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Author Topic: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?  (Read 4990 times)

Cory

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Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« on: June 20, 2013, 07:33:30 AM »
     Would the big upcoming Alaskan cruise (in a week and a half) call for a 70-300L?  My current gear is a T1i, Sigma 17-50, Canon 100 2.0 and 200 2.8II (and the associated goodness for waterfalls, bright light, etc.).
     Also, would wildlife in bright sun necessarily call for a polarizing filter in many cases or are polarizing filters more of a landscape thing? 
     Thanks.
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Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« on: June 20, 2013, 07:33:30 AM »

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2013, 07:50:25 AM »
Absolutely!  A longer zoom comes in handy if you go on a whale watch at Juneau or go White Pass railroad tour.  It also comes in handy photographying the glaciers.  The glaciers are large, but the cruise ships are thousands of feet away.

Most of the time, you'll be using it outside, so it can tak the place of the 200 2.8 II.

miah

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2013, 08:43:20 AM »
I concur. I took a T1i + 15-85 and 70-300 on the Alaska Ferry from Bellingham to Haines. It was great for dolphins and whales and a lot of landscapes that were a fair distance from the ship. A polarizer can really help out on the water to cut glare, but you take a big hit on aperture on an already slowish lens. I'd leave the 200 at home unless weight/bulk isn't a problem and you can pack the whole kit.
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mojo415

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2013, 10:33:48 AM »
Hi Cory:

Going to give you my experience on our cruise to Alaska last August. We were on the Royal Caribbean cruise line for 14 days. The route was Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, Seward and then in reverse order.

Back then I was using Nikon D7000 (I've now switched to Canon MK2 with 24-70L, 40mm pancake and 70-200L) and brought with me 3 lenses: Tokina 11-16 2.8, 35mm 1.8 and a 80-200 2.8.
 
Personally, I would bring the wide and the 200 and that's it. You want to enjoy your trip so travel light. In terms of shooting at 200 or 300, my personal experience is if you don't get the shot at 200, the extra reach at 300 won't make that much of a difference, you are just too far. The 200 is a few stops faster and lighter  :). If you are shooting salmon, bring the CPL.

On excursions, I would recommend going on the floater plane in Ketchikan, the views from above is amazing. Whale watching, there will be tons of whales, you can even see them on shores at Icy strait point. If you are planning on climbing on the glacier,  my wife and I climbed the Exit glacier. It was fun but the hike was pretty harsh, 2hrs uphill and we weren't even on the ice yet. In Juneau, look for the library in the city, there's a bold eagle nest on top of it, don't worry if you miss it, there's going to be tons of eagles in every city. Lastly, when eating dinner on the cruise ship, always have the tele ready, the dolphins always shows up around dinner time, and yes, I am serious. If you can, bring some sort of rain protection gear for your camera, it rains alot in Alaska.

Hope this helps. Cheers.




Cory

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2013, 11:21:13 AM »
That helps a massive amount.  I appreciate that and REALLY like the image quality from my 200 prime.
Would you say that my Sigma 17-50 should capture all/most of my non-telephoto pics or did you really find the 11-16 to be a great thing?  I wasn't sure if the extra few mm's would be worth the expense or extra gear.
Which leads me to something else - I really like using primes so I was considering swapping out my 17-50 for a Tokina 11-16 and maybe a new Sigma 30 1.4.  Would that be sort of dumb or maybe pretty smart?
Thanks.
Oh, and our excursions are the coastal wildlife tour, gold panning and the musher's camp (by ground and not by air).
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Drizzt321

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2013, 12:52:30 PM »
If you feel that you might want more reach, you can always bring a 1.4x or 2x TC, although your image quality will suffer to an extent. On the other hand, it might be preferable to trying to crop in and getting a marginal image.
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mojo415

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2013, 04:08:57 PM »
Seems like you have money to burn..... ;D
I never owned a Sigma so I can't say much about the picture quality or the build quality. I like the Tokina because it was within my price range at the time, very solid and never disappointed me. It's very wide but don't forget it does nothing but wide.

In terms of range, your sigma is pretty wide (26mm or so on a crop) but its much more versatile. If you need a wider shot, just zoom with the your legs or stitch a few photos together post process.

I lot of people like the Sigma 30mm, it's super fast and decently prices. Personally, why not just bring a 35mm prime or 40mm pancake. Both weights way less than the Sigma. The 1lb Sigma adds up on a long day of walking and you save 100-200 dollars depending on the market.

