First Widlife lens

Jim Stafford

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I'm looking to buy my first good widlife lens. I've want to stay under $1500 and I do not mind used. I'm using a Canon XTi. With my current lens'(55-250 & 75-300) if I have good light and can get close enough I can do OK. Those are big ifs. My current doubler sucks, I don't mind hauling my mono pod or tripod. My abilities seem to be improving, I have had a lot of trouble in low light and auto servo focus issues, but I am getting better.

I'm torn between the F2.8 of the 70-200 L, the reach of the 100-400L and the cheaper Sigma series. I'll need either the 1.4 or 2x converter for the 200 for sure. Suggestions?
 

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A 70-200mm lens is not a wildlife lens. With a 1.4TC it makes a very good lens for wildlife in zoos and enclosures - where getting closer is not a problem - in the field it tends to be too much on the short side. If you go for this lens than in enclosures its a good choice, but it needs the addition of a good 300mm lens (f2.8 idealy though an f4 will work just as well) to round the kit out.

A 1.4 Tc from canon will give you a good focal length increase with minimal quality loss - but a 2*Tc is a different beast. It gives you a big quality drop and a loss of 2 stops of light - this can make it much harder to use well and its best used on a bright day when the loss of light is less of a problem.

A 100-400mm is a better choice if your find yourself working in the field more than in zoos - however its quality (optical) at each end will be less than a 70-200mm + 300mm + 1.4TC( with the 300mm to get over 400mm) will be worse. Its far easier to use in that its a single lens.
 
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Jim Stafford

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Yes, I spend my time "in the field" not at the zoo. My local camera guy is telling me to get the shorter lens becouse of the F2.8 for lower light and then put the teleconverter on it to reach out further. I'm thinking I'm allways going to have the teleconverter on it so I might as well get a longer lens to begin with.

What do you think about Sigma?

There are so many lens available it's hard for a newbie like me to know which are good and which are junk. I allready have a bunch of lens that I am finding out are not very good.
 

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Get the 100-400!!! I'm speaking from expirience here as I have the 100-400L, 70-200 f/2.8L IS and a EF 400 f/2.8 L. If I was only allowed to keep one the 100-400 would be it,

Examples
Hawk031forposting.jpg


labordayhummers079_edited-3Mediumco.jpg


Tuesdayducks098_edited-2.jpg
 

Buszaj

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Consider these: Sigma 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM
Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS
Canon 400mm f/5.6 L (no IS)

I currently have the Sigma 150-500 and am quite satisfied with it for wildlife shots. It might be tricky to get decent photos at dawn and dusk though with these lenses.

 

uplander

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This is another with the 100-400L
Very close to a 100% crop
this was shot at sunset and very low light conditions using a remote release, tripod support and exif info here.

You have $1400.00 right ?
This lens has surperb optics and if you do your part you will have amazing results.

Shorebirdsandfinches134copy.jpg


File Size: 557 kb - 800 x 534
Camera Make: Canon
Camera Model: Canon EOS 40D
Date/Time: 2008:05:03 07:36:41
Resolution: 800 x 534
Flash Used: No
Focal Length: 400.0mm (35mm equivalent: 819...
CCD Width: 17.58mm
Exposure Time: 0.0040 s (1/250)
Aperture: f/5.6
ISO Equiv.: 800
Whitebalance: Auto
Metering Mode: matrix
Exposure: program (auto)

Different crop and some noise reduction
Shorebirdsandfinches134juza2copy.jpg
 
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Jim Stafford

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Thanks

I think I'm set on needing more length than the 70-200 will give me. So we can throw that out of the mix. I think I need/want the flexibility of the zoom vs a telephoto. So we can throw out the primes.

How about IS vs Non IS? Where do you all stand on that?

How about some more opinions of Canon vs Sigma?

This really helpfull, thanks again. The pics give me confidence of what I can achieve.
 

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Sigma vs Canon here : Juza Nature Photography

As for IS/VR I would say that unless your going to be doing hide work all the time and thus able to shoot from a beanbag or tripod then you really do want the antishake tech - it make handholding longer lenses a lot easier (especaily so when they can be a bit heavy)
 
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Jim Stafford

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Thanks Uplander

I can get the Exif from the pic. You have given me great info in the past also. Really appreciate it.

You take great shots.
 
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Jim Stafford

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Thanks Overead, love an arcticle that tells me to go ahead an save some money.
 

JerryPH

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If you go to places that specialize in wildlife photography, they consider 400mm and up to be lenses for them. When you see people with 1200mm and up lenses, that $3500 400mm F/2.8 doesn't look that bad anymore... lol My suggestion is a quality lens before teleconverters ANY day of the week.

Personally I would not stick a teleconverter on a F/4 lens, though. They will all cost you from 1-2 stops of light and this is a bad idea unless you have a camera that is very clean at higher ISO.

For example, slapping a 2X teleconverter on a 200mm lens with a F/4 aperture turns it into a 400mm at F/8 and that is your MINIMUM starting point aperter. This means that this setup is pretty much useless on all but the brightest of days.

