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12-02-2008, 05:39 PM   #1
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Panama Canal Cruise

My wife and I are taking a Panama Canal Cruise in February.

I'm taking all three of my lenses: Tamron 70-300mm zoom, Pentax 12-24mm zoom, and Pentax f/1.4 50mm prime for my K10D.

My question concerns the lens choice for our semi submersible glass bottom boat in Aruba where we hope to get good shots of tropical fish. My thought is that I would mount the 1.4 lens because the other lenses are so slow. If I go with the 1.4 does anyone have recommendations for settings for apr, shutter speed and ISO. I do not have a lot of experience with this lens yet.


12-03-2008, 10:22 AM   #2
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No suggestions on your specific questions, but here are a couple of thoughts worth every bit of their cost

Polarizing filters sound like a must for that environment.

If you have a local aquarium to visit, it might make a good practice ground for capturing fish and experimenting with the settings.

Getting or making some sort of flexible hood for your lenses might be worthwhile, to eliminate reflections and glare from the glass under you in the boat. Of course, that would also mean you will be on your hands and knees with you butt up in hte air as you take pictures of the fish, so you may want to make sure the wife *doesn't* have a camera too...

12-03-2008, 03:59 PM   #3
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Have fun on your cruise. When I went I was still with my AE-1 program. The lens choice of 50 1.4 is good. Be sure to tale a lot of paper towel and some wetting solution to wipe the port hole glass. A hood will help if it is soft rubber allowing you to snug your lens up to the port hole glass. \\Our sub went down 100 feet or so. Not a lot of color at that depth, but looks good if they have lights to turn on. Just shoot wide open at as slow as you can and shoot RAW. Lighten up in the computer.

Have a great time. Look forward to seeing your shots.
12-03-2008, 05:33 PM   #4
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Did something similar in Stingray City, Cayman Islands, fast 50mm ideal, heavy blue cast to shots, you can correct later in PP, enjoy the cruise.

12-03-2008, 06:30 PM   #5
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A friend and I did the Panama Canal in 1997 on the Regal Princess. You will have a great time. In those days I was still carrying my Super Program with a 35-70 f4 and it was not as fast as I would have liked on the several Semi-Submersibles I have been on. The 50 f1.4 is definitely the right choice for a lens. I also agree with the idea of a flexible lens hood to let you be right up against the glass porthole. To expand on CycloneBandDad's flexible hood idea I have a rubber hood made by Hama that telescopes out or collapses (good for travel) as needed and might be ideal for shooting up against glass.

Enjoy your trip!

12-03-2008, 06:32 PM   #6
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I'm in agreement with everybody else about the usefulness of the 50/1.4. I've tried using flash in an aquarium situation and it's a pain in the butt to try to avoid flash glare off the glass. As for the hood, go for one of the rubber screw-on ones--they're not that expensive. On the issue of ISO, with such a fast lens, hopefully you won't need to bump it up too much, but I tend to use anywhere from ISO 400 to 800--too much higher and then noise issues present themselves more prominently. Definitely shoot RAW--postprocessing will be a lot easier once you get home.

Have fun.

12-04-2008, 01:01 AM   #7
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We did the Panama Canal cruise last year and we had such a good time (went with NCL) though I didn't have a dSLR at the time.

Condensation was a problem when transiting the canal as we moved from inside the cool air conditioned ship to the warm humid heat out on deck quite a lot, though this wasn't too much of an issue with our P&S (this was in October, I guess it's still hot in February?). I do wish I had my K10D and 12-24mm that day though.

As already mentioned, definately shoot RAW as I think you will have to do some PP from your excursion.

Have a great time, look forward to seeing your pic's.
12-04-2008, 02:21 PM   #8
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Thanks you all for the advice and counsel. I will definitely buy a soft lens hood for my 501.4 lens. If I get some decent pictures, I will post them.


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