1 lens for fishing -- what would it be?

msteudel

Mark Steudel
For me I've always been drawn to the 24-70 2.8 lenses. I think the 2.8 (all the way through) is enough to get a pretty good shallow depth of field that really helps separate your subject from the background. With 24mm you get just enough wide-angle without fisheye distortion. With the 70 you can kinda zoom in on stuff, but also get really good portraits of people with it. I think lenses with a wider range, don't tend to be as fast, or if they are as fast they are really expensive. It's sorta a sweet spot between speed, cost, and range and off-brand manufacturers make really good quality lenses like Tamron and Sigma. The only downside to me is that the lenses tend to be really heavy. I recently switched from the NIkon 750 which was a full frame to the Panasonic GH5 which is m4/3 and mirroless. I got the equivalent native lens (18-35 2.8) and it is sooooo small and light (yay mirrorless) AND I get both lens and body stabilization.
 

Nick Clayton

Well-Known Member
WFF Supporter
I'll never make money as a photographer but I've gotten pretty into taking pictures the last couple years. Against all the advice I was given I acquired a bunch of lenses before I really learned how to use them or what I really needed. Now I've reached the point where I have a decent understanding of what type of pics I take the most of and what type of lenses serve my needs best.

Mostly I take fishing pictures... Specifically landscapes/action shots, and fish/people pics. With that in mind I bring two cameras and two lenses on my boat in a waterproof bag. I bring Sony a6300 and a6400 cameras with Sony 10-18mm F4 and Sigma 30 mm F1.4 lenses. I also bring a Sony 18-105mm F4 that I rarely use.

The 10-18 has been a great lense for landscapes, sunrises etc, as well as pics of customers casting, fighting fish etc.

The 30 mm Sigma I use primarily for pics of people with fish. Its nice and fast and allows a nice shallow depth of field which I like for fish pics.

The problem is that the 30mm on a cropped sensor is more like 45mm which makes it a bit tough in my 17' boat. I have to get as far away as possible and lean back to get everything in the frame. On the 30' boat I run on the ocean its the perfect size.

I've been eyeballing the Sony 24mm 1.4 as a perfect lense for use out of my smaller boat but it's awfully spendy. Sigma makes a similar lense for significantly less but its larger, heavier, and isn't quite as well reviewed. I'm also considering the Sony 24-70 mm 2.8 as a replacement. That lense would be more useful for other things but I've never used a 2.8 and wonder if I would miss the speed of the 1.4 for making the people/fish really stand out in the frame.

I wish I had taken advice more at the beginning as I spent a lot of money on lenses I really don't use much. I should probably sell a few to fund my next lense purchase.
 

tkww

Member
Mostly I take fishing pictures... Specifically landscapes/action shots, and fish/people pics. With that in mind I bring two cameras and two lenses on my boat in a waterproof bag. I bring Sony a6300 and a6400 cameras with Sony 10-18mm F4 and Sigma 30 mm F1.4 lenses. I also bring a Sony 18-105mm F4 that I rarely use.

The 10-18 has been a great lense for landscapes, sunrises etc, as well as pics of customers casting, fighting fish etc.

The 30 mm Sigma I use primarily for pics of people with fish. Its nice and fast and allows a nice shallow depth of field which I like for fish pics.

The problem is that the 30mm on a cropped sensor is more like 45mm which makes it a bit tough in my 17' boat. I have to get as far away as possible and lean back to get everything in the frame. On the 30' boat I run on the ocean its the perfect size.

I've been eyeballing the Sony 24mm 1.4 as a perfect lense for use out of my smaller boat but it's awfully spendy. Sigma makes a similar lense for significantly less but its larger, heavier, and isn't quite as well reviewed. I'm also considering the Sony 24-70 mm 2.8 as a replacement. That lense would be more useful for other things but I've never used a 2.8 and wonder if I would miss the speed of the 1.4 for making the people/fish really stand out in the frame.
1) Why do you rarely use the 18-105?

2) I'm not sure the difference between 24 and 30 on a cropped sensor is going to be that meaningful. A step in the right direction, sure, but e36 vs e45...meh.

