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Author Topic: Primes for wildlife ...  (Read 10864 times)

neuroanatomist

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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2013, 02:22:54 PM »
My wife and I were even closer to the mountain gorillas in Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda…and not inside a Land Rover.  :)
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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2013, 02:22:54 PM »

jrista

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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2013, 02:30:09 PM »
I am in the process of deciding which prime to get, for the time being, to use for wildlife. I have my mind set on the 300 f2.8 IS II, but I was wondering: What's the difference, practical and theoretical, between this lens and, say, the 400 f2.8, the 500 f4 , the 600 f4? The obvious answer would be the different focal lengths and, of course, price tag. But is there anything else that is significant, as far as the differences between them are concerned?!  ??? ::)

The difference between the 300/2.8 L II and the 600/4 L II is massive. Both are phenomenal lenses, don't get me wrong, but if/when you need extra reach, the 600/4 can be paired with a 2x TC for 1200mm of bliss. Keep in mind that subject size in frame is the square of the difference in focal length. So, a 600mm lens will result in the subject being four times larger in frame. With that TC, the subject is 16 times larger in frame.

At the very least, 600mm is often the difference between needing to crop and not. With 1200mm, it is sometimes the difference between scaring off your subject, and getting the perfect shot. I have recently been trying to photograph coyotes hunting prairie dogs. At 600mm, you have to be pretty close to frame the shot nicely, and get good detail. Coyotes are always on the move, and they KNOW when they are being followed. They will even use tactics like splitting up the group in order to lead the photographer astray, so they can hunt in peace. At 1200mm, you can stay back at a relatively comfortable distance without losing the quality your looking for.

It really depends on what you want to shoot, and how much you want/can handhold. There is no question that the 300mm f/2.8 L II is a superb hand-holdable lens, and quite versatile with TCs with 420mm f/4 and 600mm f/5.6 options. If your primary subject is deer, elk, moose, etc. then the 300mm should be ideal. If you like to photograph more elusive subjects, like coyote or mountain goat and the like, then I would recommend the 500mm or 600mm lens and both the 1.4x and 2x TCs. Not only are goats and canines and similar animals smaller than your average deer, then often tend to be more wary and maintain a greater distance, so extra focal length really helps.

Even in the case of deer, 600mm at a moderate distance gets you some amazing detail. This photo of a doe in the shadows of a tree at sunset was shot hand-held with the EF 600mm f/4 L IS II. I'd never seen this kind of quality and detail in a deer's fur coat from the distance I was standing until I took this shot:



Click for full size (warning, its retina size, 2880x1800, so quite large).

canon1dxman

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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2013, 04:01:39 PM »
They get much closer than that....on one trip in Sabi Sabi, one Lion actually rubbed up against the legs of the tracker sat on the front wing!

Mention was made earlier of the thieving at airports. I have first hand experience.....
Flying back from The Kruger to Jo'burg on SAA, I had no choice but to put my camera bag on their trolley to put in the hold because the flight was full and their wasn't any room on board. At Jo'burg the bag didn't appear and I was told it would be on the next flight but I had seen it being loaded so I stood my found on the runway at Jo'burg. The pilot got involved, other crew too. Pilot did a personal search of the hold, nothing. I made it quite clear that I wasn't leaving the runway until they had found the $30K worth of kit and....surprise surprise, it mysteriously appeared after being found in the area reserved for pets in transit. Hidden out of site for obvious reasons....

The Farside clip was cute, but they really did come quite close to the Land Rovers...
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scottkinfw

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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #33 on: November 12, 2013, 05:16:29 PM »
I experienced this too.  You never know.  It is like the lions (hyenas, not so much Jackals), and even sometimes cheetah s seem to not even notice a vehicle or anyone in it. I think it is important for that reason to have two bodies with long and short lenses.  Sorry, a bit off topic.

sek
In the Ngorongoro Crater, the lions came close enough for a 16-35mm to work fine.
Thanks for the laugh.

The Farside clip was cute, but they really did come quite close to the Land Rovers...
sek Cameras: 5D III, 5D II, EOS M  Lenses:  24-70 2.8 II IS, 24-105 f4L, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 300 f4L IS, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8 Flashes: 580 EX II600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT
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Don Haines

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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #34 on: November 12, 2013, 05:39:01 PM »
In the Ngorongoro Crater, the lions came close enough for a 16-35mm to work fine.
Thanks for the laugh.

The Farside clip was cute, but they really did come quite close to the Land Rovers...
Being as you are still here posting, I guessed that you were inside the vehicle :)
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 05:45:23 PM by Don Haines »
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #35 on: November 12, 2013, 08:40:45 PM »
One more tip - at least in Tanzania, there are Land Rover safaris and minivan safaris.  Choose an outfitter that uses Land Rovers.  If you're in a minivan, you may need help from one of the 'real' safari vehicles.  We found it amusing, so did the nearby lionesses. 
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Eldar

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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2013, 02:15:24 PM »
One more tip - at least in Tanzania, there are Land Rover safaris and minivan safaris.  Choose an outfitter that uses Land Rovers.  If you're in a minivan, you may need help from one of the 'real' safari vehicles.  We found it amusing, so did the nearby lionesses.
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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2013, 02:15:24 PM »

mackguyver

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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #37 on: November 13, 2013, 04:02:33 PM »
Wildlife is, by definition, wild - you usually can't get all that close. 
Unless you stand really still and they just walk right by you, like this little one did the other day while I was shooting Pelicans in flight.  He was about 6-7 feet away (as you can see from the angle).  This is the @600mm (300 2.8 IS II + 2x III), ISO 6400, 1/500s on my 5DIII, processed with the new DxO 9 PRIME.  Killer combo on all fronts (forgive the white balance):


Personally, I'll likely get the 300 II at some point soon.  However, while that's partly as a more portable bird/wildlife lens, it's main use will be sports, since my older daughter is now starting to participate in several.
I find it a killer combo with the teleconverters and as you say, it can be used for sports, landscapes, and many other things as well.  I have hand held it 99% of the time no matter the light.

