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Thread: Setting up for landscape on a modest budget

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    Setting up for landscape on a modest budget

    Hi, I am going to NZ in 2 months, and would like to set myself up properly, predominantly for landscape photos.
    I have a 600D with a kit 18-55 on it for landscapes (55-250 kit for zoom) that the better half will most likely be using, while I have a 50D that I am looking at getting a lens for wider use than the 50 f1.8 that lives on it normally.
    Initially I had wanted a lens that offered a range of options, like the Canon 28-135, which I could use as a general walk around lens.
    However, I have been reading all the threads on NZ and landscape photography in general, and am re-thinking this idea, but to be honest, am overwhelmed by the amount of options and information.
    I am on a budget of ideally less than $500 for both lens and CPL, but given that I want a B+W CPL, it will probably creep up a little. I am also interested in a 3-stop ND filter, if I can find the cash, as I am sick of blown out sky situations.

    I have narrowed it down to the Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 ($424) and the Tokina 12-24 f4 ($434) if I wanted to go down the road of the wider angle lenses. I still have this nagging worry about making the mountains 'look small' with the wide angles, is this really a valid concern? I have tried panoramas, and think I just need to practice at them, until recently i had been struggling to get them 'even', however learning to take off the CPL and use manual modes and fixed metering hopefully will fix this.

    I really wanted to Canon 28-135 for the range of options, but know that on a crop sensor the 28 will probably be a bit narrow for fitting in those giant NZ mountain scapes. I have even been frustrated by the closeness that the 18mm option gives on the crop sensor sometimes. The chance I will upgrade to a FF is probably quite small in the next 5yrs at least, however I am aware of the benefit of buying FF lenses from the start, bit like buying larger filters.

    Can't have it all in one package on a budget I suppose hey.

    I would really appreciate thoughts and opinions.
    Cheers Craig

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    look for a Sigma 10-20, best budget wide angle lens for landscapes there is, if you are worried about the mountains looking small. take along the 18-55 you have as well.
    Last edited by ricktas; 05-03-2013 at 11:50am.
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    I suppose you can't hope fr everything all at once. Get something practical and get to know its capabilities.
    As Rick said for the 10-20 and the 17-50. I really don't think too many people would worry about mountains looking small in a wider lens.
    I've used the 10-20 (for a few hours) on sea and landscapes, and buildings. Not a worry about image size. That's more a problem with people at a distance.
    The Σ8-16 is a well-reputed lens but at about 2-ice the price of the 10-20.
    Good luck. Look 4wd to some pics with what you get.
    Am.
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeemug View Post
    ...I am also interested in a 3-stop ND filter, if I can find the cash, as I am sick of blown out sky situations...
    panoramas, and think I just need to practice at them, until recently i had been struggling to get them 'even', however learning to take off the CPL and use manual modes and fixed metering hopefully will fix this...
    I really wanted to Canon 28-135 for the range of options...I have even been frustrated by the closeness that the 18mm option gives on the crop sensor sometimes...

    Cheers Craig
    Craig. I went back to address the points above, thinking I had rather glossed over them in my earlier reply.
    Is this a straight filter, or a graduated filter? Can't help you much there as I don't use them.
    For blown out sky, I can usually manage to retrieve a fair bit of info from the raw file. Do you use raw? If not, a bit of a blend (~HDR) can sometimes help.
    Panos are an ever-challenging thing. What program/s do you use? When shooting for them, use a constant exposure setting for each shot and try to do it before the light changes too much.
    "Evenness" can be helped by a sufficient - but not too much - overlap of the successive images. And try to swing the camera as close as you can to the lens "node".
    What does that last bit cited above mean? About the "closeness" of the 18mm?
    Am.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 05-03-2013 at 3:39pm.

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    Take your 55-250 as well and use that for landscapes. Landscapes are not just about wide angle shots. You can pick out features on hills / mountains with it. Zooming in will compress the image and make the mountains stand out. You can use it in portrait mode to take a series of panoramas that you can stitch together with eg Microsoft ICE. I think you will be surprised how well the results will turn out. Shoot in RAW so you have enough allowance to process your shots to retrieve blown highlights and recover lowlights if need be.
    With what lenses you already have, a wide angle is the go as well.
    If you haven't gone to NZ before just be prepared to wanting to stop the car every 5 mins to take a shot - the scenery is breathtaking.

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    Thanks all.
    We definitely will be taking all camera gear, nothing will be left behind!
    I do like shooting in RAW, we were in Kauai recently (after just getting into SLR photography) and I definitely was able to retrieve substantial amounts of information from photographs, I wish however I had taken more HDR type shots. I plan to start putting some of these up for CC to get my techniques sorted out.

