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DPChallenge Forums >> Out and About >> What lenses to take hiking in Yosemite
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08/11/2016 01:38:36 PM · #1
We are planning a week trip to Yosemite, and we'll be taking some long hikes (well, long for us, about 7-8 miles each).

Between water (necessary) and camera equipment, I've found I usually end up with my pack being too heavy. I've been trying to lighten my load by switching to mirrorless, but staying with APS-C mirrorless (Fuji) saves me some size but not a lot of weight, unless I switch to all primes (and I hate switching lenses).

So leaving my heavy D600 lenses at home, I still am caught between my new Fuji and my D7100. The issue is long lenses. The Fuji has an 18-135 lens, and a separate 55-200mm lens. Although the camera is lighter (and smaller) than my D7100, having to carry the two lenses makes it roughly the same as the D7100 and the 18-200mm lens. Though I'd hazard to say the Fuji lenses are a bit better, and the D7100 is a bit better than the Fuji because it's 24MP versus 16MP.

Assuming 300mm (effective) is sufficient):

With the D7100, I'd hike with the Sigma 10-20, Nikon 18-200, and the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye at 5 lbs 2 oz.
With the Fuji X-T1, I'd carry the Fuji 10-24mm, the 18-135, the 55-200, and the Rokinon Fisheye at 5 lbs 9 oz.

Leaving the 55-200 behind in the Fuji, drops 1 lb 8 oz and puts me at 4 lbs 1 oz.

If I need even longer focal lengths, with the Nikon, I could opt for the heavier 28-300 FF lens, and leave the 18-200 at home. That would give me 42-450mm effective.

Or I could add my Lumix FZ1000 for 2lbs to the Fuji, leave the 55-200 at home, and I would get 25-400mm at a loss of some dynamic range and microcontrast with the 1" sensor. (Heck, on some hikes in the Adirondacks this summer, I just carried the Lumix, because at 2lbs total at 25-400mm, it's a pleasure to carry!)

Weight is important--I'll also be carrying 4-6 lbs of water, a 4 lb backpack, plus whatever else my food and accessories weigh, at least 3-4 more lbs. I probably won't carry my tripod, which is 2.5 more lbs.

For our hikes, what focal lengths work best for day long hikes in Yosemite? I would not normally think to carry the longer focal lengths, but I'm beginnning to think they are important in Yosemite looking at maps and wide angle shots from some locations like Tunnelview. One hike we have scheduled (guided) is Glacier Point down the Panorama and Mist Trails. The Panorama Trail provides a close-up view of Illilouette Fall and panoramic views of eastern Yosemite Valley before joining the Mist or John Muir Trails down past Vernal and Nevada Falls.

Sorry for such a long detailed description...probably could have just asked which focal lengths work best in Yosemite, but I thought my perspective and dilemma would help!

Message edited by author 2016-08-11 13:40:42.
08/11/2016 01:56:25 PM · #2
I've photographed Yosemite a gazillion times in my life and I've rarely used any focal length longer than 100mm or so. I've always taken the long glass and then kicked myself for doing it when I almost never used it.
08/11/2016 03:56:04 PM · #3
Unless you're specifically going to shoot critters I agree, you won't need more than 100mm for most things. My thought? Keep it simple.

Option 1: D7100+10-20mm, Fuji+18-135mm
Option 2: D7100+18-200mm, Fuji+10-24mm

Add the fisheye of choice.
08/12/2016 07:55:58 PM · #4
Thanks. I wonder if that will apply to all the places I'm going. We're staying two nights at the Rush Creek Lodge, for example, and we're considering one of these hikes there. The Clouds Rest may be a little too advanced for us, but it looks great (as does the other).

Cloud’s Rest by Way of Sunrise Trail

Insiders will tell you that this hike is equally challenging but more rewarding than Half Dome, with a summit that provides sweeping views of Half Dome, the Cathedral Range and Tenaya Canyon. This is some of the most epic Yosemite hiking available for a day hike.

South Rim of Yosemite Valley Hiking Tour

Skip past the summer crowds and take a hike with our fun and informative naturalist guides along the lesser-traveled southern rim of Yosemite Valley. See Yosemite's icons and 1,200 square miles of splendid scenery in a whole new light on this unusual Yosemite Valley Hiking Tour.

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