Affordable Wildlife Photo Lenses

neurorx

EOS 90D
May 12, 2015
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Hello I wanted to see if anyone had any recommendations for a zoom lens that was up to 600mm for an R5. I have the EF 100-400 II but would like some additional reach for birds and other more rapidly moving wildlife. I didnt really see an advantage on the RF 100-500 with an f7.1 so I was trying to see if there were any other options others were using with the ability to focus rapidly and be sharp. Some of the reviews of the Sigma and Tamron lenses seemed to mention this, but I wasnt clear on how significant the issue was. I wanted something <2000 USD and more useable than a 7.1. I had hoped Canon would have done a 200-600mm f6.3 but alas no. Any thoughts or recommendations would be appreciated. Thank you.
 

neuroanatomist

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Have you seen @AlanF's comparisons of the 100-500 with the 100-400 and 400 DO, and his post about the 100-500 with extenders? The 100-500 seems the way to go, takes the 1.4x very well. With the R5's sensor, I would not worry much about raising the ISO to compensate for the f/7.1 (or slower, with the TC) aperture.

Personally, I'll be getting the R3 and 100-500, time will tell if it will functionally replace my 1D X with a 600/4 II but I already know the former will be much smaller and lighter.
 

AlanF

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I'd stick with the 100-400mm II ± 1.4xTCIII unless you go for the 100-500mm as the older lens performs very well, both bare and with the 1.4x TC, and you have it. Although the RF extenders are criticised for not allowing the 100-500mm to be completely zoomed out, their performance is quite remarkable. The RF zoom has excellent image quality with the 2x extender at 1000mm.
 

JPAZ

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Agree with thoughts above. If you have the 100-400 Mkii already, least expensive way to go is an EF 1.4x III TC. The output on the R5 is quite good and would be close to 600mm while maintaining a reasonable zoom range.
 
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john1970

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I also agree with the above comments. Try a EF 1.4x III TC with your current lens.

B&H has a used copy in 9+ condition for ~$350.

 

Aussie shooter

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I have the sigma 150-600c and it performs well bit not perfectly. If you have the budget the 100-500 would be the best option as it is native and will have better focusing and stabilization.
 

AlanF

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I have the sigma 150-600c and it performs well bit not perfectly. If you have the budget the 100-500 would be the best option as it is native and will have better focusing and stabilization.
I had a really copy of the 150-600 C and reluctantly sold it as it focussed a bit slow on the R5. What‘s yours like?
 

jprusa

EOS RP
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For the money it is hard not to mention the RF 800 f11 . it's sharp, light but MFD is 20 feet and at f11 it has limitations. But I found ways to use this lens to my advantage .
 
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Aussie shooter

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I had a really copy of the 150-600 C and reluctantly sold it as it focussed a bit slow on the R5. What‘s yours like?
Pretty good. Super sharp at 400. Bit soft at 600 but it just forces me to put more effort in to getting closer. Focus is definitley a little on the slow side especially if it goes into hunting mode. Definitely slower than my 70-200mk2
 

Maximilian

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I'd stick with the 100-400mm II ± 1.4xTCIII unless you go for the 100-500mm as the older lens performs very well, both bare and with the 1.4x TC, and you have it. Although the RF extenders are criticised for not allowing the 100-500mm to be completely zoomed out, their performance is quite remarkable. The RF zoom has excellent image quality with the 2x extender at 1000mm.
100% the same thought.
You can do really a lot with the 100-400mm II and the 1.4xTCIII.
Don't forget that with longer FL you'll start to get other problems, e.g. air has to be clean and without shimmer.
And when you think about rapidly moving animals you should have gear you can pan and follow with.
 

dcm

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Apr 18, 2013
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For the money it is hard not to mention the RF 800 f11 . it's sharp, light but MFD is 20 feet and at f11 it has limitations. But I found ways to use this lens to my advantage .

I agree. If OP trying to move everything to RF, then the 100-500 with extenders seems to be the way to go at this time. I never seemed to get the results I wanted with the EF 2x on the 100-400 (EF or RF body). With the EF 1.4x you are at f8 at 600 anyway, f7.1 doesn’t seem that bad.

If you continue to shoot both EF and RF like me then I found the RF 800 F/11 and RF 1.4x to give the the reach I needed because let’s face it, 600mm is not enough either. This has added a whole new dimension to my photography and gives me some time to see what else Canon has up its sleeves for long lenses and new bodies. I find the R3 a very tempting replacement for my 1DXII, but with the R6 in hand, I can wait a while longer to see what else pops up.
 
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canonmike

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I agreed. If OP trying to move everything to RF, then the 100-500 with extenders seems to be the way to go at this time. I never seemed to get the results I wanted with the EF 2x on the 100-400 (EF or RF body). With the EF 1.4x you are at f8 at 600 anyway, f7.1 doesn’t seem that bad.

If you continue to shoot both EF and RF like me then I found the RF 800 F/11 and RF 1.4x to give the the reach I needed because let’s face it, 600mm is not enough either. This has added a whole new dimension to my photography and gives me some time to see what else Canon has up its sleeves for long lenses and new bodies. I find the R3 a very tempting replacement for my 1DXII, but with the R6 in hand, I can wait a while longer to see what else pops up.
I perked up when I read this commentary. Just rec'd my copies of R6 body +RF800 F11 and I have an RF1.4x extender on the way. Can't wait to try this combo out at the local Audubon Center and the equestrian race tracks.
 
