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03-13-2008, 02:09 PM   #1
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Lenses for field trip

I'm lucky enough to be heading out to Trinidad to do some fieldwork in a months time.

As my main purpose is fieldwork and I will be paddling around in rivers I don't want to take too expensive equipment, need to keep things light and need to be able to take pictures quickly before my Prof loses patience. Tripod or even monopod are absolute no-nos.

I've just bought a 300mm M* from a forum member (thanks tranq78!) so am definately taking this.

I use an *istDS. I'm not too precious about it.
I also own a DA21 (which I don't want to drop in a river but am otherwise not too precious with) and A50 f1.7 and a AF500FTZ (which TTL meters a treat with the DS).

I'm thinking an extension tube would be a good idea as the minimum focus distance of the 300mm might be a bit long at times. However, these seem a bit sparse on the second hand market at the moment and are expensive new (considering there is no glass in them!).

I'm also thinking it will be dark in the forest and a flash is going to come in handy and that macro shots of flowers, vines etc. along with scenics along the river are probably going to be the easiest shots to get under the circumstances.

I could get a 50mm macro f2.8 A lens and an off-camera flash cord for the 500 (again, these seem to be sparse on the second hand market at the moment). I've also seen a 160C ring flash going for a decent price, but it looks a bit bulky on the camera so would be hard to stow neatly and a faff to keep attaching.

What would people recommend in terms of kit and technical advice?


Last edited by pentaxkat; 03-13-2008 at 02:11 PM. Reason: added word 'minimum' so I make sense
03-13-2008, 02:19 PM   #2
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In that case, Da 21 limited and A 50mm f2.8 macro would be more than enough.

Pity that *istDS does not have SR, otherwise Da 21 limited would be a great lens for most field work. A 50mm f2.8 macro might be a little tougher in the wild since working distance is of a major concern. Most of the time, I doubt you could be so close to any subjects of interests.

Unless you are into wildlife, any telephoto lenses are not that useful unless photographing abstract is your passion. Most of the time, a wide/normal view focal length will suffice.

Enjoy your day
03-13-2008, 02:56 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxkat Quote
I'm lucky enough to be heading out to Trinidad to do some fieldwork in a months time.

As my main purpose is fieldwork and I will be paddling around in rivers I don't want to take too expensive equipment, need to keep things light and need to be able to take pictures quickly before my Prof loses patience. Tripod or even monopod are absolute no-nos.

I've just bought a 300mm M* from a forum member (thanks tranq78!) so am definately taking this.

I use an *istDS. I'm not too precious about it.
I also own a DA21 (which I don't want to drop in a river but am otherwise not too precious with) and A50 f1.7 and a AF500FTZ (which TTL meters a treat with the DS).

I'm thinking an extension tube would be a good idea as the minimum focus distance of the 300mm might be a bit long at times. However, these seem a bit sparse on the second hand market at the moment and are expensive new (considering there is no glass in them!).

I'm also thinking it will be dark in the forest and a flash is going to come in handy and that macro shots of flowers, vines etc. along with scenics along the river are probably going to be the easiest shots to get under the circumstances.

I could get a 50mm macro f2.8 A lens and an off-camera flash cord for the 500 (again, these seem to be sparse on the second hand market at the moment). I've also seen a 160C ring flash going for a decent price, but it looks a bit bulky on the camera so would be hard to stow neatly and a faff to keep attaching.

What would people recommend in terms of kit and technical advice?
You seem to be comfortable with M lenses - check out Vintage Visuals in Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Last time I looked they had two 100/4 macros on their site. I have one and it is very, very sharp.
03-13-2008, 03:31 PM   #4
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M 100mm f4

I actually did have an M 100mm f4 but I sold it. I usually like M lenses but just couldn't get the hang of it on my DS. It consistently underexposed (which other M lenses did not do). This got annoying although I was getting better at compensating by the end.

It was very sharp though.

It could just be I didn't have particularly good macro technique. Dark forests are going to be quite a challenge.

Has anyone tried using a canon 500D close-up lens (2 element) or similar on a 300mm lens at all?

My lab today was talking about seeing all sorts of exciting but quite dangerous things like snakes etc. A bit of distance might be a good thing.

03-13-2008, 05:23 PM   #5
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I have a +2 Century Precision Optics diopter (equivalent quality as the Canon one). I use it on my Tamron 300mm and my Vivitar 105. The working distance is significanlty reduced, IQ will degrade a little (noticable but not too severe). I check the stat on your M* 300mm. Its magnification is quite low so there is not much use for the diopter. Large animals (relative to insect) like snakes can be taken at low magnification anyway. You can test it out by taking picture of similar size objects (like an average snake head would be aroudn the size of a rose bud or a half-bloom rose).
03-13-2008, 05:43 PM   #6
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or my friends pet snake...

which I think is going to be my practice model over the next couple of weeks!

Thanks for the input. Yes the 300mm does have quite low magnification. A lovely compact lens though.
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