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Author Topic: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife  (Read 14115 times)

vargyropoulos

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"Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« on: October 31, 2012, 02:17:47 PM »
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....

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"Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« on: October 31, 2012, 02:17:47 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2012, 02:27:20 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

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.
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kirispupis

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2012, 03:23:38 PM »
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
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

balaji

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #3 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.

Rat

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2012, 03:41:24 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.
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 ;)
5DIII, 17-40, 24-105, 70-200/4IS, 50/1.8II, 85/1.8 and a truckload of gimmicks and bits.

balaji

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2012, 03:45:12 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.
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 ;)

Thanks for your quick response. Will there be an IQ difference between Canon and Kenko?
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 03:47:20 PM by balaji »

AprilForever

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2012, 04:08:52 PM »
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....


Or, ye can bite the bullet and get a sued 500 f4 or 300 2.8... and sell them for as much or more as you bought them...
What is truth?

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2012, 04:08:52 PM »

Rat

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2012, 04:11:43 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.
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 ;)

Thanks for your quick response. Will there be an IQ difference between Canon and Kenko?
Sure there is, and normally you'd pick Canon over Kenko. Kenko, however, has a whole series of TC's, some pretty good, some pretty bad, most of 'em cheaper than their Canon counterparts. I picked up a 2nd hand 1.7x which is very 'not very good' (but it was cheap though!), I hear their top ones are between Canon's mark II and mark III, IQ-wise. However, I cannot speak from experience.
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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2012, 04:46:27 PM »
Decide how much reach you need, then decide how you want to get to it.

For max range on the cheap, 7D+100-400L is hard to beat. Any amount of zoom can be very handy unless you can work the shoot with a prime, or use multiple bodies to increase coverage.

One lens not mentioned so far would be the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 OS HSM. Since they announced a newer model in the pipeline, the current version seems to have taken a bit of a dip in pricing and is actually cheaper than the 70-200 II now. It is a heavy lens though, but stick a 2x TC on it and you get up to 600mm zoom! Quality wide open isn't the best but still respectable, and stopping down a step perks it up.
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pierceography

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2012, 05:01:02 PM »
+1 for the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II + 2x converter.

Not the best shot in the world, but I've only had the converter for two weeks and this guy was real shy.
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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2012, 05:17:34 PM »
Have you considered the 70-300 L ?  It is one upgrade (from the lens you have) that has been outstanding.  It was my first L glass and still one of my favorite.  The difference between it and the consumer 70-300 IS is HUGE.

I chose it after being unimpressed with the 100-400 (and its dust plunger mechanism) and a 70-200 2.8 II with a teleconverter.  The only time I choose my 70-200 2.8 II over the 70-300 is for low light sports photography or complete night shots.  When after wildlife (during the day), the 70-200 remains nocturnal.


AlanF

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2012, 05:53:35 PM »
I used to use a 7D with a 70-200 f/4 IS, with and without a Canon 1.4 TC and it is great if you can get close enough to birds.  I use for hiking around a 7D with a 100-400mm L, and it is even better.  It will also focus well with a Kenco DG Pro 1.4x TC at f/8.  The 100-400 m L is generally considered to be superior to the 300mm f/4 L because of its extra reach.  I used to have a 400mm f/5.6 L, but changed it for a good copy of the 100-400mm L IS because it is just as sharp at the centre and the advantages of IS and zoom are overwhelming.  But my favourite is the 300mm f/2.8 II with a 2xTC, which is far too expensive. Frankly, on a limited budget the 100-400mm is the clear winner.
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DianeK

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2012, 06:59:10 PM »
Casting my vote for the 70-300L.  It's on my 7D all the time.  Love that lens.
Diane

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2012, 06:59:10 PM »

IIIHobbs

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2012, 07:39:14 PM »
The 300 f4 is very good, and works well with the 1.4x II. It is much more affordable than the 70-200 II, new or used.

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2012, 07:50:27 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.
Both the 1.4x II and 2x II converters are compatible with the 70-200 f4 IS.  Only the 1.4 retains auto focus, the 2x will need MF.  See page 13 in the 70-200 manual.   I do not know about the Mk III converters.  I have and use the 70-200 f4 IS and 1.4x II. 

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2012, 07:50:27 PM »