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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR VISION Landscape (Public) topic #72289
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Subject: "Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D..." Previous topic | Next topic
JECoutre Silver Member  Concord, US  Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2008 Wed 20-Feb-13 11:55 PM
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"Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"



Looking forward to an Alaska National Geographic trip this spring, but as a portrait and event photog, I’ve only started Landscapes of the world’s great scenic places within the last two years (it’s time). Landscape from the ship’s deck and Zodiac are without benchmark experience .. please share some counsel.

For certain I will take Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f2.8G, 24-70 f2.8G and 70-200 f2.8G VR II lenses and a Nikon TC-17EII 1.7x (concerned about this TC’s softness). I will take a D4 and then need to choose between a D800E or D300. I’m concerned about reach and resulting image quality from ship and shore captures (with monopod and tripod respectively as possible). I like to print wall art up to 20x30 inches on Epson 7900 (I am comfortable with onOne’s Perfect Resize Pro 7.5 for upres). I am unlikely to ever repeat the trip.

1. Is a D800E (cropped) or the D300 a better choice in the reach versus IQ consideration?
2. Would the choice change if I purchase the Nikon TC-14EII?
3. Would renting (~$700USD) a Nikkor 200-400 f4 VR for ship based captures only despite abbreviated learning curve experience with it change the body choice recommendation? (I do realize the small avian is a 600mm+ but even then, technique rules and is not developed in very short time frame.)
4. Would renting a 300mm f2.8 with the TC-17EII or TC-14EII be a better choice on D800E or D300?

Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge and years of experience!
Jim

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... jherrel Silver Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014
21st Feb 2013
1
Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... JECoutre Silver Member
25th Feb 2013
2
     Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... danshep Silver Member
25th Feb 2013
3
          Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... danshep Silver Member
25th Feb 2013
4
               Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... JECoutre Silver Member
25th Feb 2013
5
Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... cwkopplin
26th Feb 2013
6
Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... dagoldst Gold Member
11th Mar 2013
7
Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... spiritualized67 Silver Member
12th Mar 2013
8
Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... JECoutre Silver Member
13th Mar 2013
11
Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014
13th Mar 2013
9
Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... JECoutre Silver Member
13th Mar 2013
10
     Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014
13th Mar 2013
12
          Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... JECoutre Silver Member
13th Mar 2013
13
               Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014
13th Mar 2013
14
                    Reply message RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach ... JECoutre Silver Member
13th Mar 2013
15

jherrel Silver Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014   Elgin, US  Nikonian since 08th Apr 2007 Thu 21-Feb-13 01:13 AM
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#1. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 0



Hi Jim,
I too am going on an Alaska trip and am interested in the responses here. I am also a portrait and commercial photographer. Last year I bought the 200-400mm f/4 after renting it a few times. Mine works fine with the TC-2E III. I normally use it with my D4, but am planning to use it with my D800 if high frame rates are not too important. My experience says there is a learning curve with bird in flight photography. However, with land and see wildlife the learning curve is very short. The D4 and D800 will focus quickly at f/4-8.

John Herrel
Nikonian from South Carolina
See the light, capture the essence!

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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JECoutre Silver Member  Concord, US  Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2008 Mon 25-Feb-13 02:28 AM
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#2. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 1



Any ship based or Zodiac experience would be greatly appreciated.
Jim

  

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danshep Silver Member  Olympia, US  Charter Member Mon 25-Feb-13 08:57 PM
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#3. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 2




If you are going to Juneau, watch the side hills for golf balls (bald eagles' heads). I saw 30 of them.

Don't forget to watch the water. I got 2 porpoises from the bow of the boat. If going into a glacier area, watch for seals laying on top of floating ice chunks. (Watch for brown objects, round and fat as footballs, who look like they are engorged on fresh salmon-they are).

Possible to see a bear on the shore, but I did not luck out.

If you're going up Inland Passage, have a wide angle with you. The waterfalls literally stretch from the sky, down to sea level.

Have fun!



"Today is the tomorrow that yesterday you spent money like there was no"

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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danshep Silver Member  Olympia, US  Charter Member Mon 25-Feb-13 09:00 PM
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#4. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 3




P.S. I used a D2h with a 80-200 f/2.8 with a 2.0 TC. All Nikon equip.



