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Old Jun 29, 2012, 5:51 PM   #1
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Default Lens choice for Alaskan road trip?

Lens choice for Alaskan road trip

Here in the next few weeks I'm going to be making the drive from Oregon to Alaska. As you can imagine there will be many opportunities for photos and I'd like to get a good lens for this trip.

I am using an a700 and my current go-to do-it-all lens is the Sony 18-250.
I'd like to get a faster lens, which would also be good later on for some Aurora Borealis (northern lights) photos.

Right now I'm looking at the Sony 16-50 f2.8 which looks like it would run me about 800. I definitely don't want to spend more than that, and that price is already pushing it.

Any other recommendations/thoughts/opinions?

Also which filter(s) would you suggest?

Thanks everyone!!
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 6:58 PM   #2
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The Tamron 17-50/2.8 is a little better than the Sony 16-50/2.8, especially on cameras that don't automatically correct for the Sony's imperfections (like your A700), and it costs less.

And I recommend you don't use filters.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 7:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
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The Tamron 17-50/2.8 is a little better than the Sony 16-50/2.8, especially on cameras that don't automatically correct for the Sony's imperfections (like your A700), and it costs less.

And I recommend you don't use filters.
better lens, much more in my price range! I think I'll order it instead, thank you!!
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 8:08 PM   #4
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I have been using the Sony 18-250 ever since the A700 days. I think it is a great work horse. I have taken hundreds of really nice shots with it. It is however a daylight lens. Low light is not it's friend a you may have some days with poor lighting.
I also have the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 and it is also a very nice lens, good in low light but range limited.
I would also recommend trying to find a good 300-400mm lens for this trip. Buy, beg, borrow, rent, whatever.
My brother went up there a month ago and regretted not having a longer lens for wildlife.
Good luck and have a great trip.
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 8:40 PM   #5
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Thanks Fossil, yeah I have had a lot of fun with the 18-250. As you said, it does everything pretty well except for low-light, but that was to be expected so I don't really call that a "bad" trait since it's not designed for that.

I have a tamron lens that is 75-300 but I don't think I'd put it on instead of the 18-250 for the extra 50mm range. However, if I had a 200-400 or 300-400 or something I could see myself using it more.

Any recommendations on a good long range lens?
And I don't really plan on coming back anytime soon from Alaska so I don't think renting would be an option. But buying may be an option depending on if it's a few hundred or $1000!!
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Old Jul 1, 2012, 7:22 AM   #6
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The Sony 70-300 'G' is a very good lens, but it is expensive, especially recently. Similarly, the 70-400 'G' is also very good, but it is prohibitively expensive.

The Tamron 70-300 Di USD isn't quite as good, but it's about half the price of the 'G'.

In the used market, the 'Beercan' (Minolta 70-210mm f/4 Macro) and the 'Big Beercan' (Minolta 75-300 Macro)(The original, big one, not the earlier versions of the current Sony 75-300) are good and reasonably priced, as are the 100-300 APO and 100-400 APO, though the latter two are getting hard to find.

Good luck.
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Old Jul 1, 2012, 2:29 PM   #7
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I currently have Tamron's cheaper $200 version of the 70-300.

Right now it's not in the cards to purchase a $1000 lens in the same focal range, my priority is a 16-50ish large aperture lens.

With that being said, would it be worth it to get a better 70-300 or if I'm gonna be getting another long zoom lens I'd assume it may be best to get a Longer zoom lens such as up to 400mm
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Old Jul 1, 2012, 2:43 PM   #8
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What route are you driving to Alaska?

If you are going the "interior/coastal" route (as versus Alaska Hwy via Dawson Creek) through British Columbia , and want some great bear pictures, I suggest you check out a short detour to Stewart BC - Hyder Alaska. There you should check out the Fish Creek viewing stand. I spent 4 years here as a kid in the late 60's before the viewing stand was built and can tell you plenty of bear stories.

Hwy 97 to Prince George
Hwy 16 west to Hwy 37 junction
Hwy 37 Dease Lake hwy north to Meziadin Junction
Glacier Hwy south to Stewart/Hyder

If you are camping/trailering/RV'ing.... there is a one or two private campgrounds in Stewart and a provincial campground out at Meziadin Lake that had a summer caretaker last I had heard. Very friendly and cheeky wildlife at Meziadin Lake - watch out for the Whiskey Jack jays as they'll steal anything edible off the picnic table when your back is turned.

Stewart/Hyder is having a reunion the first week of August so the place may be a bit busier than normal.

I have a gallery with shots taken along that route but it was in late April - snow will be long gone by the time you get there. Page 7 shows the viewing platform.
http://newsy.smugmug.com/Travel/Brit...ve-Spring-2005

Fish Creek http://www.fishcreek.org/

Hyder Alaska
http://www.youtube.com/results?searc....0.0RF7l_YFDYQ

http://www.flickr.com/groups/fishcreek/

.

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Old Jul 1, 2012, 2:54 PM   #9
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Yup that pretty much exactly what I'm doing is the route you explained. and then from 37 I'll hit the Alaska why and on to fairbanks. And I'm definitely stopping in Stewart/Hyder. I could be leaving in as little as a week and plan on spending AT LEAST 10 days driving up. I'll spend a day or 2 in the squamish/whistler area for climbing/snowboarding/mountain biking and then just making random stops along the way for similar activities and of course wildlife and as many photo's as I can take. I have a few 32GB cards and some 16GB and will have my laptop to transfer data so I good there. I think I'll buy a spare batter though, or maybe just a whole extra camera body, the a77 looks fun! I wish.

I will be driving up in a tundra and pulling a small trailer so I will be camping wherever is available along the way.

Thanks for the links, I will check them out now. I'm really excited to see some good wildlife and get some good landscape shots and improve my skills some more.
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Old Jul 1, 2012, 5:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firstascent View Post
Right now it's not in the cards to purchase a $1000 lens in the same focal range, my priority is a 16-50ish large aperture lens.
Quote:
Originally Posted by firstascent View Post
better lens, much more in my price range! I think I'll order it instead, thank you!!
I thought you had already settled on the Tamron 17-50/2.8 for that purpose, which is why I had shifted to a telephoto zoom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by firstascent View Post
I currently have Tamron's cheaper $200 version of the 70-300.

With that being said, would it be worth it to get a better 70-300 or if I'm gonna be getting another long zoom lens I'd assume it may be best to get a Longer zoom lens such as up to 400mm
The Tamron 70-300 Di LD is good for its price, but it gets soft at the long end.

KEH has a Beercan in EX condition for $147.51, and a Big Beercan in EX condition for $137.61. They also have a 100-300 APO D in EX condition for $345.51, and a 100-400 APO in EX condition for $460.35.

For what you're going to do, I'd get the 100-400 APO.
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Last edited by TCav; Jul 1, 2012 at 5:37 PM.
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