Your favorite wildlife lens?

Discussion in 'Landscape & Cityscape' started by Nitro9, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. Nitro9

    Nitro9 TPF Noob!

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    What would be a good addition to add to my collection?

    I use a 5D MkII, 24-70, and 100mm macro. I've always wanted to get a zoom lens for the camera, but I can't decide which one to go with.

    I'd rent glass but would prefer to put that money into the actual lens.

    Three I were looking at (to keep the cost realistic) are the 100-400 f/4.5L, 300mm f/4L, and 400mm f/5.6L (no IS).

    I would assume the primes would have greater sharpness over the zoom but reviews on all three lenses are great. People doing the 300 or the 400 primes recommend a 1.4x teleconverter. Light shouldn't be a big deal I don't think. The 5D2 can easily bump ISO with no problem.

    What are your opinions? Possibly any example shots? Or even another recommendation on a lens with a price near the above 3 that I may have missed that could be better?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Big

    Big TPF Noob!

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    I use a 70-300mm usm IS lens and it's not enough. I find myself at the end of the focal length most of the time when shooting wildlife... I wish canon would make a 200-500mm or something... That would be sweet
     
  3. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    No personal experience with the two primes in your list, but I use my 100-400 f/4.5L quite a lot for wildlife, and am very pleased with it. I couldn't afford a prime with that kind of reach, so I 'settled', but I've honestly not been disappointed by it at all over the years, and I'm glad I got it. Even at f/4.5, it likes to have some light going for it though, and I've wished I had better ISO clarity than my 40d (20D before that) delivers in a few darker situations. But with that 5dmk II it should be excellent for you.

    The primes are probably sharper by a hair, and I do like my primes when I can use them, but I've come to really appreciate the range of zoom on the 100-400 too because it allows me to use it for all kinds of stuff in a lot of different situations without changing out lenses. That's been handy for me over the years.

    I've got a 1.4x that I use with it once in a while, but I'm not really wowed by the results of it to be honest (and the 2x really has been a disappointment). I should have realized before I bought the teleconverters that there's no free ride - if you want a crisp and clear 500-800mm of reach, you're gonna have to pay for it - if we could get it in a teleconverter, who would throw down the serious money it takes to buy the big guns?
     
  4. Nitro9

    Nitro9 TPF Noob!

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    I would agree the zoom is nice for other occasions. Most people say you need 300 and up for wildlife anyway (now realize I have this in the wrong forum) so I thought the prime would be cool for better quality at the same focal distance. The 300f4 and 400f5.6 are both cheaper than the 100-400. Your thinking of one like the 300f2.8. Not willing to spend that ha ha.
     
  5. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    I use a Sigma EX 100-300mm f/4 with my 30D -- It's just not long enough for wildlife (and I suffer from the fact that I can't do enlargements of major crops with my 8mp 30D). When I tied it to my 1.4x TC in Alaska in June, the grizzly cub play that I witnessed was just too noisy as I had to enlarge it signficantly. I'd go for AT LEAST a 400 if you're serious about wildlife (unless you want to be up-close-and-personal with your wild beasts).

    [​IMG]

    Grizzly cubs @ about 300 yards ... Sigma 100-300mm f/4 + Sigma 1.4XTC @ 410mm f5.6 @ 1/640sec ISO 100

    Uncropped. Run through Noiseware (Sure wish I'd cranked up the ISO a bunch)
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2009
  6. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You might want to look into a crop camera for wildlife. That free TC is pretty convenient.
     
  7. Nitro9

    Nitro9 TPF Noob!

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    I have a 30D not being used on my desk. Ha ha. Crop camera!

    So from the above, you said 300 is not good enough. If you had it all the way out that's really around 480 for you? So it would be pretty far back on a full sensor.
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've had the opportunity to use the 100-400mm L IS for some wildlife shooting...and it's pretty good. As you mentioned, the ability to use a higher ISO can make up for the smaller aperture (vs something like a 300 or 400mm F2.8).

    I've even used a 70-200mm F2.8 L with a 1.4 and a 2.0 TC attached. The edges weren't great but the centre of the image was a lot better than I would have expected. Using a crop body does help by cropping the edges.
     
  9. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    300 X 1.4TC = 420 :lol:

    Oh, OK .... if you want to figure in the crop-factor, that's 670mm ... not sure that's really valid, though ...
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    300 x 1.6 (crop factor) = 480
    is what they were going for, I believe.
     
  11. Nitro9

    Nitro9 TPF Noob!

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    So what is a better lens? The 400mm f/5.6L or the 300mm f/4L IS?

    I do have a 30D. Obviously I'd rather use the new camera but as long as light is fine the 30D will work I'd assume no problem. So with that, the 400 would be 640mm and the 300 would be 480mm. Which of the two would you buy? Or is the 100-400 going to be a nicer lens. Or paying the extra $300-400 for the zoom only?
     
  12. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Well....

    What kind of wildlife do you want to shoot? Zoos or really wild? Big game or small birds?
     

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