time when I am caught wishing for more zoom. Or wider.
     
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  18. retow

    retow SC All-Pro

    Jul 24, 2010
    For Rome, the GR plus wide angle converter will do. For Paris, a wide angle as well as some reach is useful. The narrow alleys can be demanding on a camera`s DR and this is where the GR beats the OMD. It`s difficult to beat a GR & wide angle converter and Sony RX100II with EVF combo as far as versatility, IQ and compactness are concerned. Oh, and by the way, make sure you have good walking shoes/sneakers as there will be a lot of walking. Renting bicycles in Paris can be ok, at least to exploit some parts of the city. For Rome it`s not recommended, because of streets and driving style. As far as pick pockets are concerned, have an eye on the kids in small groups in tourist spots in Rome who try to sell something to you or simply walk straight up to you. One of them usually carries a newspaper or cloth and tries to hold it such that you can no longer see what`s going on below your waist line.
     
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  19. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Although I took a few fixed / prime cameras to Italy in July, we were staying in two small towns for a month and I was pretty into exploring and shooting at a nice pace. The last time I did a trip sort of like you're doing I took two small m43 bodies (when the quality wasnt nearly as good as today) and basically three lenses - the 14-150 (Oly), 9-18, and the Pany 20 f1.7 for low light. I might do the same again given the same type of trip. To save space you could easily do it with one body and a few more lens changes. I tended to keep the 14-150 on a lot, but then switch to the 9-18 for some of the narrow little villages and streets. And use the 20 inside dark churches (although the 9-18 was good in many of them) and for small bouts of street shooting. This isn't premium gear by today's standards, but I never missed a shot for not having the right focal length readily available.... And it's a nice small kit, even with two bodies.

    -Ray
     
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  20. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
     
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