Lens recommendations/camera store?
My husband and I are planning to take a trip to the haul road and I'm thinking of getting a bigger lens for my camera. I have a Canon Rebel T2i and a Sigma 70mm-300mm lens right now. I saw a Sigma lens that goes up to 500mm on Amazon.com. Do you think it's necessary to buy? Is there something better I could get? Also, is there a camera store in Anchorage where I can find a lens? Thanks for all help!
I am doing the trip next weekend. If that is your only lens you have I would go for the Canon 10-22 wide angle for the landscape shots. You will like your long lens when you see caribou but for me and my taste I like a wide angle for landscapes and a good tripod.
Stewarts camera is good in Anchorage. I would also check craigslist as I see the 10-22 on there often. If you buy used just try it first. zoom all the way out and all the way in and make sure you get a good clear picture. You probably will.
If you go soon the fall colors will be amazing. Wildlife in the Coldfoot area to Atigun Pass in the mornings and evenings is decent as well.
With that 10-22 and your crop sensor camera you are really going to be at a 16-28 lens if I am not mistaken on that camera.
Go wide and you won't be dissapointed.
I agree with 375ultramag that both ends of the focal length spectrum are useful for that trip. But to address the specific questions you ask, a lens longer than 300mm is indeed a very good idea. The Sigma 50-500mm "Bigma" is not a high quality professional grade lens, but for a consumer grade lens it is pretty good. I'm not familiar with the Canon line of lenses, but suspect another potentially valid approach is a 300mm or 400mm fixed focal length lens and a 2x teleconverter.
Originally Posted by Lisamarie79
A quick check shows a 400mm f/5.6 and a 1.4x or 2x TC is very modestly higher than the Sigma 50-500mm. If you didn't already have a 70-300mm the 50-500mm zoom's significant versatility over a fixed focal length would be a heavily weighted factor; but as a second lens that is perhaps not so important. The ability to have an 800mm focal length is a hugely significant factor for wildlife photography in general, and the farther north you go the more important. With a 2x TC that becomes an 800mm f/11 lens, which I assure you is not easy to deal with, and requires a lot of light too. With a 1.4x TC it is a 560mm f/8 lens that is significantly easier to work with. If you've never used a really long lens, go with a 1.4x TC rather than the 2x.
Basically for wildlife photography the longer the lens the better. That also means much more expensive and much more difficult to actually use though. A sturdy tripod is also a good idea, and with larger lenses a gimbal head a must.
I'll add that Sigma also offers a 170-500mm lens, that is not as good as their 50-500, especially at the long end. But it does cost less. I'm not sure I would recommend it but some find it a good compromise. I'll second what Floyd mentioned about the sturdy tripod. Any time you get a lens longer than 300mm it becomes increasingly critical. A wobbly tripod does not work with a long lens.
Canon also makes a good 100-400mm lens. Again, not inexpensive, but still a fine lens.
Canon's non-zoom 400mm f/5.6 is rated very high, and it works nicely with Canon's 1.4x TC, but you will loose autofocus with that combination. Manual focus with any of the Rebel cameras is difficult because the viewfinder is small and a little dim to get precise.
Yikes, I was not aware that it wouldn't auto focus. I didn't think about it, and at least with a 2x TC that should be obvious. But I would have expected an f/5.6 lens to still AF with a 1.4X TC at f/8, except that does vary with different camera bodies. I'm used to high end Nikon's models so my experience is not relevant.
Originally Posted by Jim Strutz
Manual focusing long focal length lenses is 1) no fun at all, and 2) hit or miss at best, even with a camera and lens designed for it.
That pretty much means stepping back to a 300mm f/4 with a 1.4x TC at best. Which only gets 420mm focal length, so I just don't see much point in that either.
That 50-500mm Sigma is looking like the only reasonable way to go...
I would consider a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.6 as a wide-angle lens. Nothing wrong with the Canon EF-S 10-20mm, but the Tokina is quite a nice lens, and not as expensive as the Canon one.
You may want to see if the stores around Anchorage rent Canon lenses (they do in Fairbanks). I have Canon lenses up to the 400 L prime, which I use for wildlife, but when taking pictures of moose I often have to switch to the 70-200 L because when moose are relaxed they can get quite close and the 400 is just too long.