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What Lens To Use on the Mountain?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hello!

 

 

I recently purchased a Canon D60 Camera, with the following lenses:

 

Canon EF-S 18-135mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS

Canon EF-S 55-250mm 1:4-5.6 IS II

 

 

I would only like to carry one lens on me while on the mountain. I recently just bought a circular polarizer for the 18-135mm lens. (However, if the 55-250mm lens is better for skiing, i'll buy a circular polarizer for that as well)

 

I will be using it for both action shots and scenery (in Colorado).

 

Which lens, from your experience would be a better lens for my situation. (And buying a new lens is not an option for me at this point)

 

 

Thank you for your advice. I am trying to learn about my camera and photography, its just taking me some time!

 

 

 

 

Megan

post #2 of 24

I'd rather have the wider lens (18-135) for sure. 55mm won't be wide enough for most landscape photos.

post #3 of 24

Really depends on what you plan on shooting the most and what your style is.  If you're shooting mostly landscapes, then, yes, the wider lens.  If you're trying to shoot birds, or close ups of people or other things from far away, or action shots, perhaps the longer lens.  The longer lens will often let you compose better, since it forces you to eliminate clutter.  With that said, 18-135 is a pretty wide range and is very versatile, more so than the 55-250 for most things.  (I'm not familiar with those specific Canon lenses, but I imagine the wider lens is lighter too.) 

 

Do you plan on actually taking it skiing, or just observing?  Personally, if I were skiing, or just shooting landscapes/scenic shots, I'd bring a small camera with a fairly wide lens that fits in my coat pocket.  I'd never bring an SLR skiing. 

 

What I often do while travelling (not necessarily skiing) is keep my longer lens on the SLR (Nikon 55-200) for portraits, candids, action, and closeups, and use my tiny Canon Powershot when I need a wider lens. 

post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 

It will most likely be about 50/50 landscape/people shooting.

 

I will be skiing with it and will be carrying it in my camera pack.

post #5 of 24
18-135
post #6 of 24

For a professional opinion, ask Primoz on this board.  

 

My 0.02;  You will need every bit of reach you can get to take really good action photos with skier filling up the frame.  On the other hand for any lanscape you will need a wide lens.  So, if you can take only one lens, get the 18-135 and be prepared to crop the photos taken at 135..  

 

On the editorial note- who talked you into buying two consumer grade lenses with that much overlap in focal length, that just does not feel right.  The classic SLR lens kit is 24-70 and 70-200 zooms, plus either an ultra-wide angle (16-35 or 17-40) or a wide prime (20mm).  That way you cover a wide rage with minimal overlap.

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

@ Alex

 

When I bought the camera, it came with the 18-135 lens and I got $150 off a second lens.

 

I guess it was just my lack of knowledge. Then again, the sales person didnt recommend a lens so I thought the lens out to 250 would be fine.

post #8 of 24

Honestly, there is no wrong choice.  Take one lens and get to know it.  Work with its limitations (or be inspired by them) and enjoy it.  

post #9 of 24
I thought about taking my 50d but it seems so heavy so I think my Sony point and shoot will get the spot.
post #10 of 24

It's hard to tell. Really. It just depends so much on personal view about these things. Some people like it one way, others the other way. And I have no idea how you like it, not to mention I have no idea what you really want to do. Skiing can be shoot with anything from 14mm fish to 800mm tele (and of course anything in between). So it depends what kind of photos you are after. Same goes for landscape.

Personally I'm sucker for wide lenses (too bad there's too many restrictions and dangers on World cup tour to use them smile.gif), so if it would be possible, majority of my stuff would be shot with lenses under 20mm (in reality I shoot 99% of skiing with 300mm (probably even 500mm) or more). So when I go shooting when there's no FIS officials, timing and skiing on limit, I normally take only wide lenses with me. When you have skiers who know how to exactly ski previously agreed line, to shoot, things are easy and much more dramatic looking with something like 16 or 17mm (or yours 18-135mm lens). So personally, I would take short one (18-135mm). But as I said, that's just me, while you might like it completely different.

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADKS View Post

Honestly, there is no wrong choice.  Take one lens and get to know it.  Work with its limitations (or be inspired by them) and enjoy it.  

 

Agree wholeheartedly with ADKS! Spend a lot of time learning about your camera, about composition, and about lighting in a scene. I have friends who seem to think that a different camera or lens will make their photographs better when they've never learned to take good photos with the camera that they have. (Of course, the camera companies love these guys :).

