Which Digital SLR zoom lens for sailing?

tmh900

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Any recommendations for a zoom lens - to capture that classic gaffer while under way, or the feature on land a couple of miles out?

I'm thinking of a 28 - 300mm (f3.5 - 5.6) Nikon zoom lens. Any other features to consider beside the zoom range?

Any views on DSLR camera bodies would be apprecaited also - but I guess short of being waterproof and floating ;), there is not much that is marine specific?
 

exfinnsailor

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I use a Canon G10. It has trouble with long distance unless its very calm . Has an anti shake setting which helps a little . Suppose thats why they don't recommend high powers binoculars . You cannot see much its all blurred . Sure someone will be along shortly with a different view ;)
 

FullCircle

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I have forsaken my SLR for a Panasonic Lumix (mine is a couple of years old now) FZ-18.
28-500mm Leica lens, fully automatic, fast fire up time, fast zoom and refocus, good light performance, and cheap ish at around £300. Does not eat batteries.

Could get a doubler for it, but cant see the point really.
We photograph the local wildlife as well as passing boats.
 

Lakesailor

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How much do you want to spend.
A dslr with a c sized sensor will make the lens you mention effectively a 36-450mm lens (1:1.5 cropping ratio).
No Vibration Reduction lens will help much with that kind of telephoto on a moving boat. It's OK for maintaining sharpness in most situations, but here you have excessiveness camera movement and extreme magnification. Yes you will capture some sharp shots, but there will be a lot that are that bit fuzzy.
What lens are you thinking about for on-board shots. You'll need one equivalent to a 24mm in 35mm camera terms, which would be 16mm on a Nikon. The 18-55 kit lens may suffice, but it isn't the sharpest lens. It depends what you want the images for. If it's just for computer and emailing no problems, but if you want an A3 print on the living room wall and you like definition, aim a bit higher.

However if you buy an FX body (full size sensor) like the d700 or d3 (S or X) you will have a lens that covers the 28-300mm range as the sensor is the same size as 35mm film. (However everyone is waiting for the d800 to be announced)
That would make it a great lens. In fact a very great lens.
Ken Rockwell rates it very highly.

As for waterproofing. Most Nikons are not bad. You need to get up to the d300 (£1000) range and the bigger chip d700 (£1800) and above to get proper waterproofing.
Some camera manufacturers have better waterproofing than others and the presence of rubber seals is not the clue.
Personally I have used Nikons in very wet situations and as long as you don't actually get a slosh of water on the camera they seem to keep going.

Unfortunately camera retailers seem to have added about £100 across the range to decent cameras in the wake of the Japanese problems. There is also the risk that the supply may be a bit thin for a while.
 

Twister_Ken

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Go w-i-d-e.

Impossible to photograph your own boat with anything over about 24mm equivalent. And as was said earlier really loooong zooms are pretty useless on a boat coz of shake.

When I have a DSLR on board (not often) it usually has this wee beastie plugged in.

For shots of other boats, any decent point and shoot will do. I use an old Canon Power Shot S70, which stretches to 100mm in 35mm terms.
 

Monique

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I use a Canon G10. It has trouble with long distance unless its very calm . Has an anti shake setting which helps a little . Suppose thats why they don't recommend high powers binoculars . You cannot see much its all blurred . Sure someone will be along shortly with a different view ;)

There is a fix for this: focus on anything over 35 feet away then frame the feature/object you want to photograph. GL :D

I use a Canon G20 with a 28-70, 70-200, 100-300 and a doubler for when lions are in sight (with the 100-300 set at 300):D
 

tmh900

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Many thanks for the replies.

I was thinking about max. £700 to £1K for the body (so could be full frame), the 28 - 300 lens was to be a good 'all rounder' (at just over £700), very good point though about stability on a moving boat at longer zooms.

Was thinking also of a wide angle zoom, looking at the Nikon something simlar to the 10 - 20mm that TK linked - but both at > £600 a bit eye watering.

Thanks for the metion of the non-SLR Full Cricle - I had not thought about that option, but as I need to replace all my kit, will check it out.

Oh, and apparently, these newer DSLRs shot video too!
 

bluemoongaffer

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I use an Olympus E620 with 4/3 lenses. Nice as a standard combination. (24 to 84 equivalent and 80 to 300 come as a kit). I find you can get good pics at 300 as long as not too rough and you get the shutter speed high enough by adjusting ISO. Olympus have an E5 which is weatherproof (I think) and quite a few of their semi-pro lenses are also weatherproofed
 

Skylark

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I'd completely endorse the comments made by Lakesailor (wouldn't dare do otherwise to a statesman of the parish). However, I use the D90 which can use the family of earlier Nikkor lenses (I still have a couple of 35mm bodies) but does suffer from the cropping ratio issue.

