Help me pick the right wide angle lens for Emperor Penguins

digigal

Traveling the world one step at a time.
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Aug 26, 2014
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Although I've been to Antarctica 3 times, So Georgia 2x and spent 2 wks on the Falklands, this will be my first (and only!) trip to Snow Hill for the Emperors so I want to do it right because there will be no "do overs"--time's running out for me :( My wildlife kit which has taken me almost every where in the world I've wanted to go and has worked great for me is the 7DMkII, 100-400 II, 24-105, Sigma Art 18-35 f/1.8 (plus all the TC and extenders, etc). The Sigma is not weather sealed so I've only used it in Africa for night photography and low light people photography. I've also got an M5 system but lack of weather sealing makes me hesitant to use it although I've used it in some cold weather. Thick gloves would make it a true nightmare there, most likely! So my question is what wide angle lens should I invest in for my 7D for this trip since there are possibilities that the chicks may come close to us and I don't want to miss these shots, esp in context with the colony/chicks behind. I certainly am not adverse to brands other than Canon since I'm not a frequent wide angle shooter but would prefer to have something that has future use as well. Autofocus is a plus since less fumbling with gloves and moving objects is preferable. Looking forward to your advice--
Catherine
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
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Nov 7, 2013
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Hi Catherine!

Never been there, no experience, advice just by pure common sense and logic:
(so sorry if I maybe wasted your time)

First you didn't mention budget. If that is tight maybe my hints are bad/overpriced.

I suppose you go there during summertime, meaning polar day and enough light.
So I suppose you don't need f/2.8 or even f/1.8 because of light.
Is DOF with f/4.0 is shalow enough?
Are 18 or maybe 16 mm FL wide enough?
If both anwers are "yes" go for the 16-35/4L IS USM, I suppose there is no more versatile WA lens.
If I had the money to spend, it'll be mine already.
If aperture is a problem I suppose you'll have to look for a VII or VIII of the f/2.8 lens.
If FL is a problem it'll get very expensive with the 11-24mm f/4L USM.

Outdoor in Antarctica I wouldn't grapple with third party lenses.
That's the place where Canon original counts.

Just my two cents.

Good luck and enjoy your trip, whatever you take with you. 8)


Edit: Of course the hint to FF below is also good, if the penguins are so curious and come that close, but expensive.
 

scottkinfw

Wildlife photography is my passion
CR Pro
digigal said:
Although I've been to Antarctica 3 times, So Georgia 2x and spent 2 wks on the Falklands, this will be my first (and only!) trip to Snow Hill for the Emperors so I want to do it right because there will be no "do overs"--time's running out for me :( My wildlife kit which has taken me almost every where in the world I've wanted to go and has worked great for me is the 7DMkII, 100-400 II, 24-105, Sigma Art 18-35 f/1.8 (plus all the TC and extenders, etc). The Sigma is not weather sealed so I've only used it in Africa for night photography and low light people photography. I've also got an M5 system but lack of weather sealing makes me hesitant to use it although I've used it in some cold weather. Thick gloves would make it a true nightmare there, most likely! So my question is what wide angle lens should I invest in for my 7D for this trip since there are possibilities that the chicks may come close to us and I don't want to miss these shots, esp in context with the colony/chicks behind. I certainly am not adverse to brands other than Canon since I'm not a frequent wide angle shooter but would prefer to have something that has future use as well. Autofocus is a plus since less fumbling with gloves and moving objects is preferable. Looking forward to your advice--
Catherine

Likely won't help you, but....

If you are willing to upgrade to full frame, I own both the 24-70 2.8 II and 16-35 2.8 III. Both are excellent, and both will serve you very well. Both have different properties, and the images do appear different. If possible, two full frame bodies, one with each lens would be awesome. A third body for a slightly longer lens too.

I really love both lenses and though there is a lot of overlap in the range, I won't part with either one because each is unique.

I am jealous of your upcoming trip.

Would you pm me with the outfitter, as I would love to do this trip myself.

Thanks

Scott
 

Frodo

EOS RP
Nov 3, 2012
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There is a general rule in Antarctica that you are not allowed to approach closer than 5m to wildlife. Sure, if you sit still and they come to you, that's different. (I'm an Antarctic biologist and try to minimise human impacts on wildlife).

The only time you might need a specialised wide angle would be if you are mounting the camera on a tripod and using a remote release.

Wideangles tend to make everything in focus and the angle of view brings a lot of stuff into the photo. This is not so much an issue with open Antarctic landscapes, as long as you make something like a rock or piece of ice or person, as the subject. Indeed, I think you are better off shooting Antarctic landscapes with a longer lens.

