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Zoom Lens in WDW

Discussion in 'Photography and Video' started by blueboxdoctor, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. blueboxdoctor

    blueboxdoctor Well-Known Member

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    So I'm thinking of getting a zoom lens for my Nikon D3300. I have a few options and when in WDW I will likely use the lens for most of the day (I don't like to walk around the parks with multiple lenses, I can do it, but I'd rather not). There's actually a couple questions here. Does anyone use zoom lenses at night (for parades mostly I'm thinking), and if so, do you use a monopod or tripod (I tried a tripod last year, just got cumbersome). Usually for night I use my AF-S DX 35mm F1.8G, and I can get some good pictures, but I'm thinking some extra reach may be cool.

    The issue is most of the lenses I'm looking at don't have such an accommodating f stop like the 35mm has.

    Here are my options:

    $400 (coming out soon)

    AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR

    • ED: Extra Low Dispersion Glass
    • M/A: Manual/Automatic
    • SIC: Super Integrated Coating
    • VR: Vibration Reduction
    • P: Pulse Motor
    $500 ($300 refurbished from Nikon, but hard to find that way)

    AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED

    • VR: Vibration Reduction
    • SWM: Silent Wave Motor
    • ED: Extra Low Dispersion Glass
    • M/A: Manual/Automatic
    • IF: IF Lens
    $400 but $220 refurbished from Nikon

    AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

    • VR: Vibration Reduction
    • SWM: Silent Wave Motor
    • ED: Extra Low Dispersion Glass
    • HRI: High Refractive Index Lens
    • A-M: Auto-Manual Mode
    While I will not solely be using the lens for WDW, I will be bringing it there. I'll likely use it mainly for portraits and landscape, though, with this new range, I'd like to try some wild life as well.

    Any info on the lenses and/or using them in low light situations, with or without a monopod, is appreciated (I also have a similar thread on a few other sites, but curious to see what you all think here since I have gotten some good info on this forum in the past).
     
  2. wdwmagic

    wdwmagic Administrator Moderator

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    If you are looking to shoot parades at night, the most important thing is to maintain a shutter speed high enough to stop the action and not introduce motion blur of the subject. A monopod isn't going to help with that, because the subject is moving. So it then comes down to using a high enough ISO and/or a fast lens.

    If your camera can shoot well at ISO 6400 and beyond, you may be ok with a lens having a max aperture of f4 - in which case many of those you list would be possibly OK. But if you see a lot of noise at ISO 6400 and beyond, you will benefit from a fast lens, such as f2.8, which will let you shoot around ISO 1600 - 3200.

    So the lens choice depends largely on your body's high ISO performance.

    Shooting night parades is very demanding on the lens and camera, so unfortunately a lot of the time budget is a huge factor on success.
     
    drizgirl and Jahona like this.
  3. Clamman73

    Clamman73 Well-Known Member

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    I have a d7200 with the 70-300 and a 35 1.8...I would just stick to the 35 so you can keep the shutter speed up and ISO down...crop in as needed. That 70-300 at 70mm and f4.5 wants the ISO to go up in a hurry and is tough to keep the shutter speed at the minimum to hopefully keep the blur down. I only use that lens in the daytime generally for birding. One of the constant 2.8 zooms would work though as mentioned.
    I also have a nikon 16-85 3.5-5.6 and tried it at 16mm @3.5 inside the house, but that still wants to shoot the values up.

    But anytime in the past for Boo to You, MSEP I use a prime, set it to Shutter, double the focal length as a minimum speed and hope for the best.
     
  4. NowInc

    NowInc Well-Known Member

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    If you need extra reach, there are a few prime options in 50mm, 85mm, and 100mm that are fast (and cheap-enough) ;)
     
    drizgirl and Jahona like this.
  5. thomas998

    thomas998 Well-Known Member

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    Honestly I think with a parade having a wider lens is preferable to the zoom. I've used a zoom on parades and all It was good for was getting a character on a float closeup. Even then you realize that you can get that same photo if you just wait until the float gets closer to you so I'm not sure if I ever saw any benefit to having a zoom for a parade. The only place I ever find a zoom to be of any real use at WDW is at animal kingdom where a lot of the animals you might want to photograph will be so far away that you'll need a zoom to get them.

    I would suggest if you want decent night photos of the parade that you practice a little before you go shooting at night wherever you live. Trouble with a lot of night time parades is that they tend to have wide dynamic ranges from the bright lights if your doing the electrical parade to near pitch black shadows in the background... I find it works best to photograph for the bright lights, so see what setting you need to get a photo at night where you life where there is a traffic light, you don't want the light to wash out if that is happening then you need to either speed up the shutter or change the ISO.... Next consider a some good post processing software, Capture One Pro by Phase One is probably the best software I've ever used for lightening up dark areas in photos where you were part of your photo is under exposed (and that's what you'll have if you set up your camera to avoid blowing out the lights).... Caveat is that you need to make sure you take your photos in RAW for the software to work with a flip. Trying to pull out underexposed areas in a JPEG doesn't work well at all, but with a RAW you can usually get 1.5 to 2 stops with no problem.
     
  6. blueboxdoctor

    blueboxdoctor Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    I tried it with an 11-16mm lens before, didn't do much for me, though, I prefer closer up pictures to capture specific details. I found my 35mm has been pretty good, and it has f/1.8, so night pictures are easier to get. I also have a DX format Nikon, so the 35mm is more like a 52mm (I think that's a fairly accurate conversion).

    Agreed with using RAW, I do that with all my photos, it makes two files when capturing the picture, one in RAW and one in JPEG.
     
  7. thomas998

    thomas998 Well-Known Member

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    I think you probably have the best lens for what you are trying to do with the 35mm f1.8....

    http://forums.wdwmagic.com/media/dsc03265_nov-19-2014.112/

    http://forums.wdwmagic.com/media/dsc03267_nov-19-2014.113/

    Both the above photos were taken with a 35mm lens on a crop sensor camera... I don't think you would really want shots of a parade zoomed in closer... While the difference in the angle of view of those shots is fairly wide it was just a matter of waiting for Tinkerbell to get closer.
     
  8. blueboxdoctor

    blueboxdoctor Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    True, I was thinking of getting a 50mm at some point. But I think I may go 55-300mm for now for day time photography (though, a prime with a longer reach is an attractive choice, especially something like the 85mm).
     
  9. drizgirl

    drizgirl Well-Known Member

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    Just a matter of personal preference, but I have never been a fan of 50mm on a crop sensor. It seems too long to be a wide lens and too wide to be a long lens. You're going to have trouble getting an entire float in the frame if you are curbside (which is preferable to avoid unwanted heads in your shot). Yet you're going to have trouble getting close enough to isolate close up character shots at that length.

    As wdwmagic already pointed out, shutter speed is important here. Fast lenses are the best way to accomplish this, but a camera that performs well at high ISO are another way to do it as well. Combine a fast lens with high ISO and you have an unbeatable combination.
     
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