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Author Topic: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?  (Read 29947 times)

Marsu42

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Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« on: February 12, 2012, 04:32:22 AM »
I am going to spend money I don't really have on a tele lens later this year for my crop body, so I really want to get the right one. If anyone has experience with these lenses, please give me some advice... here are my thoughts:

* 70-300L: fine but heavy lens, but is overpriced compared to the non-L version. Problem is it doesn't take a tele converter (thanks, canon marketing!) - but on the other hand, f/5.6+extender light capability would be too low anyway.

* 70-200/4L+2x: great and not too heavy lens, but using an extender doesn't make sense: In my experience, shooting moving objects at 300mm+ requires a large aperture at least of f/4 (next to a good servo af that is, unlike my 60d).

* 70-200/2.8L+2x: this is the combination I'd get at the moment - very short min. focus distance, great iq, still ok light capability w/ extender.

* the new 100-400/4-5.6L: I really don't know what to make of this: if the price prediction is right (which I doubt knowing canon rumors :-)) it is more expensive than the 70-200/2.8+2x combination, covers about the same focal distances and has worse light capability - why would anybody want to buy that? As I wrote above, extending a 5.6 lens doesn't make much sense to me...

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Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« on: February 12, 2012, 04:32:22 AM »

smirkypants

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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2012, 05:49:13 AM »
* the new 100-400/4-5.6L: I really don't know what to make of this: if the price prediction is right (which I doubt knowing canon rumors :-)) it is more expensive than the 70-200/2.8+2x combination, covers about the same focal distances and has worse light capability - why would anybody want to buy that? As I wrote above, extending a 5.6 lens doesn't make much sense to me...
I wouldn't put the new 100-400mm lens on your list. It is not a confirmed rumor and there is no telling when it will hit the market. We've heard about the 200-400 lens since at least 2008 and were even told by Canon over a year ago that it would be released sometime in 2011. The 600/f4 was first listed as for sale on the B&H site June 17, 2011, but it's still not available.

A rumor and $1.50 will get you bus fare.

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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2012, 10:55:05 AM »
Standard Reply: It depends on what you want to shoot.

My opinion: 70-200mm is great for weddings and events, where you are shooting people and light is less than ideal. I think it's too short for most wildlife and many sports. (Depends on how close you can get to the action).

70-300mm is a good all-around telephoto range. That's one reason why there are so many versions of this lens available from so many different manufacturers. I think almost everyone can benefit from having this range in their camera bag. The tough decision is deciding what specific one to buy.

100-400mm is great for wildlife and birding, but it is a substantial lens. (although it is actually a few ounces lighter than the 70-200 f2.8 ). Probably not the best choice for a first telephoto, but a great choice if you really are into bird and wildlife photography.

I'm not a fan of tele-extenders. I think they are inconvenient and there is some loss of quality. But that's my personal bias.

There is no perfect choice, which is why there are so many options. Decide what your interests are and buy accordingly. But, before buying anything, check out "Roger's Take" on these and other lenses at Lensrentals.com.  Each lens description is a mini-review from a practical perspective and gives you the benefit of his years of hands-on experience with hundred of lenses. You may find, after reading his comments and doing some research, that none of your original choices are what you really need, and a less expensive alternative might suit you better for the time being.



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Tijn

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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2012, 11:43:17 AM »
70-200 f/4 x2 doesn't work because it won't AF (f/4 -> f/5.6 -> f/8). EOS bodies don't focus at f/8 apertures, except for some high end models (1D X?).

70-200 f/2.8 IS II is crazy sharp and can take a teleconverter. Not sure I'd go 2x though, but 1.4x would be a very decent addition to the usefulness of this lens (making it a respectable 98-280mm f/4).

The 70-300L is not overpriced compared to the non-L. It's very very sharp, it's very well built, weathersealed, has better IS, ring USM AF with full time manual focus (vs micro USM on the non-L)... It may look overpriced, but it's an L lens well worth its "L" predicate.

Granted, it won't take a teleconverter, but it does do 300mm - which is great for a very large variety of purposes. It is also a very recent, "up to date" lens by the way. Getting this lens won't be a bad choice for your first 'decent' zoom. It does a great range and it does it amazingly well.

