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01-01-2016, 05:30 AM   #1
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Cruise to New Zealand - what to take????

Happy new year all

In a week I will be setting sail with the family to circumnavigate New Zealand on a large cruising vessel. Great opportunity to snap shots of pelagic birds, scenic foreshores and fiords. Then there are the onshore destinations to consider - cities, towns, national parks etc. So what do I take?

I was definitely taking the following for landscapes:

- Sigma 8-16mm; and
- FA20/2.8.

I think I will leave the 10-17mm fisheye at home - thoughts?

In the APS-C adjusted 'normal' range I have a few to consider , and had best narrow to two (three at worst). They are:

- K28/2
- A28/2
- F28/2.8
- K30/2.8
- FA31
- K35/2
- K35/3.5
- FA43

I haven't tried the K30/2.8 all that much and I think the FA43 should be a definite. Also, in considering the above, I should make mention that I may/ probably will take an LX with me too.

In the 'nifty fifties' I am contemplating two lenses, these being:

- FA50/1.7; and
- ST50/1,.4 eight element

Or, should I consolidate all of the above with the Sigma 18-50/2.8 and be done with it??????

In the tele range I am wondering if I should stick with a zoom (FA*80-200) and prime (F*300) + a Tamron/ Sigma TC or go with the FA*85mm and the Sigma 150-500?? I love wildlife photography so getting sharp shots of birds is important to me.

I guess that is a lot to consider and I should narrow things down. That said, the baggage limit is almost unlimited

Thoughts would be greatly appreciated - especially from those who have cruised before.

01-01-2016, 06:19 AM   #2
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My 300 (DA*) was probably my most-used lens on my NZ trip 2013/2014, because I was often photographing birds. The birdlife in NZ is, of course, incredible. I had only one short cruise and that wasn't very productive for me photographically, but for wildlife while at sea I'd think fast and reliable autofocus (and tracking) would be a primary concern.

My kit for that trip was the A24/2.8, FA50/1.4, M75-150, DA*200, DA*300. (Plus the Q, which didn't get much use.) Tripod with a pano/gimbal rig. I used it for stitching (my solution for UWA) but not much for birding, as it turned out. The 200 was probably the least-used lens; I had brought it mainly for astrophotography, but that didn't pan out. The 75-150 got plenty of use for landscapes, as did the 24 and 50. If you're in the mountains, an UWA lets you include lots of mountains but makes them look tiny.

You have a fantastic lens kit to choose from, so I don't see how you can go wrong, as long as you have reasonable coverage. But I'll go out on a limb and suggest that if you don't bring the 80-200, you'll wish you had. I think it'd be very handy for those scenic sea-and-landscapes from the boat.
01-01-2016, 06:43 AM   #3
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Thanks for sharing and thanks for your kind words re: kit - my LBA really got out of control (but was fuelled by 'bargains' found left, right and centre).

I have a few other options and your suggestion of the 75-150 seems interesting. I have a K45-125/4 that I am yet to use. Might be good to match up with the LX as a walk around. In part, the holiday will be an opportunity to learn within limitations and also familiarise with some gear. That combination would be interesting.

You make me think the Sigma 8-16mm might be unnecessary - perhaps the 20/2.8 is enough?

I kind of like the idea of small lenses so the thought of leaving the FA31 is real. Not sure if I would regret or not. More thought needed.

What is security like on a cruise. Never been so leaving gear in the cabin seems risky??
01-01-2016, 11:35 AM   #4
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I have done a number of cruises and rule #1 is less is best. Take only what you absolute know you will use.

For this trip: take your 8-16, the Sigma 18-50 and the *80-200 and the *300. Maybe 1 or 2 primes to play with.

01-01-2016, 11:45 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wild Mark Quote
You make me think the Sigma 8-16mm might be unnecessary - perhaps the 20/2.8 is enough?
Well, UWA lenses are not generally my thing, so I'm a bit biased to begin with.

Can't say about security; the cruise I mentioned was a 5-cabin boat in Doubtful Sound, just a one night trip. Maybe look into insurance for the trip, then you needn't worry as much, other than that you don't want to have to replace gear or do without during the trip. And you don't want to lose the photos you've made.
01-01-2016, 01:03 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wild Mark Quote
In a week I will be setting sail with the family to circumnavigate New Zealand on a large cruising vessel. Great opportunity to snap shots of pelagic birds, scenic foreshores and fiords. Then there are the onshore destinations to consider - cities, towns, national parks etc. So what do I take?
Welcome to New Zealand, I hope you have a wonderful time, and a very happy vacation.

A couple of thoughts:
Our landscapes are vast, particularly in Fiordland - I do a lot of my landscape photography with my Zeiss ZK 35/2 and don't feel like I am losing much. Maybe your 31 or 35's will be sufficient for landscapes. I also find my DA 15/4 is pretty useful.

