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Old 02-11-2013, 01:00 PM   #1
egrl144
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bringing gear into park- first trip!

Hi everyone,

What a great place to find tips about photography, and Disney! I will be at Walt Disney World in April. Thanks in advance for reading a long post. This is my first trip, so the goal of my trip is to experience everything that WDW has to offer (rides, food, parades, fireworks, etc.), and to have pictures to document the trip. This is not a photography trip, but I want to have these great memories in a more permanent form. I will be travelling with a group of adults, so I don't need to worry about kids nap time or diaper bags, etc., but we will not be stopping for extended periods to compose shots, etc. (I will be the sole photographer of the group).

That brings me to gear. I have a Canon XS, the kit 18-55 lens, 18-200 lens, 50mm f1.8, external flash, tripod, gorillapod, and a Canon point and shoot. I am looking to travel somewhat light during the day, and need some advice for what to bring.

50mm- I love this lens. It is light and fun and I get some great pictures, but it is also very restricting. I will definitely plan on bringing it, but need something else to supplement it.

18-200- my normal walkaround lens

18-55: The only benefit of this lens over the 18-200 is the weight. I will likely not bring this at all, unless someone has a good reason.

flash- not big on using flash, and I can use the built in flash for the few cases I might want it. It is too heavy to bring, and the benefit isnt great enough.

tripod/gorillapod- dont want to carry a full size tripod all day, and we likely wont be returning to the hotel during the day. I should be able to get decent night shots with the 50mm, and I know I wont be able to capture fireworks without a tripod. I don't see my group being patient while I set up a tripod in the middle of a crowd. Is there anything I could use a gorillapod for?

A few questions:
-Any suggestions for gear I should bring into the parks on a daily basis?
-Are you guys constantly switching lenses? I would hate to miss a photo opp because I am using the wrong lens.
-Obviously I will bring the 18-200 into AK, but would the other parks be beneficial to bring the 50mm and the point and shoot so I dont need to be switching lenses frequently?

Thanks for the help! Any other advice for a photographer's first trip to WDW, with a bunch of non-photographers would be great!
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:25 PM   #2
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I would leave the 18-55 home. Your 18-200 has that range covered, and is probably of a similar quality.

I don't know what flash you have though, but I consider my external flash to be one of my most important pieces of equipment. First, it gives me better quality and more flexible lighting. And second, with its own batter power, it recycles much faster, never leaving me in the lurch. I use the flash in all character photo ops, and sure don't want to miss a great shot waiting for my flash to recycle.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:37 PM   #3
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If it were me I'd be using the 18-55 as a walkaround lens in all the parks except AK because it suits my shooting style and it's so much sharper and lighter than the 18-200. Which is why this is a hard question to ask someone else, because we're all different in how we shoot.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:12 PM   #4
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As Danielle said, the 18-55 is a sharper lens. So I'd leave the 18-200 in the hotel room, except Animal Kingdom day.

The 50/1.8 will also serve you well on rides.

I haven't used a gorillapod for MK fireworks, but at Epcot, I've used it to secure the camera to the railing around the lake.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:34 PM   #5
egrl144
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Thanks for all of the input. My flash is the 580EX.

Is the 18-55 really sharper than the 18-200? I had planned on leaving the 18-55 at home (not even bringing it to Florida). I have never been much of a fan. If it is sharper, or at least comparable, then maybe I will bring it (it is much lighter). I will have to play around with it before my trip.

Any other advice is much appreciated!
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:44 PM   #6
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I would echo what mom2rtk said about an external flash being an important piece of equipment. The built in flash is great in case of an emergency...but an external flash ensures that I have sufficient light on my subject. An external flash mean the difference between sharp, welll lit shot and a grossly underexposed shot. The built in flash is nice if you are very close to your subject...but an external flash can provide better nice range and better lighting options.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:09 PM   #7
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Since this is your first trip (and not a photography trip), I would recommend you make it very simple and enjoy the experience. You only make the first trip once! I would carry the 18-200 only and have my P & S in my pocket. I wouldn't worry about trying to shoot the dark rides, fireworks (other than snapshots), and other time-taxing setup shots. This would be a complete snapshot trip. I would recommend a good strap, preferrably a cross-body strap, to take the strain off your neck of carrying a DSLR all day (I use the Black Rapid system. Others may have other recommendations). My recommendation is to fully enjoy your first WDW experience. There is so much to see and do that you will miss much of the experience if you only see it through a viewfinder. If you immerse yourself in the experience, I guarantee there will a subsequent trips that you, then, can go crazy with your cameras like many here (including myself!!). Have a great trip!!
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egrl144 View Post
18-55: The only benefit of this lens over the 18-200 is the weight. I will likely not bring this at all, unless someone has a good reason.
Weight, size, sharpness. Unless it is the non-is version this lens is optically pretty good. It may focus faster than the 18-200 since the 18-55 may not have to rotate as far. Plus it is a spare that does not take up much space.


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Is there anything I could use a gorillapod for?
Night photos, wrapped around fences/railings/poles or just propped up on a trash can.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egrl144 View Post
This is my first trip, so the goal of my trip is to experience everything that WDW has to offer (rides, food, parades, fireworks, etc.), and to have pictures to document the trip.
Shifting the focus slightly from gear and onto what stood out to me as your two primary goals, you need to find the balance between the two.

