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Author Topic: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife  (Read 14435 times)

Basti187

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2012, 08:13:19 PM »
I do own a 100-400mm L and I m really happy with it, very versatile, as I do lots of filming with it as well.
AF could be a bit faster tbh, but for that price range you can't complain about it.


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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2012, 08:13:19 PM »

johnf3f

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2012, 08:24:57 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.
I am a fan of this lens as well. It has greater resolution than the (sharp copy) 100-400 I had for over 5 years. So much so that I could crop to outrange the 100-400 before I had to resort to extenders. The 300 is not as versatile for most people but I have found it more versatile, than the 100-400,  for my (wildlife) uses. So much so that I have now moved to the 300 F2.8 L IS. Doh! now I have to sell my F4!
Do, also have a good look at the 400 F5.6 - there are a lot of people out there getting excellent images with them!

tron

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2012, 08:59:15 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.
I am a fan of this lens as well. It has greater resolution than the (sharp copy) 100-400 I had for over 5 years. So much so that I could crop to outrange the 100-400 before I had to resort to extenders. The 300 is not as versatile for most people but I have found it more versatile, than the 100-400,  for my (wildlife) uses. So much so that I have now moved to the 300 F2.8 L IS. Doh! now I have to sell my F4!
Do, also have a good look at the 400 F5.6 - there are a lot of people out there getting excellent images with them!
I can comment only on the 300mm f/4L NON-IS. It is so sharp! The 1.4X II keeps sharpness well. In fact with the 1.4X II it was sharper than my 100-400 at a 1/3 closer aperture! However, it does not have IS and it does not take 2X II so well...

IIIHobbs

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2012, 09:09:27 PM »
I am a fan of this lens as well. So much so that I have now moved to the 300 F2.8 L IS. Doh! now I have to sell my F4!

Same!

The 300 f4 IS was a useful focal length for me as well; I upgraded to the 300 f2.8 IS earlier this year.

weixing

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2012, 09:17:49 PM »
Hi,
    I own an EF 400mm F5.6L lens and and highly recommend it. IMHO, this is the one of the best (if not the best) affordable birding/wildlife lens out there in the market... good image quality, fast AF and affordable.

   IMHO, AF of EF 70-200mm F2.8 II + 2x  is very, very slow... a lot of small birds move very fast and you'll miss a lot of opportunity .

    EF 300mm F4L IS is also excellent, but more expensive than EF 400mm F5.6L and you still need to add a 1.4x tele-extender which is not cheap and slow down the AF.

   The only "disadvantage" of EF 400mm F5.6L is no IS, but not really an issue to me because I always use a tripod as I've problem hand holding a >= 300mm super telephoto lens even with IS and my current DSLR (60D) doesn't really perform well at high ISO (I seldom use above 1600).

   Anyway, for your reference, the attached is an image of Collared Scops Owl I recently took with the 60D + EF 400mm F5.6L (Tv: 1/20s, Av: 6.3, IS 800) and a 100% crop over the focus area. Process with DPP using standard setting and brightness +0.33 and resize in PS. No additional sharpening had been done.

   Happy shopping and have a nice day.

pj1974

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2012, 09:29:21 PM »
Another vote for the 70-300mm L lens - on a APS-C body (eg 7D) - it is a wonderful portable wildlife combo.

As the OP didn't state that more range was needed, but better sharpness (esp in poor light) - I can attest the 70-300mm L is great, sharp, contrasty - also in low light - AF works well, 4 stop IS a real bonus.

Paul
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CharlieB

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2012, 09:43:22 PM »
300/4.0L  USM, non IS.  original 1.4 extender

I dunno... works for me.  IS would be nice, but I'm not lacking keepers with the non-IS

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2012, 09:43:22 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2012, 09:50:47 PM »
Depends on what you shoot - and when.  In good light, or with fast subjects, not having IS isn't an issue. I often don't have enough light for 400mm f/5.6, 1/640 s at ISO 3200 on a 7D - being able to use 1/250 s handheld is a big deal...for me. 

As for reach, OP mentions raptors in fall/winter. You can never have enough reach. I'm now at 1200mm f/8 and still cropping sometimes.
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Hillsilly

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2012, 09:55:32 PM »
Being a rumors site, I'll just mention that a Tamron 150-600 was discussed recently.  If it becomes reality, I'll be keen to hear confirmation, reviews and pricing on that.  There are also persistent rumors of the Canon 400 f/5.6 being upgraded to include IS.  Personally, the only long lens that I've used is the 400 f/5.6.  Its a good lens at an ok price.  But you give up the flexibility of a zoom and the IS of the 100-400. During early morning and late afternoon, when you're likely to get great photos, IS can be handy (although, obviously is doesn't stop subject movement).

