I'm going on cruise to Alaska (Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Ketchican route) this summer. Have D50, 18-70 and 55-200 slow lenses. Interested in landscapes/icescapes more than wildlife, but would like to shoot both. Which single lens do you recommend I rent, and which one of my two existing lenses do you advise that I leave behind?
I did an Alaska cruise with Lindblad a few years ago, and at the time I only had a point-and-shoot camera Learned all about shutter lag - got lots and lots of pictures of where whales HAD been! But I digress...
I don't have experience with the 55-200, but I would definitely take the 18-70 for your landscape-type wide angle shots. If you are on a big cruise, such as Princess, I think whales will stay much farther away from the boat so you will want as much reach as you can get. So, at a very minimum I would try to get my hands on a 70-200 with a 1.7 teleconverter. Or, an 80-400. There's lots of discussions here on Nikonians about the pros and cons of each of these lenses.
Take more memory cards than you think you will need. And have a great trip! Kimberly
Hi, I agree with Hedley. My wife and I have been on an inside passage cruise to Alaska, Juneau, Kechican, and Skagway were the cities we visited. The cruise line was Holland America, was using film cameras then, N80 bodies with 28-105, and 70-300 Nikkors.
Those lenses you have will provide that same field of view, what I did not have then was an 18-35 which I regretted not having for on board interior shots of the ship. I eventually did get an 18-35 than went to digital and replaced it with the Tokina 12-24 for the same FoV.
We have taken several cruises since and was very pleased to have the 12-24 with me on those trips.
The wider lens will serve you well for capturing interior spaces both on board the ship and on some of the tours which you may decide to take.
Outdoor light should not be much of a problem as it stays fairy light out late into the evening hours in the summer. Only a few hours of darkness as I recall, a little weird to the uninitiated.
One other thing worth mentioning is that it rains a lot in Ketchican, not everyday all day but a lot. So I suggest that you take some lightweight rain cover for your camera/lens combo.
And it wouldn't hurt to bring a lightweight rain cover for yourself either.
I was in Ketchikan for 10 days in August 2005 and it rained all day and all night for 81/2 days. We got there late on Wednesday and it rained until the following Monday evening. Tuesday was great and we went Salmon fishing. Wednesday afternoon it started raining again and was still raining on Friday when we left!!!!
Hedley Originally from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales -- now in Arkansas
Thanks so much for your suggestions. Sounds like the Tokina 12-24 may be a great addition, especially as I'm more interested in landscapes than whales. Do 3rd party lenses have any problems when used on the D50? Do you recommend the Tokina wide angle because Nikon doesn't have anything comparable, or because it's cheaper?
Some other folks have recommended the 300/f4 +TC (=420) instead of my Nikkor 55-200 cheapo; do you think this would be a good rent if I'm not after the whales?
The Tokina will work fine with the D50. Make sure you purchase the 'Nikon fit' one as they make other models too. Nikon has a 12-24 and it's twice the price of the Tokina. The Tokina is a great lens and has great reviews.
Hedley Originally from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales -- now in Arkansas
From looking at a friend's shots from his Alaskan cruise I would suggest the 70-300VR. He used his 70-300 a lot and said a VR version would have been worthwhile. A tripod is not much use on a moving boat and a fast lens would have been too heavy for him.
Your choice, VR or f2.8 but I would say that you will want longer than 200mm.
Have a good trip
Always look on the bright side of life de dum de dum........... :) :) :) Dave C Scottish Nikonian My Gallery
Agree with the 70-300VR recommendation. Certainly from the ship the wide angle will give you lots of sea and sky and not much land.
Also, if you can, take a laptop and download every night. Also some form of backup, probably most weight efficient would be CDs or DVDs. It is great fun to review the pictures in the bar in the evening, and you can also start the editing process. If your pictures are good you may find fellow passengers want copies, so a few spare CDs for gifts may be handy.
Wait till you see a whale close up. Beats any landscape I ever saw.
Looks like I'll rent one or two lenses. Any experience/advice with renting welcomed... Rentglass- most lenses out of stock,so a bit of a gamble. Ziplens ? Calumet? Local store has rentals, but more expensive than going on-line.
I did the Holland America cruise last summer (late July-early August). Weather was wretched in Juneau and great everywhere else. I took a D50 with the 24-120 VR lens and a 75-300AF (no VR)., plus a very lightweight tripod (Manfrotto 785B). Used the tripod and 75-300 for a bear watching excursion out of Ketchikan, and the 24-120 for everything else. Glacier Bay NP was just awesome! Take a polarizer, too. We spent a couple of days in the Vancouver area before boarding the ship, and I highly recommend that! Victoria and Butchart Gardens are really beautiful.
My wife and I went on a Princess Cruise to most of the Alaskan cities mentioned. Our favorite was Ketchican because it was so colorful (buildings, etc), and had an abundance of Tongas stores. For the trip, I carried everything from 35mm (F4s, F2A, 50mm f1.8, 28-70 f2.8, 105 f2.5, 80-200 f2.8, Leica M6, Konica Hexar RF, Summilux 50, LSM 15mm Heliar), to 6x6 (Mamiya 6MF X2, with all three lenses).
What we ended up using most on excursions were the Leica / Hexar with 15mm (extreme wide) / 50 f1.4, and the Nikon F4s with 50mm f1.8. On the boat, we actually walked about with the heavier cameras and lenses, complete with tripod.
Bottom line... excursions can last all day. Pack light. Lighting is variably dim... faster is better, but not when it's heavier.
A D50 is a very good place to start, it's light. A light and fast DX zoom is the way to go (something f2.8, but wide). And of course, last but not least, get yourself either a 50mm f1.4 or f1.8. Flashless pictures convey the original scene/mood better.
>I suspect you can buy for what a rental is going to cost.
Another option if you don't mind the hassle is "ebay rental". That is, buy a used lens off ebay, use it for a while, then resell it. If you do your homework, you can usually get almost all of your money back.
Obviously, this works best on older lenses like the 80-400VR, since they've already lost their "new", plus you won't find many used 70-300VR's on ebay yet.
I did that with a Sigma 70-200/2.8 EX, and ended up making $100 for my efforts. Hard to beat that for a cheap rental.
>I have only used the Sigma wide angle zoom for one day and >it is very sharp - I think it was the 12 - 24.
I once did a direct comparison of a Sigma 10-20 versus a Tokina 12-24, and found the Tokina noticably sharper, though I really liked the Sigma's wider FOV.