Wildlife Photography

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by klotzishere20, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. klotzishere20

    klotzishere20 TPF Noob!

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    There are a few question I have to get started on this.
    I have been looking between the 400mm canon f2.8 and the 600mm canon f4. Does anyone have any advice as to which I should purchase? And a question about teleconverters. I was browsing ebay today and I noticed the Canon 2x teleconverter. Would this work with either of the lenses and how does this 2x teleconverter compare to the 1.4x teleconverter.
     
  2. Shockey

    Shockey TPF Noob!

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    Wildlife is a big subject...what types of subjects are you considering...what camera are you using?
    Do you already have your tripod setup?
     
  3. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  4. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Seconded.

    There is a big difference between big-game and birds-in-flight. Many birders like the 500mm f/4 because it is easier to manage than the 600mm. They both do very well with the 1.4x TC. They both might be a bit long for large game imaging. 400mm is a bit short for a lot of birding unless you use a TC, but the 400mm f/5.6 is a favorite birds-in-flight lens and the 100-400 and the 400 both do well with the 1.4x. You might try looking around on some of the special forums:

    BirdPhotographers.Net - It Ain't Just Birds

    Nature, Wildlife and Landscape Photography Resource

    http://www.juzaphoto.com/

    Nigel Dennis Wildlife Photography

    Be prepared to spend a big hunk of change for those longer lenses.

    You can almost forget about handholding anything over 400mm, although there are those that do with the 500.

    Personally, I dream of owning the 500mm f/4 but, at $6100, it's going to wait quite a while ...

    I own both a 1.4X and a 2X TC. Mine are Sigma EX and not Canon, but I think most people will agree that the 2X converters soften your imaging considerably more than the 1.4. I almost never use my 2X for that reason.

    EDIT:

    One other point to keep in mind. If adding a TC brings your maximum aperture to over f/5.6, you won't be able to AF on your T1i. There are some tricks around this (putting tape over the pins), but they don't always work.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  5. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    As a wildlife shooter myself, I went with the longer is better aproach. I bought the 600 f/4 IS, and I still find myself shooting with a 1.4 teleconverter quite often. Especially if shooting with the 5DII full frame body. I would love to have a 400 2.8 for sporting events, but in the wide open areas I shoot wildlife in, I would fall way short in focal length with the 400. If you plan on doing any birding, forget the 400 and get the longest lens you can afford.
     
  6. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Montana -- hijacking the thread for a sec ... I just noticed that you have a Bigma ... since you have both that and the 600, have you done any serious IQ comparisons?
     
  7. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    Nothing serious by any means, I haven't even mounted the Sigma to my camera body since I received the 600. I got some good shots from the Sigma, but the Canon 600 f/4 IS is 10 times the lens that the 50-500 is. Legendary Canon supertelephoto quality. Very sharp, very fast, very well built, and image stabilization and a few other nice features. The Sigma, is a decent lens for what it is. You get 500mm for under a grand brand new. Slow aperture and mine was slightly soft wide open. Stopped down, its a great performer with fast autofocus and great Sigma EX build. But for shooting wildlife in the great light hours of the day its just too slow. It obviously gets more usable every year as higher and higher clean ISO bodies become available, but with the 600 I have no need for it.

    Second thought, it was mounted one time after the 600 arrived, I had forgot. I sent my Sigma to a friend and it backfocused horrendously on his 30D. He sent it back and I mounted it to both my 40D and 5DII to check focus in case it had occured damage during shipping, but it was spot on on both of my bodies. His 30D was at fault.

    So in response to your question, no I have not done extensive testing side by side. For all I know, the two lenses may produce similar results at f/8 on a tripod with mirror lock-up and remote release........but that is not how I am always shooting the 600, so its irrelevant to me.
     
  8. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    That's cool. It's going to be a very long time before I can afford the 500 or 600mm Canon and have been considering the Bigma or one of the newer Sigma OS lenses like the 150-500. My 100-300 f/4 just doesn't have the reach I need, although it's a great lens. I was thinking of the Canon 400 f/5.6, but I would lose AF with a TC and, as you said , 400 is just too short. Does IS really help you with that 600? Isn't it too heavy to handhold?

    ... buys a powerball ticket ...
     
  9. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    IS is very beneficial. I do handhold the 600 almost as much as I shoot from a tripod and gimble head. I have practiced indoors "for fun" and have gotten very good results handheld with the 600 with IS on at 1/40 of a second. However, that was "fresh", LOL. Not after hours of handholding.
     
  10. klotzishere20

    klotzishere20 TPF Noob!

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    Well i just got the T1i. I got a pretty good package deal online. I'm probably going to use this for Deer/Bear/Wolf/Large Bird/Coyote/Fox. And the way Montana was talking I'm probably going with the 600 with the 1.4. If and when I get these it will be a great day :D
     
  11. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    Those critters you mention have 600 written all over them. The only wildlife shooting I could do with a 400 is for trips to places such as Yelowstone National Park. There you can can get a bit closer to the large wildlife species such as bison, elk, moose, etc. Wolf, coyotes, fox, birds are more leary of people, so the longer reach of the 600 is very beneficial. A 400 2.8 should accept the 1.4 converter will minimal quality loss, giving you 560mm, but then what? I hate 2x converters myself. Way to much loss of image quality for me.
     
  12. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    If you're planning on the 600, don't forget you need a serious tripod with gimble head for that!
     

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