But in a penguin colony, you would benefit from a fast lens to give subject separation from the mass of penguins behind. So a fast lens and full frame would be ideal. On the other hand, you want to minimise changing lenses outdoors so a zoom would be beneficial. Weather sealing would be nice, but I've shot with non-sealed lenses and if you take care, this is okay.

So, if you are staying with the 7D, I think a 17-55/2.8 would be fine or your 24-105/4 on full frame.
 

Orangutan

EOS 5D Mark IV
Sep 25, 2010
2,140
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Frodo said:
(I'm an Antarctic biologist and try to minimise human impacts on wildlife).

Do you have any guidelines from the biology "community" that might help us amateur photographers do a better job of minimizing our impact on wildlife? Aside from approaching too close, what else should we do/not do? I've heard differing opinions regarding the effects of flash (especially at night), baiting, etc. Thanks.
 

digigal

Traveling the world one step at a time.
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Aug 26, 2014
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Frodo said:
There is a general rule in Antarctica that you are not allowed to approach closer than 5m to wildlife. Sure, if you sit still and they come to you, that's different. (I'm an Antarctic biologist and try to minimise human impacts on wildlife).

I'm sorry that it wasn't clear but I am an experienced photographer in Antarctica and have spent many, many hours on land in Antarctica and So Georgia at multiple sites and am very well aware of the regulations and respectful of them. I've found sitting quietly usually leads to curious penguins investigating me (or abruptly weaned elephant seal pups hitting your back trying to nurse while you are trying to photograph at St Andrew's). I want to have the best wide angle lens for those occasions. The chicks and adults will also frequently walk close by when you are sitting quietly and it's the best opportunity to get the best pictures of normal behavior.
While I was sitting quietly on the beach at Brown Bluff next to a bergie bit that was stuck next to shore, these Adelies hopped up and ran around while I photographed them with this being one of the results. Letting them come to you is the best strategy.
Thanks for your lens input.
 

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I will second the vote for 16-35 f4L IS. I picked one up a few months ago and it is perfect. I was considering a couple others as well and finally chose this based on a discussion thread which you can read here if you are interested: http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=34296.0
 

Hector1970

EOS R
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Mar 22, 2012
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I’d go full frame if I were you.
16-35mm F4 is a great lens on full frame.
It’s advantages are reduced on a 7D.
Sigma 10-22 F3.5 is a good lens (not sure about sealing - use a rain cover)
Sounds a wonderful trip
 

jolyonralph

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Aug 25, 2015
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If I were you I'd consider renting a 5D Mark IV and 16-35 f/4 IS to pair with your 7D II.

Any wide angle lens for the 7D II is going to be a compromise due to a lack of a real ultra-wide option that has weather sealing.
 

YuengLinger

EOS R6
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Dec 20, 2012
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This is a silly question. Emperor penguins can't even hold a camera, so why would you want to buy a lens for them? Apparently somebody grew up watching too many cartoons.
 

tiggy@mac.com

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I also like the idea of full frame, but I also think it's a big ask to suggest to you that you replace *everything* just to get a wide angle lens. But such is the attitude of us forum dwellers.

If you stay with the 7D2 (loved mine very much), you might consider the Sigma 14mm F/1.8, which would certainly solve any depth of field issues you may feel you'd get with a wide lens on a crop sensor. The newer Sigmas have roughly the same weather sealing as L lenses (which is to say, works great but no one is willing to put a guarantee on it).

14mm is a big difference from 16. The various 16-35s don't give you much benefit over the excellent Sigma 18-35 you own. The benefit of the 14mm is that it would work well for full frame as well if you ever went in that direction.

Probably the thing you should do is take the 18-35 with you as well as something like the Irix 11mm. That would then give you real range options. 11mm on crop is roughly 18mm on full frame, which isn't too wide.

Hey, please come back to this thread and post pictures after.
 

ethanz

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Since you have a crop camera, you could get the EF-S 10-18mm. That gives you roughly the same focal length as the 16-35mm. And Canon really did a good job with the 10-18. It isn't weather sealed, but for how cheap it is ($270) you could buy two or three to have backups!
 

digigal

Traveling the world one step at a time.
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Aug 26, 2014
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tiggy@mac.com said:
I also like the idea of full frame, but I also think it's a big ask to suggest to you that you replace *everything* just to get a wide angle lens. But such is the attitude of us forum dwellers.