3) Sigma does make a 16 f1.4, though it's getting up there in size/weight. It looks like sony does offer 16 and 20mm f2.8 pancake lenses. The Sony 24 f1.4 looks to be amazing, but considering that a lot of what you're paying for (a larger image circle) is getting cropped away, I always find it a little hard to stomach the size, weight, and cost. But certainly the portion that the APS-C sensor is capturing would be simply incredible. (Though I don't think your clients will appreciate the difference.)
 

tkww

Member
I think because the focal range is hard to use in the boat AND it's an f4 so it's harder to get that narrow depth of field when you want it.
Sure, but since it offers the range between 18 and 30--which isn't hard to use on a boat--I'm just curious. I get f4 being less than ideal sometimes, but still looks boatloads better (no pun intended) than a phone or other small-sensor camera when it comes to DOF.
 

Nick Clayton

Well-Known Member
WFF Supporter
1) Why do you rarely use the 18-105?

2) I'm not sure the difference between 24 and 30 on a cropped sensor is going to be that meaningful. A step in the right direction, sure, but e36 vs e45...meh.

3) Sigma does make a 16 f1.4, though it's getting up there in size/weight. It looks like sony does offer 16 and 20mm f2.8 pancake lenses. The Sony 24 f1.4 looks to be amazing, but considering that a lot of what you're paying for (a larger image circle) is getting cropped away, I always find it a little hard to stomach the size, weight, and cost. But certainly the portion that the APS-C sensor is capturing would be simply incredible. (Though I don't think your clients will appreciate the difference.)

Mostly for me it's the depth of field that keeps me from using the 18-105. I tend to use that lense mostly for video which it truly excels at. For me it comes down to taking very specific pics 90% of the time. I use my cameras most often for two things....Fish pics and action shots of customers.

For a fish in the net pic I mostly use my cell phone as those pics aren't super exciting no matter how you slice it. But for pics of clients holding a keeper salmon, or occasionally releasing a fish over the side of the boat, that speed and depth of field makes a big difference. (And let's be real here...these pics are for business social media type stuff and to have cool pics to send to customers. The reaction I get to these pics from customers is very enthusiastic and positive so I enjoy doing it). Definitely not mandatory, but for my wants and needs I like to have a faster lense.

The difference between the 24mm and 30mm is definitely not huge, but from experience on my 17' center console where I generally have to take a pic from the middle of the boat, that little bit of a wider shot to work with helps a ton. If I take a pic of someone in my bow with a nice salmon, I have to have them all the way forward, and lean back super far to get the whole shot. I don't need much more, but I've played around with a 24mm and it was perfect. What you say makes total sense but in my case its pretty use specific.

That said you're right it's a ton to plunk down on that lense for the benefits which is why I haven't taken the plunge. I see both Sigma and Tamron make a similar lense to the Sony 24-70 for nearly a third of the price that are both highly regarded. The 24-70 is most appealing because it's a fast lense for the shots I want in a wide, and super useful range. I see Sony just released a 16-55mm 2.8 recently that seems interesting also.

I actually own that Sigma 16mm 1.4 and it's an impressive lense. Definitely on the larger and heavier side but that's not an issue for me. Before I pick up anything new I plan to play with that and do more cropping. My only issue with the wider lense is sometimes at 1.4 or close to that my focus ends up wrong , but of course that's due to being on a moving boat and my limited skill and experience. I recently just snagged an a6500 for cheap which has in body stabilization which could go a long way towards helping my focus issues on the water. Maybe.
 

msteudel

Mark Steudel
Tokina also makes a 11-16 2.4 which is pretty good, not sure if that ends up being too wide for ya
 

Kyle Smith

Active Member
The best single lens for me is my Lumix 20mm (40 eq) F1.7 pancake. Wide enough for landscapes, fast enough for a bitchin fish pic, sharp, great in low light, fits inside my waders. If I'm with a buddy, that's my go-to. By myself it's the Lumix 12-60 so I can spend more time fishing, then a second body in my bag with a long zoom or the 20mm.
 

Nick Clayton

Well-Known Member
WFF Supporter
I added a new lense to my arsenal and it is by far my favorite lense to date, and would absolutely be the one lense Id want to take fishing.

Sony 16-55mm F2.8 E mount for APS-C. Perfect focal range for fish pics either on a boat or on land. Can get some nice wide stuff but reach in a little bit as well when needed. Plenty fast for my needs at 2.8. Extremely sharp. I bought this lense thinking it would be the perfect fish pic lense for my boat, and its been everything I was hoping it would be.

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