Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Thanks a lot for the replies. It looked good to me, but wanted to hear feedback from someone who has actually carried it around. Again, thanks! I'm looking at the different rental companies.

 

Definitely not too bulky/heavy. We're renting two of them for our Alaska Sampler next month; I'm also renting a 600/4 with (at least) a 1.4x as well.

 

If your thinking about renting the new 100-400 Mk II it's is your best bet for the cost of the rental. It's a very sharp lens from experience. It only weighs about 5 oz. more than the 70-200 Mk II and has the same image quality.

 

I would look at borrowlenses dot com for rentals. I've used them in the past and they seem to ship equipment in pretty good shape.

 

Not to sound obnoxious but your killing me with the 600/4 and adding the 1.4x to it. Why take a 10k + lens and put a piece of equipment on it that will degrade the picture? If your shooting a FF body (like a 5D Mk III) and want the longer reach you would be much better off renting a 7D Mk II with the 1.6 sensor than using the converter. If you are currently using a crop body you really don't want to push it much further than the 800-900mm range because when you go that long even the slightest atmospheric conditions (haze) will also degrade the pic.

 

BTW, I use the Manfrotto aluminum monopod (~$65) and you can beat it on the side of the boat without breaking it. A little heavier than a carbon fiber model but much more durable and not an issue putting it in your checked luggage (I do all the time). I hate to lose a carbon fiber model and you have very little chance that will make it past TSA if you try to carry it on a plane.

 

As for the 600mm (or if you rent something similar) a tripod + gimbal head works so much better on a boat or shore if you have the room.

 

Alaska is a great place to shoot. Here are two pics I took up there last summer (cruise + land tour) that speak for themselves. They were taken with a Canon 1D-X using a Canon EF 800mm f5.6 lens. I have used the 600mm f4 and it doesn't come close to the image quality of the 800mm. Both picks were taken in the 125-150 yard range on a tripod/gimbal head combination. Hope you have fun!

 

 

p105954602-5.jpg

 

p131097975-5.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
If your thinking about renting the new 100-400 Mk II it's is your best bet for the cost of the rental. It's a very sharp lens from experience. It only weighs about 5 oz. more than the 70-200 Mk II and has the same image quality.

 

 

 

I would look at borrowlenses dot com for rentals. I've used them in the past and they seem to ship equipment in pretty good shape.

 

 

Thanks a lot for the recommendations. I'm looking at the Manfrotto monopod and trying to figure out if I need a tilt head to go with it. Some of those are pretty pricey.

 

The new 100-400 II is probably good for me, but I love the 800mm pics you posted -- especially the eagle. Just not sure I need to lug that monster around :)

 

Thanks!

Gary

Link to post
Share on other sites
I would look at borrowlenses dot com for rentals. I've used them in the past and they seem to ship equipment in pretty good shape.

 

Not to sound obnoxious but your killing me with the 600/4 and adding the 1.4x to it. Why take a 10k + lens and put a piece of equipment on it that will degrade the picture? If your shooting a FF body (like a 5D Mk III) and want the longer reach you would be much better off renting a 7D Mk II with the 1.6 sensor than using the converter. If you are currently using a crop body you really don't want to push it much further than the 800-900mm range because when you go that long even the slightest atmospheric conditions (haze) will also degrade the pic.

 

Alaska is a great place to shoot. Here are two pics I took up there last summer (cruise + land tour) that speak for themselves. They were taken with a Canon 1D-X using a Canon EF 800mm f5.6 lens. I have used the 600mm f4 and it doesn't come close to the image quality of the 800mm.

Take a look at the testing gear (and results) that LensRentals has in-house. That's a strong reason I choose them over anyone else, and why I'm considering buying most of my lenses used from them instead of new.

 

You're killing me with your mixed metaphors about image quality. Apparently you have shot with a 1Dx...the 7D2 might be a baby 1Dx, but it's not a 1Dx. The 7D2 isn't as responsive as a 1Dx, and doesn't have anywhere near the noise (or lack thereof) performance. The 7D was noisy past ISO 1600, and the 7D2 is lucky to get to 6400. Meanwhile, the 1Dx is at least smooth with its noise to 12800. And then you compare the 600/4 to the 800/5.6...dude, there's a new sheriff in town, the 600/4 II, and it smokes the 800/5.6 so well that with the 1.4x, it's better AND lighter.

