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Author Topic: Lenses to shoot the Milky Way. Is a 17-40 enough?  (Read 3430 times)

YellowJersey

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Lenses to shoot the Milky Way. Is a 17-40 enough?
« on: April 29, 2012, 01:49:22 AM »
Just like the title says, I've always been awed by photos of the Milky Way and have long wanted to try it out. For the last four years I've been using a 5D1 and all my lenses are f/4.

 But now I've got my 5D3 and am curious to know if my 17-40 is up for the job, or whether I should invest in a 16-35 or a 14mm 2.8. Obviously, the best way to find out would be to go and actually take some shots, but lacking a car makes that a bit difficult.

 I intend to do some testing, but I'll have to wait until July when I do my 14 day self-supported cycling trip from Calgary to Banff to Jasper and back, but I thought I'd get your input. I'm going to rent either the 16-35 or the 14mm 2.8, and am curious to know which one you think would be better suited.

 My gut tells me to go with the 16-35 and then sell my 17-40. I'm usually on a bicycle or hiking trip when I shoot, so simply swapping out the 17-40 for the 16-35 makes sense simply to keep the weight down. After all, it's easier to carry two lenses than three when weight is an issue. But, if the IQ of the 14mm 2.8 is much better than the 16-35, I'd consider it instead.

 I'm curious to know your thoughts.

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Lenses to shoot the Milky Way. Is a 17-40 enough?
« on: April 29, 2012, 01:49:22 AM »

Aaron78

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Re: Lenses to shoot the Milky Way. Is a 17-40 enough?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2012, 08:23:16 AM »
A 14mm is a 14mm, if you are ok with a fixed focal length then it gets great reviews. But the 16-35 has alot of zoom range when you go from end to end while looking through the viewfinder, which may be a big benefactor in framing in your shot. I own a 16-35 (haven't had it long) and think it is a great lens, and is versatile being that it is both pretty sharp and can zoom. My personal opinion is go with the 16-35, 14 is very wide.

Axilrod

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Re: Lenses to shoot the Milky Way. Is a 17-40 enough?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2012, 10:46:41 PM »
Unless you're stacking multiple images the f/4 aperture of the 17-40 is going to hurt you for sure.  It also kinda depends on where you live, don't expect to see much in the pictures if you live anywhere close to a major city, you really have to go somewhere incredibly dark.  Either way both the 16-35 and 14L are great lenses, it just all depends on your situation.  The 14L is $600 more than the 16-35mm and can feel a little too wide at times.  It's definitely more of a specialty lens compared to the 16-35, but it's very sharp and ridiculously wide.  I only bought the 14mm because I got an exceptionally good deal on it, but the 16-35 is still a great lens and well-suited for astrophotography, the f/2.8 will help quite a bit.  I'd go for the 16-35, I don't know anyone that isn't happy with that lens.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 10:51:06 PM by Axilrod »
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peederj

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Re: Lenses to shoot the Milky Way. Is a 17-40 enough?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2012, 11:19:29 PM »
But the narrower DOF is just going to be sharp on a few light years' worth of stars!  :P

epsiloneri

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Lenses to shoot the Milky Way: Go with the EF 15/2.8 FE
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2012, 11:45:23 PM »
I'd definitely go with the EF 15/2.8 fisheye if you can find it, it is much cheaper and lighter than the EF 14/2.8L II (I have both), similar IQ, and better suited for the milky way, IMO. Great for northern lights, too. The f/2.8 instead of f/4.0 is important. Of course, it is a fisheye so special purpose, but the EF 14/2.8 is also extremely wide and about as special I would say. Most important is to find as dark skies as possible however, and from your travel plan it seems you can get away from artificial lights, which is great. But you said you're going in the middle of the summer, meaning the night will be short, so you'll have to make sure to get the stars during the darkest hour.

tron

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Re: Lenses to shoot the Milky Way. Is a 17-40 enough?
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2012, 07:07:11 AM »
You will have to try to focus on a bright star and then put it to manual focus since on Canon lenses focusing to infinity is a problem.
Doable but annoying...
I have used a 16-35mm f/2.8  version 1 for exactly the same purpose. It had such comma at the edges that I had to crop.

In addition even 2.8 is not enough if you dream of low ISOs. I used astrotrac and I was able to use shutter speeds of up to 8minutes (ISO was set to 400 and 800)





tron

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Re: Lenses to shoot the Milky Way. Is a 17-40 enough?
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2012, 07:11:38 AM »
Other lens choices could be:

1. a Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 (I have one, it is very good and no more focusing to infinity problems).
2. a Canon 24mm f/1.4L II

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Re: Lenses to shoot the Milky Way. Is a 17-40 enough?
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2012, 07:11:38 AM »

aznable

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Re: Lenses to shoot the Milky Way. Is a 17-40 enough?
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2012, 02:35:47 PM »
just take a look to the exif of photos of milky way...it's seems that everyone is using 2.8 high iso with long exposure time, su bumping to f/4.0 would force you to double the iso to get the same quantity of light.

both the lenes you want to try are sharper than 17-40 anyway but they costs a lot
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NWPhil

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dpayne1

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Re: Lenses to shoot the Milky Way. Is a 17-40 enough?
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 04:06:18 PM »
I would also recommend the Sigma 15mm f2.8 fisheye.  At ~$600 it is much cheaper than the Canon 14mm.
See a recent shot here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dpayne1/7103879039/#in/photostream/lightbox/

I also use the Tokina 16-28 f2.8
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dpayne1/6275856418/#in/set-72157622598215723/lightbox/

and the Canon 24mm f1.4
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dpayne1/5274394251/#in/set-72157622598215723/lightbox/

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Re: Lenses to shoot the Milky Way. Is a 17-40 enough?
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 04:06:18 PM »