Ha Long Bay boat sinking

This morning I was surprised and saddened to see news from Vietnam that a tourist boat had sunk in Ha Long Bay.

Back in 2005 I took a very similar trip and it was a highlight of my visit to Vietnam.

evening in Ha Long Bay

The story is really horrible.  The boat sank – fast – at about 5am so most of the vacationers were asleep in their beds.  There were no rough seas, there was land (and other tourist boats) nearby.  This was an easily survivable accident had it happened at any other time of the day.

I’ve often read about tragedies like these around the world and wondered how close I’ve been to something like this.  When I think about these incidents, I always assume that I’ll be able to survive – that I have the right instincts that will show me the way (kind of akin to George knocking over the grandmother while running from the apt. fire in that Seinfeld episode, truth be told).  But an accident like this – in the middle of the night – it’s kind of hard to be ready for something like this.

wanted: new Nikon lens designs

As I patiently (or not so) await the announcement and eventual arrival of the Nikon D700 replacement, it got me thinking about what ideal lenses I’d have for that camera.

Over the years many lenses have served the role as ‘primary’ on the various cameras I’ve owned.  Generally these days that falls to the 18-55 f/2.8 (- or something like that – My D300 hat the 1.4x crop factor and I still think in terms of 35mm focal lengths, so I actually think of that lens as my 24-70.. I can never remember the actual focal length..).

I like the lens well enough, the issue I have is the bulk of the lens.  The ‘pro’ series lenses are always large, I get that.  The problem is, there’s often a big step down from the pro lenses.

My understanding is that this is an area where Canon does well, offering a stepped down version of their top-of-the-line that is still really nice.  So that’s what I’d like to see from Nikon.

Nikon recently introduced an f/4 zoom lens, which sounds just about right.  The problem? It’s a 24-120.  I’ve owned one of those in the past (albeit the not-as-well-designed predecessor) and I had 3 primary problems with it:  First, the lens had pretty bad distortion; Second, it’s nearly as large as the F/2.8 lenses (because of the additional focal length); Third, because of the large focal length zoom the controls didn’t provide a solid feel.

So, what I’d like to see is this:

First, a 24-70 f/4.0 lens with the same handling and build quality of the pro f/2.8 line but smaller and lighter (because of the larger aperture).

Second, a refresh of the 70-300 incorporating the same f/4 aperture throughout the range.  If need be, restrict it to 200, but really that shouldn’t be necessary.  This can be a little larger than the current lens, but ideally not much.

Third, both lenses should share filter size so that 1 walk around set of filters can be applied to either

Finally, the 70-300 should be compatible with the latest 1.4x teleconverter for longer shots (and to obviate the need for something like the 80-400, itself in desperate need of a refresh)

OK Nikon, I’m waiting.