Alot of people like to carry full range of lenses so they have every mm covered. If you have a strong shoulder, sure why not. I personally carry just 1, 2 the max on trips, it's better for my health and overall enjoyment of my vacations.

I forgot to mention, if you are in Juneau, head over to Tracey's crab shack, they have amazing crabs and the library I mentioned earlier is just around the corner.

Cheers

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2013, 04:08:57 PM »

emag

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2013, 05:37:09 PM »
It's been 6 years since I was there, my only regret is I didn't bring a wider lens, I could have used it and a CPL on the beach in Haines.  200mm was fine; as a previous poster said, if 200 won't cut it, 300 won't be much better.  I would recommend the 11-16 and polarizer, you'll really want to knock down the sky brightness with the polarizer sometimes, at least a graduated ND would be useful.  I live on the Florida coast, so I was truly impressed with the expansive, mountainous views on Lynn Canal.

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2013, 05:46:08 PM »
I just got back from Alaska a couple weeks ago and we took two day cruises. I was switching out between my 70-200 and 24-105 a lot. The 70-200 worked great for wildlife but not wide enough for the water falls and glaciers. I also used my Tokina 11-16 just for the glaciers.
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wle

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2013, 06:44:05 PM »
Recommend renting a 2x III TC to extend the 200mm on the very good chance that you will want that range for wildlife and birds. Also recommend a wide angle zoom starting in the 24mm (full frame) range. I think you will use it a lot. And yes on the polarizer. Not only will it take the glare off water and richen the sky and clouds in bright light but will take the shine off of wet foliage and show the salmon and rocks in shallow water.

pj1974

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2013, 08:30:44 PM »
You've got some great advice here above already.

I have lived and travelled extensively during my life - although I'm just middle aged. I echo the advice that travelling light on such a journey will make it more enjoyable for you, and may even allow you to get a number of photos that you might not otherwise if you were 'burdened down' with gear (or too busy changing lenses).

On my Canon 7D, my travel lens combination is the 15-85mm and 70-300mm L.  I have seen photos of Alaska that my friends took a year or so ago, and also another friend who went to New Zealand (somewhat similar scenery: mountains, 'fjords', glacial features, etc).

While I also have a great Ultrawide Angle (UWA) - the Sigma 10-20mm - I would recommend that in many cases your Sigma 17-50 would cover a lot of landscape well... and having the flexibility of the 70-300mm L for eg animals, birds or some landscape features in the distance - would work well.  It's when you are up close to big mountains, etc - that an UWA would be 'necessary'.

Although the 100mm and 200mm primes can be handy in low light, you'll probably have enough daylight most times (and with IS on the 70-300mm L) - to get good shots with both (your Sigma 17-50mm is f/2.8, right?)

Paul
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Cory

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2013, 08:34:18 PM »
Thanks for all the good opinions - they were all good.
One thing to note is that a Tokina 11-16, my Sigma zoom and a 100-400 all have the same 77mm threads and I already have a really good polarizing and ND filter, but I'm leaning towards just sticking with the Sigma 17-50 and Canon 200 2.8 and leaving it at that.
I wonder how useful an UWA would be to make the cost/extra gear worth it.  Do some find that bottoming out at 17mm (on a crop) forces one to catch the most interesting part of a landscape or interior?  Also, I'm a sucker for primes, but maybe a normal zoom is a great thing; provided that it's a great zoom.
And, the 100-400 might be a no-brainer instead of the 200, but the 200 travels nicely.  I wonder if I'll catch the majority of my telephoto shots with the 200 vs. catching more, but having to lug a large lens around.  Since there is a bunch of talk about a redone 100-400 I think I'd do it if it were out so maybe I'll hold off (and am not ruling out renting one - I'm off to lensrentals.com to check that out). 
Thanks again and thanks in advance for any other points of view.  We leave in a little over a week so there's time and, of course, I'll post my "Alaskan" album.
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mwh1964

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2013, 09:03:13 PM »
I can vouch for the 70-300L anytime. Used it also on a crop 60D. Very good reach indeed. Enjoy the trip...
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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2013, 09:03:13 PM »

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2013, 01:06:54 AM »
Yes to the 70-300L, might consider 24-105 and keep your kit to 2 light weight lens.

Cory

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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2013, 10:11:02 AM »
Thanks again everyone.  Much appreciated.
Might the answer be to rent a 100-400 and call it a day and then, if I love it, buy the 100-400II one day?
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Re: Alaskan Cruise - 70-300L/Crop Sensor?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2013, 10:11:02 AM »