To the OP, I find 600mm enough reach for most wildlife, because most of what I shoot is either close enough for 600mm or way too far for an 800mm + 2x.  Being able to drop down to 300mm is great for closer subjects as well, and I hear the 300 + extenders/extension tubes also make it a great macro lens for less than 1:1 work.  To me, it's versatility and price trumped the other options.  I'll happily rent a 600mm for trips and other occasions, though.

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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #38 on: November 13, 2013, 04:55:43 PM »
My wife and I were even closer to the mountain gorillas in Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda…and not inside a Land Rover.  :)

Interesting photo.

Well I never thought you would have a hair style like that  ;D
If you debate with a fool onlookers can find it VERY difficult to tell the difference.

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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #39 on: November 13, 2013, 05:04:49 PM »
I find the 300 2.8 works well with the TC's both the 1.4 and the 2.

it's a light way to carry from 300mm to 600mm. But it takes a while to swap so you have to be ahead of the game.

I have a 100-400 and a 70-200. The 100-400 is good for wild life but not the standard of the 300. The 70-200 is a great lens and works well with the 2xTC. But of course neither of them are primes.

I've not used the 500 or 600, and of course they can be used with TC's for even more range.

If I was going to get any other lens it would be the 200 -400, and I know you didn't ask about primes but I bet its a really useful lens.
If you debate with a fool onlookers can find it VERY difficult to tell the difference.

jrista

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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #40 on: November 13, 2013, 06:27:55 PM »
Wildlife is, by definition, wild - you usually can't get all that close. 
Unless you stand really still and they just walk right by you, like this little one did the other day while I was shooting Pelicans in flight.  He was about 6-7 feet away (as you can see from the angle).  This is the @600mm (300 2.8 IS II + 2x III), ISO 6400, 1/500s on my 5DIII, processed with the new DxO 9 PRIME.  Killer combo on all fronts (forgive the white balance):


First off, great shot! Such a beautiful shorebird.

As an extra note, there is definitely something to be said about having the f/4 aperture at 600mm. Here is a Spotted Sandpiper shot with really nice, creamy boke with the 600mm at f/4:



Slap on a TC, and even at f/5.6, 840mm gets you headshot reach for even a shorebird, still with the phenomenal boke:




Personally, I'll likely get the 300 II at some point soon.  However, while that's partly as a more portable bird/wildlife lens, it's main use will be sports, since my older daughter is now starting to participate in several.
I find it a killer combo with the teleconverters and as you say, it can be used for sports, landscapes, and many other things as well.  I have hand held it 99% of the time no matter the light.

To the OP, I find 600mm enough reach for most wildlife, because most of what I shoot is either close enough for 600mm or way too far for an 800mm + 2x.  Being able to drop down to 300mm is great for closer subjects as well, and I hear the 300 + extenders/extension tubes also make it a great macro lens for less than 1:1 work.  To me, it's versatility and price trumped the other options.  I'll happily rent a 600mm for trips and other occasions, though.
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mackguyver

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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #41 on: November 13, 2013, 07:43:44 PM »
Slap on a TC, and even at f/5.6, 840mm gets you headshot reach for even a shorebird, still with the phenomenal boke:
Plus, you have a 1200mm f/8 when needed!  That makes me a little jealous :)

neuroanatomist

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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #42 on: November 13, 2013, 07:46:30 PM »
My wife and I were even closer to the mountain gorillas in Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda…and not inside a Land Rover.  :)

Interesting photo.

Well I never thought you would have a hair style like that  ;D

Lol.  I still have it, albeit with a few gray hairs at the temples - three kids will do that to you.  My wife got the cornrows done at the start of the trip, when we spent a week on Zanzibar before a week on safari in mainland Tanzania, then a week in Rwanda, with a day or two at various points between, e.g., Dar es Salaam.
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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #42 on: November 13, 2013, 07:46:30 PM »

eml58

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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #43 on: November 13, 2013, 07:51:13 PM »
My wife and I were even closer to the mountain gorillas in Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda…and not inside a Land Rover.  :)

I'de say your head was fortunately placed otherwise this Image would have been 'R' rated and not for CR consumption.

Haven't done this, hope to before I can't, your very fortunate to have been able to do it before it's something we won't be able to do at all, well done.
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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #44 on: November 13, 2013, 08:49:26 PM »
I went from a 500F4 Mark 1 on a 1D (1.3 crop) to 200-400F4 on 1Dx (full frame).  Decided there was too much overlap with 200-400 so I opted for a 600 II which I will mostly use with 1.4.

200-400 is a great lens and the zoom adds flexibility and the built in 1.4 is wonderful.  Wish the 600 had a built in 1.4, perhaps Mark 3 will have it.


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Re: Primes for wildlife ...
« Reply #44 on: November 13, 2013, 08:49:26 PM »