help me choose a tele

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by frostywolf, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. frostywolf

    frostywolf TPF Noob!

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    Alright, so I'm new to DSLRs. As in, my first one (a 30D) will be shipped out next week. Before I get into what I need help with, let me fill you in on my photo background and what I want to do.

    I use my cameras for 3 main purposes. (1) I take lots of pics of pets. (Mine, but also at the veterinary hospital where I work etc.) Nothing too serious, just for message board sharing. My P&S is fine for this purpose, so that's not why I'm moving up. (2) I am live music junkie. I see between 20-30 concerts/year (not including my vacation which is a music festival on a chartered cruise ship). I have really taken my Canon S2 IS as far as it will take me on this. Obviously, for bigger name concerts, I won't be taking in the new camera, as SLRs typically aren't permitted. But most of mine are in smallish nightclubs and the like. Quite a few of my friends are musicians, also, and I'd like to capture them better. So this is a big reason for upgrading, but not my #1. (3) This is where I've been the most frustrated. Nature/birding. I go on day hikes frequently, and I always pack my S2 IS. Every time I go I wish I had a DSLR for it. I really need the reach of a telephoto for wildlife/birds.

    That being said, I am getting my Canon 30D soon, so I need to outfit myself with at least a couple basic lenses. I don't have a ton of money (hence the starting with a used but decent body). Also, I need funds for other basic accs. like CF cards, bag (since I know I'll be hiking I think I'm going straight for a backpack style) and I will want a tripod/head. So my funds are a bit limited.

    Okay, here's what I'm definitely getting to start with:
    Canon EF 28-135mm IS
    Canon 50mm f/1.8 II

    I intend to use these as my 'learning' lenses, as they are very reasonably priced and from reading this and other forums, many people are satisfied with them. I didn't want to start out with lenses that I will soon 'grow out of' and never use again.

    Because my main reason for upgrading is to shoot wildlife/birds, I need a lens with better reach. I know many people would say to hold off and learn the camera first, but I'd rather not have at least one to try out.

    So, I've narrowed down to 3 choices
    Canon EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS USM
    Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM
    Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

    I feel like I should start with the zoom, since if it's my only one, the zoom would be more practical. But the primes are less expensive, and they will be very useful for a long, long time. But I'll be a bit limited in the beginning. I can't afford to go any more expensive than these, and I don't want to go for a lower quality lens and feel the need to replace it later. And I can only afford (for now) one of them. So, what would you suggest?
     
  2. Sheriff

    Sheriff TPF Noob!

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    Well. You I think you have answered your own question by writing this post.
    For wildlife shots I would suggest the 100-400 zoom lens because it has built in image stabilization which is of most importance when shooting wildlife. This is a very good lens for the money. The only drawback is the bulk and weight. Because it`s a zoom it has much more elements in it it adds weight. Have fun with your new kit!
     
  3. soylentgreen

    soylentgreen TPF Noob!

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    What level of image quality are you after? With those choices I presume it to be fairly high, no? In which case, ditch the 100-400 and go with the 300 or 400 prime. Both are substantially sharper than the 100-400. I had the same decision to make about a year or so earlier and went with the 300 f/4L IS. It is an awesome lens. Tack sharp wide-open. Smack on a 1.4X and you have a 420mm f/5.6L IS. Though it is not as sharp as the 400 f/5.6, it sharpens up quite well at f/7.1-8 and has IS. If you are not planning to take along a monopod or tripod, IS is a near requirement.
    For birding 400mm is the way to go. They are too skittish and small to get any good clarity with with shorter lenses. Especially wild birds. You need the longer reach to "blow-out" the background and help delineate the subject since most birds tend to be in trees, bushes, etc. I just splurged for the 400 f/2.8 myself. Not a hiking lens, but unsurpassed IQ.
     
  4. soylentgreen

    soylentgreen TPF Noob!

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    On an added note, it might be too late, but the 28-135 is too narrow on a 1.6 crop sensor to get any decent wide-angle shots. It was designed for FF cameras. Better off with a EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS or EF-S 17-85 f/4-5.6 IS. IMO.
     
  5. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Buy the fastest lenses you can afford. If not too late , I agree with the above. Ditch the 28-135. Not wide enough on a 30D and too slow. Almost useless in low light. Yes it has IS but that only helps with static subjects and even in low light it's hard to use.

    Better still go with something like the 17-55 f2.8 IS or a Tamron 17-50.

    The 100-400 is a great wildlife lens. Very versatile. I have the 300 but only because I already have a sharp zoom (70-200 and I can add the 1.4x converter).
     
  6. frostywolf

    frostywolf TPF Noob!

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    Thanks all!

    I would love the 17-55 f/2.8 IS, I just can't afford it right off the bat along with one of the other lenses I mentioned above.

    I could get the 17-85 f/4-5.6 IS and when I have the money for the 17-55 I could replace it. This lens isn't overly expensive, so I don't mind if I lose a little bit of $$ reselling it at a later date. (that's also why I originally was thinking of the 28-135).

    Hmmm, you people aren't making this any easier for me! My money has to support my music habit, too. ;)
     
  7. digital flower

    digital flower No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh you are talking about lenses. I thought you might be looking for something like this Tele

    :wink:
     
  8. brileyphotog

    brileyphotog TPF Noob!

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    I've always been a Les Paul kinda guy

    But as far as the lens, if you're shooting birds, I'd go with the 400 prime
     
  9. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    As I suspected, before I read any of the answers, you are going to get varied opinions. Well you did and one of each, plus some.

    What this should tell you, is you'll have to decide for yourself. :wink:

    The 400 has no IS, is a 5.6 and costs about $1100

    The 300 would be nice, f/4 which is an improvement, $1150, it has IS and costs slightly less than the 100-400. (which is also IS) You are limited, but it is lighter and a sharp lens.

    The 100-400 will give you flexibility, starts at 4.5 ends up 5.6, same as the 400, but has IS. Just over $1400. True it's not quite as sharp as the other two, but it's not a weak lens by any means.

    I'd suggest that any tele extender is going to make your good lens into an average lens. I wouldn't encourage anyone to use one. I didn't like the visible grain and loss of sharpness with the 70-200 2.8 and it's noticeable, not subtle.

    All of the above use the same 77mm filters, so at least you can save some money on that.

    If someone is spending $1100, $1150 or $1400 on a lens, I don't see price as a huge factor, unless $250 will break you?

    I'm trying to decide between the 300 and the 100-400 for myself. Extra range, and versatility makes me want the zoom. Sharper images pushes me towards the 300. I'm pretty settled on the 100-400 because I need the longer range at some tracks. I'd rather be able to fill the frame and crop in camera, than be stuck at one focal length.

    Darn, if I could afford them, I'd get both. :mrgreen:

    Just sold my Gibson Barney Kessel to buy the 40D and a 100mm Macro. So much for classic guitars in my house.
     
  10. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    Or you can wait for the 800mm?

    600mm Canon f/5.6

    The world's first 600mm lens with an Image Stabilizer for added steadiness and sharpness when working at slower shutter speeds. It shares the same lightweight, weather-resistant construction as the 300, 400 and 500mm IS Super Telephoto lenses, as well as their improved control layout, improved weight distribution, and mechanical manual focus.

    Only $7200! Just kidding, but just think about it, you could get the 300, 400, and 100-400 and have $3000 left over for another lens, for less than this one costs by itself.

    But how about that for birding? You can watch the gnats on the back feathers of the birds. :drool:
     

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