April 22, 2018, 01:10:29 PM

Author Topic: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone  (Read 4089 times)

slclick

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Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« on: March 19, 2018, 07:03:55 PM »
I might be going to Yellowstone in July for about 4 days. I'll rent one long lens to go with the 16-35 f/4L (filter kit lens) and 135L.  I'll shoot mostly geologic features and some wildlife and sunrise/sunset expanses.  I'm torn between the 150-600 G2 and a Canon Prime such as a 500. The price is a huge consideration but since I do not have much experience with longer glass, will the cost of renting better faster and better  IQ lenses be wasted on me?

What are some great lenses, focal lengths that have served you well in Yellowstone?

TIA
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Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« on: March 19, 2018, 07:03:55 PM »

reef58

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2018, 07:39:42 PM »
I would carry a zoom such as the 24-105. Some wildlife gets close.  I have a two week trip planned and here is what i am going to take:

16-24
24-105
70-300l
100 macro
500f4

You have the 16-35, so something like a 24-70 /105 and the 150-600 would be perfect.  Dont forget the tripod as you will want to beat the crowds by shooting early and late.

Good luck

scottkinfw

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2018, 07:53:09 PM »
I might be going to Yellowstone in July for about 4 days. I'll rent one long lens to go with the 16-35 f/4L (filter kit lens) and 135L.  I'll shoot mostly geologic features and some wildlife and sunrise/sunset expanses.  I'm torn between the 150-600 G2 and a Canon Prime such as a 500. The price is a huge consideration but since I do not have much experience with longer glass, will the cost of renting better faster and better  IQ lenses be wasted on me?

What are some great lenses, focal lengths that have served you well in Yellowstone?

TIA

Hi SLClick

Great question.  I'm headed there May 24-29, and I have the same issue/question.

First, what camera(s) do you intend to bring? 
Better glass will bring better images, but you don't want to match a Rolls Royce with a VW.

I am going to bring a 300 2.8 IS II
24-70 2.8 IS II
16-35 2.8 III
Maybe 24-27 2.8 II
I will plan to bring a tripod with a ball head for landscape and gimbal head for wildlife.
Also will bring a beanbag.
I mainly love wildlife photos but am learning landscape, and astro.
My question to anyone who has been there, should I rent a longer lens?
I will bring a 5DIII and 1DX II.  Would it be worth it to rent a 5dSR?
My sweetheart isn't into photography and she doesn't mind being my sherpa.

Hope this answers your question, and I hope someone can answer mine.

Thanks.

Sek
 
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aceflibble

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2018, 08:11:47 PM »
RE the long lenses

Go for the zoom. The Canon 500mm is a much better lens, but it's also more of a pain to transport, more of a pain to carry, insurance is far higher on it (needless to say if anything bad were to happen to a lens while in your care, it's much better if the 150-600 is damaged than a 500mm), but most importantly, it takes much longer to get used to.

Since you say you don't have experience with that kind of lens, the zoom will be much better for you. I can not stress enough that, for your first time using it, you will completely underestimate how tough framing is with the 500mm f/4. Everybody also underestimates how tough it is to not just frame a shot but keep that framing while you rattle off a few frames; capturing moving wildlife with the big white telephotos is one of the hardest techniques to learn. Wildlife photography with telephoto lenses may not have much 'art' to it, but it's one of the most technique-demanding areas of photography. You will not nail it on your first try, so you may as well make it as easy as possible for yourself and ease yourself in. A zoom is perfect for that.

For reference, when filming from long distances with the BBC, zooms are used over primes, specifically because trying to get the framing right with a fixed 500mm or 600mm is just too hard to rely on, even among experienced professionals. Obviously you'll get individuals who like to use those big primes (I do, myself) but in terms of getting the job done reliably with no mistakes, time after time, zooms are the standard.

Yes, the 500mm f/4 is optically superior to the zoom. But the #1 influence in image quality when it comes to wildlife with long lenses is getting as close as possible. The Tamron 150-600 is easier to move with, easier to frame and shoot with, and thus easier to get close with. This is why lenses like the 200-400 f/4 and 400mm f/4 DO are so much more popular than the 600mm f/4. It's not all about reach and optical perfection; practicality is king. Optics mean nothing if you're so far away that heat haze blurs everything, or if the lens is too awkward for you to frame the shot.

If you do rent the 500mm, you'll regret not having the easier zoom. If you rent the zoom you'll likely keep thinking to yourself "man, I wish I had that big fancy L lens". Neither is objectively all-round better than the other. But for a new user, the zoom is much, much easier. Rent the zoom this time, and if you find out you like shooting with long lenses, buy the cheap 400mm f/5.6 to practice with and then rent the 500mm on your next big trip.

bholliman

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2018, 08:30:13 PM »
What are some great lenses, focal lengths that have served you well in Yellowstone?

