August 29, 2014, 08:15:34 PM

Author Topic: Budget lens for birding ?  (Read 10432 times)

rpt

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2013, 06:08:05 AM »
Vikram, I used to have EF 100-400L IS, which is a great lens but I sold it and got Sigma 150-500 OS for better reach and I found the push pull to be a bit awkward ... my copy of the Sigma 150-500 OS is just as good as my earlier 100-400L IS lens if not better.
The Sigma 150-500 OS sells for about $1000 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/549255-REG/Sigma_737101_150_500mm_f_5_6_3_DG_OS.html) which is well within your budget, giving you enough money left over to buy:
1. a good quality filter
2. a Lens Coat Lens cover (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/652524-REG/LensCoat_LCS150500M4_Sigma_Lens_Cover_Realtree.html)
3. an external flash
4. a Better Beamer flash extender (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=better+beamer&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=) this will come in handy to illuminate the birds so your images get a nice separation and pop
Here are a couple images made last week with the Sigma 150-500 OS (using an external flash + better beamer)
Nice pics. I like the catchlight in the eyes.

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2013, 06:08:05 AM »

AlanF

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2013, 06:18:04 AM »
300mm f/4, 100% crop, EOS 1D Mark IV, hand-held.

Compare the quality of your 300 with a Canon Powershot SX50 (upper) and a 5DIII with a 300mm f/2.8 II plus 2xTC (lower). Both are 100% crops, minimal sharpening (25%) and no noise suppression from RAW. They do look much sharper.

I'd like to see the same with the Sigma zoom for comparison.
5D III, 70D, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, Sigma 10-20, Tamron 150-600.

AlanF

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2013, 06:29:27 AM »
I was impressed by the use of flash plus beamers here and elsewhere. I'd like advice. Rather than hijack this thread I have started http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=14351.0
5D III, 70D, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, Sigma 10-20, Tamron 150-600.

Rienzphotoz

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2013, 07:00:14 AM »
AlanF, as requested, here is one image made with Sigma 150-500mm, ISO 100, f/6.3 on 31st August 2012 (applied 25% sharpening in Nik Sharpener Pro 3) ... this moon is called "Once in a Blue Moon" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_moon
Edit: Camera used was Canon 60D
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 02:06:51 AM by Rienzphotoz »
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jdramirez

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2013, 08:25:57 AM »
I don't "bird".  But I can't imagine going out with a prime lens.  Especially to capture a bird in flight.  I'd want to start wide to find the bird in the sky, and then zoom in to actually get the bird up close. 

And I love primes... so don't get me wrong about simply having a zoom bias.  And I know sharpness and picture quality is important, but I'd almost sacrifice a little of that for length and hope to sharpen it up a touch in lightroom. 

So if I had a suggestion, I'd say go with the long sigma (500mm) shoot the bird in the middle of the frame where the lens is always sharpest, and then compose the shot later in LR.  Edges edges edges... I contend that wouldn't be as important since the bokeh at 500mm usually blurs the surrounding anyway... and the focus of the image will be the bird...
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

XS->60D->5d Mkiii:18-55->24-105L:75-300->55-250->70-300->70-200 f4L USM->70-200 f/2.8L USM->70-200 f/2.8L IS Mkii:50 f/1.8->50 f/1.4->100 f/2.8L->85mm f/1.8 USM->135L -> 8mm ->100L

crasher8

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2013, 08:52:36 AM »
I would like to comment on my dust hog comment. True my post was from a limited experience. One lens. Used during a semester at school. However even with a filter I had many issues. Enough to make me sell the glass and not want to gamble with another copy. You say what you know, what you experience, it doesn't necessarily make it 'wrong' if you do not have that same experience.

AlanF

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2013, 10:27:27 AM »
I don't "bird".  But I can't imagine going out with a prime lens.  Especially to capture a bird in flight.  I'd want to start wide to find the bird in the sky, and then zoom in to actually get the bird up close. 

