hawaii lens kit ("refresh" from search results)

Discussion in 'Travel' started by kaiyen, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. Hi all,
    So my search results on this topic gave me some good insights, though many are from 2004-2005 or so, and lots of new lens options have come out since then.
    I'm going to the Big Island in September, and am trying to figure out my best lens kit. Shoot a D300. Do not intend to bring a tripod, though might throw one in the bag since our hotels will be all on the water and a nice, long exposure sunset might be nice. But not for carrying around in general. I don't mind carrying around a heavy lens along with fast zooms, but not too many. This need not be a "light" kit. But not too many lenses, either.
    My first thought is that I tend to shoot either really wide (so the 12-24 Tokina would be my choice from my current set) or telephoto. I don't shoot a ton in between. I could go with all the way to mid tele:
    17-50 Tamron
    50-150 Sigma
    And throw a TC in there for the Sigma if I want to get out to 210 or so.
    I could also just forego the midrange for a prime (the 50 1.4? 85 1.8? 105 2.8 macro with VR?) and get a "travel" zoom like the Sigma 120-400. I know it's big and heavy, but if it's just that and the 12-24, then I got the extremes covered. I could throw in the 50 or 85 and still be "light." The 105 would make it quite a bit heavier.
    Again, I know the 120-400 isn't light, but I don't mind if there is 1 lens like that, and it's very versatile. I don't want to carry like 2-3 lenses like that :). I have found that there are times when I'd want to go longer, to, say, throw the volcano peaks against each other in a more abstract shot, or zoom in on wildlife.
    Also, my wife might bring along our IR-converted camera, which would be a very light, IR-friendly lens but would also mean would could stuff, say, the 105 macro in there and she'd carry just that.
  2. Where are you going? That place is pretty diverse
  3. Sorry, I forget how much variation there is on the Big Island.
    Staying at Waikoloa. intend to do the Mauna Kea summit/star gazing one night. Intend to do the volcano national park from afternoon > sunset another time. Head north for the scenic road from Waimea and then at least one day fully on the Hilo side. At this point am still planning otherwise.
  4. imo, take the 12-24 for sure. the 50-150 is pretty versatile too, although if you are shooting in daytime, the 70-300 VR could also be considered (though that might necessitate the 50). 100-400 a travel zoom? uh, not really. a lot depends on what you will be shooting, if its mainly landscape, covering the extremes is good. if its city/urban stuff, the 17-50 is probably a better overall fit than the 12-24.
    you could also consider a fixed superzoom P&S for a lighter backup rig.
  5. Eric,
    Thanks. So maybe the 12-24 and the 50-150 with a 1.4 TC just in case I want a tad bit extra reach.
    I think of the other lens as a travel zoom because for me, when I'm traveling, I might see a bird or other wildlife that I'd like to photograph. I know that most people, when traveling, is not thinking of this kind of lens for just random shots. But it appeals to me. Those are the kinds of things I see - really wide, or zoomed in.
    I'll be bringing along a Panasonic LX3 as the P&S. Short zoom but great lens.
  6. If you take a 120-400, I'll bet it is the lens you'll use the most. If you really want to treat yourself, pop for a helicopter ride over the volcanos. (it also goes thru a steep valley with gobs of waterfalls). Brace yourself for sticker shock when you inquire about heli rides. One heli place is on west coast a half an hour north of Kona.
  7. GungaJim - do you say that just because if I bring a lens like that it's the one I'd use the most (if you bring it, you will use it), or because it's a focal length that makes the most sense for a place like the big island?
  8. Going anywahere... I would base my kit on a mid-range zoom such as the 17-50mm Tamron (I use the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS). Next, I would flesh the kit out with a telephoto zoom such as your 50-150mm (I use the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS). I could easily make do with these two lenses - especially since I shoot with a pair of 1.6x cameras. In fact this is the lens duo I carried all over China on a two week trip this spring. It worked great and I never missed any other focal lengths.
    However, I believe in redundancy so I also brought my 12-24mm Tokina because I could make do with this lens as my "normal" angle zoom if my 17-55mm went down. Actually, my 17-55mm was wide enough for me so, although I brought the lens to China, I actually seldom carried it into the field.
    I must admit, however, that I am not a great fan of UWA shooting and I could always shoot a hand held several exposure string and combine it into a pano if I needed a wider view such as in this image of the Beijing "Birdcage" Olympic sports venue.
    <a href="http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Travel/CHINA-FOCUS-TOUR-2010/11857692_pXGbC#869092611_uohQG-A-LB"><img src="http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Travel/CHINA-FOCUS-TOUR-2010/A-1097-2001-Birdcage-pano/869092611_uohQG-L.jpg"></a>
  9. See the Big Island gallery on my website.
    You need 3 lenses:
    • wide-normal zoom
    • macro
    • telephoto
    The longest lens I had on that trip was a 105mm lens (my macro lens), having decided to leave at home my 70-200mm and TC. It would have been nice to have that lens with me, especially to shoot Kilauea.
    If you do plan to shoot Kilauea, bring a tripod and bring a flashlight. If you plan to shoot at any of the waterfalls or botanical gardens, bring plenty of bug spray and bring a hat.
    Most importantly, have fun.
  10. http://riwong.smugmug.com/Travel/Cruisin-to-Hawaii/2334408_CFUee#P-1-10
    Link to my hawaii gallery.
    If you plan on shooting the volcano early or late in the day you will need a tripod. I was shooting the lava near sunset and the exposure was around 15th at f11. you must remember that the lava is black on black so if you want to see any detail you need to raise your iso or shoot with a smaller dof.
    and to get HDR shots or shooting panos a tripod can come in handy.
    this shot was lit by moonlight. if you are planning to go star gazing why not bring you camera.
    During this Hawaii cruise I did travel light and only brought my D2x, 24-120 vr, 80-400 vr , and my tripod.
    I will be visiting China next week to expo 2010, staying on top of Huangshan, and visiting the great wall. I will also need to travel light I will be shooting with a 20mm, 50mm, and a 70-300 zoom. reason why no wideangle zoom is because my primes are smaller and lighter, and I can zoom with my feet with the 20, and 50. I will also bring my tripod
  11. thanks for the great info. sounds like maybe the usual combo for me - 12-24, 17-50, 50-150. Maybe have my wife bring the macro so that I have that as well. I will throw the CF tripod in our luggage and my intervalometer.
    so...airplane or helicopter? thoughts? I'm really tempted by the doorless helicopter option from one other company but we'll be staying on the Kona side and that's just too many trips and back forth on the island.
    Airplane has a window seat for everyone and covers the entire island. I presume, however, that the helicopter goes lower. The latter is also much more expensive for a smaller amount of coverage.
  12. Rick - quick question. Was that photo of the stars taken...at a "normal" shutter speed? The stars are so sharp - just pinpoints rather than trails. Is it that clear up there?

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