Belated equipment update from the weekend: Even though the photo hardware prices in Madrid are OKish, they sometimes go way beyond of what I would pay in my hometown Düsseldorf in Germany.
You got a very competitive amount of stores there and they are also willing to give you rebates as a returning customer, which the stores in Madrid never do. As a result I could book a ticket with a one week notice, have a nice dinner and some beers with friends and still pay less than I would have paid im Madrid! Why didn’t I order it online and safe a bit more money in the process? I never buy glass online, even though I am not a pixel peeper, I want to check the lens before I dish out my hard earned money, and same goes for camera bodies, and the price difference is almost invisible. If you ever come to Düsseldorf I highly recommend you Foto Leistenschneider – they got multiple stores across town.
Canon 16-35 2.8 II
My holy trinity is now complete with the addition of this lens, supplementing the ultra wide angle part of my focal range to: 16-35, 24-70 and 70-200 (all f2.8). This array will cover most of your everyday needs, but also make sure you got a lens in the 1.4 or at least 1.8 department for portraits, depth of field and available light photography. The pictures and test shots I could take so far look great, can’t wait to slam that puppy on a full frame camera for the full effect! 🙂
B+W 77mm neutral density filter
Neutral density filters are great if you want to lower the shutter speed, reasons being it is too bright outside to allow for a shallow depth of field, bring out motion blur/smoothness from water, or clouds, or to turn crowded areas into empty places! For those reasons I wanted a filter that decreases incoming light by 3 stops, also referred to as a 0.9 or 8x filter depending on who you ask, and a 10 stop filter, also known as 3.0 or 1000x.
An example: In your current situation the shutter speed would be 1/125, effectively locking mostly everything in place except fast moving elements. When you apply the 10 stop ND filter your math is 1/125 > 1/60 (1) > 1/30 (2) > 1/15 (3) > 1/8 (4) > 1/4 (5) > 1/2 (6) > 1 (7) > 2 (8) > 4 (9) > 8 (10) = 8 seconds of exposure. The benefit of this is that everything that is in motion will only be partially exposed, depending on its speed and expsosure time becoming almost invisble on the picture, like cars on a bridge, people on a plaza etc. Some things have to be considered though: You will need a tripod, you have to manually focus the lens and set the exposure first, since it will be impossible once the filter is attached. And if a tourist stops for 5 seconds to look at something you will see him on the photo, unless your exposure is super long, which is a possibility of course.
Same as with the polarizers, you don’t put cheap elements in front of expensive elements, so I went for B+W filters with 77mm diameter fitting on my 24-70L and 70-200L. Unfortunately the filter in the 10 stop box was a 2 stop (it got mixed up in the store when someone else tried it out before), it was the last copy available, and sold out in the entire city – I will have to preorder it.
Giottos Super Rocket-air Blower
An airblower is something everyone should have in their kit to get dust off the sensor, or lenses or wherever it is not supposed to be on. Quality, power and style wise I recommend the rocket (AA 1900).