And I love primes... so don't get me wrong about simply having a zoom bias.  And I know sharpness and picture quality is important, but I'd almost sacrifice a little of that for length and hope to sharpen it up a touch in lightroom. 

So if I had a suggestion, I'd say go with the long sigma (500mm) shoot the bird in the middle of the frame where the lens is always sharpest, and then compose the shot later in LR.  Edges edges edges... I contend that wouldn't be as important since the bokeh at 500mm usually blurs the surrounding anyway... and the focus of the image will be the bird...

As you don't actually do "bird", let me tell you that the guys who get the best bird photos use primes, be they birds in flight or static. Sharpness in LR can't sharpen what isn't there. The zooms tend to lose the fine detail. I use the 100-400mm only as a travel lens for birding. On safari, however, I would recommend a zoom.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2013, 10:29:57 AM by AlanF »
5D III, 70D, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, Sigma 10-20, Tamron 150-600.

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2013, 10:27:27 AM »

Rienzphotoz

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2013, 01:10:41 PM »
Vikram, I used to have EF 100-400L IS, which is a great lens but I sold it and got Sigma 150-500 OS for better reach and I found the push pull to be a bit awkward ... my copy of the Sigma 150-500 OS is just as good as my earlier 100-400L IS lens if not better.
The Sigma 150-500 OS sells for about $1000 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/549255-REG/Sigma_737101_150_500mm_f_5_6_3_DG_OS.html) which is well within your budget, giving you enough money left over to buy:
1. a good quality filter
2. a Lens Coat Lens cover (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/652524-REG/LensCoat_LCS150500M4_Sigma_Lens_Cover_Realtree.html)
3. an external flash
4. a Better Beamer flash extender (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=better+beamer&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=) this will come in handy to illuminate the birds so your images get a nice separation and pop
Here are a couple images made last week with the Sigma 150-500 OS (using an external flash + better beamer)
Nice pics. I like the catchlight in the eyes.
Thanks for your kind words. Cheers
Canon 5DMK3 70D | Nikon D610 | Sony a7 a6000 | RX100M3 | 16-35/2.8LII | 70-200/2.8LISII | 100/2.8LIS | 100-400LIS | 40/2.8 | 50/1.4 | 85/1.8 | 600EX-RTx2 | ST-E3-RT | 24/3.5 T-S | 10-18/4 OSS 16-50 | 24-70/4OSS | 55/1.8 | 55-210 OSS | 70-200/4 OSS | 28-300VR | HVL-F43M | GoPro Black 3+ & DJI Phantom

jcoz

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2013, 03:56:15 PM »
Those are some great bird pics :)

I'll give my two cents on the Sigma 120-400. I used to have one until I decided to sell it and buy the Canon 70-300L (and then decided to get the 400 L to have more reach).

While a good bargain at half the price of the Canon lenses and a great lens for me as a beginner, it was soft above 300mm and really soft at 400mm wide open, I had to step down to f/7.1 to get sharp images at 400mm which really decreased the quality of the background. It is also very heavy (1.7 kg) and the OS was not nearly as good as the Canon 70-300 (and remember it is heavier...), but may be close to the 100-400 IS that I was never able to test myself.

I've owned two Sigma lenses, I've had problems with both while some other people seem to have no problem whatsoever. Sigma is famous for spotty Quality Control (and as a quality engineer I don't appreciate it too much ^^). On top of that when I tried to sell both Sigmas I took a big loss - sold for 50% of the price after owning them for 1 year and 2 months respectively.

