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Thread: DSLR Lens

  1. #1
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    DSLR Lens

    Any photogs on here?

    I have an older Canon Rebel DSLR. Going on a surf trip and would like to get my wife set up to shoot some pics/clips from the beach. Thinking of picking up a zoom or telephoto lens but don't want to spend an arm or a leg. Have a few questions:

    What focal length should I be looking at? 300mm?
    Is there any need for a 'fast' or wide aperture lens? I figure it will be pretty bright out so don't really need it?
    What is a good source for used lenses?
    Is there a particular model you would recommend?

    Thanks. All my camera knowledge is from high school and pertains to b&w film, not digital.

  2. #2
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    1. Canon lenses are of very good quality, offbrands- though cheaper, sometimes use inferior glass, but that's what makes them cheaper. Best to stick with Canon even if it's pricier, so long as it is perfectly mated to your DSLR. If optic quality is not an issue, go with Tokina or an alternative offbrand.
    2. Focal length depends upon proximity to the impact zone. The further offshore the break, the more extended the focal length. 300mm is a decent starting point for average offshore breaks. Just shoot at highest resolution so you can blow it up if you have to.
    3. Source- www.B&Hphotovideo.com has fair pricing and I've always had reputable dealings with them. Adorama. . . not so much.

    Finally, make sure that whatever lens you buy is fully compatible with your specific camera model. Not just that it fits right, but also that the electronic interfaces match. I tried using an older wide angle EL lens with a new Nikon DSLR, and it really screwed up the exposures because the lens/camera connections didn't match. *Note- while zoom lenses sound like a reasonable option, you often have to compromise optics and f-stops to get it. Choose wisely grasshopper. . .

    5. Why in the world would your wife want to take pictures of YOU all day?

    FYI- my avatar was taken by my wife back in '74 on a trip to La Libertad, and she got over that routine a Long LONG time ago. And I second the recommendation to invest in a good tripod. . . worth it's weight in gold for telephoto shots.
    Last edited by MDSurfer; Jan 25, 2014 at 01:42 AM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks man. As far as the wife wanting to take pictures... you make a good point.

    I was just looking at this and it doesn't seem like a bad option. I'm sure it's not a great lens, but if I decide I want to go deeper down the rabbit hole and get something better, I won't be out too much $.

    I will have to check the compatibility.

  4. #4
    My wife enjoys sitting on the beach and snapping pictures of the surfing, so I can relate. She actually asked me for a longer telephoto lens for Xmas and I happily obliged.

    If you can spring for a lens with image stabilization, go for it. Its worth it for focal lengths in excess of 300 because you can hand hold it and not end up with shaky pics.

    A tripod (or monopod) is a necessity because your arms will get tired otherwise and you can keep the camera aimed at the peak and be ready for the shots as they happen.

    The only downside is you always think you surf better than the pictures would otherwise indicate.

  5. #5
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    I use Nikon bodies but have a few good Sigma, Tamron and Tokina lenses that are also available with Canon's EOS EF-mount. The zoom lens you linked to would be adequate as long as your wife isn't shooting from too far away. You're going to spend a lot if you're looking for anything longer than 300mm. You may not always get what you pay for, but you definitely don't get what you don't pay for.

    I have a Tamron AF 70-300mm which is equivalent to the Canon 75-300mm. Brand new it's just under $200 and as a zoom lens it's fine. Not great, but fine. It has a decent macro feature but the images are a little soft when the lens is fully extended. I'd rather be in the water than on the beach and I don't shoot at 300mm that often so the quality doesn't bother me. If you want quality in the zoom you'll need to spend 2-3x more on the upgraded Canon 70-300mm lens -- which I think is this lens: http://www.kenrockwell.com/canon/lenses/70-300mm-is.htm

    Make sure you get a UV filter to protect the glass and a bulb air-blower to clean out the sand and dust.

    Here's a sample of the Tamron at 300mm from the Quiksilver Pro New York.




    It's not a very fast lens, but here's the sequence of Kelly Slater in the above shot. They're all f/14 @1/800 or so. Good enough for the price...




    And to put the 300mm in perspective this is how far I was from the water at 70mm.

    Last edited by viajerodevida; Jan 24, 2014 at 03:18 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sailquik View Post
    The only downside is you always think you surf better than the pictures would otherwise indicate.
    This is true. However, the pictures can also reveal things that you need to improve. I looked at some pictures taken of me the other day and I realized some adjustments that I need to make with take offs, setting my edge earlier, foot work, etc. They can be a real good diagnostic tool. A lot of this you realize during the sesh, but the pictures make it real clear.
    Last edited by capecodcdog; Jan 23, 2014 at 11:16 PM.

  7. #7
    Here's a couple of photos for you to have an idea of what focal lengths you may want. They were taken a couple of seconds from each other of the same exact spot from about 500ft away.

    The first is at a focal length of 150, the second at 500.

    DSC_0008.jpgDSC_0007.jpg

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHREDSLED View Post
    Thanks man. As far as the wife wanting to take pictures... you make a good point.

    I was just looking at this and it doesn't seem like a bad option. I'm sure it's not a great lens, but if I decide I want to go deeper down the rabbit hole and get something better, I won't be out too much $.

    I will have to check the compatibility.
    I have that exact lens on an older cannon rebel xt. I set it on 300, auto focus, sports mode and shoot multiples. You have to be ready or the auto focus will pick up a closer object sometimes, but with the multiple pics, you can usually salvage something cool. I'm no pro, but I've had people ask if I have releases when I go to get large prints.

  9. #9
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    I have a couple Canon dslr telephoto lenses.The first one is the 70 to 300.Its not bad for a $200 lens.Shoots a decent distance.Not the best in lower light if your shooting dawn patrol.The second is the 70 to 200 L series f4.
    Incredible lens.Sharp and crisp but your paying a lot more at $700 .