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Author Topic: Telephoto choice for Australia  (Read 2440 times)

kirispupis

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Telephoto choice for Australia
« on: January 31, 2013, 11:54:16 AM »
Hello everyone.  We will be travelling to Australia this August and am trying to plan out what my telephoto choice will be there.  We will be travelling to the following locations

- Cairns/Port Douglas area.  We have rented a house outside of Port Douglas on the border with the jungle.
- Fraser Island - staying on the island (Kingfisher Bay)
- Lady Elliott Island
- Gold Coast (obviously not needed for amusement parks, but we may go to the bird park)

My current max telephoto is a 70-200/2.8 II with a 2x III extender.  It works decently well enough that I sold my 100-400 long ago.  My current thought is to buy a used 500/4 v1 and take it with me.  That would be about the extreme of my budget, so anything priced above that is simply not possible.  In terms of the telephoto, the following is my logic.

- Canon is unlikely to release a new 100-400 or 400/5.6 IS before this time.  Even if they announce it, it will not likely ship before then.  Even if it does ship, the 500/4 v1 will still likely outperform it.
- Any other telephoto Canon releases (200-400/4) will almost certainly cost more than a used 500/4 v1
- This is a very popular lens and will be easy to sell for roughly what I paid if I later raise the money for something like a 600/4 II.
- Although big, it is more convenient (especially for travel) than a 600/4 v1
- I won't have the budget for this until early July anyways, so if Canon surprises me I can change direction
- The telephoto isn't just for Australia.  I take a lot of wildlife photos here in the PNW too.

Now, the main question I have is - is it useful to take a lens this size to these locations?  I am mainly interested in photographing birds and mammals.  In particular I want to photograph dingoes on FI.  Does the wildlife get close enough that a larger telephoto is not necessary?

Secondly, will I run into problems on the flights if I carry this on in a Gura Gear bag or something similar?  We are flying Hawaiian to Brisbane (brief stopover in Honolulu), then flying Virgin Australia to Cairns and back to Brisbane.  I am already aware of the weight limits for the flight to LEI.
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Telephoto choice for Australia
« on: January 31, 2013, 11:54:16 AM »

kirispupis

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Re: Telephoto choice for Australia
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 01:12:41 PM »
Forgot to add that my camera is a FF 5D3.
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wickidwombat

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Re: Telephoto choice for Australia
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 06:19:01 PM »
I would just stick with the 70-200 and 2x TC to be honest
its lighter and more compact than a supertele
not really that much interesting wildlife here unlike say africa where a supertele
would be essential, Kangaroos, koala, emus and some birds really
I would say you will more than likely use wide or normal lenses more here
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dr croubie

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Re: Telephoto choice for Australia
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 07:55:55 PM »
Well, technically you're not going to Australia, more like the 51st state (it's an aussie joke, you'll understand when you get here).

Up on the wrong side of the country you're not going to see many roos and koalas, roos are mostly in the desert parts and koalas along the south/eastish parts. No emus but if you're extremely lucky you'll see a cassowary in a forest from more than 50m away (if you're extremely unlucky you'll meet one face to face. Just know that the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park were modeled on Cassowaries and you'll understand).

What you will get up there (besides bloody queenslanders) will be birds, lots of birds, and amazingly coloured birds. And crocodiles. Take the longest lens you can for the birds, 500 or 600mm and an extender or 3. And don't go near the rivers, especially the estuaries.
And i'll second the comment about the wideangle, especially with a CPL for those amazingly blue skies and beach shots.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 08:50:52 PM by dr croubie »
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Re: Telephoto choice for Australia
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2013, 08:15:31 PM »
500 f4 sounds awesome!

But here is the thing.  Are you sure you are up for this?  It's a major investment of money, but even more in the hassle of caring around 12 lbs of "steal me!" on a  vacation.  I love big lenses, but I don't take them on vacation with the family.  i want the family to still allow me in the house when we get back.  I take my 400 2.8 when I go on business trips by myself. 

Anyway, i think you get this lens now, soon, get used to it and then decide if this is going on vacation with you!

I am very fond of 400mm f2.8 and the 1.4 and 2X converters because of the flexibility and the f2.8.  For night sports, f2.8 kicks but.

kirispupis

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Re: Telephoto choice for Australia
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2013, 08:50:29 PM »
Thanks!  I am thinking that I will purchase a used 500/4 regardless of whether I take it to Australia.  If I do purchase one for Australia it will be shortly before the trip because I will need to wait until then to save enough.  Otherwise I will likely wait for the end of the year.  A decent telephoto is really the last lens that I truly need.

Lugging around such a large lens is definitely a concern.  I already take quite a bit with me - on our recent trip to Tuscany I had a 70-200/2.8 II, TS-E 24 II, TS-E 17, 100/2.8 IS macro, 8-15 fisheye, and 24-105/4 + flash + tripod.  I usually wake up very early in the morning and photograph while the family is asleep.  Still, a 500/4 significantly adds to the weight and I only want to take one if it truly will make a difference in the photos.