"Today is the tomorrow that yesterday you spent money like there was no"

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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JECoutre Silver Member  Concord, US  Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2008 Mon 25-Feb-13 09:47 PM
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#5. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 4



I love it Dan, you're adding fuel to the fire of anticipation, Seattle to Sitka via inner passage with Kim Heacox. How did you feel about your effective reach on the long end? I am now settled in on the bodies to take, D4 and D800E, so reach versus pp cropping on the D800E is still an issue.
Jim

  

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cwkopplin   Greenfield, US  Registered since 08th Jun 2012 Tue 26-Feb-13 03:18 PM
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#6. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 0



I too will be visiting the inside passage of Alaska in June on a small ship. I am planning on taking my D800, 17-35mm f2.8, 50mm f1.4, 70-200mm f2.8, an a TC-17.

Any suggestions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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dagoldst Gold Member  Little Rock, US  Nikonian since 02nd Dec 2012 Mon 11-Mar-13 05:16 PM
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#7. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 6



I've been through the inside passage around 14 times on the Holland America Amsterdam, ( I had a gig with a company that was a ship-based position). Generally, a lot of telephoto is needed, depending on what you want to capture, (wildlife, for instance). The ships tend to stay near the middle of the passage for safety but the water can be really calm as well.

Just a perspective

David

"Sawed that board three times and it is still too short... "

  

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spiritualized67 Silver Member  Western PA, US  Nikonian since 01st Mar 2007 Tue 12-Mar-13 05:08 PM
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#8. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 0
Tue 12-Mar-13 05:13 PM by spiritualized67


Hi Jim,

Sounds like an amazing opportunity! Let me try and answer at least some of your questions.

I agree, the D4 is a no-brainer – especially for low light/high ISO scenarios (like night/aurora photography, dark overcast days, fast action whale breaching, etc.). Me personally, I’d also take the D800E – because you like to print big (with extremely high IQ), and because you’ll be able to aggressively crop if needed, which would somewhat negate the need for a TC/longer reach. D800 also has a DX mode. Either way, I’d leave the D300 at home. If you could only pick one camera, I’d take the D4 and call it a day.

In general, if you’re shooting from a deck or Zodiac – you’ll need reach and you’ll need the VR (probably in active VR mode because the boats are moving in all directions).

Me personally, I’d rent the 200-400 VR – which is known as an optically superior lens. This along with your 70-200mm pretty much covers the entire long range – and they both have VR. If you rent this, you don’t really need the TC – although if you wanted to pick up one, I’d go with the TC-14 because you only lose about one stop of light, and the IQ impact is minimal (the TC-14 pairs beautifully on a 70-200 VRII).

You’ll find that shooting a long lens like the 200-400mm is mostly the same as a 70-200mm (of course it’s bigger/heavier), although you’ll need to make sure you have a fast enough shutter speed to match up with your working focal length (which is why using it with a D4 could be the way to go, especially if you need to boost ISO to 1600-3200 to maintain sharpness). If you’re on a boat that is noticeably moving, you can leave VR on when using a tripod/mono.

You have a Gitzo with Markins M20, so you should be able to handle the 200-400 load with no problems (although I’d double check on the Arca-Swiss quick release plate for your M20 to make sure it will work with the 200-400, as you don’t want the camera itself supporting the weight of the lens). I like the idea of a 300mm with a TC-14 too, although it’s a fixed focal length and you never know when you’ll need the flexibility of a zoom.

I’d also consider a pelican case if you’re going to be exposed to watery environments (such as a Zodiac boat). Just a thought.

Not sure if above helps? It’s just my perspective for what it’s worth. Have fun!