 

Regardless, the 1Dx is the camera I prefer, and I'm comfortable putting a 1.4x or a 2x on a 600 to get the results I want. I'm not comfortable with the 7D2 as a primary body for me, and neither is Peter Read Miller: http://scottkelby.com/2015/its-guest-blog-wednesday-featuring-peter-read-miller/ - he'd rather put a 1.4x on the 400/2.8II than switch to the 7D2.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I went ahead and reserved a lens for rental during my cruise in May. I decided on the Canon 100-400mm II and I reserved it from LensRentals.com

 

Now I'm looking for a monopod. The Manfrotto 681 Pro looks good for my basic needs, but I've never used one so I'm still considering my options. Plus if I get a tilt head I have to figure that part out too. A lot of the heads are more expensive than the monopod so I need to work that out.

 

Are the heads pretty much universal so it doesn't really matter which one I get? Or does each monopod have a specific dedicated head I should look for?

 

I appreciate the continued assistance!

 

Gary

Link to post
Share on other sites
Now I'm looking for a monopod. The Manfrotto 681 Pro looks good for my basic needs, but I've never used one so I'm still considering my options. Plus if I get a tilt head I have to figure that part out too. A lot of the heads are more expensive than the monopod so I need to work that out.

 

Are the heads pretty much universal so it doesn't really matter which one I get? Or does each monopod have a specific dedicated head I should look for?

We have a tripod with lever-latch legs, so I thought I'd want a monopod with the same. I ended up getting the RRS monopod which has screw-lock legs, and I love them. Easy to open them slightly, let the monopod wiggle down half an inch, and re-tighten them. Very happy with that aspect of the choice.

 

Heads are nearly universal. At worst, the monopod might have a "tripod socket" sized screw and the head might be looking for a "head sized" screw, but there are inexpensive bushings to make that work.

 

The tilt head was very easy for me to "accept". I learned to loosen it slightly (much like the legs), fiddle with the angle I wanted, and re-tighten, or perhaps just work with it a little loose. So much better than trying to lean forward, etc. You could start with just a monopod though and see how it goes...depends on what you want to shoot.

Link to post
Share on other sites
If your thinking about renting the new 100-400 Mk II it's is your best bet for the cost of the rental. It's a very sharp lens from experience. It only weighs about 5 oz. more than the 70-200 Mk II and has the same image quality.

 

I would look at borrowlenses dot com for rentals. I've used them in the past and they seem to ship equipment in pretty good shape.

 

Not to sound obnoxious but your killing me with the 600/4 and adding the 1.4x to it. Why take a 10k + lens and put a piece of equipment on it that will degrade the picture? If your shooting a FF body (like a 5D Mk III) and want the longer reach you would be much better off renting a 7D Mk II with the 1.6 sensor than using the converter. If you are currently using a crop body you really don't want to push it much further than the 800-900mm range because when you go that long even the slightest atmospheric conditions (haze) will also degrade the pic.

 

BTW, I use the Manfrotto aluminum monopod (~$65) and you can beat it on the side of the boat without breaking it. A little heavier than a carbon fiber model but much more durable and not an issue putting it in your checked luggage (I do all the time). I hate to lose a carbon fiber model and you have very little chance that will make it past TSA if you try to carry it on a plane.

 

As for the 600mm (or if you rent something similar) a tripod + gimbal head works so much better on a boat or shore if you have the room.

 

Alaska is a great place to shoot. Here are two pics I took up there last summer (cruise + land tour) that speak for themselves. They were taken with a Canon 1D-X using a Canon EF 800mm f5.6 lens. I have used the 600mm f4 and it doesn't come close to the image quality of the 800mm. Both picks were taken in the 125-150 yard range on a tripod/gimbal head combination. Hope you have fun!

 

 

p105954602-5.jpg

 

p131097975-5.jpg

Those photos are amazing! Did you rent that lens; if so from where?

Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, what cruise will you be doing and what excursions?

 

It would be rare on many cruises to find that bear…(eagles, yes). The weight of the extra lens for that one shot might not be worth it.

I'd definitely only rent a lens (I rented the Canon 400 5.6 on one AK cruise…only time I used it was for a sea otter next to the ship.) (Lensrentals.com)

 

If going into Denali on the bus (whole day) you MIGHT see some wildlife close enough to get a photo…even with a long tele…or you might not.

 

We spent 3 weeks in AK for our photos…THAT's when you will find your bears, caribou, eagles, moose, etc.

 

For whales, etc. your 200 zoom will be fine in most cases.

Good luck!