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AlanF

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I perked up when I read this commentary. Just rec'd my copies of R6 body +RF800 F11 and I have an RF1.4x extender on the way. Can't wait to try this combo out at the local Audubon Center and the equestrian race tracks.
The RF 1.4x works very well on the RF800 with the R5, and the R6 should take the extender even better.
 
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neurorx

EOS 90D
May 12, 2015
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Thank you. I appreciate the advice. I had a 1/4x II but it lost detail, is the version 3 or the RF 1.4 or 2 significantly better? I was also considering the 800 f11, but wondered how the f stop limited its use. I'm also very interested in the R3 as I notice with shooting with my R5, I really dont like to go above ISO 3000. Do other's use Topaz DeNoise or Sharpening or just use LR to reduce noise?
 

koenkooi

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Thank you. I appreciate the advice. I had a 1/4x II but it lost detail, is the version 3 or the RF 1.4 or 2 significantly better? I was also considering the 800 f11, but wondered how the f stop limited its use. I'm also very interested in the R3 as I notice with shooting with my R5, I really dont like to go above ISO 3000. Do other's use Topaz DeNoise or Sharpening or just use LR to reduce noise?
I use Topaz Denoise, it tends to sharpen things up as well on my usual subjects, insects and small things. After using Topaz, LR noise reduction just seems like the digital version of smearing petroleum jelly on your lens. Various people here on this forum quite like DxO PL with its DeepPrime NR, but I haven't tried it myself.
 
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H. Jones

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Aug 1, 2014
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I'm also very interested in the R3 as I notice with shooting with my R5, I really dont like to go above ISO 3000. Do other's use Topaz DeNoise or Sharpening or just use LR to reduce noise?

At risk of starting another onslaught of technical experts debating the often-debated-on-here pixel noise issue, I will tell you I often use my R5 at ISO 6400 and love the results. When viewed at the same size as my 1DX2 files, there's no difference in actual perceived noise. When you zoom in to 100% on the R5, you may see additional noise, but that noise is decreased when viewed at lower resolutions, and there's no practical difference between my R5 and my 1DX2 when they're both downsized to 20mp.

I use Lightroom to reduce noise and again, haven't had issues. I just covered a shooting at night for the newspaper at ISO 12,000 on my R5 and didn't have any particular issue with the images once they were downsized and sent off.
 
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AlanF

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At risk of starting another onslaught of technical experts debating the often-debated-on-here pixel noise issue, I will tell you I often use my R5 at ISO 6400 and love the results. When viewed at the same size as my 1DX2 files, there's no difference in actual perceived noise. When you zoom in to 100% on the R5, you may see additional noise, but that noise is decreased when viewed at lower resolutions, and there's no practical difference between my R5 and my 1DX2 when they're both downsized to 20mp.

I use Lightroom to reduce noise and again, haven't had issues. I just covered a shooting at night for the newspaper at ISO 12,000 on my R5 and didn't have any particular issue with the images once they were downsized and sent off.
True, and here are shots going up to iso 40k.

 
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neurorx

EOS 90D
May 12, 2015
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At risk of starting another onslaught of technical experts debating the often-debated-on-here pixel noise issue, I will tell you I often use my R5 at ISO 6400 and love the results. When viewed at the same size as my 1DX2 files, there's no difference in actual perceived noise. When you zoom in to 100% on the R5, you may see additional noise, but that noise is decreased when viewed at lower resolutions, and there's no practical difference between my R5 and my 1DX2 when they're both downsized to 20mp.

I use Lightroom to reduce noise and again, haven't had issues. I just covered a shooting at night for the newspaper at ISO 12,000 on my R5 and didn't have any particular issue with the images once they were downsized and sent off.
Thank you for your reply. So to be clear do you downsize your resolution in lower light/high ISO. I can see very noticeable noise in my ISO 3000-4000 images and definitely worse when I crop. I can adjust in LR, but its more smoothing than anything. I had looked at DeNoise/Sharpen and Gigapixel and such but the reviews seem to be all over the place. If I downsample an image, I can avoid this?
 

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Thank you for your reply. So to be clear do you downsize your resolution in lower light/high ISO. I can see very noticeable noise in my ISO 3000-4000 images and definitely worse when I crop. I can adjust in LR, but its more smoothing than anything. I had looked at DeNoise/Sharpen and Gigapixel and such but the reviews seem to be all over the place. If I downsample an image, I can avoid this?
You wont get much better noise performance than offered by the R5 and 6. There is little gain to be made nowadays. Yes. Shooting at 3200 you will see noise but it is easily managable and even at 6400 itis more than acceptable if you dont have to crop. The only real way to fix your noise issues is to get closer to your subject. Either with a longer lens orimproved field craft. I cant see a new body making a big difference. Maybe a 3rd of a stoo here or there but nothing major
 

privatebydesign

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At risk of starting another onslaught of technical experts debating the often-debated-on-here pixel noise issue, I will tell you I often use my R5 at ISO 6400 and love the results. When viewed at the same size as my 1DX2 files, there's no difference in actual perceived noise. When you zoom in to 100% on the R5, you may see additional noise, but that noise is decreased when viewed at lower resolutions, and there's no practical difference between my R5 and my 1DX2 when they're both downsized to 20mp.
Your observations are entirely in line with the ‘technical experts’ theories.
 
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