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05-18-2013, 12:44 PM   #1
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Lenses for Bronx Zoo

I'm going to the Bronx zoo tomorrow. Forecast includes chance of showers. I don't want to bring a lot of gear, but want to be prepared. Figure my Pentax 55-300 will get most of the shots but I want something in case of rain..would you recommend my 18-135 or 55-200 kens? Any need for a fast prime? Thanks!

05-18-2013, 01:57 PM   #2
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For zoos I suggest a tele lens, because the animals will usually be pretty far. So the 55-300 or 55-200. You probably won't need wider than 50mm anyway, unless you are taking "architecture" or "abstract" type photos. I doubt you will get close enough to animals for anything wider than 50mm. A fast prime can be useful if the zoo has dark enclosures, like in tunnels or in pavilions. For indoors, the prime can be wider than 50mm, but thats not necessary.

Last time I was at a zoo, I mostly used my 50-200mm and the 50mm f1.7 for indoors. I also used a polarizer, to minimize glare from glass panels.
05-18-2013, 02:01 PM   #3
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If your going with someone else to the zoo, you pack the bags, spread the kit between the two and then you can take everything.
05-18-2013, 03:22 PM   #4
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You will probably use your 50-300 most of the time. I mostly use my pentax 60-250. Some zoos have insect collections so your normal lens or a macro is useful.

For anyone wanting to think about taking better zoo shots these are my top suggestions (worked in a zoo for 10 years)
If you have a flash take it. I would have a flash on all the time and use it all the time. It can fill out some of the harsh shadows created by poles and bars etc.
Don't be afraid to photograph through wire. the cheaper lenses may actually work better. Also consider taking your small point and shoot especially if it has a moveable back screen as you can often poke the lens through the wire. .
if there is glass, try and find a clean section. By the end of a weekend there can be a thouasnd kids hand prints. You will loose at least one stop of light through glass, which mean if you use flash it will be two stops for the flash.
Keep looking at the back ground and try to keep as much of the artificial environment out as you can. Nothing is worse than a symmetrical pole growing out of the animal's back.

05-18-2013, 06:09 PM   #5
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When we go to the Atlanta zoo I use the DA 55-300mm for most shots but I also carry the 18-135mm WR which covers me in case of rain and gets the close up family pictures along with animals that actually ARE close. This might include the reptile house for instance, petting zoo, flowers, or whatever.

Also, take some hand wipes to clean the glass with, Bob from Aus is right about smudgy glass and if you want a clean shot you need to wipe it off yourself.
05-21-2013, 11:58 AM   #6
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Thanks all. It rained the whole day and my 50-200 was all I needed.

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