Again, thank you all for your input!
Many of you keep mentioning the 100-400L. I just wanted more reach, but I suppose at some point I should try it. I really wanted to wait until the new version, but that one isn’t out yet, who knows when it will be? I’ve rented the 400 f/5.6L prime lens about a year ago. I know the current zoom is less sharp, but it’s a zoom, with IS. The cost to rent the 100-400 is noticeably less than the Sigma, so that is a factor in its favor…since I’d like to rent for as long as I dare spend money on it.
Apop, thanks very much for your detailed response. I’m still pouring over it. It’s a shame these reviews sometimes use such old bodies like the 20D for a resolution test.
Rienz, neither lensrentals nor borrowlenses has the 150-500, and I believe it’s no longer in production.
Glongstaff, those are some nice pictures…I especially like the two birds in the air together. If you captured most or all of these in a single afternoon, that is also impressive…a target rich environment! However, the sharpness seems a bit off on even the ones that are more static. The one of the mallards walking away, the male is sharp enough (assuming the original size is a 1:1). Obviously depth of field is in play, so I’m not trying to nitpick. The sharpness is probably acceptable. It’s not as if I haven’t gotten even softer results than this before, myself! Again, no one has this lens for rent, that I have seen.
Sdsr, excellent information and suggestions. I actually rent from Lensrentals. Not sure I want to buy used…and in any case, I doubt I will be buying a telephoto lens in the very near future. I will be renting at least one, though…if not two. I’ve bought 3 wider angle lenses that I plan to use until at least the summer, then probably sell them. Ideally I want to buy a full frame body by the fall, but funding for that is up in the air right now. The only way I would buy a supertelephoto very soon, is if I decide to not get the full frame until 2014. As an alternative, I would likely rent a full frame body for a very brief time this fall.
Mt Spokane, nice image. What dilated pupils you captured! Sometimes I can get fairly close, like on our window sills at the house. I’ve even shot a few with the Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4, besides my 135 and 70-200. Will try to post some later…along with others from the tele’s I’ve rented.
It’s not that I don’t consider the 500 f/4 to be sharp, in general. It’s just that obviously there was an anomaly with the one I rented. The 400 f/5.6 I rented the next year, was a bit sharper, and focused more accurately (even in very low light…less light than my ISO noise wanted to tolerate…of course, center point only). Certainly the color and contrast of the 500 f/4 was there, along with the bokeh…far beyond what the 400 f/5.6 could do (obviously). I know as a rule the original 500 f/4 was extremely sharp. The new one is even sharper. But I don’t feel the need to spend that kind of money to rent a lens right now. (The only reason I rented that one, was to try to shoot the next-to-last Space Shuttle launch. Never got to, it was delayed over two weeks. The ideal lens there would have been the 800, but that was $300 higher in cost.)
Honestly, I would sooner try renting the older 400 f/2.8 (comparatively “cheap” to rent now)…and possibly even before that, the 400 f/4 DO. It’s supposedly sharp, but lacks contrast due to the diffraction optics. I dunno, it looks like it would be interesting to try.
Maybe another question is, which of these older lenses (the 400 f/2.8 and f/4DO…since I’m not paying the extra $150 to $300 to rent the new version)…would work best with the new 1.4x iii TC (I can’t rent the version ii TC)? And for that matter, I own the 2.0x ii TC…how would it compare, mounted to the old 300 f/2.8, with the old 400 f/4 DO combined with the new 1.4x iii TC? (again I can’t rent the old 1.4x ii TC, and don’t own one.) It’s probably a similar result, although it’s possible the 400 DO doesn’t work well with any TC’s at all. Certainly the 400 DO alone would be better for birds.
I mention those lenses, because well…I do love to shoot in low light, even if there is noise. (And a lowly 2 stops of IS is better than none, on a monopod!) I have deer, raccoons, turkeys, woodducks, mallards…and usually by spring, many of the larger birds (like cardinals, etc.) don’t really come out until sunset.
Frankly, I wish Canon would make a 1.7x TC like Nikon does. That would be the only one I would own. Or perhaps a 1.55x would be even better.