Helpful Posts Helpful Posts:  0
Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Camera Equipment for Zoo Photography

  1. #1
    Jim B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,219
    Real Name
    Jim

    Camera Equipment for Zoo Photography

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm planning my 1st zoo trip coming up in the next few weeks.I'm using a 50D and I am not sure which lenses to take with me. I'm going mid week so there shouldn't be much of a crowd.The majority of the exhibits are natural habitat.
    I would like to take only 2 lenses and a flash.I am thinking of taking my 17-55 IS for wide shots and low light.I have a 70-200 f/4 IS and a 300 f/4 IS.I'm torn between the 2.I also have a 1.4X TC.
    Any suggestions would be most welcome.
    Regards,
    Jim

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Zoo Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    I'm planning my 1st zoo trip coming up in the next few weeks.I'm using a 50D and I am not sure which lenses to take with me. I'm going mid week so there shouldn't be much of a crowd.The majority of the exhibits are natural habitat.
    I would like to take only 2 lenses and a flash.I am thinking of taking my 17-55 IS for wide shots and low light.I have a 70-200 f/4 IS and a 300 f/4 IS.I'm torn between the 2.I also have a 1.4X TC.
    Any suggestions would be most welcome.
    Regards,
    Jim
    Hi Jim,

    On the odd occasions I shoot at zoos I can't say I've ever had the need for anything particularly wide - most requirement seems to be in the normal to medium telephoto range. So if it were me I'd probably just stick with the 17 to 55 & 70 - 200 (which tops out at an equivalent of over 300mm on a 50D anyway) (plus you can crop quite agressively if need be from a 15mp camera). If you had room for the TC in your pocket as extra insurance I'd say you had all bases pretty well covered!

    Have you used the TC much in the past?

  3. #3

    Re: Zoo Photography

    Hey jim,

    Not sure what the zoos are like over in West Virginia... but the ones I've been to here in the UK I doubt I'd have used a wide angle. I don't think I've really got close enough to the animals to make anything other than long lenses useful. If you swing by here you can see some shots I took last year at Marwell Zoo in the UK. I forget now, but I think almost without exception I used my 400mm F/5.6 lens. Towards the end of the day it was getting quite overcast and dull - this was a January - so I needed iso 800 and fairly long shutter speeds. Am sure that your IS lenses will help no end.

    Hope this helps,
    Graham

  4. #4
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    16,245
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: Zoo Photography

    Hi Jim,

    I would echo Colin and Graham's advice that telephoto zoom is the one you are most likely to want on the camera 95% of the time. You'll spend most of the time zoomed in to give bokeh with any grid or mesh between it and the animals.

    I visited Linton Zoo in Cambridgeshire last Thursday and the only thing I used the wide end of my 28 - 300mm for was the Tapirs, these were in an open paddock with a lean over-able fence and since the animals were quite inquisitive, they came right up to sniff your feet through the fence! Since they're quite large, I went wide to fit them in, but these top shots were none too attractive, so probably won't see the light of day.

    Take a small 'point and shoot' too, sometimes their small diameter lens barrel can fit between a 1.5 inch mesh on some cages to get an unencumbered view.

    Enjoy the trip; don't expect too much and you won't get too frustrated at all cages, dirty glass and uncooperative animals. Accept that some animals, particularly birds, are just not worth trying for, a parrot at the top of a cage against a burnt out sky is never gonna work.

    If you have one, don't forget a polariser for the critters behind glass, although occasionally the refelection can be useful.

    Cheers,

  5. #5
    Jim B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,219
    Real Name
    Jim

    Re: Camera Equipment for Zoo Photography

    Colin,

    Thanks for your input.I have done some shooting with the 1.4X TC on the 70-200 and the 300,but not extensively.I have been getting pretty good results.The IQ is better with the 70-200 and the TC.The 300+TC needs a lot of light.
    Jim

  6. #6
    Jim B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,219
    Real Name
    Jim

    Re: Camera Equipment for Zoo Photography

    Hi Graham,

    Nice photos from the Marwell Zoo.I'm going to the Columbus Zoo in Ohio my 1st trip.Then to the Pittsburgh Zoo for another.I was planning on using the 17-55 for some outside group photos(going with 6 other people) and also for any indoor exhibits that will most likely need a fast lens.
    An unrelated question for you.I have been considering a longer telephoto purchase before airshow season here.Looking at the 400 or the 100-400.Do you have any experience with the latter?
    Jim
    Last edited by Jim B.; 2nd April 2009 at 04:01 AM.

  7. #7
    Jim B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,219
    Real Name
    Jim

    Re: Camera Equipment for Zoo Photography

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your comments.The P&S is a good idea.Also the polariser suggestion,thanks for that.Will definitely take one with me.
    It just hit me.I have 6 other people that could carry equipment
    I think I'll take both my telephotos.
    Jim

  8. #8

    Re: Camera Equipment for Zoo Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    An unrelated question for you.I have been considering a longer telephoto purchase before airshow season here.Looking at the 400 or the 100-400.Do you have any experience with the latter?
    Jim
    Hey Jim,

    I have no experience with the 100-400. I did wonder if the flexibility of that zoom would be beneficial for me, but I opted for the 400mm after seeing some comparisons between the two lenses on Luminous Landscape.

    HTH,
    Graham

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •