Going to Rome, safety and what to shoot?

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by anpa, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. anpa

    anpa Guest


    I am a lucky guy who will visit Rome for a few days, and I would like to
    hear any "Rome-experienced" peoples opinions on must-see, do's and dont's.
    My problem is time and I only got 3-4 days to spend there, and of course
    Rome is a city filled with important history (which probably could
    occupy me there for more time). :)

    Is it safe to walk around with a 20D around my neck, or should I hide it
    in the bag whenever there's nothing to snap a shot at?

    What's best choice of lens? Is my 50mm/1.4 enough or should I borrow my
    friends 17-40mm/4? (expensive thingie, thereof the question of safety).

    Thanks in advance for shared advice and opinions. :)

    anpa, Aug 18, 2005
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  2. anpa

    [BnH] Guest

    Try to be stealth. Gaffering your 20D would be A VERY good idea.
    A client of mine just been to a around the world travel and for him Italy
    was the worst, esp Sicilly LOTS of pickpocket.
    Secure your travel documents + money first [using the body pouch and place
    it underneath your clothing is adviseable] , then travel light.

    I would suggest the 17-40 over the 50 , but if you can get a 17-85 IS, it
    would be handy as you have lesser stuff to carry == less security risk.

    Enjoy ;)

    [BnH], Aug 19, 2005
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  3. Copy the first two pages of your passport. Leave the original passport
    in the hotel's main safe, not in a room safe, and carry the copy with
    you. Of course, you need the original when going through
    customs/immigration. Watch out for the dirt on your jacket routine, or
    several kids begging or getting too close. Violent crime, however, is
    seldom seen in Rome.
    Morton Linder, Aug 19, 2005
  4. For indoor shots in low light, instead of using the shutter release,
    hold the camera against a wall or church pew or something and let the
    self-timer trip the shutter.
    Morton Linder, Aug 19, 2005
  5. anpa

    MTBike1970 Guest

    I've been to Rome on three separate trips, a week each, and will gladly go
    back for more.

    A taxi to the center of the city will cost you about 50 Euros. A train ride
    from the airport to the central station is much cheaper, but not as

    Many people carry expensive cameras around, but I'd keep your 20D in a small
    camera bag... You will definitely want that 17-40 lens as well as the 50mm
    for low light shots. I carry a small velbon travel tripod with me, only 1.5
    pounds in weight, but invaluable. You won't be allowed to used in most if
    not all churches, museums, etc...
    We walked all around the central part of the city at all hours of the day
    and night, and never felt threatened or uneasy. But, be wary of
    pickpockets, especially on buses and trains.
    I wear a simple multipocket vest, not the "photo" vest type that is sold by
    Tenba or Tamrac, but something lighter and more simple, looks like a jacket
    without sleeves. A vest like that is very popular with the locals, and
    doesn't scream "photographer" as you'd think. If you don't have one, you
    can buy one at almost any clothing store in Rome for 50 to 70 Euros
    I carry my wallet and passport in an inside, zippered pocket, with enough
    cash for a day in a second wallet in a front zippered pocket. Never had a
    problem with this setup.
    It is a very good idea to take at least two photocopies of your passport.

    For a short visit, stay in the old center. The area around the train
    station is a bit seedy, but safe. I would recommend staying near the
    Coloseum, Piazza Navona or Campo dei Fiori. From there, you can walk to all
    the important sites in the city center. We used http://www.venere.com/ to
    find a hotel in Rome and also Tuscany. Worked out well for us.

    It would take weeks or months to see everything. Get a good guidebook and
    choose according to your interests. There are several bus companies that
    have special buses that make circuits to the most popular sites. You can
    buy a daily pass and get on and off at any stop. You can do this on the
    first day and get a feel for the city. We used the Green Line bus company
    which is located on Via Cavour down the street from the train station. Your
    hotel will have information on these tours.

    One final thought, unless you have a storage device with you, take twice as
    much memory for the 20D as you think you'll need.

    good luck..
    MTBike1970, Aug 19, 2005
  6. anpa

    DHB Guest

    You got a lot of good info. but I would like to add a few
    suggestions about low light photography indoors during the day & or at
    night outside.

