Wildlife and water

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Barbara Thatcher, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. Barbara Thatcher

    Barbara Thatcher TPF Noob!

    Sep 27, 2006
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    Bristol, England
    We are new to DSR, having previously used a digital compact - I have experimented a little bit with aperture and shutter priority on the compact. We are travelling to Canada at the end of October, visiting Toronto, Niagara and Churchill to see the polar bears and want to buy a telephoto lens particularly for the wildlife bit. I imagine the 18-55mm lens we already have would be better for the cityscape, so would a Tamron Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical IF Macro Autofocus be the right lens to buy? (we don't want to spend a fortune). I am a bit concerned about the aperture range. Would a 3.5 or smaller aperature be okay for wildlife or should we be looking for a lens with a larger aperture?
  2. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

    Jan 29, 2005
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  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2003
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    Welcome to the forum.

    Ideally, having a larger aperture is always better. It allows you to use a faster shutter speed which is especially important when shooting with a Telephoto. The problem is that lenses with wide apertures can be pricey. Zoom lenses with wide apertures are expensive and telephoto lenses with large apertures cost as much as a small car.

    Typically, lenses that cover a very wide range (28-300) have to make compromises in design. The image quality and maximum aperture will suffer. If convenience is high on your priority list, then that might be a good lens for you. If quality is more important...then consider something else.

    There are a few lenses that are around 70-300mm. Canon, Nikon, Sigma etc. all make lenses in this range. Typically, they are not top of the line lenses but they are not all that expensive. Because the range is not so great, the quality may be better than a 28-300 type of lens.

    Even with the 70-300 lenses...you won't get an aperture bigger than F3.5 (at 70mm) but at 300mm the max aperture is usually F5.6 (which is better than the one you listed...which has a max aperture of F6.3 at 300mm).

    To get a telephoto with a wider aperture...you will have to spend a lot of money.

    *edit* I've seen those polar bear tours in Churchhill (on TV only)...but it looked like they often get quite close to the bears...you might only need your wider lens.
  4. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

    Oct 11, 2006
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    What Mike said (he beat me to it again!).

    Polar Bears are the largest land predators. An adult may stand 10 feet tall on its hind legs!
    In Churchill, you'll probably see the Polar Bears from the comfort (and safety) of a special bearwatch vehicle, an 'arctic bus'. Through the glass windows. And the bears come up to the bus and stand up straight against them, looking in. Even with a wide angle lens you'll have problems getting a whole bear head in a frame. They're just so damn BIG!
    Your 18-55mm is excellent for the bears.

    Tip: be careful when you want to use flash shooting bears from that bus! If the flash is perpendicular to the windows they'll reflect your flash straight back into the camera, creating big white blobs in your image!

    For other wildlife, however, you need 300mm or (much) longer still. And you really need a tripod and/or a beanbag to avoid camera movement!!!

    D-I-Y beanbag.

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