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  1. #1
    Wzl
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    Which lens for trail use

    For those of who carry DSLR's on the trail, which lens do you carry and why?

    I typically carry my Tamron 18-200 mm because it is so versatile. However, I often wish I had my Canon 10-22 with me when I come across expansive views. I used to carry the 10-22 more often but you have to get in real close if you try to get any action.
    Ride hard. Ride often.

  2. #2
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    I would say it depends on what you like to shoot. I like landscapes, so I carry my Canon 10-22 and 24-105. That gives me UWA and a limited amount of length, but generally not enough for wildlife. I suppose it also depends on how much weight you want to lug around. The 10-22 is easier to pull off than the expensive glass.

  3. #3
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    For shooting mountain biking in the woods, I use a 50mm, f1.4 lens. I like to use little or no flash and have trouble getting enough light in heavy woods with my zoom (which is f3.5 to f5). I'd really like to get something a little wider, perhaps 30mm for shooting riders on single-track. What I REALLY lust over is the 24-70mm f2.8 lens, but its extremely expensive and I'm afraid it will be very heavy & clunky.

    On Saturday's hike I brought my 15-30 and 24-120. I just looked back at those photos and with the exception of two close-ups of fungus (which I shot at 45mm), every 'keeper' was in the 15 - 31mm range. I changed lenses a lot during that hike, but it looks like I would have done just fine with my 15-30mm lens. On the other hand, I was very happy to have my 180mm lens with me when I came across a bunch of ice-climbers last winter.

  4. #4
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    For me it's a 50mm f1.8 and a 28mm f2.8. I like to keep things light so those are the only lenses I'll take with me unless I know I'm doing an extended photo session on a certain obstacle or part of the trail, in which case I'll add my 80-200mm f4 zoom. I'm shooting with a film SLR and not digital but the idea's the same.

  5. #5
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    The Olympus 12-60mm (24-120mm AOV in 35mm terms) is the most versatile lens I've used. It's relatively bright, focuses close, and has a great focal length range in one pretty compact package. Sometimes I'll take along the fisheye for fun perspectives.

  6. #6
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    If I'm bringing my DSLR (which is more rare now, since I got the Canon S95), there's no way I want to bring multiple lenses... so it's my favorite do-it-all lens, the Sigma 18-125 OS HSM. It's got great IQ, fast focus, a decently compact body, and you can get it used for sub-$250.

  7. #7
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    After lugging a heavy lens i consolidated and realised a prime or kit lents 18-55 does the job for me

  8. #8
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    18-200 + Sony NEX 5 - small and sweet

  9. #9
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    17-55 f2.8 most of the time, but if I want to be sneaky, I'll hide behind a tree with a 70-200 f2.8. Both have their merits.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkrobe View Post
    17-55 f2.8 most of the time, but if I want to be sneaky, I'll hide behind a tree with a 70-200 f2.8. Both have their merits.
    Do you find f2.8 to be sufficient in the woods or do you wish the lens was a little faster?

    I'm considering a fast wider-angle lens than my 50mm f1.4 and I find that I usually shoot around f2 or f2.2. My dream lens is an uber-expensive and somewhat weighty 24mm f1.4, but I wonder if I can get away with a lighter and much less expensive 24mm f2.8 lens. I don't even consider bringing my 24-120 that shoots f3.5 at 24mm because I want something faster, so I'm worried that f2.8 won't be enough. I really prefer to keep my ISO at 800 or below.

  11. #11
    Wzl
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    Quote Originally Posted by miatagal96 View Post
    I don't even consider bringing my 24-120 that shoots f3.5 at 24mm because I want something faster, so I'm worried that f2.8 won't be enough. I really prefer to keep my ISO at 800 or below.
    Wow! Where do you live and what kind of terrain do you ride in? Must be some deep Canadian forests or something. Here in the 4 corner states the sun is pretty much always shinning. Maybe late in the afternoon, deep in the woods, I might need a fast lens but usually lack of light is not an issue. I limit my ISO to 400 as anything higher on my 40D the noise is evident.
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  12. #12
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    I carry a 35mm 2.0 since it's cheap and small and I'm less concerned with breaking it, and it works pretty well for taking general biking shots.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wzl View Post
    Wow! Where do you live and what kind of terrain do you ride in? Must be some deep Canadian forests or something.
    I'm in upstate NY - we have some pretty thick woods here. As soon as the leaves fall, shooting gets much easier.