 

18-135 is a nice lens for most situations. Wide angle to medium telephoto. 18 is much better (IMO) for landscape and scenery. 135 is a pretty good length for action shots, but you'll need to get a bit closer to the subject to fill the frame.  You'll need to plan your shots and work with your subjects to have them ski past you while you hold your position.

 

The longer lens is better for wildlife or in situations where you can't physically move closer to your subject. If you're trying to photograph a racer on a course, you can't venture out on the course to get the shot so the longer lens allows you to zoom in tighter on the subject.

 

Good luck and enjoy your camera!

post #12 of 24

For a typical day, I'd imagine the 18-135 would be better...

 

135 will give you reasonable reach for shooting your friends skiing and the wider end will be better for landscape and lifestyle/candid shots

 

If it is a fun pow day, throw the 55-200 on for some more ski-focused shooting

post #13 of 24

For sports photography, you will find a lot of pros capturing the action with a full-frame camera. That isn't to say that I haven't seen pros using 1.6x crop like 7D from Canon or 1.5x crop like D300 from Nikon, but the full frame will give you an edge on clarity, and of course: more depth. 

 

For lenses, pros will usually be found with the following lenses (I tried to give you a list starting from what I have observed being as most popular)

- 70-200mm

- 200mm

- 300mm

- 200-400mm

 

Generally, those are super fast lenses f2.8 or better. 

Personally, when I am looking for that "crazy" shot, I will use unquestionably, my 200mm f2 with a 2x converter (making it a 400mm, f4). That's a lot of weight to be carrying up and down the mountain, and very limited range (heck, it's a fixed lens) but that is my go-to lens mounted on a full frame D3s.

 

** Keep the following in mind **

The above is my personal preference. While not the norm, I have seen many pros using wide-angle lenses like 17-40mm etc...

The trick with wide angle (by nature) is that you need to get really really dangerously close to your subject. Start with trust, and then move-in - now closer!

You will be surprised to see what the results will give you (they can be very VERY cool). 

For this sort of super wide shots, you will be looking for a 10-20mm - or just use your 18-135mm for a really great starting point. 

 

Summary:

Wide angle, get close, really close!

Longer lenses: step back, follow, shoot (with a bit more safety). 

Since it sounds like you are just getting started, first: think safety and use your 55-200mm. 

 

Welcome to the world of light!

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post

For sports photography, you will find a lot of pros capturing the action with a full-frame camera. That isn't to say that I haven't seen pros using 1.6x crop like 7D from Canon or 1.5x crop like D300 from Nikon, but the full frame will give you an edge on clarity, and of course: more depth. 

 

For lenses, pros will usually be found with the following lenses (I tried to give you a list starting from what I have observed being as most popular)

- 70-200mm

- 200mm

- 300mm

- 200-400mm

 

Generally, those are super fast lenses f2.8 or better. 

Personally, when I am looking for that "crazy" shot, I will use unquestionably, my 200mm f2 with a 2x converter (making it a 400mm, f4). That's a lot of weight to be carrying up and down the mountain, and very limited range (heck, it's a fixed lens) but that is my go-to lens mounted on a full frame D3s.

 

** Keep the following in mind **

The above is my personal preference. While not the norm, I have seen many pros using wide-angle lenses like 17-40mm etc...

The trick with wide angle (by nature) is that you need to get really really dangerously close to your subject. Start with trust, and then move-in - now closer!

You will be surprised to see what the results will give you (they can be very VERY cool). 

For this sort of super wide shots, you will be looking for a 10-20mm - or just use your 18-135mm for a really great starting point. 

 

Summary:

Wide angle, get close, really close!

Longer lenses: step back, follow, shoot (with a bit more safety). 

Since it sounds like you are just getting started, first: think safety and use your 55-200mm. 

 

Welcome to the world of light!

These are all very good points. It really depends on what you want to shoot the most. 

I love the Nikkor 70-200 2.8! It's not cheap though. Worth it, but not cheap. I've heard good things about the Tamron version, too. 

If you're shooting with a crop frame and want a wide angle, I highly recommend the Sigma 10-20 3.5. It's not very much $ and it's very sharp. It comes in Nikon and Canon mount. 

 

I've been mostly shooting with mirror less and almost no stills. I still like to pick up my Nikon and play around with it. 

post #15 of 24

I am no pro and I generally shoot U-16 or U-14 races. I use a now aged Canon 20D usually with a 70-200 2.8L and often with a Sigma 1.6 extender. I can usually get fairly close so I don't need to go to something like a 100-400L, although depends on the course. I occasionally get a good one. The first one is my guy, and the second is a teammate.