Shooting off a large boat, you are going to need to pull stuff in, particularly the birdlife - so I agree baro-nite's comment, reach and fast focus speed are going to be essential.

Cheers

Ross
01-01-2016, 03:25 PM   #7
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Thanks NZ_Ross

So you you think the Sigma 8-16 is redundant? Perhaps my '15mm' will be the FA20/2.8 and I can then pack four of the 'normal' lenses - K28/2, K30/2.8, FA31, FA43?

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I have done a number of cruises and rule #1 is less is best.
If I choose to no take the Sigma 8-16mm I could take the Sigma 18-50mm + *80-200 + *300 + TC.

Perhaps the ST50/1.4 eight element for 'portraits'
01-01-2016, 03:37 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wild Mark Quote
If I choose to no take the Sigma 8-16mm I could take the Sigma 18-50mm + *80-200 + *300 + TC.
On the cruises I went on, it was also family vacation so if you are going just to take pictures maybe the situation is different. But I took lots of gear and rarely used anything except 16-50 and 55-300 and 50mm f/1.4 for night. The situation is very fluid and changing and unless you want to tote all your gear around the opportunity to change lenses is small. You are also in a very windy place with sea spray sometimes so you cannot always feel safe changing lenses.

We have a cruise scheduled for next March so I am already thinking about what to take. So far I am taking DA 16-85, DA*60-250, and DFA 150-450. Still thinking about the rest. I had hoped the FF would be available by then but that seems unlikely now so I need to pack for APS-C.

01-01-2016, 03:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
You are also in a very windy place with sea spray sometimes so you cannot always feel safe changing lenses
I've solved that problem. Take a few bodies
01-01-2016, 03:46 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wild Mark Quote
I've solved that problem. Take a few bodies
You are good to go then
01-01-2016, 04:05 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wild Mark Quote
So you you think the Sigma 8-16 is redundant?
It really depends on what and when you are wanting to shoot, and the style you are after - that is a very wide lens.

I am just noting that if you are making images of the NZ coastline and scenery standing off a few kilometres in a ship, you are probably not going to be constrained for width of shot - just because of the perspective you will already have.

I don't think you will lose much with the FA20/2.8 as your wide lens - a very nice piece of glass.

---------- Post added 02-01-16 at 12:27 PM ----------

Just a further thought about your lens choices - have you thought about bringing an A*300/2.8 for the birds and longer range stuff.

Fantastic lens, and fast enough that you could couple it with a teleconverter and pull in some really long range images if you wanted to
01-01-2016, 11:49 PM   #12
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Hmmmm...... It may well be that I'm not the best person to answer this! I tend to take, and use, everything, including the kitchen sink when I travel. That said, maybe I can point out a few things that might be useful for you.

As had already been mentioned, the lenses you need will very much depend on the images you want to capture, but I'm going to take a stab using the sort of thing I see cruise ship visitors doing here as a guide.

First thing to note is the quality of the light. The latitude (I'm at 45 Sth) and the climate mean that high levels of UV are present, it's quite possible to get sunburned on a very cloudy day. For you SPF 50+ sunscreen, for your favourite landscape lens a very good CPL filter.

Likewise, if you have gone to a lot of trouble to create some custom white balance settings for your gear, I'd verify them before use.

Your ship will almost certainly go to Fiordland, and when it does, you will almost certainly end up at Milford or Doubtful Sound. When you do, you will probably wish that you brought something pretty wide. Think 12-24 ish. However, when you see a Fiordland Crested Penguin 45 seconds later, you will be thinking about that long Sigma zoom you left at home!

Our most interesting birds are forest dwellers, and small, but a few kilometres from here is the only mainland albatross colony in the world. Those suckers have a 2m wing span. So that would be a lens for tiny subjects in dark spaces and one for large subjects in bright sunlight.

Not very helpful I know. I guess what I'm trying to say is "cover all your bases". Even if that means ditching your favourite primes in favor of a wide ranging zoom.

There are photo opportunities in every direction here. You're going to have a great time. The people are friendly and as honest as you can expect to find. With 15 hours of daylight right now you run the risk of wearing out you shutter finger!

PM me if your trip is stopping in Port Chalmers.
01-02-2016, 01:25 AM   #13
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RJH

Yes we are stopping at Dunedin. The Albatros colony is a must. I am a biologist and will be very particular with my photos there. Sharpness will be a must!!!!

That goes for penguins too.

And the sights of the sounds ....... wide long wide, flip flop flip .......

I will take a K5IIs and K3 as mainstays with a K-01 for candid and opportunistic landscape (it is a really good camera and I should use it more).

Then there is the venerable LX - it will get a go too. I suspect I should acquire some 64 ASA slide film for that and so really good UV filters. And thanks for the heads up re: sunlight, the closer you are to the antarctic the more sunlight - a bit like a trip to Hobart.

I'll PM you once I get a better handle on what my partner has in stall.

Cheers and thanks
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