Well, then in steps technology.

If you started off with a quality lens that does 200mm at F/2.8, a 2X TC brings that up to F/5.6, and this is already a big gain, but... here is where it gets interesting... if you have a camera that is clean at high ISO, and crank it up two full stops from ISO 200 to ISO 800, you are not only back to having F/2.8 apertures at 400mm, you've also *doubled* your shutter speed, further reducing motion blur!

Now imagine if you are using a camera like a D3 or D700, a camera that has usable ISO up to 6400 or more, and you can do all kinds of things like raise ISO and close down the aperture to increase DOF without decreasing the needed to lower shutter speed to get the shot! Trust me... at 400mm and F/2.8 you are looking at some seriously razor thin DOFs... you are going to need that higher ISO to close down that aperture some to increase DOF and not have shutter speeds that are into the 1 second and higher range. Most wildlife is not going to stand around motionless for you that long, but if the animal is in the trees or shadows, at least you have the latitude at F/2.8 to get a good part of it... which is better than not being able to get anything at all.

I am a Nikon person, so can speak with some knowledge about these products... with the Nikon cameras using Nikon TCs, you do not lose autofocus and there is no real loss of quality, however the cost of the 2X TC is almost as much as most midrange lenses, in the $400 range. This becomes an acceptable price when you consider that a quality 400mm F/2.8 lens is easily in the $3500-$5000 range (which you can duplicate on a good camera F/2.0 200mm and a 2X TC, just that your ISO is 1-2 stops higher).

However, if your camera is not clean enough to be usable at ISO 1600 (as a minimum), it makes choices a whole lot more difficult, more so if when the TC prevents the camera from properly focusing above F/5.6 like many Sigma and Kenko teleconverters have issues focusing above F/5.6. I would not waste my money on a cheap quality teleconverter.
 
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Jim Stafford

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Maybe some day Jerry I'll spend that kind of money, not today though.

Went back and reread that article. The fact that the Canon is smaller and lighter wil go a long way in my backpack and on this tired old body. I thought it showed much better in the tests than the author gave it credit for also.

I think it is leading the pack. I can find a good used one and a 1.4x for my $1500.
 

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err Jerry you lost me - if you attach a TC to a lens the max aperture of that assembly is fixed at a smaller max aperture than the lens was capable of - dependant on the TC used.

A 1.4TC will always remove a single stop of light
A 2*TC will always remove 2 stops of light
You can't get those stops back with ISO - though you can use a higher ISO to bring in more light and thus make your shutter speed faster, but your apertures will still be as they were before. Thus you can't get an f2.8 aperture (and corresponding depth of field) with a 2*TC on a 200mm f2.8 lens - with that assmbly it becomes a 200mm f5.6 lens only.
 

JerryPH

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Get the 100-400!!! I'm speaking from expirience here as I have the 100-400L, 70-200 f/2.8L IS and a EF 400 f/2.8 L. If I was only allowed to keep one the 100-400 would be it,

Examples
Hawk031forposting.jpg

Uplander... clean your lens and/or sensor now and then... lol
 

JerryPH

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err Jerry you lost me
Let's use 1 number... a 2X teleconverter that drops you 2 stops of light.

- if you attach a TC to a lens the max aperture of that assembly is fixed at a smaller max aperture than the lens was capable of - dependant on the TC used.

Exactly... dependant on the TC used. My only experience is with a Nikon TC on a D700 and 70-200 Nikkor F/2.8 lens and the Nikon 2X TC. On a good TC, you can get that aperture back by increasing ISO. I saw this with my own eyes.

So, if the lens has a starting point of F/2.8 and the camera native starting point ISO is (lets say) ISO 200, two stops above that brings you to F/5.6 (the full stops are 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, etc...). Slap that TC on, and at that point, your numbers are ISO 200, F/5.6 to get the same shutter speed. Increase ISO 2 stops from 200 to 800 (200, 400, 800, etc...) and that TC is right back at F/2.8 for you. This is just what I saw when I was testing out the Nikon 2X TC on my D700.

You can't get those stops back with ISO - though you can use a higher ISO to bring in more light and thus make your shutter speed faster, but your apertures will still be as they were before. Thus you can't get an f2.8 aperture (and corresponding depth of field) with a 2*TC on a 200mm f2.8 lens - with that assmbly it becomes a 200mm f5.6 lens only.

That is not what the camera's meter showed me... now granted it may be what Canon or Sigma or Kenko do, I do not know... I definitely did not test any others other than the Nikon one on a Nikon camera.

The maximum aperture was set per the lens installed and I had my 70-200 Nikkor to play with, no other lens at the time. So, once I raised ISO to 800, my aperture reading on the D700 displayed F/2.8 at the same shutter speed at 400mm.

If I wanted to then double my shutter speed and still get the same exposure at this point, I would need to raise ISO to 1600 and then increase shutter speed, but this is something we both already know.
 

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