Lens on a Budget

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by TheLogan, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. TheLogan

    TheLogan TPF Noob!

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    I'm needing a new lens for some wildlife photography, so one with a decent zoom (200 or 300mm) but my budget right now is about $300.00
    Is there anything even worth getting in this price range?

    P.S. my camera is a Canon XSi

    Thanks,
    Logan
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think the canon 100-300mm f4-5.6 is in that price range and is probably the best at the long end, but all lenses in the 300mm area in the price range you are looking at are not the best performers. They are usable and if you stop down to say f8 you can get some decently sharp shots out of them
     
  3. TheLogan

    TheLogan TPF Noob!

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    what about 200mm? or is that not even reasonably enough zoom for wildlife photography?
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    if your good you only need 50mm ;)

    honestly though wildlife ranges generally start at 300mm. I have a 200mm (a 70-200mm) lens and I use a 1.4 teleconverter with it to get to 280mm range ( at the long end) and that just gets me enough range for zoo type work where the animals are much closer generaly speaking.

    One half of wildlife photography is your lens and camera - the other is your fieldcraft - the abilty to get close. Hides, feeding stations, understanding your subject - they are all tools used by the Pros to get closer since no lens is ever long enough ;)

    You have to make a choice - buy and shoot now - or save for more range. The next price range roughly (I am in the UK so my pricing in US is abit off) around the $1000 area. If that is beyond you for a long time get a cheaper lens an put effort into learning how to get closer
     
  5. JustAnEngineer

    JustAnEngineer TPF Noob!

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  6. TheLogan

    TheLogan TPF Noob!

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    those are awesome! which would you say is better of the two?
     
  7. davebmck

    davebmck TPF Noob!

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    The Canon 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM is about $550 and is very well rated. Probably the best 300mm zoom you can get for the Canon in this price range.
     
  8. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    Wildlife photography starts at 300mm unless the animals really, really like you. I had my 55-200mm with me at the zoo once and it couldn't cut it. At the same time, don't forget a tripod or monopod so the pictures don't come out blurry - VR is nice but not a lifesaver.
     
  9. TheLogan

    TheLogan TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the input guys. just one question: with IS do you still need a tripod?
     
  10. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    edit: for below - I'm a Nikon shooter so I'm used to saying "VR" (Vibration Reduction) rather than IS - sorry.

    Nothing can replace a solid tripod for pure stability.

    Here's the thing - when taking a photo, so long as the shutter speed is small enough, it will look like it's on a tripod. So I can grab a 600mm lens with a 2x teleconverter and if I could somehow get a 1/64000th of a second exposure while still having enough light enter the lens while hand-holding, I wouldn't need VR. With longer focal lenses, VR allows you to increase that shutter speed for hand-holding by countering some of that camera shake. It does not, however, completely eliminate it - so you still need a tripod for long exposures, or if you want to take the same shot, for example, under different lighting conditions (morning and afternoon) or with different objects in the shot (i.e. take the photo with people in the shot and with people out of the shot). VR, when appropriate, is infinitely more convenient than using a tripod since tripods are bulky, heavy, and take time to set-up and move, which detracts from finding the best possible shot when you are not intimately familiar with your surroundings. Monopods are essentially off-camera/off-lens VR.
     
  11. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    For "wild" wildlife, you can almost never have too long of a lens, especially if you do any birding. Then there is also things like birds in flight that often require a fast focusing lens and large aperture to keep shutter speeds high. I used a Sigma 50-500 (always at 500) for almost a year, then my Canon 600mm f/4 arrived yesterday. Its still boxed as I am away from the house. I am just saying, if you want to be happier in the long run, save now and purchase more lens when you have the cash. I was left wanting with my 50-500 Sigma mainly due to the f/ 6.3 max aperture at 500mm. I have a feeling that the 600mm will leave me wanting in certain ways too. Its a never ending lust for more. Somewhere you have to draw the line though, but if you draw the line at 300mm on a zoom, I am afraid you will be sorry later. Just my thoughts.

    Derrick
     
  12. TheLogan

    TheLogan TPF Noob!

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    Well heres another question then. What is a lens you would recommend in the $300.00 range period? I already have a 50mm 1.8, but It just feels lacking in the fact that I have to physically move to take pictures of everything.
     

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