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Author Topic: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?  (Read 4430 times)

birdman

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First, has anyone ever been there? It's actually going to be a small part of my California vacation. I plan on shooting some at the beaches as well (surfers, sailboats, skimpy bikinis, volleyball games)

I am a 5d2 owner and have decent lenses below 100mm. My telephoto is the 70-300 IS (non-L). I am reluctant to rent the 70-200 f/4.0 IS because I think more reach would be needed.

I am thinking either 70-300L or 100-400L. Maybe the 300 f/4.0 IS? As always, money is an object. Any recommendations will be highly appreciated. Thanks guys
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westr70

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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2012, 03:41:15 PM »
Nice vacation.  I use 100-400 mm zoom and the field of view is limited but the reach is excellent.  That being said your 300 should do wonders.  I actually prefer my 70 - 200 mm for "in close" work which is what the zoo setting should give you.  With the 400 you could take pictures of their individual pores/scales.  Depends on what you want but have fun there, its a great zoo.
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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2012, 03:43:29 PM »
While I haven't been to San Diego Zoo, I've been to many others large and small. I find in general a 70-300 works well on a crop sensor body, with 100-400 helping out especially on bigger sites. I can't imaging using "only" 300mm on a full frame body!

But it depends on the subject and layout too. So I prefer to have two bodies, one with as long as I can, one with a wide angle (15-85 on crop) so you're ready all the time.
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theqspeaks

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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2012, 04:00:49 PM »
I used the 70-200mm f/4L at the National Zoo in DC on a 60D.  Here's a picture shot at 176mm, which I think I cropped in a little.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/theqspeaks/6895747372/#

If you go through some of the other photos in that set (http://www.flickr.com/photos/theqspeaks/sets/72157629731065219/with/6895747372/), you'll see some other shots at or near 200mm. 

If you don't have a crop sensor body, the 70-200mm might be too short.  But, I've owned the 70-300mm non-L and my copy sucked.  Very soft above 240mm, very soft wide open, and soft above f/11.  I'd rather get a tack sharp shot racked out to 200mm and then crop it down than a soft shot at 300m with motion blur (because I couldn't open all the way) to get just as tight.

skimamf

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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2012, 04:54:17 PM »
I live in San Diego and go to the San Diego Zoo fairly often.  I was previously shooting with a 60D and now a 5D Mark 3, I use the 70-200 f4 is almost exclusively at the Zoo, and I often wish I had the reach of the 100-400, especially with the full frame.  You can see some of my SD zoo pictures here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/justininsd/sets/72157626117090124/
and a few more here:
https://plus.google.com/photos/101005060236931055507/albums/5708189611550658033?hl=en

Have fun in San Diego, it's a great place for photography!  Be sure to stop by La Jolla, Coronado and Downtown if you have the time.

elflord

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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2012, 05:20:53 PM »
First, has anyone ever been there? It's actually going to be a small part of my California vacation. I plan on shooting some at the beaches as well (surfers, sailboats, skimpy bikinis, volleyball games)

I am a 5d2 owner and have decent lenses below 100mm. My telephoto is the 70-300 IS (non-L). I am reluctant to rent the 70-200 f/4.0 IS because I think more reach would be needed.

I am thinking either 70-300L or 100-400L. Maybe the 300 f/4.0 IS? As always, money is an object. Any recommendations will be highly appreciated. Thanks guys

Of those lenses, given your usage, I'd go for the 100-400L --  for reach and versatility. For your subject matter, you can never have too much of it. If you have 400mm of reach, you will find a use for it, especially on full frame.

Be careful with taking an expensive camera and lenses around the beach -- sand is not good for cameras and lenses.

1982chris911

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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2012, 05:35:07 PM »
My Zoo (and general Wildlife for travel) setup is a 70-200 IS II + 2x III. It is either combined with 5d MKII now MKIII or a 7d ... depending on subject all works quite well, while I feel that for a Zoo the reach of the FF Body with the 70-200 IS II is mostly enough - 2x III is only used for head shots and birds ... However the f2.8 makes a good difference to the lower f value of the 100-400mm and 70-300mm in speed and general 1/1000 sec is what I want at least when animals are moving a bit ... remember all these lenses are sharpest at least 0.5 to 1.0 f-stop form max so it is in the area of 3.5 -4.0 for the f2.8 or 7.1 - 8.0 with the Ext. so this is where the should have 1/1000sec without pushing ISO over 1600 (800 on 7D) so the f2.8 makes a noticeable difference.   

Added Bonus of the 70-200mm F2.8 IS II, you get one of the best portrait lenses and one that holds its stand at about all primes in its reach beside the f85 1.2 for its immensely shallow DOF ...
« Last Edit: April 25, 2012, 05:38:36 PM by 1982chris911 »
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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2012, 05:35:07 PM »

LetTheRightLensIn

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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2012, 07:26:23 PM »
First, has anyone ever been there? It's actually going to be a small part of my California vacation. I plan on shooting some at the beaches as well (surfers, sailboats, skimpy bikinis, volleyball games)

I am a 5d2 owner and have decent lenses below 100mm. My telephoto is the 70-300 IS (non-L). I am reluctant to rent the 70-200 f/4.0 IS because I think more reach would be needed.

I am thinking either 70-300L or 100-400L. Maybe the 300 f/4.0 IS? As always, money is an object. Any recommendations will be highly appreciated. Thanks guys

Yeah either 70-300L or 100-400L.

underjammer

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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2012, 07:50:16 PM »
I live in San Diego, and I'm a zoo member, but I'm a bad zoo member, and rarely go, haha..  I tend to go to the Zoo's Safari Park (previously known as the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park) more than the actual zoo, too.  Butttt, at the zoo, I feel like you get pretty close to the animals, so a 300mm lens shouldn't be much of a problem so any of those lenses should do you well.  And though I have no experience with the 300mm f/4, that sounds like it might be a great idea, and with a 1.4x extender, it'll give you 400+mm, if you need it.  But size-wise, I don't know what you want to lug around.  I also have the 70-300 non L, and while it's great for what it is, I agree that at 300mm it's on the softer side wide open (but stopped down it's totally fine... but I shoot with a crop camera, so I get its sweet-spot.).