For a faster lens (both aperture wise and autofocus wise) with optimal sharpness but a bit less range (and a much larger budget) the 70-200 f/2.8 IS II may be the best choice, though it has less tele range. It'll be better for stuff like portraits and low-light situations because of the f/2.8, but is a bit limited in range to be a perfect all-rounder telezoom.

My vote goes for 70-300L as a "general very very very decent first telezoom". It's a great allrounder worth its price. Unless your main interest is portraits and low light, but in that case you should have said so.  ;)
« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 11:46:19 AM by Tijn »

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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2012, 12:51:48 PM »
70-300L isn't heavy. Well, it's all relative, but compared to a 70-200/2.8 it's the light option. Even if you were able to put a Canon 1.4x on it, you wont have AF.

70-200/4L+2x - you wont have AF. You can cheap out and use it with 1.4x only to get up to 280mm f/4.

70-200/2.8L+2x - assuming you mean the IS II version, should be ok with the 2x on it, but it's going to be f/5.6 from 280-400mm. So if you stick around the long end a lot, it's worse than a current 100-400L.

Basically if you need a long zoom range at once, and will be spending a lot of time towards the long end, look at the 70-300L and current 100-400L. If you need the aperture at shorter lengths (<200) with only occasional longer focal length needs, look at the 70-200s.

I have and like the 70-300L and 100-400L for different reasons, but both are easily usable as long as you're not high ISO phobic. Since I do lean towards the long end while still requiring zoom, the 70-200 lenses don't make as much sense to me and the lack of depth of field isn't a plus for me.
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Marsu42

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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2012, 01:03:02 PM »
I'm not a fan of tele-extenders. I think they are inconvenient and there is some loss of quality. But that's my personal bias.

Thank you very much so far, guys...

* you're correct, I should have written what I want to shoot: I want to get pictures of wildlife (birds, butterfiles) and plants in addition to the shorter focal range of my non-is 100 macro. If I was into portraits I'd get a fixed prime instead.

* converters: so far, I've only read excellent reviews about the Canon 1.4x/2x mkiii - they sacrifice some af speed, but iq is said to be excellent. Am I missing something here?

* 70-300 focal range: I have a broken, crappy 100-300 from the analog days lying around and have to say the increase in range from 200 to 300 doesn't really make that much of a difference. That's why I was thinking of getting the 70-200/2.8 + 2x converter and the title of the tread is "70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L"

* 70-300 aperture: I know from my old lens that f5.6@300mm is not much if the subjects is not static, and of course IS does not help here. A sharp shot f4@200 or of course f2.8 imho is better than a blurry or very high iso shot @300. Furthermore, I find it really annoying to have a variable aperture on a lens, you always have to fumble around in av mode when zooming in and out.

* 70-300 brand: I prefer Canon because of the execellent potential re-sale value. However, you wrote that are other good 70-300 offerings around - feel free to direct me to a comparison :-)

« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 01:52:01 PM by Marsu42 »

justsomedude

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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2012, 01:04:25 PM »
I am going to spend money I don't really have on a tele lens later this year for my crop body, so I really want to get the right one. If anyone has experience with these lenses, please give me some advice... here are my thoughts:

What do you shoot the most?  And, how do you plan on implementing a tele-zoom into your workflow?

Intended usage is critical when selecting a lens/focal-length.

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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2012, 01:04:25 PM »

Marsu42

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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2012, 01:10:40 PM »
What do you shoot the most?  And, how do you plan on implementing a tele-zoom into your workflow?

In addition to the things I've already written above (parallel to your post):

* my workflow is being outdoors and shooting very close-up objects (butterflies), often with a tripod (bugs) with my non-is macro. I need a stablized keep-on lens for "everything else, mostly further away", i.e. birds and plants. For the wide angle rest, I'm going to buy a 11-16 if I am sure that I'll stay with aps-c.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 02:49:43 PM by Marsu42 »

Tijn

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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2012, 06:25:48 AM »

* you're correct, I should have written what I want to shoot: I want to get pictures of wildlife (birds, butterfiles) and plants in addition to the shorter focal range of my non-is 100 macro. If I was into portraits I'd get a fixed prime instead.
For birds, one generally wants a focal length of more than 200. 300 would seem to me to be a 'minimum'. Also, birds generally aren't low-light situations, so f/5.6 at that range would seem to me not to pose any problems. Av also sticks to the largest aperture if you want it to. It'll auto stick from 4 to 5.6 and back to 4 again when zooming back out, without needing manual adjustments.

