Wildlife/Sports/Airshow Lens

Diverman

I'm New Here
Jan 3, 2013
11
0
Hi all,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I could use some advice/opinions/help on my next lens dilemma. I love shooting air shows and wildlife (not so much birds, but typically longer shots of bears/wolves/etc.), and will have many more sporting opportunities coming up. I currently use a 70-200IS V2 with a 2x extender (or no extender at all when the light is fading quickly). Not a pro at all, just love shooting a variety of things. I have a few options floating around for some more reach. All of these are used.

1. 400mm f/2.8 IS V2 - have an offer on a very good quality lens, $5200
2. 600mm F/4 IS original - good quality, $4500
3. 300mm f/2.8 IS V2 - $3200, good quality. Would get a 1.4x also
4. 400mm f/2.8 IS V1 - $3000, good quality optically, little ugly from use
5. 500mm f/4 IS V1 - $3500, good shape
6. 300mm f/2.8 IS V1 - $2500, good shape
7. 100-400 V2 - $1200, very good shape. Would need to get a 1.4x extender and a new body to focus at F/8.

Do any of these just jump off the page? I’m sure someone has been through the same questions... I believe the 400 V2 might be the best deal from a $ perspective, but I feel like I’m short for most wildlife at 400mm as it is. Will I have enough reach with a 1.4x, and am I going to hate the weight? I am actually renting a V2 next week to see how tough it is going to be. If it matters, I am shooting a 6D and 60D with plans to upgrade to an 80/90/7dii and a 6dii/5div within the next year. Almost all of what I do now is handheld, because I can. I do not have a gimbal, but I was planning to try the rented 400 on my Manfrotto fluid video head to see how that works.

Thanks for your input!
 

Photorex

EOS RP
Nov 19, 2016
284
72
... but typically longer shots of bears/wolves/etc.), -> go for the 600mm F/4 IS original - good quality, $4500
and will have many more sporting opportunities coming up. -> go for the 100-400 V2 - $1200, very good shape.

Would need to get a 1.4x extender and a new body to focus at F/8. -> with plans to upgrade to an 80/90/7dii and a 6dii/5div within the next year.
I would think the answer is already in your question ;)
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,262
1,921
Canada
I have no personal experience with it, but I am led to believe that the 400F2.8 plays VERY well with the 1.4 teleconverter, and plays well with the 2X teleconverter. The 600F4 is supposed to be almost as good, but with more reach. Reach is all important with distant wildlife. If it were me, that’s where I would be looking.

so.... those with that combo.....any comments?
 

AlanF

Stay alert, control the camera, save photos
Aug 16, 2012
6,482
5,085
Hi all,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I could use some advice/opinions/help on my next lens dilemma. I love shooting air shows and wildlife (not so much birds, but typically longer shots of bears/wolves/etc.), and will have many more sporting opportunities coming up. I currently use a 70-200IS V2 with a 2x extender (or no extender at all when the light is fading quickly). Not a pro at all, just love shooting a variety of things. I have a few options floating around for some more reach. All of these are used.

1. 400mm f/2.8 IS V2 - have an offer on a very good quality lens, $5200
2. 600mm F/4 IS original - good quality, $4500
3. 300mm f/2.8 IS V2 - $3200, good quality. Would get a 1.4x also
4. 400mm f/2.8 IS V1 - $3000, good quality optically, little ugly from use
5. 500mm f/4 IS V1 - $3500, good shape
6. 300mm f/2.8 IS V1 - $2500, good shape
7. 100-400 V2 - $1200, very good shape. Would need to get a 1.4x extender and a new body to focus at F/8.

Do any of these just jump off the page? I’m sure someone has been through the same questions... I believe the 400 V2 might be the best deal from a $ perspective, but I feel like I’m short for most wildlife at 400mm as it is. Will I have enough reach with a 1.4x, and am I going to hate the weight? I am actually renting a V2 next week to see how tough it is going to be. If it matters, I am shooting a 6D and 60D with plans to upgrade to an 80/90/7dii and a 6dii/5div within the next year. Almost all of what I do now is handheld, because I can. I do not have a gimbal, but I was planning to try the rented 400 on my Manfrotto fluid video head to see how that works.

Thanks for your input!
Do you shoot hand held or on a tripod? How strong are you?
 

Diverman

I'm New Here
Jan 3, 2013
11
0
I have no personal experience with it, but I am led to believe that the 400F2.8 plays VERY well with the 1.4 teleconverter, and plays well with the 2X teleconverter. The 600F4 is supposed to be almost as good, but with more reach. Reach is all important with distant wildlife. If it were me, that’s where I would be looking.

so.... those with that combo.....any comments?
I’m in the same boat. The 400 would seemingly give me a lot of flexibility... fantastic fast lens at 400mm, I would assume a pretty good 560 f/4, and a good? 800 f/5.6...

regardless I think (and hope) any of the options are going to have a leg up on my 70-200 w/2x.
 
Mar 14, 2012
2,338
221
The 100-400 II is the most versatile and hand-holdable of the bunch. It's easier and sharper than the 70-200 with extenders. I'd start with that first...

and if you need more reach after that, then I'd consider the longer primes. The 400 f/2.8s are heavy. Even with a gimbal, it puts significant restrictions on your mobility that you don't think about when using a 100-400 II or 70-200. 300 f/2.8 IS II or a 400 f/4 IS DO II are hand-holdable, but the longer primes are significantly heavier and are another class altogether. Personally, I tend to use a combination of zooms and primes. 70-200 paired with a 300 indoors, and 100-400 and a DO 400 with extender outdoors.
 

SecureGSM

2 x 5D IV
Feb 26, 2017
1,913
851
Yup, as per above. My thought process:
1. Air shows are typically shot in a reasonably good light - outdoors :)
2. Distance to subject is substantial. Subject to background separation is “out of scope” F2.8 isn’t essential then.

Therefore shooting at F5.6 or even F8 should not be an issue. 100-400 II then?
 

RBS

I'm New Here
Feb 6, 2020
22
28
I have an EF 400 F2.8 IS II and it does play well with the 2X converter however adding a converter NEVER improves the optical performance so although you will like the results with the 2X because they are still sharp and high contrast be prepared to be somewhat disappointed when comparing the 2X teleconverter images to the results with the bare lens.

I have three of the Canon telephoto primes (200 F2 and 300 and 400 F2.8) and the bare results are incredible, the 1.4X results are really, really good, but the 2X takes away some of the "great white prime" magic HOWEVER a 400 F2.8 with 2X still produces better results than a multitude of lesser lens because the base lens is so incredibly good. The disappointment only comes when you do an A to B comparison of the bare lens to the converter version.

Also make sure that you very carefully dial in the microfocus adjustment with your camera body when you get into this focal length range because the decreased DoF leaves little margin for error. A 400 F2.8 plus 2X (and the same is true for the 300 F2.8 combo) is extremely good when perfectly focused and there is no motion blur from the camera or subject but if you miss the perfect setup you will have a disappointing image. Take some time with whatever setup you settle on because your initial results won't be your best as you learn the new setup so don't grow discouraged early.

And on edit, attached are a couple of photos shot this afternoon while I was adjusting the EF 400 F2.8 IS II and 2X converter to my EOS 1DX III because I hadn't fully dialed in that combo earlier. Shot at F5.6, 1/1600 handheld with IS off.
AS0I4077.JPG
AS0I4165.JPG
 
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