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Old 12-05-2012, 12:29 PM   #1
havoc315
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Best Lens(es) for an Alaska cruise

So the trip is about 9 months away, but I'm trying to make a long term plan for lens acquisition...

In considering what to bring on an Alaska cruise, I realize I'll be constantly using wide angle for vistas and telephoto zoom for wildlife. Also considering that changing lenses constantly may become very inconvenient and cause me to miss shots.

So balancing these factors...
My first thought would be to go with a basic "kit" lens of 18-50 or 18-70 range, and then a telephoto zoom. But how much telephoto? I currently have 70-210/f4 -- Good enough? Or I am considering buying a Tamron 70-300. Or would I be better off renting a very high quality 2.8 telephoto zoom lens.

Or should I forego 2 lenses, and consider getting a superzoom like a 18-270. Trading off a little image quality for the convenience of 1 lens. Would I be trading too much image quality?

Or another option, I do have and love the Sony Rx100, and I find it to be great for landscapes. So do I primarily keep a telephoto zoom on the dSLR, and simply use the RX100 for wide landscape shots?

Any thoughts are appreciated.
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:02 PM   #2
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Canon or Nikon? I would avoid the super zoom at all costs...
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:17 PM   #3
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I would take a 55-300mm for the wildlife shots, a 12-24mm for the landscapes, and a 35mm prime for some portraits. Those 3 should cover most situations.

As the other poster said, avaoid the super zoom. they are like all season tires, they specialize in nothing, but do everything rather poorly.
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SplashMo View Post
Canon or Nikon? I would avoid the super zoom at all costs...
Sony. I don't own a super-zoom and have always avoided them.... But I'm starting to think it might not be so horrible for this trip. In my imagination at least, I see myself wanting to simultaneously shoot landscapes and telephoto wildlife. Also see myself on catamarans for whale watching, etc. So being able to avoid changing lenses, would have certain benefits.
Low light *shouldn't* be an issue, so sacrificing a little on aperture may not be the end of the world.

So it's still really:
-1 superzoom and leave everything else at home (or leave it on the ship, and just use those lens around the ship when time to change lenses)
-A wide angle zoom and a separate telephoto zoom lens, and just do my best to change lenses as efficiently as possible. (still begs the question, how much telephoto? Rent a higher quality lens or stick with something more consumer level?)
-While bringing multiple different focal length lenses on the ship, but when off the ship, just stick with the telephoto (again, WHICH telephoto?) and use the RX100 for wide landscapes.
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:11 PM   #5
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I have been taking pictures since the early 90's with SLR's. DSLR's since 2004. Got real serious about photos around 2009.

I have never needed longer than a 300mm. sporting events, vacations, trips to the parks....300 gets me as close as i need.

But, i frequently wished for a faster (f2.8) 300mm.

i shoot primes a lot. Switching lenses doesnt bother me at all. on the beach, a boat, where ever. i would think on a whale watching excursion, the 50-300 would be fine. the boats tend not to get so close where you would be inside the range of the 50 and want somthign shorter.
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
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i shoot primes a lot. Switching lenses doesnt bother me at all. on the beach, a boat, where ever. i would think on a whale watching excursion, the 50-300 would be fine. the boats tend not to get so close where you would be inside the range of the 50 and want somthign shorter.
Don't need wide for the whales, but need wide for the views from the whale watching boat...
As an example from flickr:


Herbert Glacier by Donna62, on Flickr


Though I think I'm leaning towards acquiring/renting a 70-300. Keeping it on the camera primarily. Having my RX100 is I need a wider range on the spot.
And bringing along a wider lens, if I really feel a switch is necessary. Not sure whether I'll get an ultrawide like a 10-20, or just stick with a 16-18 wide.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:46 PM   #7
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Though I think I'm leaning towards acquiring/renting a 70-300. Keeping it on the camera primarily. Having my RX100 is I need a wider range on the spot.
And bringing along a wider lens, if I really feel a switch is necessary. Not sure whether I'll get an ultrawide like a 10-20, or just stick with a 16-18 wide.
I would rent for sure and do the above. Is it FF or APS-C? Do you already have the 16-18?

lenrental is a great place to rent from.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:00 PM   #8
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I would rent for sure and do the above. Is it FF or APS-C? Do you already have the 16-18?

lenrental is a great place to rent from.
APS-C, 1.5 crop. I have a 18-70. Been considering getting the Tamron 17-50 or springing for the Sony SSM 16-50. So whichever way I go, I'll have something as wide as 18. Yes, wider would be nice, but not sure it is critical. On the RX100 the effective focal length is 28mm. So whether I use the RX100 or a kit lens, I'll have something moderately wide. And the RX100 is super sharp and fast at that focal length.
I'll keep the possibility of renting a super-wide in mind, just not sure if it will be that high of a priority.

In terms of the telephoto, thinking of buying a moderately priced 70-300 or 100-300. In terms of renting a really high quality telephoto -- not sure I need that type of lens, especially when considering how big and heavy those lenses are. Not anticipating low light photography. So something moderately priced, mid quality, and portable, may be preferable over something high priced, high quality, and heavy. (Though renting the Sony 70-400 "G" lens is indeed tempting)
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:22 PM   #9
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I own...(nikon)

35mm 1.8 prime
50mm 1.4 prime
55-300mm zoom

hoping santa brings me a 12-24mm

I think with those 4 lenses, i should be able to shoot in most any situation.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:30 PM   #10
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we did the alaska cruise this august. i shoot with a nikon d5000. i know its outdated, but its my baby and its like my right hand camera. i wouldnt trade it for aything else. i used a 55 to 300mm lens for this shot. thats what i used for the outdoor shots.

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Old 12-05-2012, 04:40 PM   #11
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we did the alaska cruise this august. i shoot with a nikon d5000. i know its outdated, but its my baby and its like my right hand camera. i wouldnt trade it for aything else. i used a 55 to 300mm lens for this shot. thats what i used for the outdoor shots.

Stunning image, thanks for the share.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:55 PM   #12
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I'm in the avoid the superzoom boat. Especially for wildlife that is so similar in tonal value to it's environment. To me the IQ tradeoff isn't worth the convenience and it's not hard to stash a lens in a bag you're carrying if you want to travel light. I personally don't find that I miss shots often when I need to change lenses, I've gotten pretty fast at swapping out. The key for me is to have the second lens in an easily accessible place so that it's ready to go.
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:45 PM   #13
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I've gotten pretty fast at swapping out. The key for me is to have the second lens in an easily accessible place so that it's ready to go.
Good advice. Guess I don't need my whole camera bag. Extra battery and memory card in 1 pocket, the Sony RX100 in another pocket, and a second lens in a jacket pocket. Leave the
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:58 PM   #14
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, and a second lens in a jacket pocket. Leave the
More than that, when you are ready to do the swap, have your 2nd lens, camera body, and any caps you will need all together. try to minimize the amount of time the camera body is wide open 1st, then work on covering up the 2nd lens.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:14 PM   #15
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I went to Alaska for the first time this summer. It was absolutely gorgeous. Managed to get nice pictures with my point and shoot. Hard to go wrong with such beautiful scenery I guess
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