 

 

post #16 of 24

Megan,

 

The good news is that your lenses are quite a bargain.  For example, the 55-250 can take good to excellent photos and has a low cost (see: http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/411-canon_55250_456is_50d ).  Like all "kit" lenses, it has limitations.  The good news is that the limitations won't be significant shooting outdoors in the snow.  You don't have to shoot wide open in the snow, and not having a "fast" lens is of no concern because bokeh (that out of focus blur necessary for newspaper photography and for ascetics) isn't wanted for most ski and scenery shots.  Yeah, there is a big difference between a "kit" and a pro quality lens (border sharpness, bokeh, sharpness, etc.), but if you know where your two lenses are the sharpest you can get quality photos without spending big bucks. 

 

Which to take on the mountain?  That is simple.  If you are just shooting faces and your friends posing in front of the mountain peaks, take the shorter lens (you want a more "normal" view).  If you want action shots, fill the frame with the longer telephoto. 

 

If you want to upgrade your lenses, talk to a professional to two and definitely check out the www.photozone.de website.  There are "slower" but sharp prime lenses out there that are perfect for shooting shots for the computer screen or for a few 8"x10"'s, so the best may not be necessary.  Photozone is great for finding lenses that give you a great bang for the buck.

 

FWIW, I have the Sigma AF 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM OS and highly recommend it as a step-up from a kit lens, although you may find your current lens is good enough.  Be careful of the IS (image stabilization lenses, since a few of them degrade image quality to the point where the IS isn't worth it.  Just read lens tests before you buy.


Edited by quant2325 - 4/3/13 at 10:21am
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroGravity View Post

 

 

 

 

Very nice!

post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sooneron View Post

Very nice!

 

 

Thank you. The full res version of that one is the best shot I managed of the of that week, the subject is a great skier, and the suit and helmet colors just seem to work well. These are minimally touched up in Photoshop, auto color and auto balance but they are pretty close to the originals.

 

http://photos.imageevent.com/spaynter/nsau16searchmont/IMG_3309.jpg

post #19 of 24
We are more and more using full frame simply because there's nothing else left. 99% of those, who shoot skiing (alpine racing, xc, biathlon and ski jumping) would much rather stay with old style 1.3x crop of Canon 1d bodies, but Canon simply forced us to move to full frame with their 1dx body (same goes for Nikon and then D3/D4 bodies). So like it or not, you end up on full frame.
As far as lenses are concerned... most of my shooting (especially for alpine World cup) is done with 500/4 (or even longer, 600 or 800mm). Simply because in World cup you can't be where ever you want to be, but where FIS officials think it's safe. That normally means quite far from action, which dictates long lens. Sure some features can be shot with different lenses, and I have been using also 14mm lenses or short tilt-shift lenses etc. But those are feature shots not regular stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post

For sports photography, you will find a lot of pros capturing the action with a full-frame camera. That isn't to say that I haven't seen pros using 1.6x crop like 7D from Canon or 1.5x crop like D300 from Nikon, but the full frame will give you an edge on clarity, and of course: more depth. 

For lenses, pros will usually be found with the following lenses (I tried to give you a list starting from what I have observed being as most popular)
- 70-200mm
- 200mm
- 300mm
- 200-400mm

Generally, those are super fast lenses f2.8 or better. 
Personally, when I am looking for that "crazy" shot, I will use unquestionably, my 200mm f2 with a 2x converter (making it a 400mm, f4). That's a lot of weight to be carrying up and down the mountain, and very limited range (heck, it's a fixed lens) but that is my go-to lens mounted on a full frame D3s.

** Keep the following in mind **
The above is my personal preference. While not the norm, I have seen many pros using wide-angle lenses like 17-40mm etc...
The trick with wide angle (by nature) is that you need to get really really dangerously close to your subject. Start with trust, and then move-in - now closer!
You will be surprised to see what the results will give you (they can be very VERY cool). 
For this sort of super wide shots, you will be looking for a 10-20mm - or just use your 18-135mm for a really great starting point. 

Summary:
Wide angle, get close, really close!
Longer lenses: step back, follow, shoot (with a bit more safety). 
Since it sounds like you are just getting started, first: think safety and use your 55-200mm. 

Welcome to the world of light!
post #20 of 24

I haven't had the chance to shoot any Ski competitions, however I do shoot a lot of swim competitions. In a pool you have significantly lower lighting along with artificial light conditions which really mess up the colors . So outdoors I would have no problem in using this lens and I could freeze most action shots.

 

I use Nikon D90, and a Nikon 70-300mm 4.5-5.6f lens.

