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
, on FlickrGetting Ready
, on Flickr