Quote
* converters: so far, I've only read excellent reviews about the Canon 1.4x/2x mkiii - they sacrifice some af speed, but iq is said to be excellent. Am I missing something here?
A converter projects the image on a smaller area. For each "step", you lose one stop of light. With a 1.4x teleconverter, you gain a bit of focal length, but the lens only lets in half as much light. Effectively, the maximum aperture is reduced. So a 70-200 f/2.8 will become a 98-280 f/4. With a 2x teleconverter, you lose 2 stops of light (which is 4x less light), so a 70-200 f/2.8 would become a 140-400 f/5.6.
A teleconverter blows up lens deficiencies. If you have a really great lens, this will be marginal. But more noticable with a 2x converter than with a 1.4x converter, because they're blown up more.

As mentioned, Canon bodies (except perhaps 1D X and some old bodies) doesn't autofocus with lenses of aperture f/8 or greater. So a 70-200 f/4 lens with a 2x teleconverter which ends up as a 140-400 f/8 lens, will not autofocus. Unless you put tape on a connector in the lens forcing the body to autofocus, which it will then try to do, but very poorly.

I wouldn't recommend more than a 1.4x teleconverter, and only on really good lenses. Except perhaps 2x on a good 70-200 f/2.8 IS II. Getting an L lens with the required focal lengths natively usually produces better results than with teleconverters.

Quote
* 70-300 focal range: I have a broken, crappy 100-300 from the analog days lying around and have to say the increase in range from 200 to 300 doesn't really make that much of a difference. That's why I was thinking of getting the 70-200/2.8 + 2x converter and the title of the tread is "70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L"
There are three 70-200 f/2.8's. The non-IS version, the IS I and the IS II. Of these 3, the last one is twice as expensive as the first, and it's the only one that's incredibly sharp wide open. You will not want to blow up the not-quite-sharpness of the first two versions of that lens with a teleconverter. Only the last one is so sharp that it'd probably still produce great results at 2x.

If you have the budget, you'll like the 70-200 f/2.8 IS II a lot. I would, if I had the budget. Even though it's heavy :-)

Aaron78

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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2012, 08:02:50 AM »
I own a 7D and a 70-200 2.8L IS II and both the 1.4 and 2x mk.III extenders, and i will tell you in a heartbeat to go with my lens and an extender. However, i will recommend you go with the 1.4 rather than the 2. Keep in mind that your cropped body turns this lens into a 113-323mm 2.8 without an extender, so you'll be around a 158-452mm f/4 with the 1.4 extender on and still produce sharp pictures. I have only had the 2x extender for a week and only used it on one outing, so i can't recommend it. I will say though, that inital photos don't seem to be sharp at all. Actually, i hope this might grab the attention of someone with the mk.II 70-200 and mk.III 2x extender to respond here, as i am interested to see if others say their images are sharp or fuzzy looking with that setup. In short, go with the 70-200 2.8 is II and the 1.4x III and you will be very happy.


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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2012, 08:05:51 AM »
The 70-200mm 2.8L IS USM II can be had for $2,174.00 right now from several credible online retailers if you can swing it, that's a heck of a good price.

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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2012, 08:33:01 AM »
I am going to spend money I don't really have on a tele lens later this year for my crop body, so I really want to get the right one. If anyone has experience with these lenses, please give me some advice... here are my thoughts:

* 70-300L: fine but heavy lens, but is overpriced compared to the non-L version. Problem is it doesn't take a tele converter (thanks, canon marketing!) - but on the other hand, f/5.6+extender light capability would be too low anyway.

* 70-200/4L+2x: great and not too heavy lens, but using an extender doesn't make sense: In my experience, shooting moving objects at 300mm+ requires a large aperture at least of f/4 (next to a good servo af that is, unlike my 60d).

* 70-200/2.8L+2x: this is the combination I'd get at the moment - very short min. focus distance, great iq, still ok light capability w/ extender.

* the new 100-400/4-5.6L: I really don't know what to make of this: if the price prediction is right (which I doubt knowing canon rumors :-)) it is more expensive than the 70-200/2.8+2x combination, covers about the same focal distances and has worse light capability - why would anybody want to buy that? As I wrote above, extending a 5.6 lens doesn't make much sense to me...

That is the first timeI have heard of the 70-300L being refered to as heavy!

