Tue 08-Jul-08 09:10 AM | edited Tue 08-Jul-08 09:10 AM by woodworker5112
Hi, I have a trip to the San Diego Zoo/wildlife reserve in a week, and I was wondering, is 300mm on a DX body an acceptable focal length for these kind of shots? Also, this will be my first "wild"life shoot, and any suggestions would be most appreciated. Thanks so much, Eric
>Hi, I have a trip to the San Diego Zoo/wildlife reserve in a >week, and I was wondering, is 300mm on a DX body an acceptable >focal length for these kind of shots? Also, this will be my >first "wild"life shoot, and any suggestions would be >most appreciated. Thanks so much, >Eric Probably not unless the animals are near to the fence when you pass by. To get an idea of what's needed for 'frame-filling' images, check these two links... http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1030&thread=27240561
Unless you're looking at a landscape image with the subject as a part of the 'natural habitat' surroundings, 300mm (450mm EQ) is going to require a hefty crop to fill the frame. Generally, IQ begins to degrade if you have to crop >30-40% of the FOV out to fill the frame.
I've used my 70-300 Sigma for wildlife and at zoo's quite a bit. Heck I have used that lens to get full frame head shots of animals both in the wild and at Zoos. In fact take a look at my "Conversations with a Gray Wolf" post to see a couple that were shot, one at 70mm and one at 220mm neither picture was cropped.
that depends entirely on the nature of the wildlife. I'm not familiar with that area, but generally, if you do it right, you should be able to get within 20 metres (60 feet) of a subject to shoot. Naturally, that takes some degree of practice, but if nothing better, you can always crop as was said. This is precisely what I ordered my Sigma 50-500 to get around
again, I don't know what you intend to be shooting (what DO you intend to be shooting? I don't know what roams around there), but I think it should be enough. I had my Panasonic Lumix FZ-30 with me in Madagascar, and despite it being a somewhat awful camera (I mean, it's not THAT bad, but compared to Nikon... let's not compare it to Nikon), I still got some great photos of the wildlife there. It has zoom up to 420mm I believe, but a lot of the stuff I was shooting was only around 200-300. I guess it makes a difference what sort of setting you're in though (these animals had only rarely come into contact with humans before, so they sort of came down to check us out).
Anyways, enough with the ramble, I believe it should be enough, but if you intend to do more nature shooting, go for a longer lens at some point soon
If you are going to the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park you will have a great time! I highly recommend the photo caravan tours they have that take you inside the animal enclosures. My wife and I spent most of the day there in Sept. 2006. The tram ride around the park is good and you do get pretty close to the animals -- a 300 mm should be fine.
We went on the photo caravan at the last time of the day which was 5 pm then. We were the only two in the group and we had a great experience. Nothing like two giraffes eating out of your hands at the same time. You get very close to the animals! A 70-200 was often too long. We had a D-70 w/ 70-200 and a D-50 w/ 24-120 on that trip. Have a great experience!