Edited by janmcn
Link to post
Share on other sites
Checking in. I'm going in 2016. Need to get everything figured out long before! I looked this morning and I'm contemplating a 300 2.8 rental. I am considering carrying my 5D3 with the 17-40 or 70-200 and getting a 7D2 to stick the 300 on. I'll likely also bring my 35 1.4 for evenings (and because I'm a sucker for primes...)

 

I travel with a 5D3 and 5D2.

 

For tours I leave the 24-105 f/4 IS on the 5D3 for general purpose shots and on the other body I pre-determine if the need with be mostly wide angle or telephoto. If wide angle I use the 16-35 f/2.8 and if telephoto the 70-200 f/2.8 IS, with a 2X extender, if required.

 

Inside the ship I normally use the 16-35

 

The 70-200 f/2.8 with Mk III Extender is a brilliant combination, especially with lots of light.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone

 

I am totally new to Alaskan cruising - will be going on our very first 7 day cruise with Celebrity Solstice ex Seattle on May 29th and need the advice of seasoned experts in regard to focal lengths required.

 

I am currently using a Nikon D600 and will be taking along my 28-300mm lens as the general purpose travel lens along with my 16-35 and 24-120 ones.

 

We are not going on the smaller sized boat excursions, just the port excursions in Ketchikan,Juneau, Skagway and Victoria - the only cruising part I guess will be at the Tracy Arm Fjord and along the Inner Passage.

 

Would the 28-300mm lens be long enough just in case I need to take some photos of whales and the glaciers/waterfalls from the boat or do I need really to have a longer zoom for that ?

 

Hoping you can give me your input on this.

 

Thanks and kind regards

Matthew Lim - Perth - Western Australia ( we will be a long way from home)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi everyone

 

I am totally new to Alaskan cruising - will be going on our very first 7 day cruise with Celebrity Solstice ex Seattle on May 29th and need the advice of seasoned experts in regard to focal lengths required.

 

I am currently using a Nikon D600 and will be taking along my 28-300mm lens as the general purpose travel lens along with my 16-35 and 24-120 ones.

 

We are not going on the smaller sized boat excursions, just the port excursions in Ketchikan,Juneau, Skagway and Victoria - the only cruising part I guess will be at the Tracy Arm Fjord and along the Inner Passage.

 

Would the 28-300mm lens be long enough just in case I need to take some photos of whales and the glaciers/waterfalls from the boat or do I need really to have a longer zoom for that ?

 

Hoping you can give me your input on this.

 

Thanks and kind regards

Matthew Lim - Perth - Western Australia ( we will be a long way from home)

 

Short answer is that unless you are a pro, or going to do a lot of processing when you get back 300 is enough, especially in Tracy Arm.

 

Now the pros are going to chime in and tell you all about the things you can rent and should buy, but for the average guy you have more than enough.

 

This was with a 300, has had NO processing of any kind (it was shot as a jpeg) and it was not fully zoomed.

 

16267590077_721ed371fe_b.jpg[/url]

Link to post
Share on other sites

Matthew,

 

One of the things to consider in Alaska is the weather, especially fairly early or late in the season. On our last trip in mid-June we lucked out with clear skies for the 2 weeks and experienced a 95 degree day in Skagway. Unfortunately the potential for dull overcast days is high, therefore one of my primary considerations is a fast lens. Trying to capture whales in say Icy Straight or approaches to Glacier Bay is very dynamic, so my preference is to hand hold rather than use the tripod.

 

Based on those considerations I find my 70-200 f/2.8 is an excellent compromise. Yes, at times I wish I had used the extender to get 400mm, but the loss of 2 stops means higher ISO or slower shutter. With the 70-200, I just crop closer in post processing.

 

Around the glaciers, which you get reasonably close to, I use my 24-105 or 16-35.

 

Unfortunately I don't know Nikon lenses, but if the 300 zoom is reasonably fast it should be more than adequate.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks zqvol and Andy(Heidi13) for your replies, much appreciated.

 

Yes, I do not consider myself a pro - just casual travel shooting, uploading on social media and making photo books of our travels.

 

Nice shot of the whale, zqvol, hope to get something similar in my sights

when I am there!

 

Andy, my lenses are:

 

16-35F4 / 24-120F4 and the 28-300 a bit slower F3.5-5.6 at the longer end,

- thanks for the leg-up regarding dull overcast - rainy weather, guess the accessories I should carry must include wet weather protection and I may not need a polarizer or ND filter after all.

I live in a country where there is full sun almost the whole year round !

