Herp shots with Canon 17-40L or 17-55 EF-S??

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AndyO'Connor
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Herp shots with Canon 17-40L or 17-55 EF-S??

Post by AndyO'Connor » February 19th, 2013, 8:07 am

Has anybody used either of these lenses on a crop body such as the 7D? I am looking for a good walk around lens that can be used for field guide and herp in habitat shots, and maybe for landscapes although on a crop body 17mm isn't as good as 11-16mm... Anyways, I've read the reviews on both lenses, they have about the same image quality, I just can't decide if internal zoom, weather sealing, and compatibility with full frame for later use is worth giving up 41-55mm and a full stop in speed (f/4 vs f/2.8). Anybody that has used either lens, please give me your opinions, and if possible, example pictures?

MonarchzMan
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Re: Herp shots with Canon 17-40L or 17-55 EF-S??

Post by MonarchzMan » February 20th, 2013, 3:30 pm

I have the 17-40L, and it works pretty well for my 7D. I think I would like a full frame to lose that and get the full 17mm, but that said, I generally like the results for herp-in-habitat shots. Here are a few examples:

Image
Rainbow Boa by monarchzman, on Flickr

Image
Amazon Tree Boa by monarchzman, on Flickr

AsydaBass
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Re: Herp shots with Canon 17-40L or 17-55 EF-S??

Post by AsydaBass » February 20th, 2013, 4:25 pm

Andy,

I've been causally following your other post as well as this one and one thought keeps coming to mind. I'm not entirely sure that the wider lenses that you're talking about are the best option for "field guide" type shots. While they're awesome for herp in habitat shots and for trying to gain a different perspective (think wide angle macro) on an overly photographed species, they generally don't offer enough magnification to show many of the details and diagnostics of our usually small subjects. They work great for large herps, but how many of those do you regularly come across that aren't venomous? And how close do they let you get with an eye-like camera lens to them? Most field guide photographs are tighter cropped images showing as much of the animal as possible while preserving the specimen's details for identification. This work is usually better suited for a macro lens, which I believe you purchased, yes?

With something like the Tokina 11-17 you referenced, getting a well lit shot with enough magnification demands a little more work (and gear) than the average walk around lens that it seems you're looking for. Have you thought about something with a broader range, such as an 18-85mm for example. I'm not terribly familiar with the specifics of Canon's lens lineup, but the focal ranges are similar for all companies (I shoot Nikon).

http://www.rainforestdon.com/WideAngleW ... &k=DtVDMfP
Take a look through this album on my website. All of these images were captured with a crop sensor body and a 10-24mm len. While some of these photos have enough magnification and detail to be useful in a field guide, they took planning and often multiple flashes, diffusers, and stands. Most of these shots are from 12-18mm and all of them are with the lens glass within an inch of the subject. Getting light in that tight space is a whole other story.

Here are some examples:

Pug-nosed anole (Norops capito)
Image

Helmeted iguana (Corytophanes cristatus)
Image

Helmeted iguana (Corytophanes cristatus)
Image

I am in no way trying to discourage you or imply that you're wrong, I just wanted to relay a few facts and some personal opinions based on what I inferred from your post.

Be sure to let us all know what you end up purchasing and post some shots!

-Don
http://www.RainforestDon.com

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: Herp shots with Canon 17-40L or 17-55 EF-S??

Post by AndyO'Connor » February 20th, 2013, 5:34 pm

Don, thanks for the tips, I was not planning on a super wide angle like the 11-16 to be for herp shots as much as landscapes, and was thinking something like 17-40, 17-55, or 18-105 would be good for a lot of shots. The problem I am noticing with the 100mm macro I bought is that to get say, my 4 foot coachwhip fully in frame for a field guide shot, I have to be like 6-8 feet away. That's fine in a captive setup, or if I am in the field with other people, but it will make taking any full body shots when I am alone difficult except for small stuff like frogs and lizards. I figured a shorter focal length zoom lens would help with non-macro work, and also people pictures like portraits. Thanks for the samples both of you.

AsydaBass
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Re: Herp shots with Canon 17-40L or 17-55 EF-S??

Post by AsydaBass » February 20th, 2013, 5:41 pm

Without looking at the reviews for the Canon version, I'd say that the 18-105mm fits the bill. I'm a slave to my 28-300mm just because of the range that it offers. I have a 300mm prime and a few sharper lenses within that range that I take out for special occasions, but more often than not, that 28-300mm is on the camera. As a matter of fact, that's the lens that makes me the most money.
So long as the reviews are generally pretty good, from what you listed the 18-105 gets my vote.

-Don
www.RainforestDon.com

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Soopaman
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Re: Herp shots with Canon 17-40L or 17-55 EF-S??

Post by Soopaman » March 24th, 2013, 10:07 pm

AndyO'Connor wrote:Don, thanks for the tips, I was not planning on a super wide angle like the 11-16 to be for herp shots as much as landscapes, and was thinking something like 17-40, 17-55, or 18-105 would be good for a lot of shots. The problem I am noticing with the 100mm macro I bought is that to get say, my 4 foot coachwhip fully in frame for a field guide shot, I have to be like 6-8 feet away. That's fine in a captive setup, or if I am in the field with other people, but it will make taking any full body shots when I am alone difficult except for small stuff like frogs and lizards. I figured a shorter focal length zoom lens would help with non-macro work, and also people pictures like portraits. Thanks for the samples both of you.

Andy, if you're still looking into the 17-40L, here's a few more recent shots I've gotten to take with it that may help curb your interest:

Image

Image

Image

Regarding your coachwhip or other large, fast colubrids, I recommend getting a nice 50mm lens. For anything over 3ft I usually go with the 50mm and mine is just as sharp, if not sharper than the 100mm canon macro.

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: Herp shots with Canon 17-40L or 17-55 EF-S??

Post by AndyO'Connor » March 25th, 2013, 7:45 am

I'm renting a 24-105L for my redwoods trip since it was the borrow lenses deal of the week... Thanks for more shots too. Depending on the results of the 24-105L I will probably choose between it and the tamron 24-70 2.8.

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