Buying a new L lens

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by feRRari4756, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. feRRari4756

    feRRari4756 TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys after my recent purchase of my 70-200 L, I am looking to purchase a 2nd L zoom/telephoto lens. This lens will primarily be for surfing. I already did my own research before posting and most surfing sites reccomend a 600mm, but also MOST surf spots are reef breaks, where the surfers catch waves much further out in the ocean. Im on the east coast whcih is all beach break, and the waves break much closer. Therefore, i cannot go by their reccomendations and also do not need a 600mm.

    Here are some shots that I took with my 70-200 at 200mm:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I want to get shots like up this close:
    http://www.hotlineonline.com/images/wallpaper/post800.jpg

    #1- So my first question is, do you think a 300mm lens is adequate to give me that extra reach? or will I need a 400? I don't have a 300/400 so I cant like "invision" how much more zoomed in it will be?

    #2- I'm looking at the 300mm f/4 L prime or the 100-400 f/4-5.6 L. What do you guys think? a 300mm w/ a 1.4x teleconverter or the 100-400? What will bring better quality? Sharpness is def one of my main buying points. IDC if a lens is f/5.6 since I'm always at ~f/7.1 anyway.

    What setup for #2 would you reccomend?

    Thanks!
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The first thing that always guides you is your budget. The second is your needs. Let's say you get for a 300-400mm and then need more.. you will have to spend a lot more. If you get a 500mm as recommended, it will do things for you that the 300-400 cannot, and on top of it, if in the area you are, it is too close, you can always step back... you cannot walk 50 yards into the ocean with your camera to do the inverse.

    Just food for thought. :)

    BTW, that shot you linked was likely taken with more than a 300mm. I checked the EXIF, unfortunately it was removed, but it would not surprise me if it was taken with a 600mm.
     
  3. Jaszek

    Jaszek No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hell, if you have the money go for the 600mm. Just like Jerry said. You can always move back on the beach but can't go into the ocean.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Personally I would lean more toward the 300mm f4 and teleconverter (1.4) over the 100-400mm lens. But that is just me. I would also research the reletive AF speeds of these two setups - both would be sharp enough, but its the AF speed that will count in what your shooting

    Also it might be an idea to go to a local camera store and have a hold of some longer glass - have a look through the viewfinder and give it a real test - I certainly agree that often you do need to have a real world experience to really know just what 300/400/500mm really does look like in the field. Comparison shots on the net are ok, but they don't give enough info.

    The best I would say (from what you describe) would be a 300mm f2.8 - you could combine that with a 1.4TC and have almost no loss of image quality and even with a 2*TC as well and still get veyr sharp shots. Its a well used combo by people wanting that longer reach but unable to afford the full 600mm lens - its also a handholdable setup, but its certainly not a cheap option..
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I would go for the 100-400 zoom with VR over a fixed 300 f/4 and 1.4x, mainly for the focal length flexibility the zoom would offer. I own lenses of both classes,and I just think the 100-400 is the handiest range for tele-work on a 1.5 or 1.6x body.

    Since you shoot Canon, you could also look at some Nikon internal focusing super-telephotos from the late 70's to early 1990's, like the 400mm f/3.5 ED-IF or the 500mm f/4 ED-IF P-series. The 500mm f/4-P is available for around $2,000 used, and is a well-balanced, actually almost "light" 500mm prime lens. How does $2000 for a 500mm f/4 prime sound?

    I disagree with your focal length range needed--if you want the type of samples you linked to, you will want a 500 or 600mm lens. Or you will want a true,top-quality 300mm f/2.8 that you can shoot at high shutter speeds to freeze the action,and then in post, crop-in on the action. If you plan to crop in, you must make sure focus is dead-on and that shutter speed totally freezes the action. More MP helps with extensive,severe cropping. A used 300/2.8 might make a lot of sense,and it will work with a 1.4x for a 420 f/4 equivalent,and with good light you'll be able to shoot a stop or 1.5 stops down from wide open for the absolute best quality.