From experience, even having done Disney many times there is a compromise to be made if you want to both experience Disney's offerings (especially as a first time visitor) and to get the photos. While it is great to come home with hundreds or thousands of pictures, you can lose a lot of the experience when touring the parks and participating through the viewfinder on your camera.

I'm not sure how long you are there for, but if you are able to do anything 'important' twice (like certain parades or fireworks shows for example) it helps to dedicate one to watching (preferably the first time round) and another to taking photos. You can have the best of both - but often not at the same time
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:02 PM   #10
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While it is great to come home with hundreds or thousands of pictures, you can lose a lot of the experience when touring the parks and participating through the viewfinder on your camera.
That is exactly my fear. I will be there for a week. I want to get good pictures of the friends I am going with, because it is highly unlikely that we will ever go in this same group again. So getting pictures of us at the parks is important.

And for the record, I am a Disneyland vet, but having an extended trip like this (instead of a few hours) is completely new for me.

Thanks to everyone for the help. Keep the advice coming.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2rtk View Post
I would leave the 18-55 home. Your 18-200 has that range covered, and is probably of a similar quality.

I don't know what flash you have though, but I consider my external flash to be one of my most important pieces of equipment. First, it gives me better quality and more flexible lighting. And second, with its own batter power, it recycles much faster, never leaving me in the lurch. I use the flash in all character photo ops, and sure don't want to miss a great shot waiting for my flash to recycle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gianna'sPapa View Post
Since this is your first trip (and not a photography trip), I would recommend you make it very simple and enjoy the experience. You only make the first trip once! I would carry the 18-200 only and have my P & S in my pocket. I wouldn't worry about trying to shoot the dark rides, fireworks (other than snapshots), and other time-taxing setup shots. This would be a complete snapshot trip. I would recommend a good strap, preferrably a cross-body strap, to take the strain off your neck of carrying a DSLR all day (I use the Black Rapid system. Others may have other recommendations). My recommendation is to fully enjoy your first WDW experience. There is so much to see and do that you will miss much of the experience if you only see it through a viewfinder. If you immerse yourself in the experience, I guarantee there will a subsequent trips that you, then, can go crazy with your cameras like many here (including myself!!). Have a great trip!!
I would agree with these. While technically, the 18-55 is a bit sharper, the difference may not be that apparent to you. Even if it is apparent, the range of the 18-200 may be of greater value to you. After all, you don't want to miss the once-in-a-lifetime shots. You could use the 18-55 and crop in later. But, you might not have enough latitude for that with the 10MP of the Rebel XS, if you print larger sizes.

Though, I would probably keep the 18-55 in the room. Just in case anything were to happen to the 18-200.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:22 AM   #12
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Just some general comments on what's been discussed..

There is certainly a benefit of going "light." I've done Disney with a bag of gear, and then with just an advanced point & shoot. Very different experiences, both enjoyable. Depends on what type of trip you want, and what role you want photography to play. If you primarily want to enjoy the parks and your family, with the camera merely a means of preserving memories --- then going as light as possible, is a huge plus. On the other hand, if you love photography and taking pictures is a big piece of the fun, then it's a reason to bring good gear.

As to which gear to bring.... I'll respectfully disagree with those who say to bring an external flash. Yes, an external flash is far superior to the pop-up flash. But truthfully, you rarely need a flash at Disney. Disney is largely very well lit -- you spend a big percentage of your time outside in natural light. Indoor lighting varies by venue, but in many spots it is prohibited or inappropriate to use a flash anyway.
So I really suspect there to be only a handful of times where you may wish you had an external flash. I took about 2,000 pictures on my last trip, and I don't think I ever used a flash at all, lol. (though I did use a fast lens and crank up the ISO at times).
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:30 AM   #13
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I took my new A65V to WDW in November, and carried my 18-55 kit lens and a 70-210. I only used the 70-210 in AK on KS, and in HS at F!. The rest of the time, I used the 18-55, and more times than not, it was on the wide side.

Before my next trip, I will buy a 18-250. It may sacrifice a bit of quality, but for my type of shooting, I think it will be perfect.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havoc315 View Post
As to which gear to bring.... I'll respectfully disagree with those who say to bring an external flash. Yes, an external flash is far superior to the pop-up flash. But truthfully, you rarely need a flash at Disney. Disney is largely very well lit -- you spend a big percentage of your time outside in natural light. Indoor lighting varies by venue, but in many spots it is prohibited or inappropriate to use a flash anyway.
So I really suspect there to be only a handful of times where you may wish you had an external flash. I took about 2,000 pictures on my last trip, and I don't think I ever used a flash at all, lol. (though I did use a fast lens and crank up the ISO at times).
Just curious. Do you do many character meets? In the absence of character meets, I woudln't bring mine either. But for anyone planning a number of character interactions, I wouldn't leave home without it. And while the park in general is well lit, their character meets are nothing short of awful.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:14 AM   #15
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Just curious. Do you do many character meets? In the absence of character meets, I woudln't bring mine either. But for anyone planning a number of character interactions, I wouldn't leave home without it. And while the park in general is well lit, their character meets are nothing short of awful.
I've gotten by without flash at character meets, though there are some that a flash is helpful. I would include that in the handful of times when a flash is helpful.
Character Spot in Epcot, with it's big windows.. Is well lit without flash. Crystal Palace is very bright.
Many character meets are outdoors.
But yes.. Places like the Town Square m&g... I've gotten by without flash. But a flash can certainly be helpful. Though I still think you can get by quite nicely with the 50mm/f1.8 and ISO 1600.
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