Disregarding the 500/4, I'm still working on what I will take to Australia but for sure it will include my MP-E 65, MT-24EX, and 100 macro as I am very interested in photographing bugs.  My 70-200/2.8 and TS-E 24 will also likely make it because they are my most used travel lenses.  I'll also likely add the 24-105/4 for shots I don't care too much about.  I'll probably leave the TS-E 17 home in favor of the 16-35/2.8 because it can accept filters and I won't be photographing many interiors.   So, adding a 500/4 to that will equal one very heavy bag.
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dave

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Re: Telephoto choice for Australia
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 10:39:37 PM »
+1 on the 400mm probably being enough... shame that you don't still have the 7D.

Having said that most wildlife here will try to eat you so the 500mm might be useful to defend yourself.

Don't forget that the fly is the national bird of Australia, so just whack a macro lens on, knock the top off a cold one, point and fire and I'm sure you'll get some good shots :)

In all seriousness, I am sure that whatever lenses you bring you'll get great shots.

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Re: Telephoto choice for Australia
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 10:39:37 PM »

Hillsilly

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Re: Telephoto choice for Australia
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2013, 10:46:42 PM »
With birds, the bigger lens the better of course.  But in most tourist locations, getting close to other wildlife won't be a problems and a 70-200 (with extender just in case) should be fine.  Dingoes have no problems getting close to people on Fraser Island.  In fact, dingo attacks are fairly common - As tourists give food to the dingoes, they have started to expect this.  Keep your eye open for humpback whales on the way over there. 

Living in Brisbane, I don't really know what other people find exotic or intersting.  On the Gold Coast, if you want to photograph some wallabies (and if you're lucky koalas) in the "wild", try the Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area.  While 500mm will be great, a 70-200mm is a good focal length here.  You mention birds, so if Rainbow Lorikeets are your thing, try Burleigh Heads beach in the late afternoon.  A 70-200 will also work well here.  If you want to get really serious/adventurous, try searching for Lyrebirds in Gold Coast hinterland.  You'd want a 500mm+ for this. 

I guess my final answer would be to say that you'd do pretty well with just the 70-200.  But there will be occassions when you will wish for something longer.  But unless you are seriously into wildlife photography, I'd leave the 500mm at home.   
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dr croubie

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Re: Telephoto choice for Australia
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2013, 12:34:39 AM »
ps, if you're going to Brisbane or Bundaberg (or anywhere in Qld, really), bring an Ikelite underwater housing... [/harsh]
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florian

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Re: Telephoto choice for Australia
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2013, 02:40:59 AM »
Hi kirispupis,
that´s a nice trip. my last trip to Queensland is not too long ago and if you don´t want to get very close pictures of shy wildlife in the wild you´ll be fine with the 70-200 with extenders. I might get also the 1,4 III
I have the same lens on my 5D III and the pictures are better and the AF is quicker with the 1,4 III.
I have the 2x III with me if I need the extra range but perfer the 1,4 III.
This year we do a trip from Perth via Tasmania to Sydney for birding and I got myself a 600 II for this trip and we don´t have any luggage issues. We try to fly Jetstar as much as possible because you get 10 KG of carry on luggage and you can choose how heavy your suitcase will be.
I´m traveling all the way from Germany and the only issue we have is, that they weight even your carry on when you leave in Australia and for us once again in Singapore ( but they don´t have Problems if its 1 KG more than 7 )

I have all my equipment in a Lowe Flipside 500AW, even the EF600 fits in there nicely. It´s the size that is allowed in Australia for carry on, they have different sizes then we in Europe or the US and not 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. It´s the perfect backpack for a holiday, I walk around with it the whole day without any issues.

And if your Handluggage has to get weighted put your raincoat or what ever you take on the plan in the back of your luggage cart and hide your 5D III with the 70-200 in it. This should lower you handluggage weight enough to get through and not pay extra. Or put it in your wifes backpack, like I do most of the time  ;D

I don´t know if you are into snorkeling or diving but they have a wunderful underwaterworld and it might be good to get a nice underwater camera like a D20 not to expensive and big but get´s you nice pictures where you won´t take your 5D III.

Have a nice trip and hopefully you might post a few nice landscape or wildlife pics here.

dave

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Re: Telephoto choice for Australia
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2013, 05:49:35 AM »
ps, if you're going to Brisbane or Bundaberg (or anywhere in Qld, really), bring an Ikelite underwater housing... [/harsh]

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kirispupis

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Re: Telephoto choice for Australia
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2013, 08:18:50 PM »
Thank you for the replies.  I decided to go with a new 400/5.6 on the last day of Canon rebates.  I plan to take this with me to Australia and figure out what to do about a longer telephoto at the end of the year.  From my reseach this appears to outperform the 70-200/2.8 II + 2x III significantly in both image quality and AF.  The lack of IS isn't hugely important to me as I plan to use it mostly on my monopod and I typically use high shutter speeds anyways for birds.  This also shouldn't increase the weight of my bag too much.

For underwater, I am thinking about buying a simple underwater camera (<$300) before I go.  I have thought about buying a housing for some time, but I just do not take enough of those photos to justify it.  I also considered renting a housing - either from a place here or in Australia - but I am a bit concerned about putting my primary (and only) DSLR in a rental housing thousands of miles from home.  Most of my photos should be from the surface (snorkeling) so it should do OK.
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Re: Telephoto choice for Australia
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2013, 08:18:50 PM »