September 22, 2014, 08:43:46 AM

Author Topic: Need opinions on telephoto choice  (Read 4846 times)

kirispupis

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 308
    • View Profile
Need opinions on telephoto choice
« on: October 10, 2012, 11:58:33 PM »
I have been lucky to save up for almost all the lenses I want within the last several years.  I currently have the following - MP-E 65, 100L macro, TS-E 17, TS-E 24, TS-E 90, 16-35 2.8 II, 24-105, 8-15 fisheye, and 70-200/2.8 II.  For the most part I have all of the tripods, lighting, and other things I desire.  My one big hole is a telephoto.

As one of my biggest joys is bird and wildlife photography, this is a big hole.  Ever since I started in photography it has been my desire to have a good telephoto, but right now the best I can do is a 2x III extender on my 70-200/2.8 II.  It does a decent job and I sold my 100-400 because the combo was very comparable, but now I would like something a bit better.

I am mainly looking for something to photograph birds and mammals that I come across.  I am not a true birder, but I do like photographing them and have learned to do a decent job with the equipment I have right now so I am reaching the point where equipment will make a big difference.

I have done a great deal of research for some time, but being ever cautious I thought I would ask for opinions on my choice to make sure it is a wise one - as we are dealing with a lot of money.

First, $7k is about my maximum.  Even that will be extremely difficult and will likely mean no photography purchases for the next year.  I will have to seriously beg my better half and I am unlikely to be able to do something like this for many years afterwards.

Weight and bulk are concerns and are not.  Most of my photography is local, so I have the ability to carry something large.  However, we do travel somewhere interesting each year and sometimes that place has decent wildlife.  Next year we are going to Australia, where it would be nice to use it.  However if the lens is too large to take, then I'll be OK.

Note that this will be for a 5D3.  I used to own a 7D but was not happy with the image quality so I sold it when I bought the 5D3.

The following are options I have considered.

600 II, 500 II, 800/5.6, 400 2.8 II  - These are all above my budget
200-400/1.4x - Doesn't actually exist and will certainly be above my budget
Used 600 I - Strongly considered this, but the thing is so huge.  I handhold most of my bird shots now.  Won't happen with this one.
Used 400 2.8 I - This lens does not handle extenders well
Used 500 I - Smaller than the 600, but used prices are not much less.  This is a tough one, but I think my choice is the better way to go.
Used 300/2.8 - A much cheaper choice, but in this case I believe the 300/2.8 II is the best choice.

The following are reasons why I am leaning towards the 300/2.8 II.
- I am a sucker for new things.  Call me overcautious, but I prefer to have the latest and greatest.
- Optically it looks amazing.  Looking at these charts it appears to compete well with the 500/4 I - http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=117&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=1&API=1&LensComp=739&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=2&APIComp=1
- It handles extenders very well - even a 2x.  I am sure AF will take a good hit, but I'll have a decent 600/5.6 that will be sharper and likely have better AF than my existing 70-200/2.8 II + 2x.
- It's smaller - making hand holding much easier and I can take it on vacation as necessary

Does this sound logical, or am I overlooking something?


Below are some examples of the photos I have taken so far.

The Successful Hunter by CalevPhoto, on Flickr


Getting Ready by CalevPhoto, on Flickr
5D3|TS-E 24 II|TS-E 17|TS-E 90|200-400/1.4x|MP-E 65|100/2.8 IS Macro|70-200/2.8 IS II||16-35/2.8 II|EOS M

canon rumors FORUM

Need opinions on telephoto choice
« on: October 10, 2012, 11:58:33 PM »

PackLight

  • Guest
Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2012, 12:33:51 AM »
Either the 300mm f/2.8 II with a 1.4x or the version 1 500mm f/4 would be nice combinations. 
I would take the original 500mm over the new 300mm if you wanted the length, and if it were just for wildlife.
The 300mm is so much smaller and lighter you will have more situations other than wildlife that you would want to use it.

The next step down I would take from those combinations is the old version of the 300mm f/2.8. With the 1.4x it produces really nice results. You could get in this set up for around 4K.

I own both the 300mm f/2.8 I and 500mm f/4 I.

Any of those three options are excellent.
On another note, I am selling my excellent 500mm version I and upgrading to the new 600mm. For 62 nice crisp US $100 bills a person could own it.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2012, 12:40:03 AM by PackLight »

Menace

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1372
  • New Zealand
    • View Profile
Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2012, 02:13:43 AM »
I vote for 300 2.8 II for smaller size, lighter weight and portability. Even with a 2x III extender it will still be pretty sharp and you'll shooting more than wildlife  :)

Do let us know which one you get.

Cheers
1Dx | 5D III
85 1.2L II | 100 2.8 | 400 2.8L IS II 
24-70 2.8L II | 70-200 2.8L IS II

kirispupis

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 308
    • View Profile
Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2012, 11:05:46 AM »
Thanks Packlight.  The used price of the 500 is also one reason why I am shying away from it.  Recently one became available on Fredmiranda for $5900, but others I have seen others at $6100 and $6200.  Contrast this with the 600.  While there are people asking $7000-$7500 for it, I have seen very good condition ones for $6300-$6700.