    Here is a day where I was at the limits of my camera/lens combo, even with a f1.4 lens. I couldn't get a sharp photo without a flash and flash the flash photos didn't work (I think the flash bounced off the fog back into the lens) Schenectady Central Park 3-Hour Race 7-3-11 Photo Gallery by j_harvey at pbase.com.

    Even when it's sunny, sometimes I need more light. I was shooting while hiking over the weekend and I was shooting almost wide open (f3.5-5.6 lens) at ISO 500 - 640 and 1/25 to 1/80 sec, even though it was mid-afternoon and there were no clouds in the sky. In this case, everything was shaded because I was at the bottom of a ravine, but there were no trees directly overhead.

  14. #14
    saddlemeat
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    I carry my DX18-70 most of the time. I sometimes carry a DX35/1.8. Nikon D5000.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by miatagal96 View Post
    Do you find f2.8 to be sufficient in the woods or do you wish the lens was a little faster?

    I'm considering a fast wider-angle lens than my 50mm f1.4 and I find that I usually shoot around f2 or f2.2. My dream lens is an uber-expensive and somewhat weighty 24mm f1.4, but I wonder if I can get away with a lighter and much less expensive 24mm f2.8 lens. I don't even consider bringing my 24-120 that shoots f3.5 at 24mm because I want something faster, so I'm worried that f2.8 won't be enough. I really prefer to keep my ISO at 800 or below.
    Sorry for the late reply.

    A little faster is always nice. I'm pretty happy with their performance in the woods. I wish I could say I shoot with natural light on purpose, but to be honest I simply haven't plunked down the cash for flashes and remotes. For rainy days [like you had for the race you shot], I try and position myself where the riders are in the open a bit. For this set, I would have been very happy to set up a reflector or two to illuminate the riders a bit better, but I don't have one. Yet.



  16. #16
    Short-Change-Hero
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    Wow.. I cant imagine taking my 20D with any of my lenses on it up there.. I am guessing you guys probably carry the lens off the body then when you stop to snap you assemble? Or what? Thinking of doing this soon to try it out... Also, I have a grip on my 20D, do you take that as well?
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  17. #17
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    Dis-a-what? Naw, I just jam the whole she-bang in the pack. The lens cap usually stays on.

  18. #18
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    i dont usually carry my dslr on trails but if i did i would want a fast lens, probably a 17-55 or 24-70. a 70-200 f2.8 would be nice but thats probably too heavy unless your doing strictly a photo shoot. maybe even carry a 100 2.8 or 85 1.4 along with a WA lens or the fast zooms

  19. #19
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    some good recommendations here. going to go out thi weekend with my 24-70 2.8, 50 1.4, and my 70-200 f4. may be a 2x extender.

  20. #20
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    I'm loving my Sigma 17-70mm 2.8-4 Macro HSM. Versatile, fast, image stabe and razor sharp. Unfortunately it's pretty heavy.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sportster44 View Post
    some good recommendations here. going to go out thi weekend with my 24-70 2.8, 50 1.4, and my 70-200 f4. may be a 2x extender.
    sounds like a good setup! post up some pics after!

  22. #22
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    Canon 15-85 for the summer and a 50 1.8 for the winter. Would love to get something a bit wider for winter but also a fast prime. The 15-85 is a bit heavy coupled with a 7D but it's parfocal (or at least my copy is) so works for video too.
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  23. #23
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    50mm 1.4 and 20mm 2.8
    Although the 20mm is so wide that it has strange perspective sometimes.
    I'd love a 16mm fisheye.

  24. #24
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    going out today with a 70-200 f/4 and a 15mm, both are fairly light lenses with wonderful capabilities.

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