- about the same weight as the 70-200+1.4 and considerably lighter than the 70-200 f/2.8

- the 100-400 is verging on heavy, considerably more than the other 2 options

The AF on the 70-300 is very fast and ideal for BIF if the light is reasonable - here is an example of the bird close up flying straight at me, possibly the hardest for the camera.





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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2012, 08:40:05 AM »
I've been down this road and currently own both lenses in question.  The answer I have for this issue is a 300mm f2.8 prime.  Its a great lens and if you shoot consistently on the long end of either of these lenses the 300 with a 1.4x is a great combination.  You still have autofocus and if 300 is too long, back up a few feet.  My 100-400 is about to hit ebay and I never plan to put the 2X on the 70-200 again.

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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2012, 08:40:05 AM »

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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2012, 09:40:56 AM »
Quote
I am going to spend money I don't really have on a tele lens later this year for my crop body, so I really want to get the right one. If anyone has experience with these lenses, please give me some advice... here are my thoughts:

* 70-300L: fine but heavy lens, but is overpriced compared to the non-L version. Problem is it doesn't take a tele converter (thanks, canon marketing!) - but on the other hand, f/5.6+extender light capability would be too low anyway.

* 70-200/4L+2x: great and not too heavy lens, but using an extender doesn't make sense: In my experience, shooting moving objects at 300mm+ requires a large aperture at least of f/4 (next to a good servo af that is, unlike my 60d).

* 70-200/2.8L+2x: this is the combination I'd get at the moment - very short min. focus distance, great iq, still ok light capability w/ extender.

* the new 100-400/4-5.6L: I really don't know what to make of this: if the price prediction is right (which I doubt knowing canon rumors :-)) it is more expensive than the 70-200/2.8+2x combination, covers about the same focal distances and has worse light capability - why would anybody want to buy that? As I wrote above, extending a 5.6 lens doesn't make much sense to me...

And don't forget the SIGMA 120-300mm F2,8 APO EX DG OS HSM, this is a very very good lens !

neuroanatomist

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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2012, 11:09:42 AM »
I am going to spend money I don't really have...
How much of a budget don't you really have?  While the suggestion of a 300/2.8L IS is wonderful, I'm going to assume that spending several thousand dollars is not an option...

Short version: I'd recommend the 100-400mm - the current one.  IQ is slightly better than the 70-200 II + 2x, the usability is much better, and it's much kinder on the wallet.

Long version:

I personally own both the 100-400mm and the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, plus the 1.4x and 2x II extenders, and both FF and APS-C bodies - so, I'm speaking from personal experience here.

Looking at your other suggestions
  • new 100-400/4-5.6L - lenses that are rumors don't take good pictures.  As pointed out above, Canon's recent track record for delivering even products that have been announced is pretty poor lately.  Sure, if it's available when you're ready to buy, and you can afford it (the $3K price estimate seems quite likely to me), get it.
  • 70-300L - a very good lens, and if you don't need 400mm, it's the best choice.  But, in my experience, for shooting birds/wildlife, you often do need the reach of 400mm on APS-C, and you may end up cropping even more.
  • 70-200/4L+2x - a non-starter.  You'd be at f/8, meaning no AF unless you also buy a 1-series body - except the 1D X - to mount it on.
  • 70-200/2.8L+2x - this one is worthy of more discussion, and it seems you think so, too, based on your post title


converters: so far, I've only read excellent reviews about the Canon 1.4x/2x mkiii - they sacrifice some af speed, but iq is said to be excellent. Am I missing something here?
The extenders are really designed for use with supertele primes (300/2.8 and up, excluding the 300/4 and 400/5.6), which take much less of an IQ hit than any zoom or the cheaper primes like the 300/4).  Canon knows this - it's why they designed the new 200-400mm with an integral extender, one that could be optimized for that zoom lens, even though there is already an excellent 1.4x III.  IMO, an extender should be thought of as an occasional-use item.  In practice, mounting the extender is a pain (unless you happen to have three hands), especially in the field and if you're in a hurry.  I don't think it's wise to buy a lens and plan to use it mostly with an extender.  Rather, get the native focal length you need, and use the extender as a supplement once in a while, for specific reasons.

