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Author Topic: lenses for neotropical rainforest  (Read 8217 times)

vlim

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lenses for neotropical rainforest
« on: January 04, 2012, 10:48:51 AM »
What do you think if i buy this two lenses for my future trips in neotropical rainforest.

Canon lenses 300mm F/4 L IS  for mammals, birds and some of snake species and the 100 F/2.8 L IS for snakes and frogs, one on a 40D body and the other one on a 7D Body...

I hope for a new version of the 300mm F/4 L IS this year but it seems unlikely.

Thanks, Vincent
« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 10:52:29 AM by vlim »

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lenses for neotropical rainforest
« on: January 04, 2012, 10:48:51 AM »

vlim

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2012, 10:53:12 AM »
Other option can be the new Sigma 150mm F2,8 EX DG OS HSM MACRO...
« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 11:08:35 AM by vlim »

neuroanatomist

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2012, 11:16:18 AM »
Canon lenses 300mm F/4 L IS  for mammals, birds and some of snake species and the 100 F/2.8 L IS for snakes and frogs, one on a 40D body and the other one on a 7D Body...

I hope for a new version of the 300mm F/4 L IS this year but it seems unlikely.

Rainforest and the 300/4 IS don't seem to go well together.  The 7D has some weather sealing, and the 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS is a sealed lens - that's a good option for a rainforest.  The 300/4 isn't a sealed lens (nor is the 40D a sealed body).

I'd strongly consider taking sealed gear if possible.

You might consider the 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS zoom, which is sealed, but then it's f/5.6 at 300mm and you may need the extra stop. 

If your budget permits, perhaps the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II with the 1.4x TC (II or III), which is a sealed combo that gets you to 280mm f/4 with very good IQ.  In fact, the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II + 1.4x gets you to a native magnification of 0.3x, and if you add a 500D close-up filter to the front, you're at 0.84x with the combo (0.6x without the TC).  The 500D limits you to a working distance of 50 cm, but the IQ with that combo is pretty close to what you get from the 100L Macro (although the latter is a more versatile lens).
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vlim

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2012, 11:39:58 AM »
Quote
The 300/4 isn't a sealed lens

That's why i want a new version of this lens !

I was thinking about this 70-200 and even about the new Sigma 120-300mm F2,8 APO EX DG OS HSM which is a little bit more expensive and heavier but apparently very very good !

Thanks for sharing your opinion...

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2012, 11:51:41 AM »

It's dark inside tropical rainforest.  I found 1/15 f2.8 @400 ISO was typical and that was only 4 degrees south of the equator at midday, so the sun was about as straight downwards as it can get. 

Fastest possible lenses and high ISO are called for, along with the water sealing as per Neuro's advice. 

Keeping your camera and lenses warm and dry is important, switch off the aircon on the journey into the forest, chilling your kit will make condensation form as soon as you take it outside, have plenty of silica gel or a similar dessicant handy.   I stuck small packets of silica gel to the inside of a body cap and used that to draw damp out after using it in steamy forest.  Taking the battery out and stuffing that hole with silica gel packs also helps.
 

 



   

jasonsim

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2012, 12:36:24 PM »
I'd normally say a 100-400mm L IS for wildlife, but it's not weather sealed.  The 70-300mm 4-5.6L IS USM is a good option since it has weather sealing and lighter than the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II + 1.4x III.  And you don't need to fiddle with adding the extender and taking it off.  You need to decide, if weight could be a deciding factor.  I myself and considering trading my 100-400mm for the 70-300mm L.  Plus it has the newest generation IS.

There has been talk about a replacement 100-400mm L, but probably won't be anytime soon.  Good luck!
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TexPhoto

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2012, 01:47:47 PM »
Aside from weather sealing, the 300 f4 is a fantastic lens.  If you intend to shoot in the rain, avoid it.  If you'll put it away in a safe weather tight camera bag (try a LowePro AW), I highly recommend it.

