Canon 400mm f5.6 versus 300mm f4 for black bears w/ 1.6 crop

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by soaringoak, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. soaringoak

    soaringoak TPF Noob!

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    Any opinions on which focal length/aperture would be best shooting bears in the smokies with a 1.6 crop 40d? Canon 400mm f/5.6 versus 300mm f/4.
    Yeah I know that distance is desired when dealing w/ a wild animal but generally black bears in the national park are not quite as dangerous as brown bears out west (IMO)... so I'm wondering if I could get by getting the 300mm... the faster shutter the f/4 would allow along with a brighter view really appeals to me (plus greater subject isolation). Of course w/ a full frame camera I'd be looking at getting a 500mm but 1.6x 300 = 480 so maybe this would work. Using a prime lens, I wouldnt want to have such a narrow view anyway and not be able to pull back and compose. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    well if you feel that you need the extra light from the f4 over the f5.6 then you could go with the 300mm - and if you did find yourself short you could use a 1.4 teleconverter - that would give you a focal range similar to the 400mm and also lose you one stop of light. Of course the 400mm does this better than the 300mm, but overall a 1.4TC will lose you very little detail. that might be the more adaptable combo if you have time/space to add a TC in in the field (least from one encounter to another you will have the option.

    Of course that 400mm might be the "safer" option when the urge takes you to get closer for more close-up shots ;)
     
  3. mdaniels

    mdaniels TPF Noob!

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    I would get the longest zoom you can afford. Bears in the Smokies can be very used to humans which makes them more dangerous. There are actually more deaths recorded by black bears than the griz. Black bears are more unpredictable--you know a griz is going to eat you--can't tell with a black bear.

    Sorry, hate to see someone get hurt unnecessarily...especially if its the bear getting put down because of someone thinking black bears aren't that dangerous....
     
  4. myopia

    myopia TPF Noob!

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    Why don't you just use a fisheye and run up into its face for the shot?
    I would say the longer, the better.
     
  5. Joves

    Joves No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    THe best place to shoot bear in the Smokies is at the dumpsters in Gatlinburg. I kid you not! They come down from the woods at night to feast.
    We had our security guard at the hotel I worked at run back scared one night. He thought some cubs got into the dumpster so he beat the dumpster with his flash light and, a huge male started climbing out. He never did that again. Oh and get some bear repellant just in case. It does work.
     
  6. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm chicken...

    I'd get the 400mm + 2x teleconverter and live with the hit on IQ.
     
  7. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The number of people with TCs in this pic below makes me feel a lot better about using one. I've been surprised with the sharpness of the 2x and 70-200 f/2.8L IS combo.

    http://www.caborian.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/canikon.jpg
     
  8. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    wait, the 300 f/4L has IS....even with a TC, IS at telephoto lengths is a huge help!
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have treid the combo and = baring in mind I am no expert = I think its a case where having a good solid mid to high range body on the end of the camera does help - results from my 400D appear a little softer than from when I have seen others using the combo - of course a part of this is most likley me as well ;)
     
  10. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Get whatever is Heaviest! LOLOL
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    honestly unless its a 1200mm (or possibly one of the sigma super monster zooms) then hitting the bear in defence is not going to work! ;)

    Interestingly though you reminded me that a photographer I read of went out shooting bears (with a camera of course) and one came to investigate his base camp whilst he was out - upon return he found the bear investigating his Pelican travel case - with a lens inside - both lens and case survived the encounter unharmed. So Pelican cases - sort of bear proof
     
  12. PuppY_K1ck3R

    PuppY_K1ck3R TPF Noob!

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    yea just get a pelican suitcase. When the bear charges you, just jump in it.
     

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