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Old Sep 15, 2007, 4:19 PM   #11
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ghpots wrote:
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We like to take vacations. And, I have to assume the places we will go will be similar to where we have been.

We were in Africa (Ngorngoro crater, Massai Mara, Serengiti), before that the Amazon, before that the Galapogose. Most of the things I really like to shoot are animals but they tend to be a long way off and buried in some tree (not easy to focus on). We are going to the Arctic next and this will consist of very large views as well as (I hope) close ups of seals on ice flows, whales, and a lot of sea birds. In between that will be Copper Canyon in Mexico - - again large vistas with specific things a long way off.

I really don't do much with people around home or at birthday parties.

I like to do close ups of birds and critters around home but my primary concern is documenting (well enough for somebody else not to go to sleep when I show them the pictures) of the places we go.
The Arctic will be tough. Lubricants turn solid, and things don't work as well. You need to talk to someone about this, probably someone at Canon, maybe someone at the tour company. For outdoor shots, you probably won't need a fast lens because everything will be white. For indoors, I imagine that rooms will probably be small enough that you can get by with the built-in flash.

For wildlife, the 100-400 will probably be fine in reasonable light, and in poor light, you probably won't see something that far away to know to point your camera at it. The 70-200 f/2.8 will be great for most low-light wildlife shots, but maybe not for the f/4.0. The wide angle lens will be fine for landscapes, but I don't think it would work well for indoor shots unless you use a flash. This focal length is probably where you'll need IS the least, so I'dforgo the IS to be able to afford a faster lens. I think the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 ($450) is a great lens, and it's available for the Canon, but it does leave a gap in your coverage. I don't think it's significant, but it's your call. Canon has the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM ($1,000)andthe EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM ($1,140).
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 6:37 PM   #12
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The first thing is to find somewhere you can put your hands on the camera. The XTi is a very functional, but also quite small camera body. It was simply too small for my hands. It may fit you perfectly. If not and if you are sold on Canon equipment, the 30D is becoming very reasonable since the 40D gas been released.

For lenses, the 70-200 f4L is a fantastic lens. I consider that one the best of all zoom lenses I've had the joy of using. If your going to have a Canon, this is one I'd have in the bag.

A word of warning about 400 mm on a 1.6 crop camera. That's a handful, meaning it could well be beyond hand holding, even with IS. A tripod may become a useful tool to add to the list. I've never used the lens so I'll leave it at that.

If the other lens your referring to is the 18-55 kit lens, its dreadful. Lenses in this range are hard to find with a good price/performance ratio. The Sigma 18-50 f3.5-5.6 will do better than the kit lens and is cheap. It seems to be the thin spot in Canon's lens linup. They announced an updated lens for this, but I have no idea how it will perform.

You mentioned something about the 400 prime and that it wasn't for you. Pity. Canon generally does very well with long primes.

Have fun with your purchase
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 11:27 AM   #13
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As you can see I am new to all of this (although I have spent hours reading reviews there is nothing like experience!).

Can you tell me a little more about the benefits of a 400 prime? I am not hard-over for the zooom, just not smart enough about it to know. It I have a bird in flight from 100 yards away to directly over head would I wished I had one lens over the other or would I be able to do the same with each?

On the other hand if I wanted to take a picture of a leopard 200 yards away would I be better off with one or the other?

The only real experience was with a couple other guys in Africa that had zoom lenses (300mm) and they seemed pretty happy with them but that pretty much summarizes my experience. (Canon equipment).

Can you give me a short lesson on the advantages and disadvantages of each?

By the way, I have started a spread sheet with all the comments people have given and have already made some modifications to my selection. Mainly with the 18-85 mm range (Canon is out) and also considering cold temps and lubrication - something I had not thought of. A tripod has been added to the list.

Bill
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 12:34 PM   #14
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ghpots wrote:
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Can you tell me a little more about the benefits of a 400 prime?
First, by virtue of it being a zoom lens,the zoom lens is a lot more flexible. Also, the zoom lens is smaller (for packing). The 400mm f/5.6 is larger, but it is slightly lighter (for carrying). Also, the 400mm prime is sharper than the 100-400mm zoom.

If you're using the 400mm prime, and your subject is smaller orfurther away, you can crop the image later, just like if you were using the zoom. But if the subject is larger or closer, you'll have to reframe or change lenses to get the shot, whereas with a zoom, you can just zoom out a little bit.