    Carry a beanbag to prop your camera on & use the self timer as
    already suggested. A zippered beanbag would be best just in case the
    contents are questioned @ customs etc. Actually in a pinch even a
    large clear heavy duty freezer "Ziploc" baggie filled with resins
    works well as an improvised bean bag camera support. Just don't eat
    too many of the resins or it won't work as well. Resins can be good
    quick energy food during long hot walkabouts.

    A fast wide angle lens is a must as several people have
    already told you. The 17-85mm IS has noticeable barrel distortion @
    the 17mm end but several programs can correct for it in post
    processing the image, having said this, if I could take only 1 lens,
    that's the lens of choice for me.

    As for your 50mm/f1.4, I would take it along as well both as a
    backup lens & for when a very fast lens is needed to freeze the action
    in reasonably low light situations.

    Last point is fairly obvious but many of us miss the obvious.
    Don't carry your expensive camera gear around in obvious camera bags,
    especially the 1's that say "CANON" all over it in big bold letters,
    same for neck straps, get generic 1's or @ least wear then with the
    Camera name facing your neck, not advertising for all to see.

    Best of luck, the bean bag works great even for P&S cameras
    but few people use them with the long shutter speeds that many are
    capable of in conjunction with the dark frame subtraction noise
    reduction now also available on many P&S.

    Here's something else to consider, take along a "quality
    polorizer" filter for obvious outdoor reasons but you may want to use
    it indoors as well mainly as a Neutral Density filter (ND). Why? So
    you can make people disappear indoors during intentionally long
    exposures by selecting a low ISO, & a long shutter speed between 1 to
    15 seconds. In many cases the people won't completely disappear but
    they will often be reduced to ghostly streaks but the background will
    be recorded & it gives a very interesting effect while also respecting
    the privacy of those passing by.

    Best of luck, I hope I have added something of value to you &
    or others in this probably overly lengthy reply.

    Respectfully, DHB

    "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President,
    or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong,
    is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable
    to the American public."--Theodore Roosevelt, May 7, 1918
    DHB, Aug 19, 2005
  7. anpa

    PTravel Guest

    Of course it's safe. You need to take the same common sense precautions
    you'd take in any major city anywhere in the world, including the U.S.
    Spend a little time educating yourself about the potential problems for
    tourists, be aware of your surroundings, don't keep your wallet in your back
    pocket, and you'll be fine.

    I've been travelling in Europe and Asia at least twice a year for nearly 10
    years. When I travel, I always have a still camera and a video camera (now
    I carry a Canon 10D and a Sony VX2000). I've never, not once, had any
    problems, including in Rome, which I have visited many times.

    It depends on what kind of photography you want to do. I'd think a 50mm,
    while fine for portraits, would be problematic for buildings, ruins, etc. I
    carry a 28-150 and a 19-40mm. I can get by with the former, but the latter
    makes it a little easier to capture architecture.
    PTravel, Aug 19, 2005
  8. anpa

    Father Kodak Guest

    On a trip to Rome my wife and I were surrounded near the Colosseum by
    a crowd of 10 year olds (?) and several times a kid would dart up
    close to me. Once I figured out that this wasn't the local chamber of
    commerce greeting committee I took one of my Nikon F2 cameras, held on
    tight to the strap, and swung it around my head, very fast, like a
    slingshot ready to go off. I also shouted very loudly.

    Between the two of those actions, they ran fast!

    By any chance, are you also going to Florence? What a city. And, to
    get off the beaten path a bit, there is the wonderful medieval city
    center in Sienna.

    Padre Kodak
    Father Kodak, Aug 20, 2005
  9. anpa

    Father Kodak Guest

    Well, not normally. But if I hadn't been willing to risk getting the
    body "wet", I would have had the much greater risk of simply not
    having them any longer.

    I'm hardly an 'every weekend' shooter, but I have had these two F2
    bodies (and lots of lenses) for over 30 years now (!!). And it's all
    held up pretty well. The F2 meter heads have needed repairs, but
    outside of that it's simple CLA every few years. And a lot of my
    photography is kind of a cross between photojournalism, sports, and
    outdoors/dusty conditions. So the equipment hasn't exactly been
    babied all these years.

    Father Kodak
    Father Kodak, Aug 20, 2005
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