But if those are the only 2 lenses you take, you'll miss a lot.  Take a good wide to medium zoom. Heck, take an 18-55mm IS.  The wide shot is critical to establish a sense of place.

And a small light weight monopod will real improve your long and macro shots.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 01:49:30 PM by TexPhoto »

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2012, 01:47:47 PM »

kirispupis

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2012, 01:52:36 PM »
It depends on what you want to photograph and what type of trip you are taking.

I'll generally assume you want to photograph wildlife.  Insects are certainly the most common and there are many unique ones there.  At minimum you will need a 100mm macro to photograph them.  If you're serious about insects, an MP-E 65 is also a good route.  Note that realistically you will only have time to photograph insects around your camp (but they'll still be abundant and easy to find).  When I went there the tour guide and others in the group were not willing to wait for the lone insect photographer.  Better yet if you want to photograph insects take a private tour.

You'll also see a lot of birds, monkeys, peccaries, agoutis, and other critters.  When I went to Manu, Peru I also saw giant otters, caiman (black and white), a tapir, and a jaguar.  What type of lens you need depends on how you will be seeing them.
- By far the most effective way to see wildlife is by river.  In Manu we travelled by motorized canoe for long periods of time and sat on a raft in an oxbow lake.  The oxbow lake was absolutely incredible and every way you turned there was something interesting.  A 100-400 would work very well there because some animals came very close (giant otters) while others were further away (monkeys).
- When travelling by canoe, basically the longer the telephoto the better.  Many subjects were quite far away - though there were a few exceptions (we came close to a family of capybara).  When I go back some day I would certainly want a 500/600 lens + extenders or at least the new 200-400/1.4x.
- At other times you will be in one place as the animals will come to you.  We used this to view the macaw lek, cock-of-the-rock, and the tapir.  For the macaws and cock-of-the-rock a 400mm lens would still be very useful as they were still quite far away.  A zoom lens may give more flexibility.  The tapir came quite close and could be reached with a normal lens - but it came at night so you'll need a camera that can handle high ISO and a fast lens.
- When walking in the jungle, you can generally forget about getting a good shot off.  Most wildlife tends not to stick around very long when spotted so you're not likely to have the chance.  The exception are some of the monkeys - and you'll need a long and reasonably fast lens to reach them.  Be advised that if you approach too closely they may urinate or throw things at you.  I did have more success walking alone on the paths around our camp - where I had a lengthy encounter with an agouti and several wooly monkeys and very brief encounters with a snake and a jaguar.  To be honest I would spend more time photographing the insects and the trees/plants as few critters will give you the chance.
- Sunsets on the river and mist.  Bring a decent WA lens for these situations as they can be absolutely magical.  This is a shot I took when I went - before I got into photography at all or had an SLR.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kirispupis/93468554/in/set-72057594067259015/

Weather sealing is a concern.  Remember that they call it the rainforest for a reason.  Regardless whether your equipment is weather sealed I would bring rain covers for you camera + lenses.  Also note that if you cannot afford some of the larger lenses, renting is still an option.

Note that this advice applies mainly to neotropical jungles.  If you are travelling to more open areas in SA - notably Los Llanos or the Pantanal - they aren't as applicable.
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vlim

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2012, 03:13:54 PM »
Thanks for your advices and comments. The place where i'm going is the Osa Peninsula, the wildest area in Costa Rica. I've been there already two times and i know that the conditions for taking pictures are pretty tough. One my friend lives there and he owns a property with intense wildlife activity, even the big cats are coming... And with a lot of snakes and some of them like the Fer de lance have to be considered with a lot of care while taking pictures... that's why i'm hesitating between the 100 macro from Canon and the 150 macro from Sigma !