Lately, I've gone a different path.  Realising that I can't really justify what I really want (or need?) - a 500mm or 600mm - I'm using smaller lenses and trying to get in closer or having more background to portray wildlife in their natural environment.  While its no good for birds in flight, it is much better on the back and wallet. Alternatively, for a small outlay, you can hook a Panasonic 100-300 on to a Micro Four Thirds body.  This gives you an image stabilised 200-600 equivalent.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 10:33:17 PM by Hillsilly »
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vargyropoulos

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2012, 10:15:12 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the great feedback on this thread, I will agree with neuroanatomist that to get the "professional" looking tack sharp images you can never have enough reach but I feel that my skill level is not up to that point yet. I want to hone my skills getting closer to the wildlife and I have seen quite a bit of action during my deer hunting days of the past including a hawk swooping in to pickup a chipmunk at less than 100yards from me. Maybe by that time the 600mm version 3 will be out - who knows. for now 400mm should be adequate for me.

I spent a couple of hours looking at photos that I took of the peak of half dome from glacier point between the 100-400L and 70-300 during the Canon photography in the parks - Yosemite program and there is a bit of improvement with the 100-400 but not much difference because I was probably shooting at a stone surface in broad daylight.

I will head into one of the local "big" stores and see if I can try out the different lenses and see if I can notice any differences right away.

balaji

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2012, 10:23:21 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.

Thanks RC and Scrappydog
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 10:25:17 PM by balaji »

pj1974

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2012, 10:39:49 PM »
Certainly there are many situations a photographer finds oneself in, and wants "more reach!  more reach!"  :P

I have found that using patience and getting closer (or as close as possible) to the actual wildlife (including small birds in flight) is important.  But obviously this isn't always possible!

In addition to great sharpness wide open (at full tele on a zoom), great IS and fast, reliable USM focus are crucial criteria when I consider a telephoto lens.  ;)

Here are a few examples of what I've managed to achieve using the 70-300mm L on a 7D, handheld.

Paul  8)
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AlanF

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2012, 04:46:03 AM »
Look at the lenstip site analysis of lenses where they give the resolution in lines per mm. At f/5.6 and 300 mm, the 70-300mm is 30 lppm, the 300 (f/4) is 39, and the 100-400 is 37. At 420 mm and f/5.6 with a 1.4xTC on the 300, its resolution drops to a poor 29 whereas the 100-400 still resolves 35 lpmm. The 300 f/4 is great at 300 mm but is weak with the TC, as generally found by experience. Remarkably, the ancient 100-400 mm well outperforms the 70-300.
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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2012, 04:46:03 AM »

Marsu42

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2012, 05:13:04 AM »
As the OP didn't state that more range was needed, but better sharpness (esp in poor light) - I can attest the 70-300mm L is great, sharp, contrasty - also in low light - AF works well, 4 stop IS a real bonus.

I really like my 70-300L and would recommend it without hesitation, but I have to say one drawback is that (at least with my 60d) the af precision @300mm is lacking in low light simply because the lens then is @f5.6. This doesn't really matter because in these cases you cannot get good images with the current aps-c sensor anyway, but it should be mentioned that this is a good-light outdoor lens.

And the IS may be marketed as 4 stop, but I'd rather say it's max 2 stop in real life and to get guaranteed sharp shots @100% crop you still have to use high shutter speeds.

Marsu42

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2012, 07:14:08 AM »
I'm not sure what times of day that you intend to do your shooting, but I found that sometimes a faster lens is absolutely critical.

.. but since the op was asking about *tele* lenses: if you add a tc to the 70-200/2.8 for more reach it's only f4 or f5.6, too and the af speed degrades.

And at least for what and when I'm shooting with the 70-300L, I discovered either that it works just fine (in good light) or that the light at very cloudy days, dawn or sunset is so bad that 1 stop more wouldn't help anyway. These are cases for another category of fast tele primes, and well beyond my (and the op's) budget.

Btw: It is debatable if the 70-200/2.8L IS can be still counted as "affordable", I'd only say that for the non-IS version but IS is very handy for stabilizing the frame esp. in tele shots.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 07:18:13 AM by Marsu42 »

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Re: "Affordable" telephoto lens for wildlife
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2012, 07:14:08 AM »