Recommend telephoto and extender


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Feb 17, 2012
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San Jose, Cali, The Heart of Silicon Valley
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Now, I have the budget for telephoto plus extender. I mostly shoot race cars in the racetrack, so I need a faster auto-focus motor. Which ones would you recommend?
First question that'll pop up will be "what's your budget"?
Seems like the obvious and most important piece of info.

Sigma 70-200 2.8 with a 1.4x extender on your 70D would be a very cheap entry into that
big range (that's 450mm equiv.), and if you don't mind loosing another stop of light maybe
the 2x.

Fast focusing? Canon lenses do it better, but if you want to kill the great focusing speed of
any lens you just add the extender. ;) 100-400 Canon lens seems like a good idea too but
you'd end up at like F/8 which would mean you need high ISO and the 70D might not like

Maybe forget the extenders and get a sigma 120-300 f/2.8?
That thing is.. omg. :eek:
Canon 300 2.8 II and Canon 1.4x III extender. Hey, you didn't give a budget and I figured I would live vicariously through you:D
You're going to have to give a budget for us to work with. We can go from hundreds to thousands very easily with telephoto lenses. Without an idea of your budget we can't give any meaningful answers
What focal length lens did you use for those shots?
Depending how far or how close you can get a 70-200mm f2.8 lens might be ideal for what you need. However if you need more reach a 300mm f4 or 400mm f5.6 might be better suited to your needs. A 300mm f4 and 1.4 teleconverter might be an ideal combo as it gives you the 300mm reach and the option to go up to 420mm f5.6 with the teleconverter.
Why not Canons new 100-400 and forget the extender
I shot these images 70-300mm focal length. These look pretty sharp and clear. Just want to try out with better glass. There are two canon 100-400. Just curious, what is the difference.
Price and performance
Really any that isn't at least a f/2.8 is not going to work well with an extender.
Really any that isn't at least a f/2.8 is not going to work well with an extender.

I'd agree in his case since his camera starts falling apart around ISO1600, but on a FF body that can produce clean ISO6400+ shots - why not?
I'd say F/4 is an option too.

But yeah, I'd avoid converters if possible, and the 100-400 is rather cheap if F/4.5-5.6 is not an issue, and it wouldn't be for me.
However, I'd rather buy 70-200 F/2.8 and add a converter then buy both of those lenses.
I'd recommend deciding on the focal length range that you need and then find a lens that fits your price in that category. That in turn is going to depend on how close you can get to the cars.

In my opinion, a fast lens at a racetrack during daylight is a waste. Since most times the shutter speed is around 1/100 to 1/200 second if there's not enough light to use virtually any lens something is definitely wrong. The only times I shoot at less than f/11 to f/16 during a day race is when it's really, REALLY cloudy.

The photos you showed above were taken at between 150mm and 165 mm. Of the 5,000+ photos I've taken at races this year only a handful were above 200mm. Most were around 50mm to 70mm with a few as wide as 38mm.
Aye its one area where you can get away with a smaller aperture lens; however I don't know if you do any work like this in darker conditions, at night or are thinking of doing any other sports or events which might warrant a wider maximum aperture lens as an option.

If you want a zoom the 100-400mm would be an ideal choice if the new MII version fits into your budget. The older version is cheaper, but was a solid performer, but with some drawbacks. Some people loved it others disliked it - it was and still is a very fine lens, but not always as tack-sharp as some wanted it to be. It's also quite old now (lens wise) and the new version is streets ahead of it.

A 70-200mm with 1.4 TC is another option, like I mentioned above, and 70-200mm is often a very solid "catch all" lens for many genres and quite adaptable. Many photographers can make use of one or will use primes that cover a similar rough range of focal lengths.
I used a prime one time at a race years ago and did not like it because rather than the track being the limiting factor as to where I could stand, my lens was. If I used it I was forced to be in one particular place around the track to get the framing that I wanted.
Aye I could see a prime working but:

1) Depends how you shoot; if you're in one spot most of the time with a fairly similar range or pair of ranges - although for multiple venues you might need more lenses to cover different situations

2) Having two cameras with two different lenses; either two primes or a prime and zoom combo so that you can cover different areas quickly. Lens changes in the head of sports can be done; but it a bit of a nightmare and can quickly leave you rushing each and every shot. Two cameras works well you just put one down and grab the other

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