 

Thanks again, and really looking forward to my trip.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Matthew,

 

Shouldn't have any problems with those lenses.

 

Not sure how long you are in Victoria, but if they offer a tour to Butchart Gardens, I highly recommend it for being a photographer's paradise. Complete contrast to what you will see in Alaska.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Heidi ("Judi?")...interesting that your kit is almost the same as mine and your recommendations the same! 5D3 w 24-105 on for most stuff, 16-35 inside or really wide stuff, and 7D2 with 70-300 f/4-5.6 (slower than yours but works OK for me.). All handheld. Agree about excursion to Butchart Gardens...awesome for photographers and anyone who loves flowers.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
By no means cheap, but I've been endlessly thrilled with my Really Right Stuff monopod. Their theory is "big and thin": the carbon fiber tubes are big in diameter (perhaps almost double the size of the legs on my Manfrotto tripod) but thin in wall thickness. It's the diameter that gives it rigidity. I have the (now-discontinued) MH-02 Pro head and love it so much I bought a second before they discontinued it. The MH-02LR is similar but with a lever clamp.

 

Yikes.. $350 just for a mono head?! and you bought 2 of them.... me thinks I'm in the wrong thread...

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yikes.. $350 just for a mono head?! and you bought 2 of them.... me thinks I'm in the wrong thread...

 

Nah, just browse along. For every recommendation for a $500 tripod or a $9k lens mounted on a $7k body, there are a half-dozen reasonable alternatives.

 

Really Right Stuff and Manfrotto make excellent products and there's no doubting the quality. Then there are companies like Giottos who make similar products that are functionally identical and though not as shiny or well-known, are half the price.

 

Dave

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I don't have any experience shooting glaciers and minimal with snow so I was wondering what the recommendations are for getting good shots of Hubbard Glacier?

 

I assume I'll need to narrow the aperture and raise the shutter speed to keep from getting blown out lights? Is a polarizer recommended? And should I shoot with bracketed shots to try to increase my chances of getting a decent pic? Or is it all post-processing? :)

 

Will I have similar glare concerns with the water during whale watching?

 

Thanks a lot,

Gary

Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't have any experience shooting glaciers and minimal with snow so I was wondering what the recommendations are for getting good shots of Hubbard Glacier?

 

I assume I'll need to narrow the aperture and raise the shutter speed to keep from getting blown out lights? Is a polarizer recommended? And should I shoot with bracketed shots to try to increase my chances of getting a decent pic? Or is it all post-processing? :)

 

Will I have similar glare concerns with the water during whale watching?

 

Thanks a lot,

Gary

 

What camera are you shooting? The way to protect against blown out highlights is to underexpose a bit. You can typically do that simply by picking the right metering mode on your camera, or applying some negative exposure compensation. Personally, I plan to shoot glaciers in Aperture priority mode, with Auto ISO and Auto shutter, but likely a minimum shutter speed chosen. (Dependent on whether I'm using a stabilized lens). I'll check my histogram every so often... if I'm blowing out highlights, I'll apply more negative exposure compensation.

 

Whale watching.... assuming doing a small boat with more motion, plus, trying to freeze the action of the whales, I'll shoot shutter priority or manual. Again depends on the lens, but I'll likely aim for the highest shutter speed possible, while still keeping ISO reasonably low. (No slower than 1/640 or so...preferably in the 1/1000 - 1/2000 range, but I'd like to keep my ISO below 3200, and definitely avoid going over 6400).

Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't have any experience shooting glaciers and minimal with snow so I was wondering what the recommendations are for getting good shots of Hubbard Glacier?

 

I assume I'll need to narrow the aperture and raise the shutter speed to keep from getting blown out lights? Is a polarizer recommended? And should I shoot with bracketed shots to try to increase my chances of getting a decent pic? Or is it all post-processing? :)

 

Will I have similar glare concerns with the water during whale watching?

What exposure mode are you using? If you're in manual, you probably aren't asking this question. For anything else, you shouldn't be worrying about aperture/shutter, and instead should be managing exposure compensation. The camera should be figuring out an appropriate exposure so that the shot averages to middle grey. With a shot of just snow, this may cause your shot to be dark, since it'll make white snow grey. However, keep an eye on the sky, as that could become brighter than the snow, so essentially you want to manage the exposure comp to get your shot as bright as possible without blowing out highlights (I doubt the camera would blow them out unless you raise the exposure comp). Polarizer could be useful if you're shooting perpendicular to the sun; otherwise it will range from useless to hurtful (because it could be throwing away light that could otherwise help your shot).