 

Mind you money permitting the next lens would be a 80-500mm same f stop lens aftermarket brand (still pricey) but you can reach out and get those shots.

 

Money no object, several body's and several low f stop lenses for different distances (aahhhhh, only to be filthy rich and worry about the little things of money).  Now I just need a lackey to carry all the stuff while I get to ski and shoot pictures biggrin.gif

 

Any volunteers to donate the money and carry everything ?  Just asking....wink.gif

post #21 of 24

Well, a contrarian advice would be to spend more money and get a good point and shoot. The upside is that you can just keep it in your pocket and enjoy skiing without lugging a camera that throws you off-balance.  I am shocked at how good my Sony RX100 is at shooting everything, including skiing action. And I own a full-frame SLR system with L-level lenses, so I think I am well calibrated in terms of what a quality photo is. These are two photos of the same run at the US Nationals (so the guy is going fairly fast) taken with the lowly point and shoot camera.


Edited by alexzn - 4/9/13 at 8:40am
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

Well, a contrarian advice would be to spend more money and get a good point and shoot. The upside is that you can just keep it in your pocket and enjoy skiing without lugging a camera that throws you off-balance.  I am shocked at how good my Sony RX100 is at shooting everything, including skiing action. And I own a full-frame SLR system with L-level lenses, so I think I am well calibrated in terms of what a quality photo is. These are two photos of the same run at the US Nationals (so the guy is going fairly fast) taken with the lowly point and shoot camera.





I see two options for going compact, and think the one you choose could be the better alternative. One is to go with a smaller sensor camera with interchangeable lenses (the Pentax Q being the extreme example). The other alternative is to just go with a great basic lens and a big ass sensor in a small camera. Your photos prove that your SONY with it's 1" sensor and 20mp (or whatever it is) is a great options to a DSLR. The FUJI x's also test extremely well. They will never replace a DSLR using a $4,000 lens, but the images are more than good enough for what we mere mortals need. Best of all, you don't need a knapsack to carry one on the mountain. I would love to shoot pimoz quality files when skiing, but It just isn't always practical when the goal is to have fun and carry as little weight as possible.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post
I would love to shoot pimoz quality files when skiing, but It just isn't always practical when the goal is to have fun and carry as little weight as possible.

I would love to to do this even when not skiing, but unfortunately it just doesn't go. :) When I go skiing (or doing any other sport), I normally have just phone with me, and don't bother with photos. I know at least sometimes I should (in all these years when I'm in skiing (before as racer, then serviceman, now photographer), I don't have not even single good photo of myself skiing), but it just takes too much stuff to carry around. I know pocket cameras are highly capable nowadays, but once you are used to 1d body with long pro lenses (500/4 for example), pocket cameras and their quality just doesn't cut. So I have two chances... ski and have fun, or carry 15kg backpack around, and have good photos (good by my standards ;)). And I normally pick first option, so I'm still without photos of me and my family or friends doing sport :D

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by primoz View Post

I would love to to do this even when not skiing, but unfortunately it just doesn't go. :) When I go skiing (or doing any other sport), I normally have just phone with me, and don't bother with photos. I know at least sometimes I should (in all these years when I'm in skiing (before as racer, then serviceman, now photographer), I don't have not even single good photo of myself skiing), but it just takes too much stuff to carry around. I know pocket cameras are highly capable nowadays, but once you are used to 1d body with long pro lenses (500/4 for example), pocket cameras and their quality just doesn't cut. So I have two chances... ski and have fun, or carry 15kg backpack around, and have good photos (good by my standards ;)). And I normally pick first option, so I'm still without photos of me and my family or friends doing sport :D

primroz, 

 

Should the cobbler's children have no shoes?

 

For fun (as a parent and not pro) I shoot my son's Little League games with a slower "pro" quality lens (Pentax D* 60-250 f/4) and in the action shots you can read the name and print off the baseball with it.  Yet the photos the parents like best are "portraits" of their smiling kids at bat, pitching, or on base.  They don't give a rat's ass about megapixels and bokeh.  And the parents must be right because they know what makes them happy.  When I turn completely gray I'll look at the action shots of my kids, but will probably treasure the photos that show smiling faces taken by a compact camera with a background that tells what activity we shared. 

 

If you do ever decide to go small, I just had a chance to try out the Pentax Q  with two lenses.  It is really fun!  But the limitations of "good" photos by your standards and perhaps my lesser standards,  and the lack of meaningful bokeh (because of the tiny sensor) has me looking elsewhere.  I hope to spend a day with the X100 soon.

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