September 23, 2014, 12:19:26 AM

Author Topic: Tele-lens on a budget  (Read 1471 times)

gekko

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Tele-lens on a budget
« on: March 05, 2014, 02:39:32 AM »
Hi, trying to figure out how to get "max" tele-reach on a budget for shooting large BIF. Let's say my budget is maximum $2000. Obviously the "great whites" 500/600+ are out of my budget. I currently have a 7D with 70-200mm 2.8L IS II + 2X vIII converter, which I find I always use at the 400 mm setting. I am however not satisfied with the image quality of that combo at f5.6. At f7.1 it is better, but still leaves a bit to be desired. I have AFMA it using FoCal.

I have been looking at the following options:

- Canon 400mm f5.6L (old design, seems to have good image quality, no IS)
- Tamron 150-600mm (heavy, large, don't really need the zoom, sceptical about purchasing an expensive 3rd party lens)

Any other suggestions/advise? Thanks in advance.  :)
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Tele-lens on a budget
« on: March 05, 2014, 02:39:32 AM »

BL

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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 03:50:06 AM »
What about the 100-400L?

IQ not quite as good as the 400 5.6, but nearly there on a good copy and IS to boot
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gekko

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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 04:46:18 AM »
I feel I already have that zoom range covered with my existing setup. The 100-400 is noticeably soft in the 400 range, so image quality wise it is not under consideration.

I want image quality at the longest focal range possible at a decent price. That, in my mind, rules out zoom lenses where some of the development money have gone into making the zoom feature instead of optimizing the image quality.
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adhocphotographer

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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 05:46:06 AM »
I think the Tamron is the best deal/value at the moment...  See the other threads on this! :) It costs significantly more to get better IQ!
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gekko

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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 06:42:13 AM »
I agree, it does seem almost too good to be true, and you know what they say about that...  ;D

I'm also skeptical to how well the tests performed on "factory picked" lenses relate to the lenses you and me can buy in the store. I read one review where the AFMA was 0 at 150 mm and +15 at 600 mm. Using a 7D I cannot AFMA correct for both ends of the focal range, and a lens copy like that would not be usable to me. In short, I fear for the product quality of the Tamron. Sure, you might get a good sample, but then again, you might not. I've only owned one Tamron, and the IS died on it after a few months, so that does not help my feelings towards Tamron.

Some tests show that the 200-400 range of the Tamron is good, but outside of that the results are not that good. If I were to buy a lens that goes to 600 mm I would want to use it at that focal length. It seems to me you need to use f8 to get decent results out of the Tamron at 600 mm.
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ajfotofilmagem

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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 08:35:56 AM »
Seems to me that canon 400mm F5.6 is still unbeatable in its price range and image quality. The advantage of the Tamron 150-600 is that you can stop down and have a very good image quality until 400mm, and s still good image at 600mm F8.

candc

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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 09:00:41 AM »
until something better comes along the tamron is the way to go.

tamron vs 400 5.6L
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=278&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=929&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=3&APIComp=0

tamron vs 70-200ii plus 2xiii at 400
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=687&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=5&API=2&LensComp=929&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=3&APIComp=0


those crops show the tamron and the 400L look about the same at 400, the tamron is a 150-600 zoom has vc, cost less, and has a 6 yr warranty.

the tamron looks better at 400 than the 70-200 plus converter at 400

pretty much everything i have read from people that have or have used the tamron are pleased with it

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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 09:00:41 AM »

Don Haines

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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2014, 10:02:43 AM »
until something better comes along the tamron is the way to go.

tamron vs 400 5.6L
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=278&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=929&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=3&APIComp=0

tamron vs 70-200ii plus 2xiii at 400
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=687&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=5&API=2&LensComp=929&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=3&APIComp=0


those crops show the tamron and the 400L look about the same at 400, the tamron is a 150-600 zoom has vc, cost less, and has a 6 yr warranty.

the tamron looks better at 400 than the 70-200 plus converter at 400

pretty much everything i have read from people that have or have used the tamron are pleased with it

I compared the Tamron at 400 against the 70-200 and 2X teleconverter.... no comparison, Tamron wins.

At 200mm with no teleconverter, no comparison, Canon wins.

AF is definitly faster on the bare 70-200, but is comparable when the teleconverter is in play.

