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Archive 2012 · Lens adivice for Vancouver Island - 500mm or not?
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Lens adivice for Vancouver Island - 500mm or not?

I'm trying to decide whether I lug my 500 F4 around on my family holiday to west Canada in a couple of months. As the trip is not a dedicated photo tour but a family holiday I expect most of the photo ops will be landscapes but there are 2 opportunities I have (other than random wildlife sightings in the Jasper and Banff national parks) in mind for wildlife. I will be taking a couple of whale watching tours including one out of ucluelet (archipelago wildlife cruises) that apparently will take in whales plus any other wildlife like black bears seen on the beach or whatever comes along. The second opportunity is I plan on going to Thorntons Hatchery near Ucleulet where apparently I should get good black bear sightings. Do you think I should take the 500 or will I manage well enough with the 7D, 300F4 and a 1.4xr? I'm kind of reluctant to take the 500 due to the weight and hassle of carting it around but wonder if I will regret not taking it? If anyone has personal experience of these 2 opportunities I would love to hear any feedback. Thanks!

Jul 10, 2012 at 06:22 AM
Scott Stoness
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Lens adivice for Vancouver Island - 500mm or not?

I went to Telegraph Cove and Tofino/Ucelet last year with my 7d/500f4. I took a whale tour and a grizzly bear tour in Telegraph Cover. I also took my 100-400 and 5dii and 24-104 and 17-40.

Without the 500f4 with 1.4x, the grizzly bear shots would not have worked. Nor would the eagle shots. They were too far away. However, don't expect that black bear shots are noon will work anyway because the contrast will be too high. So unless you are getting up early, its not worth it.

For the whales its kind of a trade off. Sometimes they are far and sometimes close but most importantly the sun needs to be behind you. Often I would miss them close up and when I got them far enough away with 500, it was hard to get them in the frame quick enough. The best lens for whales was my 100-400 (good close in with a zoom). This was also true because you had to move around the boat and shoot around people, which is difficult with 500 f4 weight and size. Perhaps if I went on a specialized tour the 500 would have been better. Your 300 with 1.4 is close to 400 on 100-400 without the versatility of the zoom.

So I think a good compromise would be your 300f4 with 1.4x on 7d and your 70-200 on 5d2 - for whales. And 300 f4 with 1.4 for bear on 7d.

That said, if I can take my 500, I take it. This causes lots of stress in getting it on the plane that I have figured out. [I use a hollowed out kata 20n1? for 500 and 30n1 for lens/camera and it all fits on a small plane]

Jul 10, 2012 at 12:14 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Lens adivice for Vancouver Island - 500mm or not?

Hi Scott thanks for the helpful feedback. Yes I kind of suspected the 500 wouldn't be too good for whales and your suggestion of lens combo for them was pretty much what I was going to go with. Its just hard knowing what else to expect. If we find eagles or seals or whatever that are too far from the boat for the 300 I'm going to be annoyed if I don't have the 500 but then again is it worth lugging it around for 3 weeks and across the world just to use for a couple of hours on 1 or 2 days? And like you said the lighting may not be that great anyway so the shots might not be of much value. I'm leaning more towards leaving it behind I think and being satisfied with whatever shots I get.

Jul 10, 2012 at 08:56 PM

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