Gear Talk > Lenses

"Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife

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vargyropoulos:
Hello, I need some advice on an "affordable" telephoto lens which will be used primarily for wildlife. initially I will be shooting birds and other animals within the parks in the New York city area, later on I plan to head upsate to see if I can find raptors (owls, hawks, eagles, etc). I currently have the EF70-300mm and unless I am shooting with very bright light it does not give me the sharpness that I would like.

I tried the 100-400L earlier this summer and it appears to be a decent lens
other lenses that look good on paper (price and features) are the 300F4 and the 400F5.6.
I am also considering the 70-200f2.8 ISII and a 2x converter

Does anyone have any opinion on choosing between the above mentioned lenses, or even to propose another lens/combo at a similar price range? AS far as bodies are concerned... either 5D3 or 7D... still debating on that one....

neuroanatomist:

--- Quote from: vargyropoulos on October 31, 2012, 02:17:47 PM ---I tried the 100-400L earlier this summer and it appears to be a decent lens
other lenses that look good on paper (price and features) are the 300F4 and the 400F5.6.
I am also considering the 70-200f2.8 ISII and a 2x converter

--- End quote ---


Honestly, all are very good options.  My Flickr Birds set is mostly with the 7D + 100-400mm, some with the 70-200 II + 1.4x or 2x. 

The difference between those two in terms of IQ is minimal (slightly in favor of the 100-400 at 400mm).  If you plan to do a lot of shooting with the 70-200 II bare, and only occasionally use the 2x, that's a great option.  If you will routinely need the long end of the range, I'd get it in a native lens. 

The 400/5.6 long focal length and lack of IS mean you need a high shutter speed to use the lens, it is great for birds in flight with the fast AF.  The 100-400mm is a great, and versatile lens - among the options on the table, I'd go with that one.  Do keep in mind that with the 5DIII, once the new FW comes out next year you'll be able to AF at f/8 just like the 1D X.  The shot below was with the 1D X, 100-400L + 1.4xIII at 1/320 s, f/8, ISO 10000.

kirispupis:
I currently have a 70-200/2.8 II + 2x III extender and a 300/4 IS.  I have owned the 100-400 in the past.  I agree with neuroanatomist on the 100-400 vs. 70-200 combo.  The main reason I sold my 100-400 was the tiny gain was not worth keeping it in my bag.

The 300/4 is nice but be warned that it handles extenders quite poorly.  If you can get close to small birds or are interested in photographing reptiles this makes a great lens because it has decent magnification.  At 300mm it will outperfom the 70-200 2.8 II + 1.4x but the difference is not huge.

Here are some photos with the 70-200 + 2x.


Chipmunk by CalevPhoto, on Flickr


The Successful Hunter by CalevPhoto, on Flickr


Getting Ready by CalevPhoto, on Flickr

balaji:
I have a 70-200 f4 IS USM lens and I am planning to shoot some bird shots next month (during my vacation). Is there a compatible teleconverter? Canon support person told me that he thinks only f2.8 lens are compatible with 1.4x or 2x teleconverters but does not know for sure if I can use the teleconverter with f4 and manually focus?

Please advise.

Rat:

--- Quote from: balaji on October 31, 2012, 03:27:23 PM ---I have a 70-200 f4 IS USM lens and I am planning to shoot some bird shots next month (during my vacation). Is there a compatible teleconverter? Canon support person told me that he thinks only f2.8 lens are compatible with 1.4x or 2x teleconverters but does not know for sure if I can use the teleconverter with f4 and manually focus?

Please advise.

--- End quote ---
I have the 5D3, a 70-200/4 IS and a 1.4x mark II and they play together very well, including reasonably fast AF. The 2x TC's will fit as well, but you will have to focus manually. That's a firmware measure: you get yourself a Kenko 2x TC and you should be able to use AF on f/8. In that case, though, you better be prepared for very slow AF with lots of hunting ;)

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