I suspect the small difference in price is because the 600 version I is more of a niche lens due to its weight while the 500 is more commonly sought.  However for me it doesn't really make sense to pay even $5900 for a 500 when I can buy a 600 for only a few hundred more.

So far I am still aiming for the 300/2.8 II, but I intend to wait until December to make a move.  That will give me time to see if Canon announces anything interesting.  For example a new 100-400 would be very tempting.  While the 300/2.8 II will be a lot better, the expected $3k price tag of the 100-400 will not require me to take as bad of a hit financially.  Perhaps closer to the holidays I will see a better deal for the 300/2.8 II anyways.
5D3|TS-E 24 II|TS-E 17|TS-E 90|200-400/1.4x|MP-E 65|100/2.8 IS Macro|70-200/2.8 IS II||16-35/2.8 II|EOS M

Mt Spokane Photography

  • Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
  • ********
  • Posts: 8687
    • View Profile
Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2012, 11:22:39 AM »
300mm is really not long enough for birds, don't buy one to use with a TC.  Look for a used 500mm IS MK I.
The 100-400mm IS MK II has been rumored for 7+ years, I would not count on any rumor.  The existing one is about the best value around.  I find that it autofocuses fine with a Kenko Pro 300 DGX on my 10D as well as my 5D Mark III.  I just bought the TC and will look at the quality in a couple of weeks after my hand heals from recent surgery.
The 400mm DO is another option to look at.  The newer ones seem to be pretty good.  Canon has refined the process for making DO lenses over the years.  The trick is to control CA's, and they are doing it well.

PackLight

  • Guest
Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2012, 11:47:24 AM »
Thanks Packlight.  The used price of the 500 is also one reason why I am shying away from it.  Recently one became available on Fredmiranda for $5900, but others I have seen others at $6100 and $6200.  Contrast this with the 600.  While there are people asking $7000-$7500 for it, I have seen very good condition ones for $6300-$6700.

I suspect the small difference in price is because the 600 version I is more of a niche lens due to its weight while the 500 is more commonly sought.  However for me it doesn't really make sense to pay even $5900 for a 500 when I can buy a 600 for only a few hundred more.

So far I am still aiming for the 300/2.8 II, but I intend to wait until December to make a move.  That will give me time to see if Canon announces anything interesting.  For example a new 100-400 would be very tempting.  While the 300/2.8 II will be a lot better, the expected $3k price tag of the 100-400 will not require me to take as bad of a hit financially.  Perhaps closer to the holidays I will see a better deal for the 300/2.8 II anyways.

The weight of the 600mm is the big issue. It is the difference between being able to hand hold the lens or not. I debated this before I bought my 500mm. It is the reason I went with the 500mm. After I found out how big the 500mm really is, it is a decision I didn’t regret.

If you do see a discounted used 500mm keep this in mind, the supreteles are used by pro's, at a recent Nascar event I watched the pro photog's set the cameras on the ground, against the fence and treat their equipment fairly rough. I think they were employees. Look for a lens that has been owned by someone that it is there only supertele and is there pride and joy. It will most likely be in much better shape.

IMO the 300mm is really too short for wildlife, especially on a full frame sensor. I use my 300mm version I for kids games and events, but it just doesn't have the reach the 500mm does. I know the II version has better IQ, but it will still be a compromise to get the lighter weight. The 300mm would be a good substitute for wildlife if you do not have the 500mm, but not a good pick over the 500mm as the primary wildlife lens.

coreyhkh

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 62
    • View Profile
Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2012, 12:34:42 PM »
I picked up a 500 f4 mk1 3 months ago and its awesome, no regrets buying it, it also works really good with the 1.4tc and its still super sharp.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2012, 12:34:42 PM »

neuroanatomist

  • CR GEEK
  • ********
  • Posts: 14458
    • View Profile
Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2012, 12:42:40 PM »
I agree with Mt. Spokane and PackLight - 300mm is not long enough for birds/wildlife, and getting a lens with the intent to routinely use it with a TC, especially a 2x TC, is a bad idea. 

300mm won't be enough.  420mm will not usually be enough (and you have 400mm now, with the 70-200 II + 2xIII).  500mm will often be enough, especially with 22 MP - and the bare 500mm MkI is better than the 300 II + 2xIII.  As you linked above, with the 500 I you also have the capability to go to 700mm with the 1.4x TC, with IQ similar to the 600mm of the 300 II + 2xIII.

The 600mm I is too heavy to handhold, and harder to transport - it's definitely more of a niche lens, whereas the 500 I is popular for birds/wildlife mainly because it can be handheld and transported easily.  I got the 600 II because it's about the same weight as the 500 I, and while it's definitely handholdable, I'd not want it to be any heavier.  The 500 I will fit in airline carryon luggage. 