~Dan
www.danielstainer.com

  

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JECoutre Silver Member  Concord, US  Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2008 Wed 13-Mar-13 12:55 AM
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#11. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 8



Dan, I thought I responded earlier but now remember I was interrupted as I was composing and just now pulled up the another window. Thanks for a detailed response. Yep D4 and D800 and now TC-20III in hand. It seems to me that pp cropping the D800E is a better approach to DX if I were to rent the 200-400 due to lack of shooting experience with it its weight control during framing. I hadn't thought of checking the 200-400 with release plate on the Gitzo 3540&M20 or 2541&RRS BH40 and now with that also need to check but the 2541 may be too light. I would have a 200-400 rental shipped to departure city in a pelican case rather than carry on airplane.
Jim

  

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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014   New York, US  Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004 Wed 13-Mar-13 12:08 AM
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#9. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 0



As the second body, I'd take the D800. Cropped, it is the D300 with better overall performance. The glass and/or TCs have no bearing on this.

As to length, for wildlife in Alaska you can never have enough. Generally, especially on land, you just don't get close enough. Your zodiac excursions, however, may very well get you much closer. The 70-200 with or without TCs should work fairly well. I'm not a big fan of the TC-17EII — I think the TC-20EIII (that's three) is better, as long as there's enough light or you crank up the ISO a bit more.

I think the 200-400 is a tripod lens. I could only handhold mine for a few moments. YMMV. The 300mm f/2.8 or f/4 or something similar would give you more reach (plus you can add TCs).

Have a great trip!

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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JECoutre Silver Member  Concord, US  Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2008 Wed 13-Mar-13 12:36 AM
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#10. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 9



Thanks Jon, I appreciate the insight! I took delivery of the TC-20III two days ago and do agree significantly better than the TC-17II with my f2.8 70-200 VRII. I will be taking the D4 and D800E for sure. So the focal length reach from ship deck is still an issue, 200-400 v 300 with TC-2III. 300 is lighter in f2.8 VR version and with that TC2III I'm told likely sharper than 200-400 without extender but less flexible framing wise. 200-400 VR is too heavy for me to hand hold as you suggested so tripod or monopod requisite.

So still an unresolved issue of additional focal length choice in a rented lens if it has resonable utility (high versus low.
Jim

  

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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014   New York, US  Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004 Wed 13-Mar-13 12:55 AM
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#12. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 10



A tripod on the ship may be problematic. I vaguely recall a few others using them — but at popular sightings — say, approaching a glacier or spotting a whale — everyone came on deck. That meant that as the ship moved along or pirouetted to give everyone a good view, the tripod users were limited — with the crowd, they couldn't move to another spot.

My gut feeling: for whales (from the zodiac), glaciers and other scenics form the ship, you have enough length. For eagles, it depends where you will be but either you will have enough or more won't be enough.

Regarding bears, fuggedaboutit! I did shoot humping bears in Denali — from a distance of a quarter to half a mile.

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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JECoutre Silver Member  Concord, US  Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2008 Wed 13-Mar-13 01:09 AM
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#13. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 12
Wed 13-Mar-13 01:11 AM by JECoutre


Thanks for the mobility issue with tripod. I had been thinking a monopod on a bean bag or my shoe top while on deck to damp ships engine vibrations. I will have to experiment early on with normal versus active VR setting on the lens. tripod for shore. Okay bears are out unless from the zodiac, LOL.
Jim

  

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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014   New York, US  Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004 Wed 13-Mar-13 01:25 AM
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#14. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 13



Not sure what extra excursions, if any, Nat Geo offers. But if you get a chance to helicopter onto a glacier (actually landing on it), don't pass this up! Stepping on the glacier (especially with a wide or ultra-wide) is wonderful — sure beats shooting the ice from a couple hundred yards away!

Have a great trip!

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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JECoutre Silver Member  Concord, US  Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2008 Wed 13-Mar-13 02:11 AM
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#15. "RE: Ship based Alaska Landscape - Cropped IQ and Reach of D800E vs D300 On Alaska National Geographic Trip"
In response to Reply # 14



I haven't heard about a helicopter excursion possibility, but we will be taking a float plane excursion, weather permitting.

In addition to the zodiac we will also take advantage of kayak excursions off ship ... now that is another challenge photographic equipment wise ... I can believe what I am about to say, M4/3 or P&S, neither of which is in my bag curreently, so as to be pocketable and not worry about water in that confined space and water down the paddles and sleeves (let alone ggetting in and out with Artic Muck Boots on).
Jim

  

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