I've never tried or even researched about the Sigma 150-500 and the results look good, so it might be a good choice but be aware their lenses can be inconsistent.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2013, 04:02:21 PM by jcoz »
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JumboShrimp

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2013, 10:43:30 PM »
This is rad thinking, but ... why not consider a superzoom? I have been using the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 for birding shots (as well as general photography) and am very pleased with it. The big plus in its favor is a Leica lens with an equivalent focal length of 25mm-600mm - and at a CONSTANT f/2.8 aperture. Birds are tiny little critters, and the 600mm crops them pretty tight. It has a 12MP sensor and shoots RAW. It currently sells for about $500-$550 or so, but have seen it less. It is also my go-to wallkabout camera whenever I can't (don't want to) carry my big Canon stuff. Look it up when you can. Cheers and good luck.

RGF

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2013, 11:10:15 PM »
The OP already has a 55-250mm, which is too short, so it would seem a bit pointless just going up to a 300mm zoom, which is also too short. The issue of 100-400mm vs 400mm f/5.6 has been argued over for years. The prime was originally greatly championed by Arthur Morris, who described it as his favourite toy lens. But, even he has now discarded it in favour of the 100-400mm - see http://www.birdsasart.com/b13.html

I have become so fed up with people stating that the 400mm f/5.6 is much better than the 100-400mm zoom that I started a thread http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=14296.0 with the numbers that both lenses are of similar sharpness. The 400mm L is now 20 years old and should have been updated years ago. In my opinion, the advantages of zoom and 2 good stops of IS make the 100-400mm a much more versatile and useful lens. It also packs away nicely.

You can argue which is better, the 100-400 zoom or the fixed 400.  Both are maxed out at 400, only the 100-400 has IS, the 400 fixed is lighter.

In the end, if you pick a Canon lens you have the choice of 2 good, but rather short lens, without going for a Great White which costs at least 5x more and weighs 5x more.

No clear winner, compromise on all fronts, but both respectively good lens.

jcoz

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2013, 07:50:13 AM »
Quote

You can argue which is better, the 100-400 zoom or the fixed 400.  Both are maxed out at 400, only the 100-400 has IS, the 400 fixed is lighter.

In the end, if you pick a Canon lens you have the choice of 2 good, but rather short lens, without going for a Great White which costs at least 5x more and weighs 5x more.

No clear winner, compromise on all fronts, but both respectively good lens.


This pretty much sums up everything I read before buying mine.
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ReedZ

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2013, 09:10:31 AM »
Hi

While I can't say much on Sigma because I dont owned one, I recommend either the Canon EF100-400mm L IS USM or Canon EF400mm f/5.6 L. If you want flexibility go for zoom 100-400mm because of the zoom, IS and weathersealing, where is the prime 400mm will give you slightly sharper image and better bokeh and cheaper compare to the first. I used tripod for most of my bird photo when I used the prime.

But at the end of the day, which ever lens you use, you must learn to familiar your self with the lens. As for me, since I have both, the lens selection is very much depends when and where either lens will give me a better images.

Attached is sample photo using the Canon EF400mm f/5.6 (1/80, f/10, ISO 640) using Canon EOS 7D.



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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2013, 09:10:31 AM »

Eimajm

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2013, 09:23:08 AM »
Re the photo above with the 400 f5.6 and 7D, please don't think that photos taken with this setup are reflective of that picture, which is a very poor shot.
I shoot with this combination and it is a stella performer, up to 800iso, with some clean up work needed at higher iso, 1600 is still perfectly useable with a well exposed shot. Things i miss with this set up are IS, which the 100-400 has, however I have no need for a zoom and always prefer primes for the image quality you get, which is not a diss at the 100-400 as the quality of this glass is very good to.
Either one will suit your needs for starting out bird photography and can produce exceptional results.

ereka

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2013, 10:10:09 AM »
Re the photo above with the 400 f5.6 and 7D, please don't think that photos taken with this setup are reflective of that picture, which is a very poor shot.

I'm confused - I'll be grateful if you'll explain why it's a poor shot as it looks great to me (I was just about to comment to that effect when I saw your post). I'm probably showing my ignorance but hey ho! if you don't ask you don't learn anything!

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Re: Budget lens for birding ?
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2013, 10:10:09 AM »