In this specific case, the first question is, which 70-200/2.8 do you have in mind - there are three of them.  You mention that image stabilization is important, so that rules out the 70-200/2.8 non-IS.  I would not use a 2x extender on the 70-200/2.8 IS MkI, it takes a big IQ hit - here's a comparison.  The 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II does take extenders reasonably well - here's a comparison of bare MkII lens vs. lens+2xIII.  Still, considering just IQ, the 100-400mm at 400mm is still better than the 70-200 II + 2xIII (comparison).

In practice, the IQ difference between the 100-400mm and the 70-200 II + 2x is probably not going to be too noticeable (or not at all) in real-world shooting.  But also, as you mention, using an extender slows down AF - in fact, with the 2x extender there's a 50% reduction in AF speed.  That means the 100-400mm will focus faster than the 70-200 II + 2xIII (it's noticable in real-world use, but it's not too bad).   Finally, there's cost - the 100-400mm is over $1000 less than the 70-200 II + 2xIII. 

You mention the variable aperture as a problem, but in Av mode it really isn't.  It can be annoying if you shoot full manual, yes...but depending on your body, Auto ISO may compensate (on the 7D, M mode supports Auto ISO, which would compensate for the variable aperture as you zoom).

You mention using the lens for close-ups, and in that situation, the 70-200 II + 2x has an advantage - the bare lenses have about the same maximum magnification (~0.2x), but if you add the 2x extender to the 70-200 II, you double the magnification without changing the MFD, meaning you can achieve 0.4x with the combo.  However, keep in mind that applies at the MFD, which is 4 feet for the 70-200 II and 6 feet for the 100-400mm.  So, unless you can get pretty close to your subjects, the extra magnification won't necessarily be double.

So...comparing the current 100-400mm to the 70-200 II + 2x, which is better?  Well, the 100-400mm has slightly better IQ at 400mm, slightly faster AF, and is substantially cheaper.  The trade off is the 100-400mm is an older design (not sure why that matters), has a lower maximum magnification, and is not weather sealed (which really only matters if your crop body is the 7D).

The other problem with the 70-200 + 2x is usability.  In one sense, it's more versatile - you have a fast 70-200mm, and a slow 280-400mm, all in one lens.  But you don't have both at once, so, it's often an either-or situation anyway. 

Personally, if I know I'm going out to shoot birds/wildlife, I grab the 7D and 100-400mm, almost every time.  The only exception to that is when I'm going out in the rain - in that case, I'll take the 7D and 70-200 II + 2x for the weather sealing.  Honestly, I found the 70-200mm focal length to be a bit awkward on APS-C - too long for indoor use, too short when I needed real reach (since I have the 100-400 for that).  OTOH, on FF the 70-200mm is an amazingly versatile lens, great indoors and out - so, if I'm going on an outing and taking the 70-200mm for that, I'll often throw in the 2x extender, just in case.

So, the bottom line is that for birds/wildlife/etc., I think the 100-400mm offers the best compromises between IQ, ease of use, and cost.  I don't think there's a better option under $3000 if you need 400mm and want IS.

I'll end with a bunch of examples, since I think it's helpful to back up words with images.  You can click through for a larger image, and View All Sizes in the upper right can get you a 1600 pixel version so you can get a better idea of the IQ.

First, 70-200 II + 1.4x, on a drizzly afternoon:


EOS 7D, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM + EF 1.4x II Extender @ 280mm, 1/2000 s, f/6.3, ISO 3200

Next, 70-200 II + 2x, again on a misty day:


EOS 7D, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM + EF 2x II Extender @ 400mm, 1/160 s, f/5.6, ISO 3200

Now, a few with the 100-400mm:


EOS 7D, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM @ 400mm, 1/640 s, f/5.6, ISO 125


EOS 7D, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM @ 400mm, 1/640 s, f/5.6, ISO 200


EOS 7D, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM @ 400mm, 1/640 s, f/5.6, ISO 160


EOS 7D, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM @ 400mm, 1/1600 s, f/6.3, ISO 1600

Finally, since you mention shooting insects/plants, too, here are a couple of other subjects with the 100-400mm:


EOS 7D, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM @ 400mm, 1/640 s, f/5.6, ISO 100


EOS 7D, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM @ 400mm, 1/640 s, f/5.6, ISO 100
« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 11:14:46 AM by neuroanatomist »
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Re: Recommendation 70-200/2.8+2x vs 100-400 f/4-5.6L ?
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2012, 11:09:42 AM »