The 400mm prime gives you an angle of view of 6°10' (6 degrees, 10 minutes, or 6.167 degrees), but the zoom gives you an angle of view of 24° to 6°10'.

I am increasingly getting the impression that this is the first time you've been involved in something like this, so might I suggest that you skip the long lens for now, and just get a good fast telephoto zoom (the 70-200mm f/2.8 would be great, though it is bigger and heavier than the 100-400) and something to use for general stuff. The Canon kit lens (disposeable, comparitively speaking)or maybe the Tamron I mentioned, might do.Ifyour Arctic trip is hiking and camping, you may not want to deal with the added weight and bulk of a long lens. On the other hand, you might want a close up shot of a polar bear, without getting up close.
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Old Sep 17, 2007, 7:43 PM   #15
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You are right in thinking this is my first time is this area. I have been interested in photography for some time but have always sacraficed quality for ease of using a smaller camera that, essentially, does all the thinking for you.

While on the Africa trip I decided I needed to do more than just record what I saw. There were some incredible sights and I would have liked to have been able to do more with them. Photoshop helps but it can't turn a bad picture into a good one.

I have attached one of the images.

I do agree I should buy the lenses one at a time and get used to them. The information you provided was very useful. Thanks.

Bill
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Old Sep 18, 2007, 8:37 PM   #16
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I think the problem was the file was too large. Bill
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Old Sep 18, 2007, 9:01 PM   #17
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I'm looking forward to what you might do with a dSLR.

How can I help you from here?
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Old Sep 19, 2007, 1:44 AM   #18
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Quote:
Can you tell me a little more about the benefits of a 400 prime? I am not hard-over for the zooom, just not smart enough about it to know. It I have a bird in flight from 100 yards away to directly over head would I wished I had one lens over the other or would I be able to do the same with each?
A 400 f5.6 zoom will be exactly the same as a 400 f5.6 prime. A bird in flight 100 yards away? Forget about it, first zoom with your feet till you're about 20 yards, then you might be able to start thinking about it. Once you get down to 10 yards or so the 400 will be in its element.

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On the other hand if I wanted to take a picture of a leopard 200 yards away would I be better off with one or the other?
Both would be equally useless.

Maybe the $7000 Sigmonster 300-800 on a crop camera with a teleconverter might give you a chance.

You have to get close if you want "wildlife portraits/closeups", and with small birds of course it's a hundred times harder. Even with long lenses you have to get very close, which is why it's so hard to do good bird photography.






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Old Sep 19, 2007, 2:10 AM   #19
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Hey, DITTO on everything that everyone has said. I know many of us will shoot in RAW, but may I also suggest, and in putting in my 2cents, say that in any other capture mode, except for RAW, Canon captures our shots through the use of Exif 2.2 and what's called the sYCC color space. This is amazing as the camera can actually see and record *MORE* withing this color space when compared to what most printers and for sure, monitors can do (using sRGB). And a little added treat, I own and have used Canon photo printers now for 6 years, and BOY have they turned things around, from being a piece of junk in 2001, to winning awards every year, in many categories and in many instances, taking the number one spot away from Epson. I mean, wow, the inch wide print head that expells 1, yes, ONE picolitre droplets over page and can even put down 2 and 5 picolitre nozzles for coverage. The canon printer drivers and software, along with Adobe Photoshop, if you use it, will allow for the Canon printer (I have just got the Pro9000), and it takes advantage of printing out, using the entire tonal color space (range), of the sYCC expanded color space. It's FAST, so quiet that you'd wonder sometimes if it's in-fact printing, and also does CD/DVD direct printing. Lastly, canon has now, a TON of professional grade papers to use for this printer and most of all their other ones, like the ever popular ip6700d. Anyone have more questions, you can free to e-mail me about [email protected], thanks for letting me add in my two cents.
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Old Sep 19, 2007, 7:46 PM   #20
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Thanks for the inforamtion about how far away a subject can be and still take a decent picture. As you can tell this is my first foray into this and I am having a difficult time telling what the various lenses will actually do. Presently I have a Canon PowerShot S2 IS which is good for around home but I learned on the Africa trip (after seeing what others had) that I really needed more if I was going to do anything more than take snapshots.

Since (except for one lense) nobody has come back and said I am crazy I feel a lot better about my choices. Every bit of information helps me, and I appreciate your input. I am still refining what I am going to get and pretty soon will post the final selection along with the reasons. I realize the only person I have to satisfy is myself but it is always helpful to get input from people a lot more experienced than I. Bill
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