We visited Yellowstone NP for 5 days back in 2012.  At that time I had a 550D, EF-S 18-55 and 55-250mm.  250mm on a crop (400mm FF equivalent) was definitely not enough reach for wildlife.  I cropped most of my wildlife shots pretty heavily.  Yes, you will get some close-up wildlife encounters as well, but most will be fairly distant.  You will use your EF 16-35mm f/4 IS quite a bit, but will probably need a normal zoom as well, 24-70mm or 25-105 in addition to a long tele for wildlife.

Your long tele choice depends on your budget.  A 500 f/4 II would be my preference, but renting for a week will be expensive.  The Sigma C 150-600 and Tamron 150-600 G2 are both very well respected.  Auto focus will not be as good as one of the big whites, but autofocus requirements for shooting distant bears, bison, elk and moose is not nearly as demanding as BIF.



My question to anyone who has been there, should I rent a longer lens?
I will bring a 5DIII and 1DX II.  Would it be worth it to rent a 5dSR?


A 300 f/2.8 II is my longest lens as well.  I use mine all the time for wildlife with the 1.4x and 2.0x III extenders and it performs pretty well, but AF struggles a bit with the 2x.  For a trip like this, I would probably rent a 500 f/4 II or 600 f/4 II.  I would think your current cameras are certainly good enough unless you really want maximum resolution for large prints.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 08:33:42 PM by bholliman »
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bholliman

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2018, 08:42:33 PM »
Go for the zoom.

If you do rent the 500mm, you'll regret not having the easier zoom. If you rent the zoom you'll likely keep thinking to yourself "man, I wish I had that big fancy L lens". Neither is objectively all-round better than the other. But for a new user, the zoom is much, much easier. Rent the zoom this time, and if you find out you like shooting with long lenses, buy the cheap 400mm f/5.6 to practice with and then rent the 500mm on your next big trip.

This is excellent advice if you don't have experience with any long primes.

I've rented 600 f/4 II's and 500 f/4 II's on several occasions for birds and raptors and my success on my initial rentals wasn't good.  And that was after using a 300 with extenders previously.  Long primes do take some time to get used to target acquisition and to get your technique down.  With the 600 f/4, it was my 3rd full day of shooting before I had an acceptable keeper rate, and that was with some experienced bird photographers giving me advice.
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CanonFanBoy

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2018, 09:44:46 PM »
Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM with Built-in Extender 1.4x Lens, and a burro to carry it all. ;)
5D Mark III, Tamron SP 15-30 f/2.8 Di VC USD, 24-70 F/2.8L II, 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, 35 f/1.4L II, 135 f/2L, Streaklight 360ws, Flashpoint XPLOR 600PRO, 17x m42 screw mount lenses adapted to my DSLR.

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2018, 09:44:46 PM »

takesome1

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2018, 10:15:57 PM »
I have spent over a week at Yellowstone 7 of the last 8 years.
The majority of the people do not go hiking to see wildlife. They drive around and road hunt to see it.
If you are not planning on packing and hiking weight isn't as big of a consideration. Go for the 500mm.
Every time I go I take my 500mm and keep my 1.4x in my pocket. Monopod and good tripod are a must.


slclick

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2018, 10:24:27 PM »
These replies are great, thank you all (so far) I shoot with a 5D3 and an M5. I have years of experience with the two versions of 100-400's even though I do not have one at this time. Therefore I figured the 150-600 would be 2nd nature in terms of zoom range and handling. I prefer to zoom with my feet over 35mm and have little use for a 24-70 in the wild (I do own the 2.8 Mkll) The 135L is my baby for those special abstract images the pools can offer. I have no issues with how I will use both that and the 16-35 (which utilizes my Formatt HiTech filter system)

The monetary variance of renting a 150-600 G2 vs a 500/600 Canon big white is  $300-400, so there's that...therefore I appreciate the feedback on the hunch that this may not be the time for me to experiment with huge primes. I'll have 3 full days and want to make the most of my time, using my previous experience there as a guide of what I want and how not to waste my time.

Funny how I have two other trips prior to this and I know just what to bring to California Central Coast and Kauai but YS is driving me nuts. Thanks again.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 10:35:17 PM by slclick »
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PCM-madison

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2018, 11:28:00 PM »
Since you have years of experience with Canon's 100-400mm, I would suggest you rent one of those. If you are committed to a prime, I can say that my transition from mainly using a 100-400 for wildlife to a 300mm F2.8 IS ii with a pair of teleconverters was pretty easy. I am very happy with the results I get from the 300mm F2.8 IS ii. I can also recommend that you enjoy your trip, prepare for the unexpected moments, and don't stress too much about the gear your taking. The Eastern Screech Owl was taken with the 300mm F2.8 IS ii about 15 min after sunset with ambient light. The Elk + Old Faithful was taken with a 35mm film point-and-shoot circa 1986.

slclick

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2018, 11:55:23 PM »
Since you have years of experience with Canon's 100-400mm, I would suggest you rent one of those. If you are committed to a prime, I can say that my transition from mainly using a 100-400 for wildlife to a 300mm F2.8 IS ii with a pair of teleconverters was pretty easy. I am very happy with the results I get from the 300mm F2.8 IS ii. I can also recommend that you enjoy your trip, prepare for the unexpected moments, and don't stress too much about the gear your taking. The Eastern Screech Owl was taken with the 300mm F2.8 IS ii about 15 min after sunset with ambient light. The Elk + Old Faithful was taken with a 35mm film point-and-shoot circa 1986.