If your intent was to shoot sports mostly, with an occasional need for something longer, the 300 + TCs would be a great option.  But for a primary birds/wildlife use, I really think the 500 I is the way to go.
EOS 1D X, EOS M, and lots of lenses
______________________________
Flickr | TDP Profile/Gear List

TexPhoto

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 923
    • View Profile
Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2012, 06:12:35 PM »
I have a 400mm 2.8 IS I, and both vIII extenders. I was not aware it was was a bad combo  :D

I agree with the above posts.  My combo is because I am 80/20 sports/wildlife.

AlanF

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1084
    • View Profile
Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2012, 01:39:04 AM »
I went through this debate some months ago and chose the 300mm f/2.8 II paired with the 2xTC Mk III. The two were designed for each other and there is very little degradation of image quality. I don't bother to use my 1.4xTC Mk III as the 2 is so good and you need every mm for birding.  The combo is light enough to carry around all day. I don't use a tripod and the IS is good enough.  The focussing is very precise but a little slow with the TC on.  Without the TC, the 300 f/2.8 is lightning fast and just about the sharpest lens ever. 
Alan
5D III, 70D, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, Sigma 10-20, Tamron 150-600.

Halfrack

  • 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 466
    • View Profile
Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2012, 03:58:29 AM »
How do you like the reach of your 7d with the 70-200 + 2x?  While the IQ isn't what you're going for, it will allow for better discussion as to how far you're looking to reach.  A 400/2.8v1 with the 5d3 for better images, with the 7d/7d2 for more reach?
"Me owning a lens shop is kind of like having an alcoholic bar tender." - Roger Cicala

hawaiisunsetphoto

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 68
    • View Profile
Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2012, 05:28:03 AM »
I think that you have the short end already covered with your 70-200 and extenders.  I've owned both the 500 and 600.  The 500 f/4 IS  will open up a new realm for you.   The price difference between the 500 and 600 is immaterial to the decision, IMHO.
1Dx, 15mm f/2.8 fisheye, 16-35mm f/2.8L II, 17-55mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8L II, 24-105mm f/4L, Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 85mm f/1.2L II, 100mm f/2.8L IS, 135mm f/2.0L, 200mm f/2L, 1.4x III, 2x III, 600EX RT (3), Einstein, Sony RX100 with Nauticam housing

neuroanatomist

  • CR GEEK
  • ********
  • Posts: 14458
    • View Profile
Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2012, 08:20:28 AM »
I went through this debate some months ago and chose the 300mm f/2.8 II paired with the 2xTC Mk III. The two were designed for each other and there is very little degradation of image quality. I don't bother to use my 1.4xTC Mk III as the 2 is so good and you need every mm for birding.

True.  Since you are apparently shooting APS-C, and the OP is shooting FF, the need for a longer lens is stronger. For FF, I'd take a 500mm + 1.4x over a 300mm + 2x.
EOS 1D X, EOS M, and lots of lenses
______________________________
Flickr | TDP Profile/Gear List

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2012, 08:20:28 AM »

PackLight

  • Guest
Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2012, 09:16:22 AM »
I went through this debate some months ago and chose the 300mm f/2.8 II paired with the 2xTC Mk III. The two were designed for each other and there is very little degradation of image quality. I don't bother to use my 1.4xTC Mk III as the 2 is so good and you need every mm for birding.

True.  Since you are apparently shooting APS-C, and the OP is shooting FF, the need for a longer lens is stronger. For FF, I'd take a 500mm + 1.4x over a 300mm + 2x.

This is very true, if you are shooting FF then the longer reach is much more important.

OP,  if you consult the ISO charts what you will see is that the 300 II with the 1.4x looks very similar to the naked 500mm. However witht he 2x it is much fuzzier in the midframe and edges than both the naked 500mm and the 500mm with the 1.4x. From experience I find that my 500mm with the 1.4x is alright and the IQ is acceptable. If the 300mm with 2x chart is any indication from all the comparisons I have done, to me it would be a notch or two less, probably barely acceptable as it is still looks better than the 100-400mm at 400mm. The 300mm II is not "as good as" the 500mm at it's native length or above. However as I said before it is a fine second choice.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=117&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=1&API=0&LensComp=739&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=2&APIComp=2

AlanF

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1084
    • View Profile
Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2012, 11:05:25 AM »
The 500mm MkII is a lovely lens, but it weighs 1.4 lb more than the 300, which makes it too heavy for hand holding. I had a 400mm L, and now have a very sharp copy of a 100-400mm L IS, which is as sharp at the centre as the 400 mm prime. But, the 300mm f/2.8 II with the 2xTC Mk III is far, far sharper: compare the MTF charts for both lenses on the Canon site. I love the 100-400mm for travel - it is quite light and closes up small for packing. But, at weekends when I drive out for photographing, birds, it's the 300 with both extenders I take.
Alan
5D III, 70D, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, Sigma 10-20, Tamron 150-600.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Need opinions on telephoto choice
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2012, 11:05:25 AM »