What's a really good lens to take to an aquarium?

Started Jul 20, 2013 | Discussions
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Smiller4128 Regular Member • Posts: 452
What's a really good lens to take to an aquarium?

Hello,

I picked up my D7100 and 16-85mm Nikon Lens just a couple of months ago and have been loving it! I wasn't sure about making the switch from Canon (T4i) but I'm very happy I did. I've taken it everywhere with me so far! Small weekend trips, hikes along the river, even to Catalina island! However, I'm looking at going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in a few weeks and was thinking I might need a better lens for the low light conditions. I was thinking of picking up the 35mm 1.8 but I'm not sure if that'd be the best option or not so I'm looking for some advice and recommendations?

 Smiller4128's gear list:Smiller4128's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Fujifilm X-T10 Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R Olympus 12-40mm F2.8
Nikon D7100
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David Lal Veteran Member • Posts: 8,575
A fisheye?
5

n/t

JeffryZ Senior Member • Posts: 2,268
Re: What's a really good lens to take to an aquarium?

The only aquarium I have visited was fairly dark in the fish exhibits so you will definately want something fast.  How wide depends on how much of the aquarium you want to show or if you want more closeup shots of the fishes. The 35mm may work fine.  Even though it is not as fast you may also try using the lens you have.  Being dark you will probably need to use higher ISOs to avoid motion blurs.

If you do use any flash (generally not recommended) keep it at an angle to the glass so it doesn't bounce off the glass and into your lens causing a hot spot. It will also show any fingerprints on the glass better.  Another suggestion- wear dark clothing and have your camera as close to the glass as possible (unless say trying to show the entire tank) to minimize reflections.  Enjoy the trip and share some pics when you get back!

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 JeffryZ's gear list:JeffryZ's gear list
Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX +1 more
RUcrAZ
RUcrAZ Veteran Member • Posts: 4,418
Re: What's a really good lens to take to an aquarium?

Hello,

You already have a great combination, and you do need as wide-angle a lens as you can get to do justice to aquariums. I have had excellent luck with a similar cam-lens combination recently, with relatively high ISOs. You might want to take a look at this thread I started not long ago.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51731457

The Monterey Bay aquarium is great, and it has several outdoor settings, where the Pacific Sea Otters come to play, so a telephoto lens is useful.

In my experience, typically aquariums are dark, flash is either not permitted or is counterproductive, but the new cameras show remarkable quality in spite of high ISOs.

Have fun (good luck with parking, too!)

RUcrAZ

Alberto Tanikawa
Alberto Tanikawa Senior Member • Posts: 1,910
Re: What's a really good lens to take to an aquarium?

I've been to a few aquariums in the Northeast (Norwalk, Boston, and Mystic), and every time I bring three lenses that I use most: 28-70/2.8, 105/2.8G macro, and 24/1.4G.The 28-70 is my general purpose lens, and the 105 and 24 are more specific to certain situations. Like in a tank of jellyfish, what I thought was slime/dirt on the inside of the glass, turned out to be tiny jellyfish larvae that I was able to capture with the macro lens. I used the 24 for the shark tanks at Norwalk's and Boston's aquariums. A fast lens is always helpful when in low light situations. I would love to go to the one in Monterey Bay one of these days

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Alberto T.

 Alberto Tanikawa's gear list:Alberto Tanikawa's gear list
Nikon D3 Nikon D200 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF +12 more
JPMontez
JPMontez Regular Member • Posts: 193
Re: What's a really good lens to take to an aquarium?
1

As wide and fast as possible!

I got satisfactory results with a D7000 and a 35 f1.8 in Lisbon Oceanarium. But it was a chalenge to work in such conditions... Very low light, glass wall distortion, fish moving fast, getting a slot close to the glass wall (without people in between...) and when there managing the angle limitation...

 JPMontez's gear list:JPMontez's gear list
Nikon D7000 Fujifilm X-T1 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Tokina AT-X Pro 100mm f/2.8 Macro Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS +4 more
R Dunlop Contributing Member • Posts: 970
Re: What's a really good lens to take to an aquarium?
1

I second the statement "as wide as possible" and forget flash unless you can direct it from above into the water. The light will just show up the tiny spots floating in the water like snow. Need to rest the camera on the glass and take a cloth to give it a wipe first. At super wide (8mm - 16mm) you will have lots of DOF, try and use hyperfocal distance settings and leave the camera on manual focus with max aperture. Keep ISO up to improve shutter speed and if you are resting on the glass its better to turn OFF VR.  Same as for a tripod. Have fun.....

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Hotworks

Cope
Cope Veteran Member • Posts: 6,327
Re: What's a really good lens to take to an aquarium?

I have had good results with any 2.8 lens.  I have not tried my 16-85, but what ever lens I use, I attach a circular polarizer.  Our local zoo has some nice exhibits, but the glass is usually either dirty or steamed up due to Houston's high humidity.

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Never ask a man where he's from. If he is from Texas, he'll tell you. Otherwise, don't embarrass him.

 Cope's gear list:Cope's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 (IF) DX +3 more
Sammy Yousef
Sammy Yousef Veteran Member • Posts: 4,583
Re: What's a really good lens to take to an aquarium?
1

I don't have a lot of experience shooting in aquariums but what I have used is:

Nikon 28-105D (bought used). - really worth having some macro ability handy!
Nikon 18-70DX
Nikon 70-300VR

SB-800, SB-900.

Flash can be used at the aquarium if you take care to prevent reflection off glass and if the water isn't dirty. The way some aquariums are lit, there is really no other way. You will often get a very different look with vs without flash.

Bump up the ISO and don't be afraid to experiment with FP-sync for faster shutter speed.Though you can get weird effects because FP sync doesn't stop motion you can compensate with high shutter speed to some degree so long as the fish are nice and close.

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Sammy.
My forum postings reflect my own opinions and not those of my employer. I'm not employed in the photo business.

Alberto Tanikawa
Alberto Tanikawa Senior Member • Posts: 1,910
Re: What's a really good lens to take to an aquarium?

Sample shot with 24/1.4G

24mm, f/1.4, 1/125s, ISO 1800

Sample shot with 105/2.8G Macro

105mm, f/4.2, 1/40s, ISO 6400

No flash on both, only available light and handheld.

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Alberto T.

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Nikon D3 Nikon D200 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF +12 more
GlennW Senior Member • Posts: 1,897
Re: What's a really good lens to take to an aquarium?

Smiller4128 wrote:

Hello,

I picked up my D7100 and 16-85mm Nikon Lens just a couple of months ago and have been loving it! I wasn't sure about making the switch from Canon (T4i) but I'm very happy I did. I've taken it everywhere with me so far! Small weekend trips, hikes along the river, even to Catalina island! However, I'm looking at going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in a few weeks and was thinking I might need a better lens for the low light conditions. I was thinking of picking up the 35mm 1.8 but I'm not sure if that'd be the best option or not so I'm looking for some advice and recommendations?

With your D7100, the 16-85 will be fine for general zoo/aquarium pictures. You may want something longer only if whales are out in the bay. The close focus ability helps. You could get a close focus achromat filter to cut the focus distance. A plarizer will be needed for the glass.

A 35 1.8 may be fine for low light.

The 10.5mm could be cool to get some video. not sure what kind of "big tank" they may have. Would be a different view if they do any whale/dolphin show.

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 GlennW's gear list:GlennW's gear list
Nikon D5300 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +4 more
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