Thanks for your practical comments, Tiggy!! That Sigma lens might be one I'd check out. Also there is the Sigma Art 12-24 f/4 that I might consider renting too that has dust and splash weatherproofing and gets very good reviews and I'm trying to decide on whether to take it with the 24-105 plus my 100-400 III as my kit. In full disclosure, the things you guys need to know is that I'm a little old 73 yo with a knee replacement and on this trip will have to hike in a mile from the helicopter landing with all my equipment on my back through in the snow/slush. To keep the weight down I'll probably take a lens adapter and the M5 as a b/u in my pack. This one will be a challenge because on my other trips I'm in a zodiac or jeep so I don't have to carry everything I will need on my back through the snow.
Catherine
PS I'm still thinking ahead--We've got a deposit on a trip to So Georgia and the Falklands for 2019 :)
 

Larsskv

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Jun 12, 2015
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For your intended use, I would prefer the 5DIV and the 16-35 f2.8 LIII + the Sigma 20mm f1.4 or the Canon 24 f1.4 LII. But that will be expensive.

A way cheaper, but still a very good option (provided that you visit in the summer time) is a EOS M camera with the fantastic 11-22 EF-M lens. That lens is absolutely fantastic for the price, and will not let you down.

I also support those who recommend the EF-S 10-18mm, but you may consider looking into the EF-S 10-22, which is a very good performer as well.

Unfortunately, neither of the cheaper options provide weather sealing.
 

digigal

Traveling the world one step at a time.
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Aug 26, 2014
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Larsskv said:
A way cheaper, but still a very good option (provided that you visit in the summer time) is a EOS M camera with the fantastic 11-22 EF-M lens. That lens is absolutely fantastic for the price, and will not let you down.

/quote]


I've got the M5 and the 22mm but not the 11-22. I hadn't seriously thought about using it because of the temperatures: 20's-30's and the fact that I'll be wearing gloves and trying to manipulate the dials and buttons with gloves, I think, would be almost impossible. I shoot in Manual and manipulating the dials and buttons in the Arctic and Antarctic with gloves is a real challenge. At least it will be light. Has anyone used their M5 in the snow?
Catherine
 

eml58

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Aug 26, 2012
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Hi Catherine,
The set up you currently have should work well for you.

The 100-400 for the longer end, 300mm-400mm

Your current wide angle zoom, 24-105 should also work well for the close in, 24mm, as long as the weathers good and you have reasonable light, the f/4 may stretch you at times, but likely not.

The majority of my own Images of Emperors etc, have been Adults at the longer end, 300-500, chicks at the closer end, they have no fear at all and will litterly crawl into your lap if you let them.The attached images I've put here show two adults shot with the 500 f/4, and whats possible with chicks, shot with the Canon 24-70 f/2.8

I don't see where you would want anything wider than 24mm, or longer than 400, and if you have the 1.4 converter, your covered out to 560.

The 24-70 f/2.8 II is about as good as it gets for a wide angle zoom, I pretty well go with this lens everywhere, Africa, Antarctica, Arctic etc.

The 100-400 II is another great lens, with these two (24-70 or 24-105 & 100-400) your pretty well covered, only other suggestion would be a 2nd body if that's possible, it's a bummer changing lenses sitting in the Snow and Ice.

Also am Image of 3 chicks shot with the Canon 300 f/2.8

The chick in the green jacket is one of mine, he's 6'2" now so no longer a chick
 

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digigal

Traveling the world one step at a time.
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Aug 26, 2014
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I really appreciate the comments from the "voice of experience" on shooting distance and what to expect. This makes all the difference in the world in lens selection. My husband and I take an extra body between us on trips so that if we lose one we have a back up between us and my husband shoots video as well as still and has a dedicated video cam that he carries. The problem on this shoot is that if the gear malfunctions at the colony--the extra body will be back on the boat--there's only so much in batteries, lenses, tripods, gear you can schlep and I'll probably take the M5 as an emergency b/u because of weight and space and my husband will have his still and his video cameras.
Catherine
 

eml58

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Aug 26, 2012
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Jack Douglas said:
Hey Edward, how cool! The shots I mean. ;) And how cold was it?

Jack

Hi Jack, its an experience thats for sure, can become addictive though, as Catherine's Post indicates, once is never enough.

I prefer the Arctic, only because of the Polar Bears, and travel distances.

And it does get cold of course, had many a day of minus 40, plays havoc with the batteries, but I now get into the habit of using hand warmers wrapped around spare batteries, helps, doesn't help the hands of course, but its alway about priorities.
 
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