Oh there will be no family along with me, this is all about geeking out on photography and trying something new. I never owned anything longer than 400 and renting is a great opportunity to try that yet I want to do it realistically and perhaps not get a giant prime which challenges me in the field with time constraints. Thanks.
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PCM-madison

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2018, 12:16:59 AM »
I understand the goal of going beyond 400mm. I think the Canon 300mm F2.8 IS ii + 2X teleconverter would be better than the Tamron 150-600mm G2. See comparison at the digital picture lens image quality tool: https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=739&Camera=979&Sample=0&FLI=2&API=2&LensComp=1079&CameraComp=979&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=5&APIComp=0

slclick

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2018, 09:10:58 AM »
I understand the goal of going beyond 400mm. I think the Canon 300mm F2.8 IS ii + 2X teleconverter would be better than the Tamron 150-600mm G2. See comparison at the digital picture lens image quality tool: https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=739&Camera=979&Sample=0&FLI=2&API=2&LensComp=1079&CameraComp=979&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=5&APIComp=0

Thanks, I'll look into that.
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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2018, 09:10:58 AM »

takesome1

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2018, 09:49:48 AM »
I never remember a time at Yellowstone that I thought "hey... I wish I could zoom down to 200mm with my 500mm it is just to long".  I do remember the times that a 2x was barely enough to get a decent picture of a sheep, or that only by zooming to 100x I could actually make out the mountain goat on the side of a mountain.

The versatility of a zoom's range argument just doesn't hold up for wildlife. To make the point further, I have a 100-400mm and often when I am traveling a relative or the wife is using it. I never remember a time that I asked them to hand it to me because I just needed a shorter length to take a picture of a buffalo.

Random Orbits

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2018, 09:50:40 AM »
What I used in Yellowstone last year:  16-35 f/4 IS, 24-70 II, 100-400 II (plus extenders).

I went with my family, so a lot of it was driving and hiking.  The 16-35 and 24-70 got used a lot as walk around lenses.  A lot of the more sensitive geological areas restrict foot traffic to boardwalks and it's handy to have a UWA lens (i.e. Grand Prismatic).  If you're planning on going to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone area, the 100-400 is a must as a landscape lens in addition to the shorter focal lengths.  I had two camera bags with me, I carried what I thought I needed at the moment, and left the rest in the second bag in the car.

The 100-400 II is an excellent lens and it's portability is a major asset.  I'd rather walk around with a 100-400 II with the extender in the backpack rather than a 150-600.  That said, I would have loved to have a long supertele in the Lamar Valley.  We were taking pictures of an osprey family (2 young chicks), and that was the only time I felt I needed something longer.  I had both extenders with me and the resulting pictures were good.  but then a serious amateur/pro came by and asked what we were looking at.  I showed him the shots that I got of the nest, and he liked them, so he went back to his vehicle and brought back a D4/5, the Nikkor 500mm, extenders, tripod and a chair.  My family watched the ospreys for about half an hour.  He was there for over 2 hours (he was still there after we had gone to see the bison in Lamar Valley and passed the osprey nest on the way out).  He was returning from Alaska after shooting bald eagles.  I was looking for something good for memories.  He was looking for something great (ospreys taking off and returning in flight).  My tripod was in the car because I didn't know how long my family would let me stay; he was camping out waiting for a moment that might never occur.  Besides the two of us, I saw only one other camera with a long zoom.  Nearly everyone else had cell phones.  We passed binoculars around to let them see what we were seeing/taking photos of.

If I were going to do it as a photo trip exclusively, I'd bring both the 100-400 II and a 600.  600 instead of the 500 for the birds with monopod and tripod.  The bison get close to the road but those are not the best opportunities because of the background.  They are spread out over a wide area so you can walk a bit toward the river while keeping adequate distance and use a long lens to get the shot you want.  Don't forget to bring the wider lenses.  Telephoto shots of the large animals are great, but there is also a great quality for panoramas showing these large animals in a large expanse of nature.

Also consider talking to the rangers to find out where the wolves are active in Lamar Valley.  They hunt early (5-6AM), and Yellowstone is a big park so you'll have to get up early.  That was one of the things I would have loved to see and get a photo of, but our hotel was in West Yellowstone on the opposite side.

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2018, 09:50:40 AM »