    You might be surprised to find that an internal focusing manual focusing lens of the 400 and 500 and 600mm Nikon Ai or AiS types has feather-light manual focusing that has a perfectly optimized focusing travel and a system that manually focuses much better than AF lenses of the same specification. These lenses adapt to Canon bodies quite well,and sell for the same price as many high-end consumer lenses--not $7995, but more like $1,000 to $2,000.
    The focusing hit rate with these ought to be pretty high on a sport like surfing,where the action is consistently predictable--ie, coming in and slightly quartering,never moving backwards or up-tide or across the field and then back! Also, at longer distances, focusing is slightly less-critical and under marine environments the light levels are quite high.

    A supertelephoto prime or a quality tele-zoom will last through many generations of camera bodies. You will have the chance to get very familiar with whatever lens you buy,over many seasons, so keep that in mind.
     
  6. feRRari4756

    feRRari4756 TPF Noob!

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    okay thanks guys for your replies. Now that I'm thinking, I much rather have a 400mm because I also do wildlife to just for fun. So my choices are:

    Canon 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L IS($1600)
    or
    Canon 300mm f/4.0L IS with 1.4x Teleconverter (1250 + 350=1600)

    So each setup is the same cost and each has IS. Each will also have about the same f stop with the teleconverter. I will not use the lower end of the 100-400 since I got the 70-200.

    What do you guys reccomend I get? (sharpness is one of main main buying points)

    I'm thinking the 300mm with the 1.4x because then I will have EXTREMLY sharp shots thougout the 70-420mm range because:
    70-200 will be covered with my "70-200 f/4 L"
    300 will be covered with my 300mm prime
    and 420 will be covered with myy 300mm prime plus 1.4x teleconverter

    ________________________________________

    Now if i were to get the 100-400, all throughout 100-~350 the lens isnt extremly sharp at all f stops. so thats why im thinking the other setup


    what tdo you guys think?
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    What about Canon's 400mm f/5.6,which is better than the 100-400 or 300 +1.4xTC by a clear margin? If you're always shooting at f/7.1 then you obviously have plenty of light,and plenty of ISO speed to get an action-stopping shutter speed,right?

    If you are going to be operating at one,specific focal length, then it makes sense to approach it from the idea of getting the best optics you can afford for that specific focal length. If you are not limited by shooting at f/7.1 (meaning your light levels and camera have high enough ISO quality that you can shoot sharp shots at f/7.1) then there seems to be little need to go for a 420 f/5.6 that doesn't have the optical quality as a Prime 400mm f/5.6 stopped down to f/7.1. The decision is between a 300/4 + 1.4 TC and a 400/5.6 prime,comes down to "what is the benefit of IS?" What is the IS for? It's not all that helpful to have IS except for wind-buffeting protection, since at the speeds where IS kicks in and makes a difference means that the light level will be low enough that you'll need a tripod or monopod for sure,and the light level will be low enough that you'll have to slow the shutter speed down so much that freezing action might not quite be possible.

    I still think 400mm is on the short end of what I'd want for surfing shots. I live on the west coast where the surfing is all near-shore breaks at 100 to about 40 yards or so,and 400mm on crop-body is about as short as anybody goes. 500 and 600 are preferred.
     
  8. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I use a 300F2.8L and 2X when i get the chance to shoot surfing which is not very often and it works good for me because i have 300mm@ F2.8 for other shoots

    [​IMG]
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thats the nice thing about TCs and surfing... most surfing that I know of happens outdoors and in the daytime, when a F/8 or smaller aperture can be used successfully.

    If that is all that you want the lens for, it's perfect... if you want to use that lens in lower light situations like birding or wildlife... time to scrap that slow lens/TC and look at long fast glass. Not only can you use them at times other than very bright days, but the quality of the shots will be better.
     
  10. feRRari4756

    feRRari4756 TPF Noob!

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    yeah i was also looking at that but at 400mm the camera is going to shake a lot, even when on a monopod wont it? thats what i didnt even consider that because instead of using 1/1000 with my 70-200 (at the 200mm end), i would need to use at least 1/1500 probably even 1/2000 would i since i dont have IS? i was thnking since the other ones had is, i could leave it at 1/1000 or up it slightly to 1/1250.

    is that right or no? please corrent my thinking if im wrong lol

     
  11. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    :thumbup: Much better than wading out in the ocean if you are too short on glass.
     
  12. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Not if you are Clarke Little :er:
     
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