It's easy to use, takes some great shots, usually without my hinderence, takes video and is significantly lower cost compared to the D3 or D700.
 

Phideaux

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Many thanks for the replies.

I was thinking about max. £700 to £1K for the body (so could be full frame), the 28 - 300 lens was to be a good 'all rounder' (at just over £700), very good point though about stability on a moving boat at longer zooms.

Was thinking also of a wide angle zoom, looking at the Nikon something simlar to the 10 - 20mm that TK linked - but both at > £600 a bit eye watering.

Thanks for the metion of the non-SLR Full Cricle - I had not thought about that option, but as I need to replace all my kit, will check it out.

Oh, and apparently, these newer DSLRs shot video too!

If you want a degree of weatherproofing then a second hand full-frame pro model such as the Canon D1s Mk2 will set you back about £700 - £1,000 depending on condition and shutter count. But, they're big beasts. Another less waterproof (and none of them will survive being dropped in the briny) is the Canon D5 which is still FF but much smaller and you can pick up a clean example for less than £500 (so more available to spend on those lovely 'L' lenses).

Yes, I am a Canon user :D
 

BlueSkyNick

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Any recommendations for a zoom lens - to capture that classic gaffer while under way, or the feature on land a couple of miles out?

I'm thinking of a 28 - 300mm (f3.5 - 5.6) Nikon zoom lens. Any other features to consider beside the zoom range?

Any views on DSLR camera bodies would be apprecaited also - but I guess short of being waterproof and floating ;), there is not much that is marine specific?

I bought a 55-200mm Canon to go with my new camera last year, and opted for the version with image stabilisation. Got it home and read the handbook to find it says "not effective when used on boats". I think that is just an butt covering caveat.

I have taken some cracking pictures of other boats sailing, but do have to get into a good steady stance first.
 

Metabarca

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I had a Panasonic like FullCirlce; great lens and camera but with two drawbacks: not at all waterproof (I know...) and slow from off to shoot and shoot to 'click' (which may not be important for a sailing shot but is for wildlife).
I now have a Pentax K7, which is a great camera. Magnesium body, very solid, has all the bells and whistles I could ever want. And two zoom lenses, 28-300mm Pentax: great lens too. And most importantly, camera and lens are tropicalised: water and dust-resistant.
 

lustyd

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Go for the fastest lens you can, that way you can get the shutter speed right down and wobble and shake won't be such an issue. Manual focus is a must otherwise the camera will be constantly refocusing.
 

Lakesailor

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Many thanks for the replies.

I was thinking about max. £700 to £1K for the body (so could be full frame),
You're looking at the d300 or d7000 at those prices. Both DX (cropped frame).
The d700 is the cheapest FX (full frame) and even used they are still getting £12/1300.
Don't be tempted to buy a D2. They are old technology now. Although you could get one cheaply.
If you are re-equipping you can always go the Canon route. If I didn't have a few Nikon lenses I would consider it. Purely because their base level FX camera has 21MP and the Nikon one has 12MP at present. The d800 due to replace the d700 is long overdue and has been put back again.
It's likely to have the D3X's 25MP sensor which will make it a fantastic camera. (big MegaPixel counts are not the Holy Grail, but spending £1800 to buy into an outgoing camera is not my idea of wise)

The D3X is £5K + :eek::eek:
 

agurney

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I use a Nikon D200 with 18-200mm lens, and for really long shots I have an old 500mm mirror lens that I converted. However, the conditions in which you take the photographs make the lens choice almost irrelevant.

You need lots of light so you can reduce the aperture to give you a decent depth of field and still have a decent shutter speed. You might as well forget about trying to capture that far away land feature in anything but the brighest of sunny days.
 

tmh900

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You might as well forget about trying to capture that far away land feature in anything but the brighest of sunny days.

Yep, the feature a couple of miles out was a tad ambitious - now I'm thinking more in terms of the nudist beach from a couple of cables off:D

Thanks for all the replies on camera choice - esp. Lakesailor - you summed up what I have seen on web sites and in the mags - you can spend a lot of dosh on 'old' technology. Good to know there are some SLRs with weatherproofing.
 
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