But if you make it to the Safari Park, you'll definitely want the 400mm+ reach, as there are a lottttt of areas where you aren't near the animals.  And you'll probably want it for surfing pics.

underjammer

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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2012, 07:50:49 PM »
As for other places, I'd recommend Torrey Pines State Park (right on the ocean, north of La Jolla) and Cabrillo National Monument, which is at the end of Point Loma (the penisula on the west side of San Diego Bay).  You get a pretty nice view of San Diego downtown from Cabrillo.

For beach exploration, going to Mission beach / Pacific beach and walking the boardwalk will get you some good views (and it's usually pretty packed mid-day on the weekends), and walking (or biking..) along Mission Bay is nice, too.  There are volleyball courts at the southern part of the board walk, and I think maybe a few randomly along it, too.  Surfing you can always find at the northern end of Pacific Beach, and also La Jolla Shores and a beach at the end of Tourmaline Street in north Pacific Beach.  Look up Tourmaline Beach.  It has pretty consistent waves, but generally tamer waves, so you probably won't see anything crazy there..  But they are good waves.  This time of year the waves are starting to slow down, too, so it'll be harder to find big crazy surf (which usually isn't the best to surf, anyway..).  There are also a number of consistent spots along Sunset Cliffs Blvd in Ocean Beach, too, and right at the base of the Ocean Beach Pier (which is a famous place to check out, since it's the largest public fishing pier on the West Coast, or maybe just in So-Cal, I'm not sure, hehe..).  But right, you can be standing up on the pier to take pictures of surfers, if the waves are goood, and that spot is usually pretty consistent.  Really, you can find people surfing anywhere, but a lot of times, surf is hit or miss.  They're always out in the water waiting, though..

Sailboats I would say you're more likely to see off San Diego Bay, rather than Mission bay, but I don't know much on that one..  I tend to see them when I go to Cabrillo, but they are either sailing into or out of the bay.

And as skimamf mentioned, definitely try to get to Coronado Island (the island in San Diego bay), and Coronado Beach (on the island..).  It's my favorite beach, just really a pretty place..  nothing very exciting, really, just a huge amount of sand, and generally a quiet place.  There isn't really much surfing there, though.  But the hotel there is where the movie "Some Like It Hot" was filmed.  And just remember the whole island is like 25mph, so don't go speeeding over there!  : D  Oh right, and skimamf also mentioned La Jolla, which is also a great place to check out.  That's where the seal beach is, which is right at La Jolla Cove (there's a nice little park there, too), where seals hang out on the beach, and you can go and watch them (from above).  I thiiink they're there year round, but not sure.  It's where they raise their pups.  (And not to be confused with SEAL Beach, the Navy SEALs training beach, which is at the end of Coronado beach, but I digress..)

And if you reeeeally have some time, and like an adventure, look up the Salton Sea, haha..  The weirdest creepiest place around...  The old abandoned part is at the south-eastern part of the sea.  North eastern part has a camp ground and the info center.  It's about 3 hours east, though..  But you drive through Anza-Borrego desert to get there, which is a wonderful place!  : D

But right, have fun!  : D

Wild

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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2012, 08:46:11 PM »
How about the Bigma?  The Sigma 50-500 seems to be held in decent regard, and it has an awesome range.  It sure is huge though...

birdman

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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2012, 11:13:47 AM »
I am OP. Thank you so much guys, especially "Underjammer"

You gave me a million things to do. Hopefully I'll have time for 1/2 of them.

Again, much appreciation.
5d2; 17-40L; 35L; 50/1.8 Mk. 1; 70-300 IS; 100mm/2.8

IIIHobbs

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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2012, 11:55:23 AM »
You have gotten a lot of good feedback birdman, but of the lenses you listed, I think you will be most satisfied with the 70-300 f4. Reasons being:

70-200 f4 - Don't bother. If you need the speed, rent the f2.8 II otherwise there is no need for this lens.

300 f4 - I have a FF and I use this great lens a lot, for Lacrosse and Soccer; situations where I need long reach for an hour or so. At the Zoo and Beach, there are too many changing venues to make this a practical choice. No need to be switching lenses.

100-400 f4-5.6 - Good choice if you really think you will need 400, but that would be primarily for skimpy bikini's. The rest of the time you would be better served by the 70-300.

As an alternative, one could argue that the 70-200 f2.8II with a 1.4x would be a go alternative to allow you the 70-280 range, but again, it's at f4 on the long lens and you would have a smaller lighter kit with the 70-300 f4.

With the lens rebate on, just go BUY the 70-300 f4, use it and if you don't love it, sell it. Otherwise, when you get back, keep it an sell your old 70-300. Done!
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 11:57:06 AM by IIIHobbs »

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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2012, 11:55:23 AM »

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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2012, 02:21:01 PM »
We live in CA and the in-laws live in San Diego, in fact, some of them belong in the zoo....however, 100-400 is a very versatile lens for that zoo. You can always use the range regardless. Its light enough to carry all day.

The 70-300L is a stellar lens but you can not use a teleconverter as it just kills the AF.

Enjoy the warm and hilly SD Zoo and say hello to my in-laws.   
If I recall, they have Panda's too in this zoo.
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Re: Going to San Diego Zoo next week. What zoom lens would you rent?
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2012, 02:21:01 PM »