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Author Topic: Lens choices for Iceland  (Read 7466 times)
J. Paul
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« on: June 08, 2009, 06:13:58 PM »
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Hello All,
I am going to Iceland this summer for a photography workshop with Focus On Nature.  If anyone has ever been there and can make some recommendations for lenses I would be most appreciative.  My existing line up is the 24-105 (not one of my favorites) 70 - 200 f4.  I have a 24mm TS and a 100 macro, but probably won't take them.  I am using these with the 1Ds Mark III.  
Thanks,
J. Paul
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2009, 06:47:11 PM »
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Quote from: J. Paul
Hello All,
I am going to Iceland this summer for a photography workshop with Focus On Nature.  If anyone has ever been there and can make some recommendations for lenses I would be most appreciative.  My existing line up is the 24-105 (not one of my favorites) 70 - 200 f4.  I have a 24mm TS and a 100 macro, but probably won't take them.  I am using these with the 1Ds Mark III.  
Thanks,
J. Paul

Depends on what you like, and how much you're weight-limited. I also use an Eos-1Ds III, and find that about 60-70% of my landscapes are taken with a 70-200 f:2.8, and about 25% with the 24-70 f:2.8. I actually own the 24-105 f:4 as well, but use it mostly for a 'walking around lens' when I have the camera around my neck. The 24-70 is just a bit sharper, and it lacks the corner vignetting that is the achilles heel of the 24-105. I end up shooting quite a few panoramic sequences with the 24-70, and its lack of vignetting makes it easy to stitch even blue-sky images.

If it were me I'd add something wider, just for the occasional near/far composition that really needs a 16-20 mm focal length. I find the 16-35 f:2.8 II barely adequate; it sure would be nice to have something as good as Nikon's 14-24. Finally, something longer for the occasional 'extracted' composition that really needs 300-400 mm. If you're weight-limited the 70-200 with a teleconverter may be all you can afford to drag with you. I have a love-hate relationship with Canon's 100-400 L zoom; too many shots from it are soft, but just enough of them look terrific so I have to keep trying.

If you plan on shooting any macro subjects, try Canon's 500D two-element close up diopter. It's very heavy for a filter and certainly not cheap, but it's a featherweight bargain if you compare it to a macro lens. On the 70-200 it'll give you decent working distance and surprisingly good sharpness.
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J. Paul
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2009, 10:33:43 AM »
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Thanks Geoff.  This is very helpful information.  I think my weakest link is at the wide angle end of my lenses.  I am hoping to purchase the new 24mm TS II lens to replace the older version if it proves to be as sharp as predicted.  I shoot a lot of scenes at 24mm and this lens will be very useful for my architecture photography.  I may just rent a 300mm for the trip.
J. Paul
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2009, 01:58:18 PM »
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Hi,

I'd guess that the 24-105 is quite ideal. I have been to Iceland myself toting 17-35, 28-75, 80-200 and 400 + extenders on APS-C and used everything. Don't forget tripod.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: J. Paul
Hello All,
I am going to Iceland this summer for a photography workshop with Focus On Nature.  If anyone has ever been there and can make some recommendations for lenses I would be most appreciative.  My existing line up is the 24-105 (not one of my favorites) 70 - 200 f4.  I have a 24mm TS and a 100 macro, but probably won't take them.  I am using these with the 1Ds Mark III.  
Thanks,
J. Paul
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Mark F
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2009, 05:41:13 PM »
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Are you planning to backpack or do a lot of hiking? I'm leaving for Iceland on Monday and plan to take everything from very wide 16mm through 400mm, plus extender.  But I will be working out of my vehicle and not be backpacking. Since weight is not a major factor I would rather bring something and not use it than wish that I had brought it.  

Mark
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Mark
J. Paul
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2009, 06:38:14 PM »
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Hello Mark,
I will be taking a backpack, but the workshop will be working out of some type of all terrain vehicle.  I just have to make sure all my gear (including laptop) will fit in my backpack and that it will be OK for taking on the airplane.  I need to buy or rent a good wide angle lens, the 24-105 is just a poor quality lens.
Best,
J. Paul
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2009, 10:15:56 PM »
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Hi,

The 24-105 seems to have a good reputation, perhaps you have a bad sample?

