I'm moving from a crop sensor to a full-frame and I'm getting worried that my 70-200 f/2.8 isn't going to get me close enough to the action anymore. I do a lot of motor sport photography so have been enjoying a fast lens with 320mm equivalent reach.
The 400mm f/5.6 has caught my eye as an affordable option. I'm getting the Canon 5D3 so I'm thinking I just ramp up the ISO to maintain the shutter speeds I usually use. I've managed to live ok without IS as my subjects are moving faster than I shake the camera anyway.
Everybody seems to end up suggesting the 100-400mm IS but I won't be using that 100-200mm end, not sure about how much IS I'll end up using, and it's not as sharp as the prime.
I guess I want to know, does anyone use the 400mm prime for this type of thing or is it really designed for sitting on a tripod looking at birds?
Also, extenders... are these as foggy as some of the examples photos make them look or are they ok? Fast auto-focus is pretty important in this environment too so I don't want to compromise on that too much. Is there much difference between using an extender and just cropping a shot?
Thanks for any comments you can give.
My 2 ct. about the 5.6/400L:
I needed more reach for my 40D (640mm equiv is a good medium telephoto for some situations, 100mm is my "light wide angle"
) and I really like to have contrasty images under all conditions (esp. contralight).
I have the 4.0/70-200L and the 2x TC mark I and I experienced good quality just at 400mm/f8.0 or f11.0 but:
I don't like to fiddle around with live view and manual focus. If you make landscape with large focal lengths turbulences of the atmosphere bring a lot of unsharpness into the images - shorter exp. times help a lot!
3. 70-200/2.8 II + TC
Options 1.,2. were in my mind when I bought the 5.6/400 and it was a clear decision: Mark II of 100-400 (better IQ, IS) or Mark II of the 400/5.6 (IS) would increase the prices by e.g. a factor 2 and will bring it out of my reach.
Prime above zoom: Fast AF, just 6 lens groups -> good contrast, good contralight ability. Very sturdy construction, easily handholdable at 1/125s @ 640mm equiv (o.k., you should fire 2 or 3 shots but 1 is o.k.)!
If I go to fullframe: Lens has very good IQ straight to the corners in FF - I like to put important elements in corners or near the edges!
Option 3. came in my mind just a few days ago: Selling my 70-200/4.0 and the money spend on the 400/5.6 were near the equivalent of a 70-200/2.8 II and I would have a great zoom with 400mm reach via my older TC.
But: 70-200/4.0 is a great walkaround lens (just 700g) and I would lose the possibility to go to 800/11.0 or 1280/11.0 equiv. for a stronger telephoto effect. So I might live with my solution and - with two 40D bodies I have a chance to gain flexibility without changing lenses.
Two examples of the 400/5.6:
- 100% crop at close focus (without atmospheric turbulences!), near center (but non-distinguishable from corner quality), subject might be a Canada goose
- downscaled image at a sunny day after a frosty night - lots of turbulences smear the landscape - it is not unsharpness due to DOF