    Am, I have a thing for taking photos of waterfalls and creeks, ie longer exposures in daylight, and while I know HDR can help with this, i want the option of just being able to take photos that work straight without much post as well, hence the ND filter, but they are cheap anyway. I have PS and Photomatix in terms of software.
    When i mean 'closeness' of the 18mm part of the 18-55, I suppose I meant that it is hard to fit everything you want in sometimes, like you are too close to it, this will obviously be fixed by the 10-20mm.

    Russell, thanks for your points, yes, I do still like the 55-250, it is quite handy. I hadn't thought about using it in portrait for landscapes, but good idea.

    We are spending 12 days in the South Island with a car, fully expecting to be stopping constantly!

    Thanks for the feedback, I have a Sigma 10-20 with a B+W XS-Pro CPL filter sitting in a saved wishlist ready to go.
    Cheers, Craig

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    Go the Sigma 10-20 f4 - 5.6 Around $430 ish bucks

    Cokin ND Gard set $99 in Austraila + lens ring/s $25 each

    Take the 55 - 250, as it will be a must, you can get some wonderful panos from it, portrait angle and away you go.

    Cr Kennedy are the Australian importer of Sigma, along with other brands. CR Kennedy will price match an Australian Warranted lens from one of their retailers in Australia, at the same advertised price online Grey. Can't go wrong.

    Look in Land - Sea Scapes and look for "William"/s beach shots, most shot on the 50D and the Sigma 10-20. I also have the same setup, and love it.

    Here's an example of "William"/s work.
    Last edited by Roosta; 05-03-2013 at 5:22pm.
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    Thanks Roosta,
    I contacted CRKennedy and they were able to find a price match in Australia for me, pretty good.

    I have a question about the Cokin ND Grad set you mention - I have read elsewhere that the P system (matching your price) is not recommended below 20mm if not using the 'P Wide Angle Holder', which you seem to have to buy separate to the kit. Is this what you have in your setup? (ie a Conkin ND Grad set + P wide angle holder + 77mm adapter ring?)

    I can see the attraction of a full ND4 (circular or rectangular), and also the ND Grad set (potentially more useful), and also doing HDR in certain situations, tough choices!

    Cheers Craig

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    An altra wide would have its uses where the fore ground is the subject of the picture, but to capture the scale of the mountain ranges you want to get practiced at panoramas before you go.

    The 15-85mm would be my choice as a travel lens for a crop frame, its a bit pricey but a good step up from the kit lenses.

    - - - Updated - - -

    An altra wide would have its uses where the fore ground is the subject of the picture, but to capture the scale of the mountain ranges you want to get practiced at panoramas before you go.

    The 15-85mm would be my choice as a travel lens for a crop frame, its a bit pricey but a good step up from the kit lenses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeemug View Post
    Thanks Roosta,
    I contacted CRKennedy and they were able to find a price match in Australia for me, pretty good.

    I have a question about the Cokin ND Grad set you mention - I have read elsewhere that the P system (matching your price) is not recommended below 20mm if not using the 'P Wide Angle Holder', which you seem to have to buy separate to the kit. Is this what you have in your setup? (ie a Conkin ND Grad set + P wide angle holder + 77mm adapter ring?)

    I can see the attraction of a full ND4 (circular or rectangular), and also the ND Grad set (potentially more useful), and also doing HDR in certain situations, tough choices!

    Cheers Craig
    Craig, Read the section on the square filter system mate, some lenses have a front element that will hit the filter or it's not possible to fit as the lens protrudes too much. In saying that, I use the Cokin P size filter system, you can buy the kits which contain the P size holder and the ND Grad Set. I got mine from my local Camera House $99.00, but any good camera store will have them. The Adaptor ring, is for the holder to attach to the lens, via the internal ring thread (The link shows and explians this) The holder can take 3 filter, so you can play with the light quite well. Oh and another reason that some site dont like these filters, is due to Kit style lenses having front elements that rotate, no worries there with the sigma.

    There are other filter sets, like Lee and Singray, but these are glass filters and far more expensive. The Cokin P seems to be a great fit for people starting out, and works well. Look under the link and find Cokin P series, then ND Grad Kit P/N H250A

    Here is a link for a camera shop in your neck of the woods. You'll need to get the rings to suit your lens sizing, as in 72 or 77mm or 58mm and the like, DCW can supply these as well. I'm not recommending them, just a link that's all. There might be a site sponsor in QLD can can supply, you can check on the AP site sponsors link.

    Hope this helps.

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    Thanks a lot mate.
    Yep, I did a fair bit of reading/googling before typing that response to you, and being an engineer, understand the system.
    Thanks for pointing me to the respective pages, but I am very appreciative of the direct answer from you as we have the same setup. I had seen the kits on the sponsors page, and was hoping for the answer you gave me, it was all about what would fit!

    Cheers, Craig

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