Picking a Lens For a Week at Disney World

What lens should I bring to Disney World

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer, but this is what I did this trip

As I was packing for the trip I debated:

What lenses to bring along?

Should I bring a tripod?

Fixed, wide angle, zooms, or telephoto?

I initially planned to bring a 17-40mm ƒ/4, 24-70 ƒ/2.8L and a 70-200 ƒ/2.8 and was sad that I couldn’t bring my broken 50mm 1.4 along. At the last minute I took the big 70-200 out of my bag to make room for souvenirs on the way home.

Glad I did, never missed it!

The first two days I had my 17-40 F4 with me(which is a new lens for me). I enjoyed its weight, optics and ergonomics. I did miss the two extra stops I get with a wider aperture lens like a F/2.8. I enjoyed the extra wide space for capturing the parks. I did have trouble capturing my kids as easily with 40mm. They didn’t seem to like that I had to get right in their face to capture them, maybe that’s because they are used to a longer lens. Here are a few captures from those days:

Canon 5d Mark III, Canon 17-40 ƒ/4
3 exposure HDR, handheld

Flower and Garden Festival-Epcot Canon 5d Mark iii, Canon 17mm-40mm ƒ/4
3 exposure HDR, Handheld, processed in Nik’s HDR Efex Pro 2

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Canon 5d Mark III, Canon 17mm-40mm ƒ/4
ISO200, 17mm at ƒ/4.5, (1/3200)

The rest of the time I had my trusty 24mm-70mm ƒ/2.8L… I still think this is the most versatile lens to carry around the parks. Wide enough to get fun landscapes and enough telephoto to get fun family captures. I don’t usually carry a flash unit so I do enjoy the extra two stops this lens gives me without having to boost ISO.

Downside: It’s big and clunky.

Here’s a few captures from that lens:

Animal Kingdom
Canon 5d Mark III, Canon 24mm-70mm ƒ/2.8L
3 exposure HDR, Handheld, processed in Niks HDR Efex Pro 2 and Perfect Photo Studio 8

Riles Island(formerly Discovery Island before Animal Kingdom opened up)
Canon 5d Mark III, Canon 24mm-70mm ƒ/2.8L
ISO 250, 32mm at ƒ/2.8

Mater Topiary
Canon 5d Mark III, Canon 24mm-70mm ƒ/2.8L
ISO 500 at ƒ/6.3, 1/400s

I did bring a tripod this trip. I threw it into my back pack as I headed into the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks show! Yes I set up right the middle of Main St. And hung my back pack from the ballast hook on my Gitzo and hooked up my cable release and had fun capturing the fireworks over the castle. In fact I did it two nights in a row as the first was spent remembering how to capture fireworks all over again. Night two felt much better and resulted in much better shots. First night I used the 17-40 and night two I used the 24-70. I think either lens would have worked just fine as both were set at 40mm. The shots the second night were definitely better technique vs. different equipment.

Canon 5d Mark III, Canon 17mm-40mm ƒ/4, Tripod with cable release
ISO 100 ƒ/13 t-15.4sec, slight crop from original

Canon 5d Mark III, Canon 24mm-70mm ƒ/2.8L, Tripod and cable Release
ISO 100 ƒ/13 t 5.9s

Canon 5d Mark III, Canon 24mm-70mm ƒ/2.8L
ISO 100 ƒ/13 t 4.3s

As a side note, I’m always amazed at how many flashes I see going off during the fireworks!

For this trip I enjoyed the trusty Canon 24-70 ƒ/2.8L and I did have my iPhone in my pocket as well.

I also liked bringing my tripod with me and only carried it in for the fireworks.

In general I liked having the zooms with me, but I could make a case that all one would need is a 50mm or a point and shoot. It really all depends on what you want to photograph!

My wife was only carrying her iPhone and got some great shots and often sees things far differently than I do.

One last thing! Give your camera to the Disney Photo Pass guys/gals to take your picture too!!! I give them my camera to take a few captures and then they take a few with theirs to compare which one is better.

What gear do you carry to Disney?