Question about telephoto zooms versus equivelant to times zoom

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by christianoutdoorsguy, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. christianoutdoorsguy

    christianoutdoorsguy TPF Noob!

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    Hello all, this is my first post here. I am looking to get into photography, primarily of wildlife for starters. I am trying to get an idea about just what the focal length converts to zoom wise. I have binoculars and spotting scopes so I understand 20-60 power (times zoom), but very unclear just how the MM converts. I mean say a 50mm-300mm telephoto zoom lens, is that equvelant to say 10-30 power? I plan on photoing wildlife so some pics will be upwards of 1000 yards, possibly more. Is this possible? Like I said I am just beginning and do not have a clue what I am in for or what I am doing yet. All help is appreciated. Thank you.
     
  2. mblanton

    mblanton TPF Noob!

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    Let me ask a couple of questions. What type of wildlife would you like to photograph? What time of day would you be photographing? Do you currently own any camera equipment? What is your budget? Are you looking at digital or film gear? Do you hunt?

    Whether you know it or not all these factors play a huge role in what equipment would work best for you. Magazine photographers who shoot wildlife most likely use the Nikon D3/Canon 1Ds with 400mm f/2.8, 500mm, 600mm lenses along with teleconverters. A single camera body and lens in this category can cost $12,000.

    Don't be discouraged, there are a ton of options that might work great for you. If you like Nikon gear you have two great options available. You can pick a digital or film body and use manual focus lenses which are selling for about 25 cents on the dollar on ebay. Canon doesn't give you the same flexibility, as their digital bodies won't accept older manual focus lenses. If you decide to go with manual focus lenses stick with primes as zooms are just not comparible to the modern zoom lenses available today.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well for general wildlife a 300mm prime lens is one of the most popular - a 300mm f2.8 is often the "ideal" wildlife lens being as it combines a good reach whilst being light enough to be used all day (often with a monopod). Further the 2.8 varieties are good enough to take a 2*teleconverter to become decent 600mm lenses - canon and nikon f2.8 editions are both up to this challenge.
    A 500mm is often the other good wildlife lens and is considered to be the ideal birding lens - due to the small size of many birds. Larger and more suited to hide work than the 300mm.

    In the end though a lot depends on your budget - many use the canon 100-400mm zoom lens for wildlife walking around since it combines a wide range of good focal lengths.
     
  4. christianoutdoorsguy

    christianoutdoorsguy TPF Noob!

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    I am getting ready to purchase a camera, don't have one yet. I was looking at the Cannon Eos Rebel XS or Nikon D60, Possibly save a little money and consider a Cannon XT, but looking at digital and not film. Not sure just how much I'll get into this so I don't want to break the bank just yet. My budget for cameras will be about what these 2 are priced at. As far as lenses I was hoping to get a couple used and not spend more than 500.00 for starters. It looks like I could always upgrade the camera body later. As far as what wildlife, I was thinking actual game animals like Deer, Elk, Javelina, Bear etc... and possibly birds. So basically the spooky kind that I may not always be able to get close to. I do hunt. As far as time of day, it would really be any time. I do live in AZ, so in the summer the heat waves are terrible and would have to be early.

    How does zoom relate to mm, just so I have an idea just how powerful a zoom lens is?
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have no idea - sorry - but if its the bigger game then I would look for a 300mm f4 used - that might get into the price range you are looking at - certainly the 300mm f2.8 is far more pricy.
    The downside is that whilst an f4 can take a 1.4 telconverter without problems, they tend to get a little darker with a 2* = you will also lose your autofocusing. Though as you have experience with tracking I suspect you will have an easier time than many with getting closer to the wildlife
     
  6. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you are looking at big game then the 300mm is too short for some of the animals mentioned unless you add a teleconverter. The basic range for wildlife is 400mm - 1000mm +. If you have a bank full of money then the 1200mm would be nice.

    If you are shooting anything shorter than a 400mm and are able to pretty much fill the frame with a bear, you are no longer a photographer, you are a meal. IMO 400mm is a bit on the short side there. That is why I use Canons EF 1.4X II Teleconverter on the 400 f2.8 when I am out at Philmont Scout ranch in the moutains of New Mexico. Gives me good range and I am always down mountain at the end of the day instead of down some bears gullett.

    For something like that you are also talking about big bucks. A 400mm f2.8 will work from dawn to dusk at a price of about $6800.00. Add the cost of a camera body and a good Teleconverter, tripod and gimble head and you are looking at $10,000.00 easy.

    One popular choice for those on a stricter budget is the 100-400mm zoom from Canon. It has a nice price point and provides good image quality and has a decent weight. Highly regarded as an all around zoom telephoto with reach.

    As far as how a zoom relates to mm, they don't. There are several factors involved in determining the relationship. Because of different sensor sizes there no one quick answer. But if you really want to know there here it is.
    http://graflex.org/lenses/photographic-lenses-tutorial.html

    This would be a better place to get a handle on lenses.
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/camera-lenses.htm
    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Canon-Lenses/Canon-Lens-Magnification-Value.aspx
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008
  7. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You cant convert 3x or 10x into mm terms.
    Ex:
    10-30mm
    50-150mm
    100-300mm

    All of those are 3x lenses. the "3x" refers to the zoom range, and cannot be converted to mm.
     
  8. Tiberius47

    Tiberius47 TPF Noob!

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    To get an idea of what a lens is in terms of how many times zoom, simply divide the higher value by the lower value.

    A 17mm-85 mm lens can be worked out by 17/85, which is 5, so this lens has a five times zoom. But the number of times zoom a lens has doesn't tell you what the focal length is. You can have a 10-30mm lens, and a 100-300mm lens, and they'll both be a three times zoom lens.
     
  9. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    85/17 :thumbup:
     
  10. Joves

    Joves No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Actually a film 300mm on a standard film camera is like around 4x but, on a cropped sensor is near 5.5. My 80-400mm Nikor is a 5x on a film camera and, 6.5x on my D300. Im in Az too and Im finding the 400mm to be a bit short for some animules. Im saving for a 300-800mm Sigma as well as some other toys. What part of Az you in? There are several of us here but, more in the valley than up here in Flagstaff.
     
  11. dklod

    dklod TPF Noob!

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    Dont quote me, but I think you are all missing the point here. I have often wondered about the same thing. I'll use my situation. My camera has 12x optical zoom. So, at full zoom what lens will offer the same magnification?? So say a person 100m away fills the frame at full zoom, what lense will give me the same frame?? Lets base it on a full frame DSLR then conversions can be done for crop sensors. The reason I ask as well is that I love how close I can get to things at full zoom and I want to know what lens when I get my DSLR will give me the same range. Make any sense??
     
  12. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Actually, the range doesnt change.
    Example on a 1.6x crop body:
    400/80 = 5 (35mm)
    (400*1.6)/(80*1.6) = 5
    640/128 = 5
    They are both equal to 5x
     

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