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A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....
  
 
arbitrage
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


I thought I'd post a few thoughts on what worked and didn't work for my CR trip. Also a few new thoughts on the AF systems between 5D4, 1DX and 1DX2.

Here is what I took and a few thoughts on each piece of gear:

1)100-400II: An absolute must have IMO for CR. I used this for frogs, for hummingbird multi flash and for following the smaller hummingbirds that stick to the hedges of flowers (like volcano, snowcap and black-bellied). The main advantage of this lens was the MFD and resulting MM. Just blows everything else out of the water. If I had to go with only one lens this would be it with the 1.4TC as needed.

2) 400DOII: This lens was best for field birding around certain gardens and lodges when I couldn't get close to birds like tanagers and other things. Mostly used with 1.4 or 2.0TC for reach but also used in one of the multi flash setups where I could move back enough for 400mm. But 100-400II would have done that just as well. Probably out of my 3 lenses the one I'd leave behind if I had to narrow it down to only 2 lenses.

3) 600II: For me an essential lens, I regretted not bringing it to Ecuador back in 2015 and I was so glad to have it for Quetzals especially as it was 5:30AM and dark and I needed about 600-800mm of reach and f/4 sure helped at 600mm. I also used this for field birding and walking trails to get maximum reach on smaller, more shy birds.

If I had to only take 2 lenses it would be 600 and 100-400II. I was still happy with bringing all 3 but could easily have worked with just those 2. I would have missed the 600 a lot but would have missed more things without the 100-400Ii than without the 600.

As far as anything I wish I had brought, the only thing may have been a 100 or 180 macro for the frogs but the 100-400II with TC and extension tube did just fine, probably as much MM as the macro lens would have provided at the suitable working distances from the frogs. I also brought a 24-70/4 and used it for maybe 15mins over 13 days. iPhone was fun for slow motion video of the hummers around feeders and simple shots of the lodges, rooms, people etc.

And finally a little about the bodies....this is where I really was surprised at how much of a difference the 1DX2 pulled ahead of the other two in lower light focus and consistency of getting focus on lower contrast targets. It got to the point that I didn't use my 1DX and my 5D4 I just used for the multi-flash as it had more pixels and you couldn't really shoot high FPS as the flashes would start dropping. 7FPS of the 5D4 was great for that scenario. The 1DX2 though just outperformed the other two in a big way. I ended up shooting it all the time. I'd have the 1DX on another lens just in case but whatever lens I thought would be the right focal length for the current target I'd switch the 1DX2 over to it and not just leave one camera on one lens all day. I hadn't noticed this drastic AF difference back at home in better light but in this type of jungle, early morning, cloud forest type light the 1DX2 was significantly better.

So those are my thoughts after the trip. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask.



Apr 15, 2017 at 09:23 PM
PetKal
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


Good operating feedback, Geoff, thanx.
(No other comments/questions in 5 hrs ? That I think is quite telling of the drift this board has been taking.)



Apr 16, 2017 at 03:10 AM
aboutthelight
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


Agreed this is great information. Costly but great. Yet another reason that the 1dx ii is better than the other two options.


Apr 16, 2017 at 05:21 AM
Eric Larsen
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


Really helpful thread. Thanks!


Apr 16, 2017 at 05:51 AM
d831
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


Enjoyed reading your thoughts, thanks!

It sounds like your trip was pretty focused and, judging by your lens selection and time spent with your 24-70, I think I have my answer, but I was curious nevertheless if you did any landscape photography while there (jungle scenes, sunrises/sets, waterfalls, etc.)?



Apr 16, 2017 at 07:05 AM
arbitrage
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


d831 wrote:
Enjoyed reading your thoughts, thanks!

It sounds like your trip was pretty focused and, judging by your lens selection and time spent with your 24-70, I think I have my answer, but I was curious nevertheless if you did any landscape photography while there (jungle scenes, sunrises/sets, waterfalls, etc.)?


Thanks. We had one stop at a waterfall but that day was very misty/foggy so I took a few shots and then opted to roam the vast gardens to shoot more birds. Yes my trip was heavily focused on birds (and some frogs and a snake).