Good luck finding a copy of the Tamron... there are long waits to get one. This should be telling you something :)
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2014, 11:11:12 AM »
The 100-400 is noticeably soft in the 400 range, so image quality wise it is not under consideration.

Noticeably soft?  Not that I've seen.  No, it's not as sharp as a supertele, but it's quite good. 

It seems to me you need to use f8 to get decent results out of the Tamron at 600 mm.

You mention shooting large birds, and in many cases at 600mm you'll want to be at f/8 (at least) to have sufficient DoF for the subject. 

The bottom line is that if you're using 400mm now, and it's not long enough but you can't afford a Canon supertele, then your options are few…and of them, the Tamron 150-600 is likely the best choice.
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unfocused

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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2014, 03:54:20 PM »
The bottom line is that if you're using 400mm now, and it's not long enough but you can't afford a Canon supertele, then your options are few…and of them, the Tamron 150-600 is likely the best choice.

Your options are few? I'm trying to think what the others might be. Oh yeah...I guess the "Bigma." But that doesn't seem like a better option than the Tamron.
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mackguyver

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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2014, 04:08:10 PM »
Consider yourself fortunate - the options when I started weren't anywhere near as good as the Tamron which isn't the end all be all lens, but it's damned good for the money from everything I've seen.  My wildlife lens path was - don't laugh:

70-300 (non-L)
135 f/2 + 1.4x II (okay laugh at this one)
70-200 f/4 IS (+1.4x II when needed) traded it for the f/2.8 IS II later on
100-400 - tried it but didn't like it
400 f/5.6 for many years
Saved up and finally bought 300 f/2.8 IS II + 1.4x III and 2x III
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2014, 04:33:22 PM »
The bottom line is that if you're using 400mm now, and it's not long enough but you can't afford a Canon supertele, then your options are few…and of them, the Tamron 150-600 is likely the best choice.

Your options are few? I'm trying to think what the others might be. Oh yeah...I guess the "Bigma." But that doesn't seem like a better option than the Tamron.

Sigma 50-500, Sigma 150-500 (IIRC, there are flavors of one or both of those with and without OS),and the Tamron 200-500, in addition to the new Tamron 150-600.  As I stated, the new Tamron is the best of the bunch.
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streestandtheatres

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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2014, 06:24:25 PM »
I'm not sad that I bought the 400 5.6 just before the Tamron came out. Something about not having to think about zooming works in my head. OK, I can't take photos in the rainforest, but I haven't found the lack of IS a problem. I though pushing the ISO would cause graininess but I haven't found it at all a problem. And I bought the lens in perfect condition second-hand for 25% less and a new Tamron. (The attached photo is a slight crop, for aspect only. f5.6, 1/1600, iso 640, crop-sensor camera. Looks pretty good to me!)
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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2014, 06:24:25 PM »

wickidwombat

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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2014, 07:17:59 PM »
until something better comes along the tamron is the way to go.

tamron vs 400 5.6L
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=278&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=929&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=3&APIComp=0

tamron vs 70-200ii plus 2xiii at 400
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=687&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=5&API=2&LensComp=929&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=3&APIComp=0


those crops show the tamron and the 400L look about the same at 400, the tamron is a 150-600 zoom has vc, cost less, and has a 6 yr warranty.

the tamron looks better at 400 than the 70-200 plus converter at 400

pretty much everything i have read from people that have or have used the tamron are pleased with it
the AF and tracking also kill the 70-200+2X tc combo and thats based on the tamron @600 not at 400 which is considerably faster again. the 2X tc really hurts the 70-200
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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2014, 11:58:13 PM »
As soon as you say "BIF", the 400f5.6 should really be first in line.
The 400f5.6 is also very light for what you get. Basically you cannot do better if straight "BIF" is what you are after.
From what I've seen I have no desire to trade up my 400f5.6, plus if you stick a 1.4xTC on that thing the IQ blows every option below $7,000 out of the water (it just doesn't autofocus at the same time).

Now, in this case we're after "large BIF", and not just "BIF", so if the birds are more lumbering around than darting back and forth then maybe the autofocus isn't as important, and for many the 100-400 is good enough and the added flexibility is worthwhile.
If the subject is moving fast I say stick with the 400f5.6, if it's not the Tamron is probably the way to go.
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Re: Tele-lens on a budget
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2014, 11:58:13 PM »