A new lens

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by PictureGuy_StJoe, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. PictureGuy_StJoe

    PictureGuy_StJoe TPF Noob!

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    I would love some suggestions.

    At work I shoot with a Canon EOS 20D. My default lens is my Canon 28-135mm with IS, my zoom lens is a Sigma 70-300 DL Macro Super.

    I have been given the chance to put a new lens request into our department's budget request. I would like a big telephoto lens. I shoot a lot of nature photos for backgrounds used in mailings, and also a lot of student activities where being able to stay back from the action and still get shots of students' faces is key. The EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM, is what I am looking at, but then I have never had a chance to use a lens like this before.

    Any comments or advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. GeneralBenson

    GeneralBenson TPF Noob!

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    I feel like that might be a pretty ridiculous idea. For one thing, you'd be surprised how small the difference is between 300mm and 400mm. If the long end of your 70-300 isn't cutting it, then a 400mm won't be miraculously better. The other thing is, are you aware that you're talking about a $5,500 lens? The bottom line is that it's worth 5 times more than everything else you already have. Getting an extra 100m would be my last priority. I would be looking to upgrade you more professional lenses to replace what you have and looking for a better body. IF you do have $5000+ dollars to spend, then I think a 400mm f/4 would be the worst use of your money. For that much money, you could get a 50D, a 70-200 2.8, a 100-400 4.5-5.6, and a 16-35 2.8. Then keep your other body asa backup, sell the other two lenses, and hopefully get a flash and a nifty fifty. That would be a million times better then just getting one super badass lens. You would have just as much reach, with more resolution and more cropping power, plus pro glass from 16-400.
     
  3. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You might consider more of a mid-range very high quality zoom with a 2x teleconverter. I don't actually know how good the glass is on your 300mm, but I have a 70-200 2.8 which is an AMAZINGLY sharp lens... toss a 2x teleconverter and you have a 140-400 f4 with minimal, if any, quality loss. (and overall quite a bit cheaper than the 400mm F4)

    You could then also use the teleconverter on the 300, giving you a 600mm outside range.

    Just another idea.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would expect a 400mm prime to knock socks of a 70-200mm zoom with a 2*TC.
    I would also say a 2*TC gives a noticable drop in image quality and also take away 2 stops of light from the lens (turning the 70-200mm f2.8 into a 140-400mm f5.6)

    I would say that if you are looking at a 400mm prime lens then do try before you buy. From what I have heard the 400mm DO is reportedly a good 400mm for handholding due to its weight
     
  5. davebmck

    davebmck TPF Noob!

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    You might want to consider the Canon 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L IS. [FONT=&quot] I got mine for about $1300. While not a prime, it's a high quality lens that gets consistently good reviews.
    [/FONT]
     
  6. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think there was a stop between the 2.8 and the 4 on that lens, but I might be losing my mind. Still, you may be right.

    Regardless... no argument with anything you're saying... it's just another option. Pros and cons.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    many SLRs now can change aperture in smaller increments than a full stop -
    on mine (canon 400D + canon 70-200mm f2.9 IS) I can go

    f2.8, f3.2, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.6 where the bold are full stops - the others are partial stops in light

    however teleconverters strip light in full stops - so the lens gose to an f4 with a 1.4TC and and f5.6 with a 2*TC. I belive the Nikon 1.7TC strips 1.5 stops of light though.
     
  8. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Makes sense, though I thought the f3.2 was actually a marked stop on the lens itself... but I'm also sitting here thinking "You know, Chris, the stops are actually a mathematical calculation of some kind that you've forgotten the details on, so you're being stupid." :)

    I'm sure you're right. I'm just losing it. :)
     
  9. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes. F/4 is one full stop after F/2.8

    1.0 1.4 2.0 2.8 4.0 5.6 8.0 11 16 22 32 45 64

    Anything in between is partial.


    Question:
    What about a higher mega pixel camera such as a 5D MKII with a sharp L lens? Will that work?

    i.e. 400mm on 20D vs 300mm (or maybe 200mm) on 5D MKII when taking a photo of a bird on a tree.

    When we look at the bird at 100% crop, which will give more details?
     
  10. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    He is right :lol:
     
  11. DRoberts

    DRoberts TPF Noob!

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    The 400 is an excellent lens. Compared to the Sigma 70 - 300. It would be like going from Spam to fine cuisine.
    Yes, in theory you would only gain 100mm zoom, but in actuality the 70-300 at its full focal length (300) is terrible, where as the 400 stays true.
    My only concern would be minimum focal length. I understand wanting distance, but are there going to be times, when you don't need that distance, or the distance isn't available?
    This is where the argument for the 70 - 200 f/2.8 comes in. It's got good focal length and true to its fullest zoom, as well as the ability to be up close. If you are shooting any indoor or evening shots the 70-200 f/2.8 would be the all around best choice.
    If you are shooting in nothing but "good" light and at a distance than the 400 would be ok.
     
  12. LiveWave

    LiveWave TPF Noob!

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    400 f/4 DO and even the 70-300 DO, lenses SOOC need a little bit of PP to up the contrast. That's the nature of DO (Diffractive Optics)
     

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