Apr 16, 2017 at 01:04 PM
mitesh
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


Geoff,

I know you've posted some of your shots in other threads, but since you've given so much helpful reference information above, may I suggest adding a few select images to this thread to illustrate the types of images you made with the gear? If someone was to find this thread in the future, they might not dig to find your images in those other threads.



Apr 16, 2017 at 02:08 PM
LuckyStrike
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


Happy Easter Geoff!

Thanks for your description on gear .. Quite an interesting breakdown and description of what worked and why.

One curiosity... I have enjoyed your photos for as long as I can remember being on FM, and I guess I've missed this but "flash" or multi flash I don't ever recall you saying you were a fan of this or ever used this device?

cheers

LuckyT




Apr 16, 2017 at 02:31 PM
arbitrage
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


LuckyStrike wrote:
Happy Easter Geoff!

Thanks for your description on gear .. Quite an interesting breakdown and description of what worked and why.

One curiosity... I have enjoyed your photos for as long as I can remember being on FM, and I guess I've missed this but "flash" or multi flash I don't ever recall you saying you were a fan of this or ever used this device?

cheers

LuckyT



Personally, I don't own a flash. As part of the trip, the leader supplies the flashes and everything else needed to do multi-flash photography of the hummingbirds. We had time to do these setups on 7 days of the trip. We had enough gear to run two setups at a time and took turns as we went for an hour at a time. I've never been a huge fan of the multi-flash look to images. It was fun to try it out and I liked the results in some cases. Still I am more drawn to natural light images whether they are setups or field birding.

However, after this trip I am considering looking at a single flash and better-beamer for the next time I go tropical birding as it helped one of the guys in the group shoot at dawn and dusk with field birding for some fill flash.



Apr 16, 2017 at 02:41 PM
arbitrage
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


mitesh wrote:
Geoff,

I know you've posted some of your shots in other threads, but since you've given so much helpful reference information above, may I suggest adding a few select images to this thread to illustrate the types of images you made with the gear? If someone was to find this thread in the future, they might not dig to find your images in those other threads.


Good idea. Here are some examples of what I was talking about.

The first two are field birding the smaller hummingbirds that just stay around the hedges and don't come to setups very reliably (or at all).

The 600II was best for the long range subjects....

The 400DOII actually did a little bit of everything but its working distance is its hinderance and losing an f-stop to the 600II hurt it in the low light of the jungle for reach sensitive subjects....






  Canon EOS-1D X Mark II    EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens    400mm    f/5.6    1/800s    1600 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS-1D X Mark II    EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM +1.4x III lens    560mm    f/8.0    1/1000s    1600 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS-1D X    EF600mm f/4L IS II USM lens    600mm    f/4.0    1/320s    3200 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS-1D X Mark II    EF600mm f/4L IS II USM lens    600mm    f/4.0    1/400s    4000 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS-1D X Mark II    EF400mm f/4 DO IS II USM +1.4x III lens    560mm    f/5.6    1/800s    3200 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS-1D X Mark II    EF400mm f/4 DO IS II USM +1.4x III lens    560mm    f/5.6    1/500s    1600 ISO    0.0 EV  




Apr 16, 2017 at 02:54 PM
 

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mitesh
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


arbitrage wrote:
However, after this trip I am considering looking at a single flash and better-beamer for the next time I go tropical birding as it helped one of the guys in the group shoot at dawn and dusk with field birding for some fill flash.


I happen to have a 600EX flash, better beamer, and flash bracket that I'm not using. I can bring them to FL .



Apr 16, 2017 at 02:57 PM
LuckyStrike
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


Thanks Geoff ... I wondered

interesting , I have a decent Canon flash as well (it was a gift) ... likely had it now for 5 years... never fired it once!

ymmv

cheers

T




Apr 16, 2017 at 04:06 PM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


I was there for a month last year. I did bring my 100-400 II for my 7D2 and my 5D3 and 24-70 II. I don't have any big boy lenses yet I also brought a flash and used it with my better beamer under darker canopies.

