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Old 10-31-2012, 09:55 AM   #31
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Oakland, CA (it's not THAT bad)
Oddometer: 80
Can I jump in a muddy the waters further? Not a pro, just an amatuer with some additonal advice.

Again, just a hack, but I have learned a few things and I have to agree that for motorcycling and backpacking, a 70-200 F4L is going to be WAY more lens (or lense!) than you will need. Great, if you NEED the zoom and the quickness (shooting sports events from the sidelines), but for landscapes? I have more fun with my wide angle lenses and a prime should be a staple with any SLR setup.

For light weight and ease of carrying around, I like my Canon 17-85IS. Decent wide-angle perfomance, some zoom capability and fast enough for most. Plus it's not HUGE like some of the lenses recommeneded here. This lens has been somewhat superceeded by the 15-85, but the 17-85 is still a good, 'all purpose' lens.

FWIW, when I got my 17-85 and compared it to my kit lens (18-55) I threw away my 18-55. If you don't use any other lenses, the 18-55 is a fine lens, but compared to a better lens, with better glass will make you a believer. Can't stress how important a shade hood is too, when shooting in heavy sunlight.

For motorcycle trips & backpacking, I would take a prime (they are affordable, and easy to pack) and maybe a 17-85 or the newer 15-85. I would only invest in a 70-200 F4L, if I really needed that zoom, and quickness. I used ot shoot motocross and road racing events and found that I needed both for that. Especially when the light was less than ideal.

Good luck and have fun with photography!
Wish in one hand, crap in the other. - Tell me which one fills up first.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:07 AM   #32
on an endless build
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Joined: Oct 2004
Location: NYC & PDX
Oddometer: 1,491
Here's a couple of posts that specifically talked about photography and gear from my Translab report.

Here's the photo primer post:

A Photo Primer

and here's the gear post:

Gear I took on the Translab

This might be helpful to you or anyone else considering gear.

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Old 11-08-2012, 03:41 PM   #33
All idiot, no savant
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Joined: Apr 2007
Location: The Old Pueblo
Oddometer: 10,459

Thanks for taking the time to share all of your experience. Your TransLab RR got me inspired a couple of years ago to get a little more serious about photography.

If you happen to be in NY, I hope you're weathering the storms OK. Caught this the Friday evening before Sandy:


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Old 11-08-2012, 07:14 PM   #34
on an endless build
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Joined: Oct 2004
Location: NYC & PDX
Oddometer: 1,491
Thanks John. Fortunately I was in Portland when the storms blew through but it did postpone a few jobs for me but I'll be back in two weeks for work and bike fun.

That is a gorgeous shot of lower Manhattan. Now that I live out here I wish I'd shot more of NYC just to have it for my walls. That would make a very nice poster.


PS I just saw your Kickstarter project - very cool and I signed up. I'll post up a link on my Facebook and maybe we can get a few more people on board.

sakurama screwed with this post 11-08-2012 at 07:26 PM
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:50 PM   #35
plays well alone
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: between the Ozarks and the Ouachitas
Oddometer: 3,231
I'm a huge fan of the Tamron 18-270 for a do it all lens, and the price is right.
By God, Woodrow; it's been one hell of a party.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:42 AM   #36
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Joined: Oct 2009
Location: NE Mesa, AZ near Usery.
Oddometer: 1,288
Canon just came out with a new 24-70 F4 L lens.

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Old 11-24-2012, 01:47 PM   #37
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Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Michigan
Oddometer: 27
Why not rent first?

These guys have both given me excellent service and first-rate equipment. I did take advantage of the damage insurance once, with no questions or whining about the claim.

I'm purely a hobbyist, and as a result of spending a week or so with a few lenses I've been able to specifically exclude a couple I was curious about. Didn't cost too much, and I've been able to putter around with some great equipment.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:21 AM   #38
Two Wheeled 'Tard
Joined: Jul 2011
Location: Chicago (sort of)
Oddometer: 165
Throwing in my 2 cents as a Canon shooter who hauls his gear around the world with him.

