• 08-26-2008, 10:27 PM
    Sushigaijin
    Re: Lens for Whale Watching Trip?
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Atomic2
    I have no experience with Monopods, but I can say that you will be much happier selling the 70-300, and using that money for an upgrade to the 14-54, or even the 12-60. this will make you VERY happy.

    Unless you shoot a lot of telephoto, like birds and wildlife - then the 14-54 or 12-60 are nearly worthless and the 70-300 is worth it's weight in gold...the equally priced 14-54 is a very nice lens, but different shooting styles will dictate which is a better choice.

    To be honest, the 70-300 would be worth more to me than the 14-54. i've found the 40-150 to be way too short for me, and because of that I've only used it a handful of times. A longer lens like the 70-300 or the bigma would get a lot of use in my stable.

    I shoot 90% 50mm f/2 macro, 9% 14-54, and 1% 40-150. If the 40-150 were the bigma or 70-300, it might get around 30 or 40%.

    Of course, I have my sights on the 50-200 SWD and the 1.4x teleconverter :D
  • 08-27-2008, 08:27 AM
    Loupey
    Re: Lens for Whale Watching Trip?
    erikzen - forget about the monopod. It will be absolutely useless on a small/midsized boat and will actually be a burden for you to carry around.

    Don't count on placing/leaning the lens on any part of the boat either (even with a beanbag). You won't be able to keep the lens on target if the camera rolls and pitches with the boat.

    Instead, your body will have to act as a dampener. Technique will save the day. Keep your stance loose, feet apart, knees bent, and upper torso sensitive to the up/down motion. Your goal is to keep the camera still no matter what the boat is doing below you. Using the monopod will the same as strapping the camera directly to a moving boat (which it is). It takes practice and won't come naturally at first.

    I would shoot strictly manual everything. You'll have to watch the LCD to make sure you won't blow out the whites in the steam every time the whales exhale. Also, no need to use AF since if you're using the 300mm end of the zoom, they must be rather far. Just keep the manual focus ring set at infinity (through the viewfinder - and not just cranked all the way since most telephotos have hyperfocus beyond infinity).

    You'll have lots of things to contend with. So shoot a lot of frames and keep checking the LCD for the exposure.
  • 08-28-2008, 06:23 AM
    erikzen
    Re: Lens for Whale Watching Trip?
    Loupy, thanks for your excellent and very practical advice. Since I just got the lens the whole affair is going to be a tremendous challenge - not to mention the unpredictability of the animals themselves. I'll have some time to take a lot of test shots on the ride out. I hope to be able to get one decent shot. I bought an extra 4GB CF card so I won't be shy about shooting a lot of frames.
  • 08-28-2008, 06:46 AM
    Loupey
    Re: Lens for Whale Watching Trip?
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by erikzen
    ...Since I just got the lens the whole affair is going to be a tremendous challenge - not to mention the unpredictability of the animals themselves...

    Figured you didn't have a lot of time left so I didn't want to bog you down with details on manual exposure, focusing, polarization, ...

    But I would recommend that you spend an hour or two today (at least) to get as much feel with your new lens. In particular, find the maximum useable aperture. For zooms such as this, I would think that anything wider than f/8 or even f/9.5 would be too soft. Do a couple quick tests to find out where the resolution starts to improve so you'll know where to start.
  • 08-28-2008, 07:07 AM
    erikzen
    Re: Lens for Whale Watching Trip?
    I may not have time today as I'm still in the office and will need to pack when I get home, not to mention it will be getting dark. However, our excursion is on Sunday and I'll be going to the Cape Cod National Seashore on Saturday. That should give me ample time to test out some shots.

    Photography is a lot like golf. You really need to practice a lot of shots so that things become second nature to you. When you're actually playing you can't bog yourself down with a lot of different thoughts. You just need to be able to react quickly. I had a golf teacher who used to say that when you're out on the course and trying to improve your game, to concentrate on what he called one "swing thought". In this case when I'm in the heat of the moment I'll have to concentrate on one "shot thought".

    Don't let all this talk about golf fool you; I'm a better photographer than I am a golfer and that's not saying much!
  • 08-28-2008, 07:49 AM
    Sushigaijin
    Re: Lens for Whale Watching Trip?
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Loupey
    In particular, find the maximum useable aperture. For zooms such as this, I would think that anything wider than f/8 or even f/9.5 would be too soft. Do a couple quick tests to find out where the resolution starts to improve so you'll know where to start.

    This is really good advice. F/8 is supposed to be the sweet spot on this lens. Also, pulling back 10mm or so from full zoom will sharpen things up. Have a good trip!