For lens resources you may check http://www.diglloyd.com , lots of good writings

Lens tests (among others):

http://www.slrgear.com
http://www.photozone.de

Erik


Quote from: J. Paul
Hello Mark,
I will be taking a backpack, but the workshop will be working out of some type of all terrain vehicle.  I just have to make sure all my gear (including laptop) will fit in my backpack and that it will be OK for taking on the airplane.  I need to buy or rent a good wide angle lens, the 24-105 is just a poor quality lens.
Best,
J. Paul
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J. Paul
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2009, 05:28:45 AM »
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Hello Erik,
I don't think I have a bad copy of the 24-105.  This lens is just not sharp out to the corners.  A good friend of mine has this lens too and agrees.  The CA on this lens is pretty noticeable too.  This lens is probably better off as walk around lens but stopped down it just isn't cutting it for me.  I am not the only one that thinks that the Canon lenses are not up to par in the wide angle zoom department.  Digital Lloyd is a good resource and I refer to them often.
Best,
J. Paul
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Marsupilami
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2009, 05:42:48 AM »
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Quote from: J. Paul
Hello All,
I am going to Iceland this summer for a photography workshop with Focus On Nature.  If anyone has ever been there and can make some recommendations for lenses I would be most appreciative.  My existing line up is the 24-105 (not one of my favorites) 70 - 200 f4.  I have a 24mm TS and a 100 macro, but probably won't take them.  I am using these with the 1Ds Mark III.  
Thanks,
J. Paul

Take a good tripod with you, Iceland is most amazing in "bad" weather and more wide angle would be good too, but that is a hard thing with Canon, at least the 14 mm is quite good. Alternative a 15 mm Sigma Fisheye lens is better than the price might suggest and can get you quite dramatic views. The 24 TS I found the be a really bad lens on digital, so I dont think you should take that with you. Macro is an option, but a closeup lens might be enough to take.

Christian

Author of the Iceland hiking guide (R.Rother publishing house)
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buckshot
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2009, 07:00:44 AM »
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I wouldn't fret too much about the sharpness of this lens vs the sharpness of that lens. I love the 24-105, and the 17-40 is capable of producing great images as well. I've never had someone look at one of my photos and go 'ooh, that photo looks like it's a touch soft at the extreme edge at f8 in comparison to this lens.' Just doesn't happen in the real world. Non-photographers usually give the subject of the image primacy, not the technical quality of it. After all, many of the greatest photos of all time were taken using lenses that today, if they were put through the barrage of tests and online reviews that we now have, would turn out about as soft as shooting through the bottom of a milk bottle. If the content of your photos is engaging enough, no one will really care about what lens you used.
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J. Paul
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2009, 07:25:39 AM »
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Hello Buckshot,
I agree that most folks wouldn't see the difference in any of these lenses, and in capable hands,  a really good photographer can come away with amazing images with a disposable camera.  For making images for my stock photography agency and for fine art prints,  I must have the best optics I can get my hands on.
Thanks,
J. Paul
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2009, 08:13:27 AM »
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Quote from: J. Paul
Hello Erik,
I don't think I have a bad copy of the 24-105.  This lens is just not sharp out to the corners.  A good friend of mine has this lens too and agrees.  The CA on this lens is pretty noticeable too.  This lens is probably better off as walk around lens but stopped down it just isn't cutting it for me.  I am not the only one that thinks that the Canon lenses are not up to par in the wide angle zoom department.  Digital Lloyd is a good resource and I refer to them often.
Best,
J. Paul

At least in my hands the 24-105 f:4 L is a quirky lens. On the one hand I find the corner vignetting a real problem, to the extent that I just can't use it for stitched panoramics. Corner sharpness at some focal lengths can also be a bit iffy.

On the other hand, I've taken some shots with this lens wide open at night that were amazingly sharp right into the corners. I'm convinced that a lot of the 'softness' users see with this lens is due more to bad technique than optical shortcomings. It's so light and compact that it's tempting to hand-hold, and the IS can fool you into thinking you can get away with it.

As someone else has noted in this thread, lots of fabulous iconic photos have been taken using thoroughly mediocre glass. There are plenty of highly skilled technicians who can't "see" a great photo.
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Mark F
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« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2009, 02:35:51 PM »
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J. Paul, you might want to check on your airline's rules for carry on luggage.  I'm flying Icelandair and it turns out that they not only have size limits but also weight limits. Icelandair only allows 6kg which is about 13lbs.  I'm not sure if they charge for the extra weight or make you check it. I would be VERY unhappy to have to check my pack.