How did you get the lenses there? Carry on or check in? With all those bodies as well carry on seems a close call to me. Westjet lifted the over head weight restrictions while Air Canada still has them. Westjet told me as long as you can light it yourself so don't put all the gold in one bag There are still bag size restrictions which no airline seems to follow up on unless they go on a short blitz and you are in the middle of it.



Apr 16, 2017 at 04:40 PM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


LuckyStrike wrote:
Thanks Geoff ... I wondered

interesting , I have a decent Canon flash as well (it was a gift) ... likely had it now for 5 years... never fired it once!

ymmv

cheers

T



All these shots were taken with flash in CR

Meet Einstein. I was in a boat on a river cruise

~original[/IMG]

Helped in darker areas. This and next were taken from our condos balcony.

~original[/IMG]

Here I could hardly see it to focus.

~original[/IMG]

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

~original[/IMG]



Apr 16, 2017 at 04:45 PM
RobAmy
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


Nice report on your findings with very nice example pics. I found I really liked the 600mm there also. I used the 200-400mm more then I thought for the versatility. I had my flash but only used it one day at Dave and Dave's for some hummingbirds. The rest of the trip I did not use it. Not saying that would not have been helpful at times, just not sure it is worth the weight of the flash gear from the little use. Amy used the 400DO 90% of the time with using the 200-400mm very little due to weight. She just loved the 400DO for the weight when carrying around. I really like that tail position on the Quetzal.


Apr 16, 2017 at 04:55 PM
LuckyStrike
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


Zenon Char wrote:
All these shots were taken with flash in CR

Meet Einstein. I was in a boat on a river cruise

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d74/Zenon1/Costa%20Rica/_80A0542_zpsiavniumk.jpg~original

Helped in darker areas. This and next were taken from our condos balcony.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d74/Zenon1/Costa%20Rica/_80A9882_zps8naaebvw.jpg~original

Here I could hardly see it to focus.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d74/Zenon1/Costa%20Rica/this-one_zps8fhfrivc.jpg~original

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d74/Zenon1/Costa%20Rica/_80A9987_zpsuiquqgvl.jpg~original


I guess its 1 way to get the shot ... Personally, I hate having a flash in my face.. blinded by the light!
years ago with my 1st digital camera I tried it and it really annoyed my hummingbirds so I wrote it off and strictly use available light.
No two people shoot the same, and I'm not saying its wrong... just my experience so far tells me "Just say no to flash!"
Cheers and Happy Easter

LuckyT




Apr 16, 2017 at 06:37 PM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


I don't use it all the time. Maybe 10% for wildlife and on that trip. Someone on some forum suggested to bring it and I'm glad I did.




Apr 16, 2017 at 07:07 PM
kosin
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


Great write up and some good info for all interested in this kind of trip! Thanks!

I'm glad you finally noticed the AF speed difference of 1DXII when compared to 1DX and 5DIV Somehow, I've noticed it on my very first outing here in NJ

Any thoughts on 5DIV vs 1DX as for AF performance?



Apr 17, 2017 at 03:13 AM
ox0312
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


I have seen most of shots you posted so far. Amazing place and very well captured.

From the above write up above... 100-400 is a must.

Also, (IMO) 500mm F4 II seems tailor made for this location and one can easily skip the 400 DO IS II lens - 500mm has roughly the same MFD and provide 100mm more with better magnification.

Since most of the Wildlife is so close there... it also provide better compositional flexibility in tight situations than a 600mm lens.



Apr 21, 2017 at 11:05 AM
Scott Stoness
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · A few post Costa Rica trip gear opinions/suggestions....


Great report

re
" It got to the point that I didn't use my 1DX and my 5D4 I just used for the multi-flash as it had more pixels and you couldn't really shoot high FPS as the flashes would start dropping. 7FPS of the 5D4 was great for that scenario. The 1DX2 though just outperformed the other two in a big way."

needs some editing -
by mutliflash do you mean 5div with multiflash
which one started dropping

I have always thought that more pixels of 5div (5dsr in my case) was more desirable than fps. Are you regretting and cropping related to 1dxii?



Apr 21, 2017 at 01:46 PM
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