Right now i can't afford to have many lenses so that's why i'm talking about one lens for the birds and mammals and the other one for frogs and snakes. And i know that the big lenses like a 500 f/4 are extremely hard to bring in neotropical rainforest espacially while walking... The 400 f/5.6 could be an option too but like the 300 f/4 is not sealed.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 03:27:45 PM by vlim »

neuroanatomist

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2012, 03:50:13 PM »
Right now i can't afford to have many lenses so that's why i'm talking about one lens for the birds and mammals and the other one for frogs and snakes. And i know that the big lenses like a 500 f/4 are extremely hard to bring in neotropical rainforest espacially while walking... The 400 f/5.6 could be an option too but like the 300 f/4 is not sealed.

If you're willing/able to rent for the trip, you might consider the 300mm f/2.8L IS II.  It's light enough to carry, has great IQ (far better than the 300/4, even with the 1.4x III it beats the 300/4), is weather sealed, and the f/2.8 will really help in the dark rainforest.  For snakes and frogs, 0.25x magnifiation with the 1.4x TC combined with the high pixel density of the 7D will probably be sufficient.  Plus, that 0.25x magnification is at a distance of 6.5 feet...handy for those venomous critters!

And with a lot of snakes and some of them like the Fer de lance have to be considered with a lot of care while taking pictures...

Indeed!  Here's a baby fer-de-lance that we ran across on a hike in Belize (babies are more dangerous than adults, because adults can control their venom injection, whereas babies just inject everything they've got). 
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wickidwombat

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2012, 06:01:06 PM »
i think those 2 lenses would be good but as neuro said the 300 isn't weather sealed, but you could get a rain cover for it from ebay which are cheap, I would also look at a fast wide angle prime for super low light and i'm sure there will be some greaty wide angle shots to be had too
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vlim

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2012, 04:17:04 AM »
Ho yes of course the 300 F/2.8 would be the best lens for this environment but here in France we can't rent it ! This is one i'm dreaming about... A rain cover is absolutely needed you're right !

Any other comments about the macro lens ? i know the canon 100 f/2.8 L IS is terrific but   the Sigma 150 f/2.8 might be a better option in terms of distance... Once again i'm talking about pictures of potantially dangerous snakes like the Fer de lance or Bushmaster. But the 300 f/4 could be used to for these guys...

briansquibb

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2012, 05:13:47 AM »
I often usd a 180 macro with 1.4 on a 7D to get me further away from a jumpy subject. That way you still get up to 1x. Need good light to get the speed for a steady shot (about 1/1000 works well). I used a homemade bracket with 2 580EX to get the light, although might be too clumsy in thick undergrowth - so perhaps a stadard macro light would be good

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2012, 05:13:47 AM »

wickidwombat

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2012, 07:19:07 AM »
Ho yes of course the 300 F/2.8 would be the best lens for this environment but here in France we can't rent it ! This is one i'm dreaming about... A rain cover is absolutely needed you're right !

Any other comments about the macro lens ? i know the canon 100 f/2.8 L IS is terrific but   the Sigma 150 f/2.8 might be a better option in terms of distance... Once again i'm talking about pictures of potantially dangerous snakes like the Fer de lance or Bushmaster. But the 300 f/4 could be used to for these guys...

i have the 100 f2.8 it is really great if i want to get closer i stack a kenko 1.4 tc and extension tubes on it and it goes very very close, and i makes a great portrait lens too it's very versitile and light weight
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vlim

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2012, 11:27:02 AM »
In terms of wide angle lenses, what do you think about this one :

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L USM

My package could be the Canon 100 macro F/2.8 L IS, the Canon 300 F/4 L IS (even not sealed the lens is relatively cheap and still terrific) and this last one (or a 70-200 F/4 L IS)... With this ones i'm relatively light and mobile (i have my binos and spotting scope too !).

With camo lenscoat and cover and a monopod (which one ?)

Thanks, Vincent
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 11:55:48 AM by vlim »

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Re: lenses for neotropical rainforest
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2012, 11:27:02 AM »