On my motorcycle trips, I carry my 30D, 17-85mm, 70-200 2.8, and a Sigma 20mm 1.8, all wrapped up in this: I also have a 2x extender for the L zoom lens, as well as the 50mm 1.8 "Plastic Fantastic", and a bunch of remote triggers and a film body, but I usually leave that at home when on the bike.

I'll say that for it's price, the 17-85mm (now replace with a 15-85 for around $700) is a competent and very useful lens to keep around. It's reasonably light, has a useful range, and is stabilized. The quality is okay; far better than Canon's little $100 18-55 kit lens, however it's nowhere near my 70-200.

I would highly suggest that you DO take a good telephoto zoom with you on a motorcycle trip, especially if you're going through lots of wilderness with a good chance of encountering wildlife. If you want to drop the coin on an L lens, or go for something far less expensive is up to you. But having that long zoom will allow you the flexibility to get up close to all the amazing critters without actually having to get up close to them. :)

The lens that I'm most thankful that I've always had with me though is my Sigma 20mm F1.8. It's amazingly useful for all sorts of things, and allows you to take pictures in conditions you'd never be able to shoot in with a slower lens. The downside is that the autofocus system is slow and noisy, but you're not really capturing fast-moving stuff with a 20mm lens anyway.

As for upgrading your camera body? I'm not sure I'd bother. A wider selection of lenses will help you capture better quality and more interesting photos than a better body will. My 30D is 5 years old now, and I've got no plans to replace it unless it breaks.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:59 AM   #39
chrome bandit
Wide footed adventurer
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle-ish
Oddometer: 298
Let me share more perspective in addition to the excellent advice above...

I carry the Canon 17-40L zoom on the bike in addition to the 70-200 /4. During my Alaska trip last year, I swapped lenses just once during the return ferry when I needed the longer distance. The wide angle sees more use in landscape shots, and it comes up a little short with distortion when I need a 'regular' portrait. This shot is with the wide angle zoom at 17 with a polarizer on, from my WABDR trip this past summer...

Not sure I'll carry 70-200 again in future trips. I do find it perfect for outside sports when I'm close to the action (i.e., Little League), long distance portraits. Not so good for inside sports, need the 2.8 for the additional exposure. Even wtih a 1.4x extender on, the upper end of the 200 is a mild zoom boost for outside capture, and still weak for most wildlife capture.

Seeing that the orignial request referred to bike and hike use, I also carry the Canon S100 in my jacket pocket, for when I want a quick shot without having to stop and pull out the SLR. Easier to capture this kind of stuff...

(No camera equipment was harmed in the setup or capture of this scene. Although, now that I think about it, you can see where I carry my equipment - in the tank bag, notice it's lost it's anchoring by the seat, the SLR + lens are stored in a protective LowePro TLZ2 bag that I stuff into the tank bag.) I really like the Canon S100, it's a nice little camera, and shoots RAW.

Lots of options, lots of solutions. Helps to understand yourself and what you want to capture.
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:18 PM   #40
Jedi5150 OP
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Central California
Oddometer: 637
I appreciate the great advice everyone! As luck would have it, I didn't end up having to choose between the two lenses. I also got a body upgrade. I went with a Canon 5D Mark II and a 24-105 F4L, and a 70-200 F4L IS USM. You may laugh, but on a full frame body, I find the 70-200mm range is excellent. In fact, it is my "walk around" lens. I almost never use the 24-105mm. I'm very happy with my new set-up. I know they say better gear won't make you a better photographer, but I can see a huge improvement in my image quality. I also now use Lightroom 4. Previously I'd never done any post processing, aside from cropping. Here are some examples of photos with my new set-up:

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Old 11-26-2012, 10:05 PM   #41
chrome bandit
Wide footed adventurer
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle-ish
Oddometer: 298
very nice

Congrats on the new purchase...keep shooting and sharing!
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