Quote from: J. Paul
Hello Mark,
I just have to make sure all my gear (including laptop) will fit in my backpack and that it will be OK for taking on the airplane.
Best,
J. Paul
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Mark
J. Paul
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« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2009, 02:40:47 PM »
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Mark,
Thanks so much for the heads up on Iceland Air and luggage restrictions.  I certainly have more than 13 lbs of gear!  I will check in to this further.  If anybody else has any additional info about this, please let me know.
Thanks,
J. Paul
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2009, 11:10:42 PM »
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Hi,

Allmost all airlines have weight limitations, this is not specific to Iceland Air. Fortunately they are seldom checked or enforced.
One trick is to use a Photo West and put things in the pockets and hang your heaviest camera around the neck. Once you have boarded put everything back in the bag.

It can be absurd. Once I flew on a KLM/Air France and Delta flight with three different weight limits on the same plane.

Erik

Quote from: J. Paul
Mark,
Thanks so much for the heads up on Iceland Air and luggage restrictions.  I certainly have more than 13 lbs of gear!  I will check in to this further.  If anybody else has any additional info about this, please let me know.
Thanks,
J. Paul
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Kevin Ebi
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« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2009, 11:43:56 PM »
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Quote from: J. Paul
Mark,
Thanks so much for the heads up on Iceland Air and luggage restrictions.  I certainly have more than 13 lbs of gear!  I will check in to this further.  If anybody else has any additional info about this, please let me know.
Thanks,
J. Paul

This is no guarantee, but I think appearance is more important than actual weight. I've flown on IcelandAir with a camera bag weighing nearly 30 lbs. and nobody said anything about it. I bought an extra small camera backpack that I use when flying. Everything is cramped in the bag, but it fits very easily under the seat.
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Mark F
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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2009, 04:45:18 PM »
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Well, I'm back and give a more informed answer now.

First, my photo pack was not given a second look either going or returning. So it appars that the 6kg rule is not being enforced.  Just in case, I wore my vest under a rain shell and was prepared to transfer my lenses to the vest if my pack had bee challenged.

As for lenses to take, I wound up using my wide angles more than any others: 28-70 and 16-35.   I did use my 70-200 a fair amount and my 400 to photograph puffins at Latraborg.  My most useful accessories were my lens shades, a towel and a pack of lens tissue. We had a LOT of rain  and keeping the front of my lenses dry was a chore.

Hope this helps.

Mark
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Mark
J. Paul
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« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2009, 04:51:14 PM »
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Mark,
Thanks for the additional information about equipment for Iceland.  Hope to see some of your photos posted.
J. Paul
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dhachey
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« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2009, 08:42:32 PM »
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Hi Mark;

Welcome back, I hope the trip was a success.  I'm about to head off to Iceland in a couple of weeks to join a workshop being led by Daniel Bergmann, so I have some gear questions.  I plan to take two digital bodies:

40D, 5D Mk II

Plus some of the following lenses, roughly in this order of priority:

24 - 105/F4
70 - 200/F4 IS
300/F4 IS + 1.4 extender
35/F1.4
17-40/F4

It's a lot to carry (plus tripod, laptop and enough electronics to run a small country), so I'd like to cut back on some weight if possible.  Any suggestions?

Thanks, ...Dave
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francois
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« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2009, 04:14:25 AM »
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Quote from: dhachey
Hi Mark;

Welcome back, I hope the trip was a success.  I'm about to head off to Iceland in a couple of weeks to join a workshop being led by Daniel Bergmann, so I have some gear questions.  I plan to take two digital bodies:

40D, 5D Mk II

Plus some of the following lenses, roughly in this order of priority:

24 - 105/F4
70 - 200/F4 IS
300/F4 IS + 1.4 extender
35/F1.4
17-40/F4

It's a lot to carry (plus tripod, laptop and enough electronics to run a small country), so I'd like to cut back on some weight if possible.  Any suggestions?

Thanks, ...Dave
Dave,
I can only share my experience in Iceland... I shot a lot of photos with my 100-400 (birds and arctic foxes). My 24-70 was also heavily used. My 24 TSE and 17-40 were only used for a dozen of shots. I was using with 1D bodies.

If I had to do it again, I would take my 24-70, my 70-200 (+ 1.4x extender). This covers 90% of my usage (with a full-frame camera body). I'd add the 17-40 if I had room to spare. I must also say that I rarely use very wide lenses.

How about asking Daniel Bergmann?
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Francois
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