zoom telephoto

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by alexlang, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. alexlang

    alexlang TPF Noob!

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    hello again,

    i need some advice on buying a telephoto zoom lens
    here are my requirements:
    mount- canon EF
    range- minimal focal length of 70-100, maximum of 300-400
    aperture- maximum aperture of at least f/4.5 (maybe f/5.6)
    auto focus- very important-needs to be FAST
    price- preferably under $600 but i will spend more if i have to

    thanks for your help

    P.S. if anyone can point me towards a good site for lens reviews it will be greatly appreciated
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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  3. MCTuomey

    MCTuomey TPF Noob!

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    I've recently been in the same situation. Given your budget, consider the Sigma EX 70-200mm f/2.8 HSM or the 100-300mm f/4.0 HSM. Unless you're shooting stills in plenty of light, you will not regret the speed of a fixed 2.8. I wouldn't go slower than a f4.0, but then I shoot action frequently. Yes, I know it's a bit more money. But if you stay away from the mfg lenses you can get a fast lens that's excellent photo quality as well.

    I have a bit of experience with the Canon 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 USM. I have shot a number of rolls (ISO 400 and 800) of youth soccer, day and evening. Conclusion is that it is not good for lower light on the long end, but it will do passably well in good light. No, the image quality is not equivalent to a Canon L, but neither is the price (read: understatement). I have some good photos with it, but quite a few at marginal shutter speeds as far open as I could shoot on aperture priority are unacceptable. Typically, these were in evening light or shade.

    I think an excellent alternative is the Sigma EX zooms which are priced a stretch above the non-L Canon lenses but way beneath the Canon L line. In the opinion of many users, the EX line is very close to the L quality.
     
  4. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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  5. MCTuomey

    MCTuomey TPF Noob!

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    Excellent suggestion, Matt. That lens has great quality and very fast AF. BUt for about $250 more you can get the Sigma EX 70-200mm f/2.8, with twice the aperture capability and comparable image quality. IMO, the Sigma HSM is nearly as fast as USM, at least on my Canon Elan 7.

    That said, you cannot go wrong with the Canon.
     
  6. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    MCToumey, I'm leary of trying another Sigma. I have the Sigma 70-300mm Super Macro, and it's a decent lens, but It's has left me eyeballing the Canon L glass. For what I shoot, which is wildlife and landscapes on a tripod, f/4 is enough for me. I'm interested to try the 70-200 f/4L. If you are shooting sports and low light and what not, the 2.8 would definetly come in handy then.

    What's the build quality like on that Sigma? My 70-300 is cheapety cheap.

    btw, Fred Miranda's site is a good one for lens reviews.
     
  7. MCTuomey

    MCTuomey TPF Noob!

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    DMatt, the build quality of the Sigma EX line is very good - very close to Canon L quality. Not just my own opinion. I think that forum searches will confirm this view.

    If you don't need the extra stop, I agree with you. The Canon L 70-200mm f/4 makes the most sense for the money. Sigma does make a 100-300mm f/4 HSM in the EX line, reputed to be another very fine lens, but it's going for about $850-900 new, about the same price as their 70-200mm f/2.8 EX HSM.

    I'm not a wildlife shooter, but maybe that 100-300mm might offer you a bit more of what you need than the shorter zoom. The 70-200mm is really a versatile lens for lots of types of shooting: PJ stuff, street stuff, candid portrait-style stuff. Remember that if you TC, the 2x causes loss of AF and a lot of sharpness.

    THough I sound like it, I'm NOT a Sigma rep. I'm just sort of frustrated that the f/2.8 canon lenses are priced in the sky, at least for my budget, and appreciate having an alternative I can afford.
     
  8. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    MC, thanks for your reply. If I do get the Canon 70-200L I'll most likely get the 1.4x TC. I've heard lots of people say they get no loss of sharpness with it. I've heard lots of people even say that the 2xTC is usefull, with "acceptable" sharpness. I'd be willing to bet it's as sharp as my Sigma 70-300mm.

    I think I will try and get to a camera shop and see if I can compare both lenses first hand, and maybe take a few test shots.
     

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