 

For whales, just go for sports mode, or absent that, ISO 400, aperture priority, lens wide open, and then raise ISO as needed to maintain perhaps 1/750th or more. Polarizer is probably even less useful, since you'll be snap-aiming at whales and will not have time to manage the polarizer, and will be shooting at different angles to the sun (if it's out), giving you inconsistent results.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have been to Alaska many times and have never had any issues with taking glacier shots. I've used both Aperture or Shutter priority and got excellent results with both. On rare occasion the highlights blow out I dial in -ve exposure compensation. Never found any need to bracket the exposure.

 

For calving I switch to shutter priority and continuous shooting, with shutter at faster than 1/250 and preferably 1/500th

 

For whales, I always use shutter priority faster than 1/500, with ISO increased to get reasonable aperture, which varies widely depending on weather. I have used the power drive on the old A-1 and low speed continuous on the digital bodies. Getting the perfect shot is very hit and miss.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I, personally, think shutter priority at "high" speeds (1/500th and up) is a risky proposition unless you're a master at your settings and you're in tune with the light and your camera. Unless your camera has safety shift or perhaps Auto-ISO (in a new-enough unit where it actually helps you out), if you set your camera to perhaps ISO 100 and 1/500th, you run the risk of hitting the wide-open aperture limit of your lens if the light gets a bit weak, which in turn will cause your shots to go dark.

 

Instead, if you want to take a little more control than a sports-mode preset, I'd simply suggest aperture-priority, lens wide open, and enough ISO to ensure that your shutter speed stays in the range you want. Now, if the light goes weak on you, you get consistently bright shots with slightly slower shutter speeds, which can be perfectly fine, a tad blurry, or perhaps artistic. The shutter has (usually) about 17 stops of latitude (though you probably don't want to run the range for any one particular shot, while the aperture on a typical lens probably has a 6 stop range, maybe 7. ISO usable range (not theoretical, usable without too much noise) is maybe 4 stops on an entry-level camera to 7+ on an upper-end unit.

 

For me, shutter speed is for the times when the shutter speed is an essential artistic element of the shot: helicopters, propeller planes, or artistic blurs. For everything else, there's aperture priority, or manual mode when I'm Bringing My Own Light (BYOL). :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
What camera are you shooting? The way to protect against blown out highlights is to underexpose a bit. You can typically do that simply by picking the right metering mode on your camera, or applying some negative exposure compensation. Personally, I plan to shoot glaciers in Aperture priority mode, with Auto ISO and Auto shutter, but likely a minimum shutter speed chosen. (Dependent on whether I'm using a stabilized lens). I'll check my histogram every so often... if I'm blowing out highlights, I'll apply more negative exposure compensation.

 

 

 

Whale watching.... assuming doing a small boat with more motion, plus, trying to freeze the action of the whales, I'll shoot shutter priority or manual. Again depends on the lens, but I'll likely aim for the highest shutter speed possible, while still keeping ISO reasonably low. (No slower than 1/640 or so...preferably in the 1/1000 - 1/2000 range, but I'd like to keep my ISO below 3200, and definitely avoid going over 6400).

 

 

Thanks everyone, for the comments and tips. I am using a Canon 6D and I typically shoot in manual, but that is with environments I'm familiar with. I have read that it can be tricky to get the blues of the glaciers right so u wanted to check the techniques. I will probably use aperture priority mode for starters, check those shots and switch to manual to fine tune it a bit.

 

For lenses, I'll have a 17-40, 24-105, and a 100-400L II. And a 50 f/1.4. I have an older crop sensor Canon 20D that still works great. I might let my daughter use that one so we can swap out bodies and get more pull from the longer lens.

 

A monopod seem to be highly recommended from most reading I've done. Never used one as I like shooting handheld, but I assume the 100-400 is going to tire me out after holding it a while. So it seems a good idea but I'm sure I'll need a tilt head. I'm going on a 6-person whale watching trip so I know the boat (although it's a catamaran and "supposed" to be more stable) will rock us a bit.

Edited by ghcstr
Link to post
Share on other sites

I use Canon 5D3 & 5D2 bodies and around the glaciers I use the 24-105 on one body and the 16-35 on the other, using the 24-105 for most shots.

 

For whale watching I swap the 16-35 for the 70-200 with 2x extender, again staying with the 24-105 most of the time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • Register Now for Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Explore the Remote World with Hurtigruten!
      • Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team: New Ship Ultramarine
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...