Favorite lenses for shooting in caves?

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Re: Favorite lenses for shooting in caves?

Postby Squirrel Girl » Nov 14, 2011 3:17 pm

You can never have too many lenses. :big grin:
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Re: Favorite lenses for shooting in caves?

Postby pub » Nov 15, 2011 1:11 am

NSS8921 wrote:What are your thoughts on the Sigma AF 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM? And Sigma in general?

I don’t have personally experience with Sigma lens but the Sigma 8-16mm has very good reviews: Sigma AF 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Ultra Wide Zoom Lens Review Roundup

For a Canon its equiv. focal length is 12.8-25.6mm, which is a great range for caves. It has a lower minimum focal length, wider range and less expensive to the closest Canon alternative. With its 24cm minimum focus, it may be possible to get good macros but with the typical wide angle distortions, which it seems to handle better than its competitors.

I would choose it over a kit lens or the Canon alternative.
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Re: Favorite lenses for shooting in caves?

Postby innermostphoto » Nov 15, 2011 4:35 pm

Personally, I stay away from off brand lenses. Just me. Additionally, I would suggest that using headlamps as an alternative light source for cave photography only works with color correction or color balanced LED's. If you are going to color correct it later then fine otherwise your photo will be either blue or yellow. I have a bank of color balanced LED's but prefer not to use them in most circumstances due to the chance of error (movement by model) during their use. I prefer to light it up all at once, even three acre rooms!

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Re: Favorite lenses for shooting in caves?

Postby self-deleted_user » Nov 15, 2011 6:40 pm

Ob the topic of colour correction for LEDs too - make sure if you use mutlpitle leds you arent mixing the "temp" of the leds. Apexes, Coronas, etc especally run "cool" and have much blue tint. Warm stuff runs yellow. You mix this...never gonna get the right white balance even postprocessing it out is hard.

Neutral tint lights are prolly your best bet. Can even get the customduo mods in neutral tint (or any of the lights that Bif makes). I know other places make neurtral tint flashlights and stuff too (Marduke would be more help there he knows whats out there).

ps sorry for typing - tore a tendon in my hand im doing all this one handed right now.
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Re: Favorite lenses for shooting in caves?

Postby NSS8921 » Nov 16, 2011 7:16 am

Bob, thanks for the input. And thanks for that great shot of Bluff River Cave on the cover of the November NSS News.

Noted regarding the off brand lenses – I wonder how compatible they are with the camera body, even with really good reviews.

When you say color balanced, do you mean 4000-4500 K? My primary caving light is a Spark 460NW. Makes a great 80 degree flood when you remove the reflector.

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Re: Favorite lenses for shooting in caves?

Postby KD5NRH » Nov 26, 2011 7:26 am

innermostphoto wrote:Popular opinion seems to be all about megapixels when in most cases only 5mp is all you need.


This is true, unless you want to be able to crop the image much later. Plan your shots well, and a 5MP camera will produce nice 8x10s.

5MP in Carlsbad Caverns, Canon S2 IS. I have this 8x10 over my desk, and it looks just as good as some I've taken with a 10MP camera.
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Panorama of several 5MP shots. I had this one printed with the short dimension at 8", and it looks great.
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Re: Favorite lenses for shooting in caves?

Postby Steven Johnson » Jan 7, 2012 1:12 am

So I rented a 21mm f/3.2 prime lens (~31mm FF equiv) and did some in-cave shooting and was pretty happy with the focal length for all around shooting; it's a "pancake" style prime so it's really compact too. I was concerned that f/3.2 would be too slow but it it seemed to turn out ok, e.g.

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IMGP1361.jpg by Beaker, on Flickr

(Shot with a slave flash lighting it from underneath, front flash dialed down to minimum)

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IMGP1355.jpg by Beaker, on Flickr

I was happy enough that I'm tempted to buy one and use it as my caving camera lens, but I'm hesitating a bit: how much might I give up by having no longer focal length to rely on (aside from my feet)? I really don't want to carry multiple lenses (don't want to devote the space, or give in to the temptation of changing lenses in cave if I don't have to)... sounds like most folks who have chimed in tend to use some form of zoom lens (even if it's a wide-to-ultrawide zoom). Think I'm kidding myself here?
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Re: Favorite lenses for shooting in caves?

Postby jlogic_2000 » May 10, 2012 10:34 pm

Hmm, lots of good info here and some things I hadn't thought to much about. I'm about to use a Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 on a 5D2 with a ton of light. Heading to Pine Hill Cave in KY next week, so we'll see how she does.
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